"KRAKOW : WIELICZKA SALT MINE" Poland Things to Do Tip by swesn

Poland Things to Do: 398 reviews and 656 photos

  Church in Wieliczka Salt Mine
by swesn

This is listed as one of UNESCO?s World Cutural Heritage monuments. Salt mining had been carried out at this spot since the 11th century. A huge network of chambers and tunnels ensued, up to 9 levels in total, to a depth of over 300m.

There are salt sculptures, usually about the history, practices, even legends of salt-mining, carved out of salt. The salt was 90% pure, mixed with gravel and sand, giving it a greenish tinge. One section even has gnomes! The timber used to construct the shafts, stairs and tunnel-supports, are dated from 300+ years ago. The salt in the air had preserved the wood. Ironically, some of the salt sculptures are 'eroded' away either by itchy fingers from tourists or moisture from the air.

The most impressive sight is the huge chamber-church which looks as big as a regular church. In fact, weddings can be held here. Everything is carved from salt. The chandeliers dangle 100% salt crystals. There is even a 'The Last Supper' 3-dimensional 'painting'. It is only 10 cm thick but looks like the table was set in front of a deep room. A Pope John Paul II statue is there as well.

This is a very popular site among the Polish and tourists alike. Go early to queue up. To be honest, while the queue is long, it was NOT that difficult to clear the line but English tours do not go as frequently, so you might have to wait a while, til a group is formed.

Some elderly folks may have problems with the extensive walking down into the mine and then, around the tunnels. If you encounter fatigue or other ailments or feel claustrophobic, the guide will arrange someone to escort you up.

Heading up is on an elevator, so don't worry.

Website: http://www.muzeum.wieliczka.pl/en/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 27, 2003
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