Built in the 13th Century, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is the oldest continually-producing salt mine in the entire world — producing table salt from the 1200s until production finally halted in 2007. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a major attraction for tourists and site-seers due to the ornate carvings, rooms and chambers that have been carved out of the salt itself.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in the town of Wieliczka, just outside of Krakow, and is considered a part of the Greater Krakow, Poland Metropolitan area. A national landmark, the mine was officially added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
The Legend of the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Princess Kinga was a Hungarian noblewoman who was engaged to be married to Boleslaw V The Chaste. Kinga through her ring into a salt mine in Hungary and traveled to Krakow, Poland, where she told miners to dig a hole until they hit rock. The miners in-turn dug their hole and found a lump of salt. Upon splitting the lump of salt, they found a golden ring encased in it. Given this “tale,” Princess Kinga became known as the patron saint of salt in Poland: Saint Kinga — to who the cathedral of salt carved out of the mine is dedicated to.
Chapel of St. Kinga
A grand display of carvings from the salt, the Chapel of St. Kinga contains many ornately carved statues and reliefs from bible scenes and historical scenes. A part of the “Tourist’s Route,” the chapel is open to the public and features a wonderful array of salt-mason mastery.
The Miner’s Route
While the “Tourist’s Route showcases the Chapel and the great works of art that have been carved into the salt, the “Miner’s Route” gives visitors a tour into the commercial production mine corridors where salt was harvested for sale.
The Wieliczka Salt Spa
The salt from the mine is said to have healthy properties for treating everything from joint pain to excessively dry skin. In the Wieliczka Salt Spa, you can spend your day relaxing and getting pampered with an assortment of treatments consisting of the actual salt from the mines below.Referred to as subterranotherapy, there are many that believe that this therapy can treat everything from COPD and lung problems to attaining a higher mental-physical balance.
Dining and Lodging Near the Wieliczka Salt Mine
If you are looking to take full advantage of the tours of the mine, and plan to stay more than a day in Wieliczka, the best option is to stay at the Hotel Grand Sal. The hotel is located within the premises of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, is luxurious and comfortable, and houses the Grand Sal Hotel Restaurant, which serves up delicious local cuisine.
Visit The Grand Sal Hotel For Yourself:
Park Królowej Kingi 7, 32-020
+48 12 289 81 10