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Wieliczka Salt Mine Near Krakow 

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Wieliczka salt mine in the 18th-century

Krakow's World-class Attraction, the Salt Mine of Wieliczka

One traveled Frenchman observed in the 18th century that Krakow's Wieliczka salt mine was no less magnificent than the Egyptian pyramids. Millions of visitors, the crowned heads and such celebrities as Goethe and Sarah Bemhardt among them, have appeared to share his enthusiasm when exploring the subterranean world of labyrinthine passages, giant caverns, underground lakes and chapels with sculptures in the crystalline salt and rich ornamentation carved in the salt rock. They have also marveled at the ingenuity of the ancient mining equipment in the Wieliczka salt mine. And the unique acoustics of the place have made hearing music here an exceptional experience.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, nowadays practically on the southeast outskirts of Krakow, has been worked for 900 years. It used to be one of the world's biggest and most profitable industrial establishments when common salt was commercially a medieval equivalent of today's oil. Always a magnet, since the mid-18th century Krakow's Wieliczka salt mine has become increasingly a tourist attraction in the first place. Today visitors walk underground for about 2,000 m in the oldest part of the salt mine and see its subterranean museum, which takes three hours or so.

Nine centuries of mining in Wieliczka produced a total of some 200 kilometers of passages as well as 2,040 caverns of varied size. The tourist route starts 64 m deep, includes twenty chambers, and ends 135 m below the earth surface, where the world's biggest museum of mining is located with the unique centuries-old equipment among its exhibits. 

Occasionally concerts and other events take place in the Wieliczka mine’s biggest chambers. 

There is a sanatorium for those suffering from asthma and allergy situated 135 meters deep underground in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. 

UNESCO has entered the Wieliczka Salt Mine in its World Heritage Register in 1978. In June 2013 the 800-year-old Bochnia Salt Mine, 50 kilometers east of Krakow, has been added, the two World Heritage Sites to be listed together as The Royal Salt Mines of Wieliczka and Bochnia.   . 

St. Kinga's chapel in the Wieliczka salt mine

Chapel of Saint Kinga

the largest among underground chapels 
in the Wieliczka Salt mine, is actually a sizable 
subterranean church carved in rock salt and 
embellished with salty sculptures and bas-reliefs. 


Wieliczka Salt Mine is accessible all year round. 

Except it's closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, November 1, and Christmastide (i.e. December 24-25). April through October visitors may see the Wieliczka Salt Mine between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and November through March from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. All visitors need to join a guided tour. Groups should book the tour in advance by phone at (+48) 122787302 or fax at (+48) 122787333 or email at turystyka@kopalnia.pl 

English tours for individual visitors take place every thirty minutes between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. In June and in September they start at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., half past noon, 1:45 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. In October through May the English tours are available at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., half past noon, 1:45 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.   

German tours for individual visitors start in July through September at 10:45 a.m., 2:15 p.m., and 4 p.m. In October through June the German tours take place at 10:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

Nightly tours take roughly 1h30, and they are available via advance booking by phone at (+48) 122787302 

Note: Temperature in the Wieliczka Salt Mine stays uniform 15 degrees Celsius, i.e. 59 Fahrenheit, round the year. 

Travel 

Salt Mine in Wieliczka is situated some ten kilometers from the center of Krakow. One may get there easily by car or taxi. Also, you can take a commuter train from the city's central Krakow Glowny rail station, a bus, or one of numerous minibuses that cruise Krakow's streets. 

Note: Bus 304 from Krakow to Wieliczka leaves from Dworzec Glowny Zachod stop by Galeria Krakowska shopping mall at Pawia street. Visitors to the salt mine should get off at Wieliczka Kopalnia stop. Yellow buses operated by Mobilis company run every 20 minutes or so. The fare is an equivalent of under one euro. 

Tickets to the Wieliczka Salt Mine are available at the entrance in the Szyb Danilowicza pithead building at 10 Danilowicza street.

Regular ticket for Polish tour costs 48 zlotys. 
Reduced-rate ticket for Polish tour (e.g. schoolchildren) costs 33 zlotys. 
Family ticket for Polish tour (2 adults plus 2 minors) costs 129 zlotys.  

Regular ticket for a guided tour in a foreign language costs 64 zloties. 
Reduced-rate ticket for a guided tour in a foreign language costs 49 zlotys. 
Family ticket for English or German tour (2 adults plus 2 minors) costs 177 zloties.

Tours of the Wieliczka Salt Mine for the disabled

The handicapped in wheelchairs can tour the most popular parts of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, in that number two of its subterranean lakes, underground churches of St. Kunegunde’s and of the Cross, the Dwarfs’ Cave, etc. It's advisable to arrange the visit in advance through a phone call put at (+48) 122787302 or fax at (+48) 122787333. 


Other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Krakow and the Malopolska Province

Krakow's Old Town historic district 

Auschwitz concentration camp

The Calvary sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska 

Malopolska's wooden churches

 

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