"700-year-old the Wieliczka Salt Mine" Top 5 Page for this destination Wieliczka by matcrazy1

Wieliczka Travel Guide: 119 reviews and 495 photos

On UNESCO's World Heritage List

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The Wieliczka Salt Mine, nowadays practically on the outskirts of Krakow, has been worked as a source of rock salt since the late 13th century.
It used to be one of the world's biggest and most profitable industrial establishments when common salt was commercially a medieval equivalent of today's oil. Always a magnet, since the mid 18th century the salt mine has become increasingly a tourist attraction in the first place.


Today visitors walk underground for about 2,000 m (6562 ft) in the oldest part of the salt mine, which takes two hours or so. Seven centuries of mining in Wieliczka produced a total of some 200 kilometers (124 miles) of passages as well as 2,040 caverns of varied size. The tourist route starts 64 m (210 ft) deep and ends 135 m (443 ft) below the earth surface, where the world's biggest museum of mining is located with the unique centuries-old equipment among its exhibits. Still below, some 210 m (689 ft) deep, there is a sanatorium for those suffering from asthma and allergy.

As a testament to its historical and artistic importance, the mine has been placed on
UNESCO's World Heritage List of sites designated as having ``outstanding universal value to mankind.'' It receives up to a million visitors yearly, most of them during the warmer summer months.

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Nature and human wonder

Millions of visitors, the crowned heads and such celebrities as Goethe and Sarah Bernhardt among them, have enthused over that subterranean world of labyrinthine passages, giant caverns, underground lakes and chapels with sculptures in the crystalline salt and rich ornamentation carved in the salt rock.

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The largest cavern

The largest of the chapels, the Chapel of the Blessed Kinga, is located 101 meters (331 ft) below the surface, it is over 50 meters (164 ft) long, 15 meters (49 ft) wide, 12 meters (39 ft) high, with a volume of 10,000 cubic meters (13,080 cubic yards).

MORE: www.wieliczka.com.pl (in English, German and Polish language)

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Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The most beautiful nature wonder I have ever seen
  • Cons:Rather not for visitors suffering from claustrophobia
  • In a nutshell:The mysterious underground world
  • Last visit to Wieliczka: Aug 1998
  • Intro Updated Aug 2, 2003
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Reviews (55)

Comments (49)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jun 11, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    We toured here in 2007 and your pictures are most favorable with great detail. Thanks for the input, and bring back memories.

  • deeper_blue's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2008 at 12:24 PM

    Wieliczka is a fascinating place, really enjoyed my visit. Finally finished all my Polish pages, check them out sometime

  • ChristinaNest's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2007 at 6:32 AM

    Amazing place!!! I will make sure to visit it next time I'm in Poland! Thank you for sharing. Christina

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2006 at 3:46 PM

    Great page on the salt mines, we really enjoyed our visit there!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2005 at 2:35 PM

    I always enjoy visiting caves but I have never visited a salt cave. It has a very different look than the usual calcite caves. I had never heard of underground sanatorium in a salt mine ! I thought they were for convicts only ! Superb crystals !

  • tpal's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2005 at 10:42 AM

    Hi Matt, I am disappointed in myself. I've been twice to Krakow and Auschwitz and have bypassed the salt mines both times. Next time I will stop for sure. Thanks for the great page...Tom

  • Raimix's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2004 at 2:39 AM

    Waw! It is nice place and near Krakow! Hopefuly it can be visited like a part of trip to Krakow. Raimundas.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2004 at 1:24 PM

    Interesting page with fabulous photos. I think I should take Wieliczka into consideration for a daytrip from Krakow. Well done ... :o)

  • Bavavia's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2004 at 6:43 PM

    Interesting about the underground salt mine! I would be afraid because i am afraid of closed in places, but it looks like an underground city there!

  • clairegeordio's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2004 at 4:48 AM

    Really interesting page, would love to visit one day.

matcrazy1

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