Project Description

These mines are salt mines located in the village of Wieliczka near Krakow. Exploited since the 13th century, they include nine levels and 300 km of galleries. They are kept at a temperature of 14 degrees Celsius and the cracks in the walls are checked as well as the components in the air to prevent explosions. This is the oldest salt mine which still operates in Europe today. It now houses a conference center with more than 1000 seats to organize shows and sport competitions at 125 meters below the surface, and a museum. Finally, more than 200 meters underground lies a sanatorium. The museum is located at 135 meters depth and tours are held throughout the year.

SCHEDULES AND FEES

SCHEDULES

April 1st to October 31st from 7.30am to 7.30pm / November 2nd to March 31st from 8am to 5pm.

FEES

59 PLN. Add 10 PLN to obtain an autorisation to take pictures or movies.

INFORMATION

  • The visit, including the Salt Mines Museum of Kraków, takes about 3 hours and is always accompanied by a guide.
  • You should bring warm clothes. The temperature underground is between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius.
  • During the excursion, you have to climb 800 steps, including 360 at the beginning of the tour. It is therefore necessary to take comfortable shoes.
  • Taking pictures or filming is subject to a license purchase at the entrance counter.
  • In the mine, it is forbidden to smoke or use any source of fire.

135 METERS BELOW THE SURFACE

Following my visit of Auschwitz-Birkenau the morning, I didn’t want to end the day on a note so tragic. So, on the way back to Krakow, I stop at Wieliczka, known for its famous salt mines.

Beautiful rooms carved into the salt, extraordinary underground lakes, majestic and unique sculptures of their kind. Nearly 3 kilometers of winding galleries, 360 steps down to 135 meters underground and 440 others steps along the way… It is not surprising if more than 36 million tourists from around the world in search of adventure have succumbed to the charms of the tourist route in the mines.

The adventure begins in the Danilowicz well. This is where we meet our guide who will talk about the history and secrets of the mine, shaped by the forces of nature and hard work of several generations of miners. Going down the first 360 steps, we discover unusual places where rock salt had to yield to the power of human hands. We admire also various mining machines and instruments.

A little further, we also discover another particular aspect of the mine Arriving in the middle of the excursion, we can admire the beautiful chapel dedicated to the Princess Kinga (Cunegonde), adorned with unique works of art in their genre and completely made of salt (soil, reliefs, statues, sculptures or even chandeliers). Many biblical scenes are represented (as the flight into Egypt, the miracle of Cana, the order of Herod, the massacre of the Innocents, Christ teaching in the temple, St. Thomas the Unbeliever, the Last Supper, Christ crucified) and we also find there a nativity scene with all its characters. This totally unique work in the world is what made the mine becoming a World Heritage Sites in 1978. The mine was visited by many celebrities, such as John Paul II, Javier Solana and George Bush.

We continue our visit and dream on hearing the compositions of Chopin on the banks of a saline lake. And finally, after tasting the specialties of the underground inn, we go back to the surface of the earth by taking a mining elevator.

After an emotionally challenging visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, seeing these salt mines has quickly changed my mind. This place is a must see when visiting Krakow. The visits are well organized and there are of course tours in English! The chapel is simply gorgeous and some cavities shaped by nature itself are amazing! Small problem: victim of its success, the mine hosts a lot of tourists and tours are running quickly, and we did not always have time to wander around.