April 21, 2021

This Otherworldly 13th century Polish Mine Has Underground Lakes, Chapels, And Chandeliers Made Of Salt (25 Pics)

From underground pools to an incredible carved chapel, this Polish mine has amazed millions of visitors and is entirely made of salt. 

The Wieliczka Salt Mines, located near Krakow, is on the Unesco World Heritage Sites list and has been explored by 45 million tourists since it was built in the 13th century.

The curious underground structure, which is 1,072 ft deep, contains 2,000 rooms, including a chapel which sees giant functional chandeliers made of salt dangling from the high ceilings.

The mine consists of 245 km of corridors and is so large that only 2% of it can be visited, with fans shared amazing pictures of their visit on Bored Panda. 

For more info, visit: Wieliczka-SaltMine.com

1# The salt within the walls of the mine glint and shine as the light from the chandeliers bounces from it

Credits: wieliczkasaltmine

Not only is the mine impressive by its size, but it is also peppered with beautiful works of art and statues carved in the salt.  

2#The Wieliczka Salt Mine is currently closed to tourists amid the coronavirus pandemic but will reopen later this week

Credits: agsaz

The history of Wieliczka salt mine dates back to the Middle Ages when it used to be called the Magnum Sal, or the Great Salt. In the 13th century, it was the largest source of salt in the country, which was crucial to the country’s economy. Today, it’s one of the main tourist attractions in Poland.

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5# Visitors from around the world have been amazed by the many sculptures and works of art made from salt which can be found around the mine

Credits: wieliczkasaltmine

6# The mine also contains a natural lake, which is surrounded by wooden pathway which allows visitors to explore the cavern

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While it’s currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is set to reopen on June 7

Surprisingly, the miners are still at work today. “Miners protect the historic areas of the Mine, backfill in the so-called post-mining voids in its non-historical parts, as well as manage freshwater leaks.” There’s a lot of renovation to be done to the huge historic chambers, mine shafts, and corridors, keeping in mind that 2 million visitors a year flock in to see this complex site.

We can only imagine how enormous the whole underground structure is because only 2% of it is accessible to tourists. Meanwhile, the salt mine corridors form an actual labyrinth that stretches up to a whopping 498 ft in length. There are 9 levels in total and the lowest one is located at 1072 ft below ground.

But Wieliczka is only the fifth-biggest salt mine out there. Ontario is home to the biggest one in the world, which is located 1800 ft under Lake Huron. Compass Minerals’ Goderich salt mine is as deep as the CN Tower in Toronto is tall. The second-biggest is Khewra Salt Mines in Pakistan, and the third-place belongs to Prahova Salt Mine in Romania.

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8# A woman takes in the sights at the beautiful and surreal Wieliczka salt mine, located near Krakow, one of the oldest mines of its kind in the world

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9# The chapel is among the rooms to feature the most intricate of details carved into the rock face, including a row of salt sculptures

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15# The incredible staircase is in one of the largest salt chambers in the underground mine, which contains 2,000 rooms

Credits: wieliczkasaltmine

16#  Walls of timber can also be found lining the  corridors of one of the parts of the 13th-century mine, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1978

Credits: wieliczkasaltmine

17# Visitors have to use staircases to descend hundreds of feet to explore the incredible masterpiece

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18# One of the most magnificent rooms in the mine is the chapel, which features a crucifix and an altar also carved into the salt

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19# In another room of the mine, which was sculpted in the 13th century, visitors can find a beautiful and modern fountain

Credits: wieliczkasaltmine

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22# One of the largest of the 2,000 rooms within the mine is the incredible chapel, with millions of visitors passing through the cavernous space

Credits: large_planet

23#  Another spectacular room in the mine features an impressive structure, which contains the main stairs of the tourist route into the underground masterpiece

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