Dazzling 13th century Wieliczka Salt Mine to reopen – and here’s a peek at what you’ve been missing!

With its dazzling chambers decorated with chandeliers, the Wieliczka Salt Mine looks more like a fairy-tale palace than how people usually imagine a mine. Wieliczka Salt Mine

Poland’s spectacular salt mine is reopening is doors to visitors this weekend, after closing temporarily due to the coronavirus.

Deep under the ground, the mine provides a unique piece of heritage.Wieliczka Salt Mine
Located in the town of Wieliczka near Kraków, the salt mine dates back hundreds of years.Wieliczka Salt Mine
At the end of the Middle Ages, salt production at the mine reached 7-8 tonnes a year. As the mine grew, it drew visitors from far away, from scientists to diplomats.Wieliczka Salt Mine
These days, salt is no longer mined in Wieliczka, which has shifted its focus to preserving and sharing the site’s unique heritage.Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Royal Salt Mines in Wieliczka and nearby Bochnia are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with over a dozen other sites in Poland.Wieliczka Salt Mine
According to the UNESCO website: “The Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines illustrate the historic stages of the development of mining techniques in Europe from the 13th to the 20th centuries: both mines have hundreds of kilometers of galleries with works of art, underground chapels and statues sculpted in the salt, making a fascinating pilgrimage into the past.”Wieliczka Salt Mine
The mine is open to visitors, who can descend to a depth of 135 metres underground. The temperature in the mine is 17-18ºC, making it a good place to escape the summer heat.Wieliczka Salt Mine
The route includes saline lakes and St Kinga’s Chapel, which features salt sculptures and reliefs created by miners over 100 metres underground, as well as crystal chandeliers.Wieliczka Salt Mine
The chamber can be used for special events such as weddings, with space for up to 400 guests.Wieliczka Salt Mine
The mine’s size – spanning nine levels, 245 kilometers of galleries and a maximum depth of 327 metres – means that only 2% of the salt labyrinth can be visited.Wieliczka Salt Mine

Miners continue to work underground and above it to protect the mine, so that it will be preserved for future generations.Wieliczka Salt Mine