Just 13 km from Krakow is Poland’s most famous salt mine. The visitor route is about 3 km long and consists of 20 chambers. The deepest one is located at a depth of 135 meters. There are organized numerous trips for tourists from all over the world, but also for children from Polish schools. There are many attractions, and nearby there is a large park, a pond and tennis courts.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most valuable monuments in Poland. The Wieliczka Mine was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
I discovered the underground world of salt! Monumental works of art, created by human hands and the forces of nature. Plus unique geology, unique landscapes with salt lakes, glittering chapels and over 700 years of uninterrupted history…
You will see what it was like to work in a mine, and enjoy the attractions and services of a mine inn at a depth of 125 m serving local delicacies! I have never had a better Polish dinner!
Or maybe you are one of the brave ones and want to take on a mining challenge? I heartily recommend to try the mining route, but only for the advanced.
The Mining Trail – Wieliczka
Daredevils who decide to take part in this game, receive standard mining equipment, which consists of a protective suit, helmet, canister and lamp. Thus equipped, they set off down the 14th-century Regis shaft into the underground. They have about 3 hours of demanding and rewarding wandering along the Mining Trail, stimulating all your senses and learning the art of mining.
How does the tour look like?
The maximum number of visitors is 20. Children from the age of 10 can also take part in the trail. It is advisable to wear comfortable sportswear.
The Mining Trail was conceived not only as a sightseeing trail, but also a journey through the centuries of our history – it is lined with pits whose history goes back even to the Middle Ages. This allows you not only to see the mine, but also to experience the mining life. Afterwards, pre-prepared and assigned tasks, modeled on mining work, are an opportunity to feel like a real miner and understand what a mine really is. That the world of mining is harsh, but beautiful and tempting despite the hardships associated with the underground profession. The route is part of the active tourism trend. It is a way to spend time in an interesting way and an opportunity to gain knowledge of the historic Wieliczka mine.
A bit of adrenaline
Tasks are distributed by an experienced and trained guide. Under his watchful eye curious tourists learn the secrets of mining. Checking the composition of the mine atmosphere, ways of acquiring and transporting salt, weaving ropes – the knowledge about the mine comes with experience, you have to try it yourself and find out what the miner’s work is about.
The darkness interspersed with the light of mining lamps hides traces of work from centuries ago, here and there on the walls of the chambers you can see the contours of reflected blocks of salt. When the guide allows the lamps to be turned off for a moment and the engaged tourists can experience the impenetrable darkness of the mine, and in the silence of the tangled galleries they can hear their breathing, they begin to understand where the Treasurer and the White Lady came from. They also understand why miners have such a deep and widespread belief in the protection of patron saints. Knowledge, skills and experience are important underground, as well as companions and teamwork, because no one underground can be on their own.
Visitors coming to the Wieliczka salt mine tour may safely say that they are following in the footsteps of such eminent personalities as Staszic, Chopin, Mendelejew or Matejko who left their autographs in the commemorative mine registers. Also those wandering along the Mining Route can sign their names in the pages of the contemporary Visitors’ Book.
The salt walls of the chambers are covered with fanciful patterns. The nature did not spare Wieliczka underground beauty, and individual layers of salt are an intriguing record of millions of years, starting from the salty waters of Miocene sea. Geological knowledge allows for a better understanding of the historic underground, answers questions about the shape of individual chambers, the method of salt extraction or its color. Therefore, go on such a tour with an experienced and trained guide. Thanks to him you will learn a lot of interesting things.
I invite you to read my previous articles and follow my expeditions around the world and beautiful Krakow.