10 reasons why you should visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines Krakow
When you will be in Poland, for sure one of the first things you will hear is Salt Mine Krakow. Probably you will wonder why you should visit a mine?. Below you will find some interesting Wieliczka Salt Mine facts, after which you will see this mine place is unique, and that you have to visit it. Let’s start!
Wieliczka Salt Mine is over 750 years old!
Most of the interior of this mine is made of salt and wood
It was entered on the first-ever UNESCO list
For example, the oldest document confirming its existence dates back to 1044.
In the Middle Ages, salt mining generated 1/3 of Poland's income
It is very important that the income from salt mining accounted for as much as 1/3 of the income of the royal treasury in Poland. Salt was called „white gold” – considered a noble metal. Many transactions were paid with salt and workers were paid. This is also the reason why nowadays the term “salary” is used to describe earnings. As a result, tenement houses and royal residences were built. Family fortunes and big names grew out of the salt.
Breathe healthy air during your visit
The second biggest underground church in the world
First of all the mine offers many interesting attractions. The Wieliczka salt mine fact is that the only underground church in Europe – the Chapel of St. Kinga is situated there.
Holy masses are held to this day on the occasion of the name day of St. Kinga and Christmas.
It contains many unique machinery and structures
Additionally, there is the world’s largest mining machine made of wood. A horse treadmill from the 17th century, the horn of the miners' brotherhood from 1534. Also there are many other attractions decorating the tourist route. In the 17th century, the first horses were brought to the salt mine.
There are two different routes to visit
The mine doesn't work as it used to, but still produces salt
Nowadays the mine no longer extracts salt by using mining methods. Salt extraction was stopped in 1996.
However, salt is still produced here from underground brine. It is pumped to the surface where it is transformed into pure evaporated salt. For instance, it is possible to buy original salt from Wieliczka.