Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wieliczka Salt Mine

For our second full day in Krakow, we took a day trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine, outside of Krakow. After the required transportation mishaps, we made it (with a long walk between our drop off point and our actual destination).

The mine has been in use for 700 years, although it is now virtually defunct. It is now used for tourism, and upkeep (water management--otherwise it would collapse). We started by descending 370 steps (altogether we went down 800). Everything was salt--the walls, the floors, the statues, the Chandeliers. Not your everyday site.

In fact, one of the subterranean lakes is so salty that in the early 1900's, when a boat capsized, some people got stuck under it and died, from suffocation, not drowning. They were so buyant in the salt water that they couldn't even get a few inches down to get out from under the boat.

One matter that has set this mine aside in the past is that the people only had eight hour working shifts. This was extremely unusual for mine workers in comparable locations in Europe...

The statues were impressive, the big cavernous rooms and chapels even more so. All in all the mine has 200 miles of chambers and is about 1000 feet at its deepest. We reached a depth of nearly 500 feet. Fortunately, there was a lift at the end.

1 comment:

kim, andrew & ieva said...

Weren't the Salt Mines cool? Trina, your photo licking the wall cracked me up. Not so much because you were licking it, but more because Andrew did the same thing (probably in a similar spot) when we were there & we all made fun of him for it! Makes you wonder how many tongues have been on those walls... :)

Glad to hear you guys are still having such a great time!