The Salt Mines in Wieliczka are a major attraction situated just a short ride outside of Krakow. Millions of visitors have experienced this utterly unique place and have seen for themselves why it is on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Let’s take a look at this living, working window into a fascinating past that is such a huge part of any vacation to Krakow for so many tourists every year.
An underground world from fairytale
The salt mines in Wieliczka have a very long history. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have been aware of the salt deposits here for thousands of years and extracted it from brine that flowed from underground water supplies. The first shafts and tunnels used to access the salt date from the Middle Ages and the oldest parts of the Wieliczka mines date from the 13th century.
There are three options for visitors to mines to choose from, each of which offers an accent on a different part of everything there is to see far under the ground surface. The Tourist Route is by far the most popular and takes visitors to the most famous sites inside the mines – the underground chapel, the lake, the largest chamber and much else. This route also offers intriguing relics from the past and exhibits presenting the work and daily life of the miners from past centuries. This route is recommended for most visitors and is the best way to learn about the history of the mines and to see much of what it offers today.
Another option is the Miner’s Route, which, as you can guess, is more focused around what life is like for people who work in a mine rather than visit one. Put on your miner’s suit and helmet and grab a pickaxe before you set off into the depths of the mine. This is a unique opportunity to see things from the perspective of the people who chipped away and removed tons of earth to make the passageways that visitors use today. Watch your step – and your head! – as you make your way down, down, down…
The third route you can follow in the mines is dedicated to Pilgrims. It was created for those looking for quiet places of contemplation, prayer and spirituality. Faith has always been a strong element in the lives of miners, a dangerous and difficult profession. This is the reason why so many chapels were included in the design and construction of mines, all of which are included on this route. The chapel dedicated to Pope John Paul II in the underground musuem is also visited on this Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour.
Organised Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour
We suggest the salt mines as a great way to spend part of the day for anyone visiting Krakow. Seeing the mines with a local Krakow guide is an even better way to get to know the history and legends that make them such a magical and unforgettable experience. We can arrange your transport to and from Wieliczka as well as the tickets you need for the tour itself. No matter if you plan or making the trip yourself or you are looking for someone to arrange everything for you (don’t forget to take something warm to wear and comfortable shoes!), you’ll find everything you need at http://guide-krakow.com/wieliczka-salt-mine-tour/. See you in Krakow!