Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

Welcome to the most marvelous ex-underground salt mine in the world. Yeah, Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe. For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world. we are going to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Located to 135 meters above ground level sightseeing route lets you visit 22 chambers connected through corridors where you will visit underground chapels, see  mysterious salt lakes also numerous galleries presenting how miners worked and collections of original equipment as well as exhibitions of unique sculptures made of salt.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
What a wonderfull underground mine architect

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the oldest mines in the world which delight visiting people of its wonderful mineral rocks created by the nature 15 million years ago. Beginnings of Salt Mine dates back to medieval times and about nine centuries of salt exploitation developed it into large underground city with 3 kilometres tourist route created in XVIII century.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Wieliczska Salt Mine from outside
 From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary. It looks extremely well kept for a place that hasn’t minded any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.
Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
What a beatifull salt-laktit hang up
 First you enter it you will see quotation comes from the justification of entering the Wieliczka Salt Mine into UNESCO's 1st World List of Cultural and Natural Heritage on 8th September, 1978 together with 11 other sites from all over the world. "The historic Salt Mine in Wieliczka is the only site in the world where mining has continued since the Middle Ages. Lying on nine levels, its original excavations (longitudinals, traverses, chambers, lakes, as well as lesser and major shafts) stretch for the total of 300 kilometres: reaching the depth of 327 metres they illustrate all the stages of the development of the mining technology over time."
It may feel like you are in the middle of a Jules Verne adventure as you descend in to the depths of the world. After a one hundred and fifty meter climb down wooden stairs the visitor to the salt mine will see some amazing sites. About the most astounding in terms of its sheer size and audacity is the Chapel of Saint Kinga. The Polish people have for many centuries been devout Catholics and this was more than just a long term hobby to relieve the boredom of being underground. This was an act of worship.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Great statue Inside
 The Wieliczka mine is often referred to as "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland." In 1978 it was placed on the original UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites. Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt. It was not simply hewn from the ground and then thrown together; however, the process is rather more painstaking for the lighting. After extraction the rock salt was first of all dissolved. It was then reconstituted with the impurities taken out so that it achieved a glass-like finish. The chandeliers are what many visitors think the rest of the cavernous mine will be like as they have a picture in their minds of salt as they would sprinkle on their meals! However, the rock salt occurs naturally in different shades of grey (something like you would expect granite to look like).
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Amazing Religious Carvings
 The religious carvings are, in reality, what draw many to this mine – as much for their amazing verisimilitude as for their Christian aesthetics. The above shows Jesus appearing to the apostles after the crucifixion. He shows the doubter, Saint Thomas, the wounds on his wrists.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Even the greatest painting can be painted in cave
 Another remarkable carving, this time a take on The Last Supper. The work and patience that must have gone in to the creation of these sculptures is extraordinary. One wonders what the miners would have thought of their work going on general display? They came to be quite used to it, in fact, even during the mine’s busiest period in the nineteenth century. The cream of Europe’s thinkers visited the site – you can still see many of their names in the old visitor’s books on display. Visitors to this site have included Nicolaus Copernicus, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Fryderyk Chopin, Dmitri Mendeleyev, Bolesław Prus, Ignacy Paderewski, Robert Baden-Powell, Jacob Bronowski (who filmed segments of The Ascent of Man in the mine), Karol Wojtyła (the later Pope John Paul II), former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and many others.
Not all of the work is relief-based. There are many life sized statues that must have taken a considerable amount of time – months, perhaps even years – to create. Within the confines of the mine there is also much to be learned about the miners from the machinery and tools that they used – many of which are on display and are centuries old. A catastrophic flood in 1992 dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now the mine functions purely as a tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still extracted from the mine – and then evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines would soon become flooded once again.
And there are so many others things you can see if you give your special 4 hours to visit this ex-underground mine. Do i already said so many things. Yes you are, so many things you can see such as the miracle, the amazing-ness, the Marvellous, The Fantastics, and what ever words do you have to describe the beautifulness of this undeground cave.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
So many things you can see inside
 You can visit anytime except in a few condition such as new year eve, 1 and 11 November and also 24 and 25 December, it closed. You have to remember that temperatures inside about 14 degrees celcius so you have to prepare anything if you feel that you are dont belong to this condition. If you have claustrophobia, you are not recommended to visit it, instead you have more braveness and you want cure your phobia.
For safety reasons less than one percent of the mine is open to visitors, but even that is still almost four kilometers in length – more than enough to weary the average tourist after an hour or two. The mine was closed for two reasons – the low price of salt on the world market made it too expensive to extract here. Also, the mine was slowly flooding – another reason why visitors are restricted to certain areas only.
The another key benefit of visiting Salt Mine comes from special climate and air rich of micro elements  having very good influence for your health and condition.

How To Get To Wieliczka Salt Mine

If you want to visit Wielicszka then you should arrive first in Krakow, Polandia. It is because the underground cave located at Krakow in the place named Wieliczka. Wieliczka is 155 miles from Frederic Chopin Airport (Warsaw, Poland) The Salt Mines are about half hour drive from Krakow, in a little village called Wieliczka.You can also catch a train from the main railway station (Krakow Glowny) to Wieliczka which costs 5zl one way and it takes about 20 minutes. The Saltmine is at the end of the line, so you can't go any further, don't make the mistake of getting off at the penultimate stop which is also called Wiel..something! 

Salt Mine in Wieliczka is located 10kms from the heart of Krakow. One can get there easily by car, bus or taxi. 
 Enjoy Your Trip, and Create Your Amazing Story


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