The “Wieliczka” Salt Mine is located 10 km from the center of Krakow, therefore visits to the mine are in the program of those who stayed in Krakow, and guests, e.g. the Salt Mill (hotel) set off to explore Krakow, which is encouraged by convenient public transport. It is worth adding that the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine conducts therapeutic activity in underground mining excavations, using for treatment a unique microclimate: air free of impurities and allergens, rich in microelements, with constant temperature, high humidity, free from harmful radiation. It was here that an innovative method of treatment was born – subterraneotherapy – to date, active rehabilitation of the respiratory system is carried out using the healing properties of the underground environment. It is used by patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, recurrent upper and lower respiratory tract infections, and allergies. Active athletes come for relaxation or after illness or surgery. Often healthy people wanting to improve the health condition, find psychophysical balance and regenerate their body are looking for health benefits of the mine and rest deep in the earth.
The pearl in the crown of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine and the object of miners’ pride is the Chapel of St. Kingi Tu, the brilliance of crystal chandeliers falls on the intricately carved floor, the reliefs of the carvings and the intricately carved altars delight. Established at the end of the 19th century, it is located 101 meters underground, is over 54 m long, 15-18 m wide, 12 m high and its usable area is 375 m2. The underground temple was decorated from its foundation until 1963. The three-part altar is very interesting. The middle is occupied by the figure of St. Kinga, who replaced the oil painting of Ferdynand Olesiński, a student of Matejko. We owe the interior of the chapel to the sculptural work of Józef Markowski. Antoni Wyrodek’s “Last Supper” is noteworthy, modeled on the famous work of Leonardo da Vinci. Holy Masses in the chapel of St. Kinga are celebrated every Sunday and are also celebrated on special occasions, such as St. Kinga, Saint. Barbara or shepherdess. It is an ideal place to organize a holy mass, wedding, classical and sacred music concert for groups of up to 400 people.
Chapel of St. Kinga and other, no less beautiful places, are located on the classic tourist route, which has been enjoying unflagging popularity for years. Daniłowicz shaft leads to the interior. Luggage can be left in the storage room, which is located near the tourist information point. Children under 4 years old visit the mine for free. Part of the route is adapted for wheelchairs, but reservations must be made in advance. Photographing and filming require a permit from the ticket office.
When choosing to the salt underground, put on comfortable shoes and take warm clothing – at the bottom a constant temperature of about 14 ° C is maintained, independent of the weather on the surface of the earth. Wandering the labyrinth of salt corridors, we learn the unique landscapes of 20 unusual chambers, we discover the tradition and history of the Wieliczka mine. Beautiful chambers forged in salt, amazing underground lakes, majestic carpentry structures and unique salt sculptures.
We overcome nearly 3 kilometers of winding corridors, 800 stairs and descend to a depth of 64-135 meters underground. In the Daniłowicz Shaft, visitors meet their guide who tells them about the history and secrets of the mine during the journey. About the forces of nature and the ethos of hard work of many generations of miners. Going lower and lower we visit unusual places, see great mining machines and tools. Many legends are associated with the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The most famous tells the story of Princess Kinga, who brought a wealth of salt to Polish soil. In the middle of the trail we enter the Chapel of St. Kinga, while on the shores of one of the salt lakes we will listen to the resounding composition of Fryderyk Chopin accompanied by a light spectacle. Finally, after visiting the Krakow Saltworks Museum, we can eat the specialties of the underground tavern, and finally return to the world with a mining elevator.
For those thirsty for real adventure, or just to get to know the work of the Mine, I suggest a trip along the Mining Route. It so happens that you can do both routes on the same day, provided that you go on a tourist trip around 8.30 – 9.00. Then at 13.00 we will manage to play the role of a miner and under the watchful eye of the foreman we will get the first cuts in the underground profession. In full working outfit, armed with mining equipment, we will cease to be tourists the moment we come with mining lamps and drive down the mine darkness into the oldest mining shaft in Regicz, the oldest existing in Wieliczka. The guide, here called the leading one, will grant us a mining profession and tasks to settle each of them at the end of the trip. The visitor thus becomes a blind man, adept of mining, who in the light of the mining lamp will carefully take his first steps in this demanding profession. On the trail located away from the tourist trail, the participant gets to know the mine from the kitchen.
He will independently measure the concentration of methane, search for and transport salt, guide the route and explore unknown chambers. In practice, he will learn everyday underground life as well as the secrets of mining traditions and rituals. Experience on your own skin what real mining effort tastes like. Before leaving the mine, during a solemn ceremony he will be fitted as a miner, as evidenced by a special certificate. It is worth knowing that this tour takes the form of an active trip and requires increased physical effort. Visits take place in a maximum of 20 people. Groups, so you must make a reservation in advance. Before visiting, we must complete written formalities. The trip starts on time. At the meeting point you should be at least 15 min. Earlier, because people who are late or have not picked up the smart card do not join the trip – Auschwitz & Salt Mine tour.
The trail does not connect with the Tourist Route and its chambers – including chapel of St. Kinga. Visiting the Mining Route begins in the Regis Shaft. It lasts approx. 3 hours. The route is available to persons who are at least 10 years old. Minors visit only with a guardian. Tourists receive protective suit and mining equipment: lamp, absorber, helmet. The temperature below ground varies between 14 ° and 16 ° C. Take warm clothing and comfortable, waterproof footwear. You can go to the mine by elevator to level I (57m), and leave from level IIn (101m).