While flying somewhere in Europe last month on a short Wizz Air flight we happened to spot an article about the salt mines near Krakow in the in-flight magazine. Hey, an in-flight magazine on a budget airline and more leg room than say Ryan Air – we were happy. In any case, the article caught my eye – a salt mine that continuously operated for 700 years and over time contained huge man-made caves, tunnels and sculptures carved entirely from rock salt. I was intrigued and planned a trip. A month later I was back in Europe – specifically in Krakow Poland on bus number 304 heading to the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
After a bit over an hour I arrived at the entrance to the mine and quickly purchased a ticket. Soon I was shuffling down wooden steps – down 60 flights to the bottom. We were going to walk about 3.5 km on the tour over 3 hours and even this was just less than 1% of the entire tunnels!
Copernicus visited the mine about 500 years ago and a statue in his likeness was carved by the miners. The highlight of the entire tour is a huge chapel – hollowed out from solid rock salt and then salt chandeliers were installed, statues carved, and even parts of the stone walls are now home to carvings including a beautiful take on Michelangelo’s “Last Supper”.
Tours of the non “touristy” part of the mine are also given by advance reservation.
For more information visit: http://kopalnia.pl