Wieliczka-Salt-Mine-Poland-feature-excerpt

Wieliczka Salt Mine in Photos

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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.

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27 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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™‚

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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™‚

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