Ending our exciting and educational Day 2 exploring the Wooden Churches of Poland, we started our Day 3 early once again with another super exciting day of exploration. We got picked up from our accommodation early, thanks to the arrangement by hellocracow.
Our tour for the day started with a 30 minutes drive to Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in Wieliczka town. One of the UNESCO World Heritage Site recognised in 1978 and also one of the World Oldest Salt Mines, Wieliczka Salt Mine was opened in the 13th century, mining of the table salt that continued up to 2007.
Wieliczka Salt Mine is also one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments due to its attractions of dozen of status and four chapels that were carved out of the rock salt by the miners and contemporary artists.
Our tour started with walking down about about 57 level of steps with 7 steps each level, a total of 399 steps down into Wieliczka Salt Mine. It was indeed an interesting walk into the mine’s 64-metre (210-foot) level as we were in a group of about 20 of us and our guide was way ahead. So as we were walking down the steps, we could not know how many level ahead of us. Each time we looked down, it seems endless.
After about 20 minutes of slow walk down, we finally arrived at the entrance of Wieliczka Salt Mine. Here, after a quick briefing, we officially start our exploration of Wieliczka Salt Mine.
The entire mine could reach up to a depth of 327 meters and is over 287 kilometres long. The entire tour took us about a total of 2.5 hours of walk and exploration along the 3.5 kilometres of touring route, which is less than 2% of the length of the mine’s passages that includes historic statues and mythical figures carved out of rock salt in distant past.
Wieliczka Salt Mine started in the 13th century when rock salt was discovered in Wieliczka and the first shafts were dug. The central building, Saltworks Castle was build in the late 13th to early 14th century where many shafts were dug when the mine was in operation.
Wieliczka Salt Mine also featured an underground lake that is indeed very beautiful.
It was indeed an education exploration as useful signs indicating the history background and which period it belongs to were erected before each entrance.
The highlight of Wieliczka Salt Mine is this spot, King Arthur’s Room where we were then given 15 minutes to explore and take photos of our own before we gathered to head off to the next stop. For those whom were keen to take photo in this place, photo pass of PLN10 is required to be paid per family, with unlimited number of cameras / phone cameras.
It was indeed a beautiful place…. beautiful carvings on the wall and statues in this area.
There are many notable statue of famous people that can be seen in Wieliczka Salt Mine.
There is also a chapel and a reception room that can be use for private functions and weddings. The chamber has walls carved by miners to resemble wood as in wooden churches of Poland.
The tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine ends with an option of taking the elevator up or the train ride out. We took the train ride out which leads us to the exit behind the pink chapel just across the park from the entrance of Wieliczka Salt Mine.