Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia Soli Wieliczka)
Park Kingi 1
tel. 78 26 53, 78 62 32
open 8-18 Tue-Sun from 16 May to 15 Oct; 8-16 Tue-Sun 16 Oct to 15 May
Pictures fail to do justice to the full grandeur of this 700 year (and counting) old salt mine. Still
in operation (albeit scaled down), the mine also functions as a tourist attraction (one of the top 12 in the world), as a sanatorium (for the healthy, salty air), and an events center (concerts, receptions, etc. are held in the Warszawa chamber).
The mine is enormous: begun in the 11th century, it now covers 7.5 million square meters spanning 9 levels and plunging 300 meters down. The tour -- come prepared for a good 2 hours underground covering up to 2 miles of the mine -- will take you through 3 chapels (the salt-carved Kinga Chapel being the highlight), the 30 m+ high excavation chambers, and the 7 m deep salt lakes. Finally, you get to appreciate all the work that went into removing salt in the museum which exhibits mining equipment, paintings and the lot.
pictures courtesy of www.krakow.pl