Wieliczka Salt Mine in Photos

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Poland’s largest tourist attraction (although completely unknown to us until we began researching our visit), sits 100 meters below the ground.

And it’s huge. Beyond the tourist route, its actual depth is 327 meters and is almost 300 kms long. Work began in the salt mine in the 13th century, and it provided table salt up until just 6 years ago.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

We were (probably appropriately) warned not to lick the walls.

Wieliczka-Salt-Mine-Poland-10

Wieliczka-Salt-Mine-Poland-09

Water seepage into the mines have created some beautiful underground lakes.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The most amazing thing about the mine is the number of sculptures throughout. Hand carved sculptures, nonetheless, made by the miners themselves and entirely out of salt.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

And they didn’t just stop at sculptures, within the labyrinth of the mine are two chapels and a magnificent cathedral – the deepest in the world. Weekly masses, weddings, symphonies, and other important events are held regularly.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Even the chandeliers are all salt.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The mine is also home to a respiratory clinic to help give you breath. The combination of the intense crystal minerals and fresh air can significantly help with asthma and allergies.

Which is ironic, given that the mines themselves are (in a word): breathtaking.

Our visit to Wieliczka was courtesy of the Poland Tourism Board. All opinions, as always, are our own.
27 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • August 12 2013

    I have been there! Totally random experience. Here is a tip, watch your head. That salt is hard.
    Shaun recently posted..I’m a writer!

    • August 21 2013

      Haha! Yes, it is, although I had no such collisions, thankfully.

  • August 12 2013

    Those salt miners made beautiful sculptures! I had no idea there was such a spectacular scene below the ground. And how the heck do you make a chandelier out of *salt* anyway?
    Heather recently posted..What Really Goes on in Torrington’s Gopher Holes

    • August 21 2013

      From Wikipedia: “the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance.”

  • August 12 2013

    This is one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen (well, read about!). Such an interesting and unique place to explore, I’ve never seen anything like it. And those chandeliers! Awesome.

    Poland is quickly climbing up my list of future travel destinations.

    • August 21 2013

      We had only briefly read about it before visiting Poland and so hadn’t heard about it either. A well-kept secret I think!

  • Wow what an incredible place!

  • August 12 2013

    My dad forwarded me an email years ago, when forwards were the thing to do, of pictures of the salt mines. These are the number one thing I’d like to see in Poland!
    Jennifer recently posted..Tips for Photographing the Northern Lights

    • August 21 2013

      There is so much to do in Poland, but this visit was definitely a highlight.

  • August 13 2013

    Really wish I’d visited the salt mines when I was in Poland a couple of years back. From everything I’ve seen (including your photos) its well worth the trip.
    Chris recently posted..Herrenchiemsee Palace

    • August 21 2013

      Blasphemy! πŸ™‚ You must go back now!

  • August 14 2013

    This is really cool!

    I had no idea that salt mines could help with asthma, etc.

    I think I’ll need to make a visit after living in polluted Hong Kong for 2 years! πŸ™‚
    Beth recently posted..Is Japan Really That Expensive?

    • August 21 2013

      That should be your first trip after Hong Kong! πŸ™‚

  • August 16 2013

    Great shots! I love the textures πŸ™‚

  • August 19 2013

    This place is astonishing! I can’t get over the salt chandeliers!
    Heather recently posted..The Best Meals We Ate in Budapest

    • August 21 2013

      Gorgeous, right? Although I have to wonder what would happen if you soaked them in water… πŸ™‚

  • August 21 2013

    wow how impressive is this with all these amazing carving…so cool!

  • August 21 2013

    Fantastically curious. I’ve visited the salt fields in southern Cambodia but I’ve not seen a salt mine before. The art is incredible (and that interior photo with the water reflection) – Kudos!
    Maria recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Mongolia

  • Breathtaking is the perfect word to describe this cathedral / gallery / temple of a salt mine! The images are stunning from the beginning and only get better as you scroll down the page! I can’t get over the sculptures that you documented throughout the mine, the talent of the miners, or their creativity in sculpting such extraordinary spaces, religious relics and crystals for chandeliers! Amazing!

  • August 21 2013

    Wow, what a place. I’m a big fan of visiting mines. We actually did one just now with the kids in NJ, nothing at all what you saw in Poland.

    This mine is elegant, if you can ever say that about a mine πŸ™‚

  • August 22 2013

    Amazing place πŸ™‚
    Muza-chan recently posted..Sugidama, the Sake indicator

  • August 23 2013

    I also have never heard of this place until now, but I am certainly intrigued enough to see it one day – wow!

  • August 24 2013

    This sounds really interesting, and I love all the different sculptures. I’m glad you didn’t lick the walls!
    Ali recently posted..Choosing Credit and Debit Cards for Travel

  • August 24 2013

    Wow, thats pretty impressive. Nice shots! Thanks for sharing!
    Chris recently posted..How Running Out of Money Made My Travels Better

  • Was I not supposed to lick the walls at La Catedral de Sal in Colombia? Oops!

    • September 3 2013

      Haha! Yeah, Pete licked a salt hotel in Salar de Uyuni – which is why this warning was appropriate. πŸ™‚

  • October 2 2013

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this place. Looks incredible!!

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