Underground adventure in Wieliczka salt mines
Did you know that the extracted salt was black?
Town Wieliczka lies about 10 km from Krakow. Its salt mines belong to the most visited attractions in Poland. The historical area of the mine spreads to 300 km and has nine levels with depth of 64m to 327m. The public is allowed to see only 3,5 km of corridors but it is still worth visiting.
Listed in the UNESCO Heritage List, one of the world's oldest salt mines produced table salt since the 13th century until the first decade of 21st century, when the extraction was discontinued due to the high expenses.
Wieliczka Salt Mine is a product of work of tens of generations of miners. There are chapels and statues carved out of the rock salt and an underground lake offering a breathtaking and unique sight. Even a restaurant is out of salt. The Chapel of St. Kinga is the crown jewel of the mine where a special occassions like weddings often take place.
Long story short, an exciting adventure waits for those who choose one of the many routes the the mine museum offers today.
Visiting the mines
The tour in mines takes approximately 2 hours. Before you descend to the underground premises, you have to mount a few stairs to get to mine elevator which takes you to corridors 64 to 135 m under ground. There are several routes you can take to grasp the proper atmosphere of the mines that suits to everyone's taste. If you are lucky enough, you will have a moment for hearing the music of Chopin accompanying a light and sound spectacle on the shores of one of the saline lakes.
It is a classical journey where the guide shows you the most interesting parts of the mine. When the corridors open before you, you will see a landspace of magnificent chambers, discover the legends connected to the mine's history and admire the art of human hands which created beautiful statues around the mine.
The Miner's Route
For those who seek adventure, you can learn about mining inside out during the Miner's expedition. Visitors, dressed in working clothes and equipped with proper mining tools, will take roles of miners when completing given tasks - measuring of methane, transporting salt and more. It is a first-hand experience of everyday harsh work of miners.
The Mysteries of the Wieliczka Mine Route
This journey takes you through trenches and excavations located off the traditional Tourist's Route. It requires strong physical effort because to complete the route, it takes 4 hours of squeezing through narrow openings and bowing in low passages. Equipped with helmet and a lamp in your hand, newly you will walk through the corridors in complete dark and silence, interrupted only by the steps of participants.