Wieliczka Salt Mine Part 1

1 : Introduction
2 : City (Day)
3 : City (Night)
4 : Churches
5 : Castle/Cathedral
6 : Fete
7 : Kazimierz and Podgórze
8 : Wieliczka Salt Mine

THE WIELICZKA SALT MINE lies within the Krakow metropolitan area. The mine, built in the 13th century, produced table salt continuously until 2007.

The mine reaches a depth of 327 metres (1,073 ft) and is over 287 kilometres (178 miles) long.

The rock salt is naturally gray in various shades, resembling unpolished granite rather than the white or crystalline look that many visitors may expect.

During World War II, the shafts and galleries were used by the occupying Germans as an ad-hoc facility for various war-related industries.

The mine features an underground lake, exhibits on the history of salt mining, and a 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) touring route which is less than 2% of the total length of the mine's passages.

The mine's attractions include dozens of statues, three chapels and an entire cathedral carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by contemporary artists.

About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually.

Acknowledgement and thanks - much of the information on this page has been obtained (and edited) from various Wikipedia websites.

The mine entrance building with winding gear, situated above the Danilowicz Shaft, on its roof (left and below).

      A subsidiary mine shaft with winding gear (left).

      Mine symbol (below).

The Kanegunda Traverse and Shaft are shown in the plan above and in the pictures below.

The Kanegunda Shaft looking down (right) and looking upward (below).


Items of interest in the various underground levels include 17th century doorways, passageways and chambers holding reconstructions of early mining activities and mining apparatus and some are shown in the pictures above, left and below.

The picture (above left) was taken without camera flash. A number of other pictures in this website (such as those above right and on the left) have been taken with the use of camera flash because the lighting provided in some areas has been too low.

Some of the figures displayed (as in the picture below) are carved in the salt.

CASIMIR III, a.k.a. Casimir the Great (Kazimierz III Wielki in Polish), was born on April 30th 1310 in Kujawy, Poland and died on November 5th 1370.

He was King of Poland from 1333 to 1370 and called 'the Great' because he was deemed a peaceful ruler, a 'peasant king' and a skillful diplomat.

Through his astute diplomacy he annexed lands from western Russia and eastern Germany.

Casimir encouraged economic activity and attempted to unite the country under one prince, one law, and one currency. He founded several new towns, two of them named 'Kazimierz' after himself, and gave them, together with already existing towns, the so-called Magdeburg Law, the privilege of self-government.

Casimir built more than 50 castles, fostered church building, and embellished the royal castle at Krakow. The former privileges extended to Jews were confirmed and improved.

Wishing to provide education for local lawyers and administrators he founded the Academy of Krakow (now Jagiellonian University) in 1364.

A sculpture in salt of Casimir III is featured here.

More mine chamber and salt sculpture items are to be found in Part 2.

THE WIELICZKA SALT MINE continues on the 'Next Page' (below right).

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