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The Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the town of Wieliczka, is within Poland's Kraków metropolitan area.

It had been until 2007 in continuous operation, producing table salt, since the 13th century. Together with nearby Bochnia, it is the world's oldest operating salt mine.

The mine reaches a depth of 327 meters, and is over 300 km long.

The Wieliczka salt mine features a 3.5-km. tour for visitors (less than 1% of the length of the mine's passages) that includes statues of historic and mythic figures. The older works were sculpted by miners out of rock salt; more recent figures have been fashioned by contemporary artists. Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. The rock salt is naturally grey, in various shades like granite, so that the carvings resemble carved unpolished granite rather than having the white or crystalline appearance that many visitors expect. (The carvings appear white in the photos below; the actual carved figures are not white.)

Also featured is a large chamber with walls carved to resemble wooden chapels built by miners in earlier centuries; an underground lake; and exhibits on the history of salt mining. The mine is often referred to as "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland."

About 1.2 million people visit the mine each year.

In 1978 the Wieliczka salt mine was placed on the original UNESCO roster of World Heritage Sites.

Wieliczka town (population: 20.000, 12 km from the center of Krakow)











The castle - now museum of salt works















The Main market - soon will be revitalized

















Entrance to the Salt maine museum



under the ground (sorry for bad quality photos)





















 

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I was there in 1994 and in 2008 - keeps getting better. thanks
 
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