Wieliczka Salt Mine is located nearly 90 minutes from central Krakow in Poland. Take bus number 304 across from the main Krakow Galleria Shopping Center. This mine was the world’s longest continuously operated mine – open from about the year 1300 to 1996 when it became no longer economically viable to keep the mine open commercially. Today 3 hour tours are conducted through less than 1% of the total area of the mine (in a variety of languages). The mine was one of the first 12 UNESCO sites.
You will descend about 60 levels via a wooden staircase and by the end of the tour you will have walked nearly 3km to depths of 135 meters – the mine actually goes deeper than 300 meters in places. All chandeliers and statues along the tour are carved from natural salt rock and one of the true highlights is the huge chapel. There are a number of hand carved statues here as well as cool carvings in the salt rock of the walls including of the “last supper”. A visit by famed astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus to the mine was documented about 500 years ago and there is a statue on the tour in tribute to him. Looking to check email at 135 meters under the ground – its possible in one room of the cave with what is probably one of the world’s deepest wifi hotspots!
For more information about the mine and visiting go to: www.kopalnia.pl