10 Interesting Wieliczka Salt Mine Facts - Krakow, Poland Guide
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10 Best Wieliczka Salt Mine Facts

In a small town of Wieliczka near Krakow, you’ll find one of the most interesting museum complexes in Poland: the Krakow Salt Mine. Over its 700 year history, the mine has become more of a cultural symbol than just an excavation site. If you’re hungry for some knowledge about this salt labyrinth, check out this list of Wieliczka Salt Mine facts.

1. Wieliczka is one of the oldest mines in Europe

Janowice Chamber

The Krakow Salt Mines in Bochnia and Wieliczka have been in operation at least since the 13th century. That’s when they have been approved for excavation by King Casimir III The Great. But that’s not even the full story. Even in the neolithic times, people have been reclaiming brine water from local subterranean deposits!

2. There are 2 separate routes open for tourists

Even though the entrance fees are the same, the Tourist and Miners’ routes couldn’t be more different. The Tourist Route in Wieliczka focuses more on learning the history and sightseeing. The Miners Route, meanwhile, is an interactive experience for those wanting to see how a salt mine like this usually operates. Learn more about the Krakow Salt Mine tour options here. 

3. Wieliczka is one of the original UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wieliczka Salt Mine has been placed as one of the first cultural Heritage Sites after its 2nd session in 1978.

4. Corridors in the Wieliczka Salt Mine span over 240 kilometers

Krakow Salt Mines contains one of the longest continuous tunnel networks. It would take weeks to explore every chamber of the mine. Only 3% of overall paths are open to the public. 

5. The salt mine contains 4 separate chapels

st cross chamber

Polish people are known for being devout Catholics. Since the mines inception, many of its halls have been used as chapels. As of now, four chapels are still preserved and accessible. The most important one being the Chapel of St. Kinga, of course. St. Anthony’s Chapel and the Holy Cross Chapel can also be explored during the Tourist Route exhibition. They all feature beautiful sculptures, reliefs and statues made of salt. Even some of the altars were carved out of the rock salt walls. 

6. The Krakow Salt Mine is as deep as the Eiffel Tower

Wieliczka Salt Mine goes ~330 meters (or 1073 feet) below ground tall and that’s about how tall the Eiffel Tower is. Of course, you’d need a permit to go that far – the Tourist Route reaches as deep as 135 meters.

7. Real tools from the mine were preserved by salty air

Sielec Chamber

You’ve probably heard of how important salt used to be for preservation purposes. What if we told you it doesn’t preserve just food? Wooden and metal tools dating hundreds of years back have been found throughout the mine in very good condition. Some of them can even be seen at some point during your stay in Wieliczka.

8. There was a record-breaking balloon flight in Wieliczka Salt Mine

Yes, really. The largest open space in Wieliczka is found in the Staszic Chamber and that’s where the first ever underground balloon flight has taken place. In 2000, a group of engineers from Tarnow have managed to rise over 2 meters above chamber’s surface, making it the first successful underground flying maneuver.

It’s also worth mentioning that the first ever underground bungee jump happened in that same location.

9. There’s an underground health resort in Wieliczka

Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort

Wessel Chamber is the home of the only underground health resort in Poland. Whether you want to have a good night’s sleep at the mine, or spend a few hours undertaking some respiratory ailments in Wieliczka’s healthy microclimate, the Wieliczka Health resort is definitely worth a visit of you suffer from allergies or other civilisational illnesses. 

10. Wieliczka Mine hosts concerts and events within its halls

Wieliczka’s many cavernous chambers provide plenty of room for fun and interesting activities. From a cappella concerts at the St. Kinga’s Chapel to massive conferences at the Warsaw chamber, there is always something noteworthy happening in the deepest parts of the mine. Wieliczka Mine’s website or social media are the best sources to follow for more information about such events. You can even rent certain spaces if you wish to hold a party or even on your own!

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