The Wieliczka Salt Mine - Tourist Route
Lying on nine levels, its original excavations (longitudinals, traverses, chambers, lakes, as well as lesser and major shafts) stretch for the total of 300 kilometres: reaching the depth of 327 metres, illustrating all the stages of the development of the mining technology over time.
This is an excerpt from the justification for entering "Wieliczka" Salt Mine onto the 1st List of the Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO – the mine was classified as one of the 12 most valuable sites in the world on the 8th September 1978. Since 1976, the mine is classified as a Polish monument and in 1994 it received the status of a Historical Monument from the president of Poland. In September 2007, the readers of Rzeczpospolita daily voted "Wieliczka" Salt Mine number one Polish marvel.
Its historical corridors are traversed by over a million tourists from Poland and abroad (even the most exotic corners of the world, like Japan, RSA, Peru, Kenya and Syria) each year. The mine is often visited by celebrities, members of royal families and artists.
The underground is comprised of around 7.5 million sq. m of voids hollowed out in the cours of the seven centuries for which the mine has existed. The visitors on the guided tour traverse 2 km. During the tour through historical chambers and corridors they discover the history of salt mining and the geology of the Wieliczka bed, and admire picturesque underground landscapes, such as enchanting brine lakes. The trail includes religious sites, including the stunning St. Kinga's Chapel, which can easily be called an underground church. After visiting the mine, tourists are invited to dine at a restaurant situated 125 metres underground.
The mine serves as a venue for concerts, exhibitions, ceremonies, banquets, elegant balls, weddings and even sporting events. Drozdowice IV chamber contains a professional conference centre.
The 3rd level of the Jezioro Wessel chamber holds an underground rehabilitation and medical centre. The unique microclimate of the mine brings relief to patients suffering from upper respiratory tract diseases and allergies.
Translation: Summa Linguae