I spent my final day in Poland before catching the night sleeper train to Bratislava, Slovakia, at the incredible site of the salt mines in Wieliczka. This is one of the largest salt mines in the world and was still being mined as recently as 2007.
Here there are over 2000 chambers,
9 levels and 380 steps down the mine shaft into the underground and the unknown approximately 134 meters deep into the earth. It takes about
2 hrs to walk the 20 chambers open to the public (unless you also decide to take the miner’s route which is another 2 or more hours which I would recommend). The salt mine is filled with carved salt sculptures the miners themselves sculpted including the most beautiful Chapel entirely made of salt with salt altars, salt chandeliers, a salt carving of the Madonna, a statute of Pope John Paul II, and a recreation of Davinci’s Last Supper carved into the wall to name just a few. You can lick the salt and have a cup of salt water if you feel like it knowing the antiseptic properties of salt should ease any concerns. You will see lakes inside that are at least 2.5 meters deep. You will learn that
1/3 of Poland’s income was from salt and back in the day it was a prized and therefore expensive commodity as it was used primarily for food preservation during the long cold winters in the area. In fact, one 250 kg block of salt was the equivalent cost wise of a horse and saddle or the price of small village. The entire tour was done for approximately 25€ and an exceptional way to spend your day and your euros. If you like, you can eat in the restaurant 125 meters underground or even stay in the salt mine’s lodgings underground. I didn’t know I could do this but would recommend it to anyone who would wrap their arms around such a novel experience. And if you have children, they have a whole tour just for the little ones that includes recreational facilities and a search for a dragon hidden in the mines!
That’s all for now. From Poland with lots of love.