Wieliczka salt mine attracts record number of visitors in 2019

The mine has many kilometres of galleries with works of art, underground chapels and statues sculpted in salt that make up a fascinating pilgrimage into the past. Lech Muszyński/PAP

Nearly 1.86 million tourists visited the Wieliczka salt mine outside the southern Polish city of Kraków in 2019, up 7 percent on the previous year, the mine's president, Zbigniew Zarebski, has told PAP.

"This was another record year in the history of the mine. We are glad that the admiration for Wieliczka reaches the farthest corners of the globe, promoting Poland in the world," Zarebski said.

The biggest number of foreign tourists came from Great Britain (154,500), Italy (87,000) and Spain (84,000). There were also 79,000 guests from from Germany and 75,000 from France.

Last year, the salt mine arranged over 300 events, which were attended by over 11,000 people. Also, 6,300 patients visited the health resort located in the underground chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine was founded in the 13th century and has been a tourist destination since the 18th century. It is the largest underground museum in Europe and presents all aspects of salt making and mining conducted at the Krakow salt works. The exhibits presented in the historical pits make up a unique mining museum.

An underground tourist route was opened in 1966. The mine has many kilometres of galleries with works of art, underground chapels and statues sculpted in salt that make up a fascinating pilgrimage into the past.

The museum's main attractions include the sophisticated Horn of the Salt Diggers Brotherhood from 1534, an exclusive horse-drawn train from the 19th century, a collection of mining tools and equipment, unique maps of the underground tunnel system and salt specimens, including crystals from crystal grottoes.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.