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The Incredible Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka salt mine can be found 135 meters (443 feet) below the surface of South Poland. This site made the UNESCO world heritage list as far back as 1978, as well as proclaimed a historical monument by the president of Poland in 1994. 

The mine was built during the 13th century, and was used to produce table salt from that time until 2007, which means it was operational for almost 800 years! 
 
Wieliczka salt mine

Today the mine is a bustling museum, which features dozens of statues, three chaples and a cathedral, all carved out of the rock salt by the workers of the mine.  

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine 

This salt deposit was formed almost 14 million years ago, according to geologists, and took about 20,000 years to form.

 
Wieliczka salt mine

The oldest statues have been enhanced with modern carvings by contemporary artists. 

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

During WW2, the germans used this mine for all kinds of war-related industries. 

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

The mine reaches a depth of 327 meters (1,073 feet) and is over 287 km (178 miles) long.  

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

About 1.2 million visitors come to see the Wieliczka salt mine every year, to see the marvel that is the product of dozens of generations of miners, a silent monument to hard work, belief and the history of Poland.  

Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

The walls of the mine look like unpolished granite, and come in various shades of gray. 

Wieliczka salt mine

There is an underground lake in the mine, and it is part of the underground tour, which only covers 3.5 km (2.2 miles) of the 287 km long site. 

 
Wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka salt mine

378 steps on a wooden staircase will bring you to the 64 meter (210 feet) high level of the mine. An elevator will take you back to the surface after the tour is done.

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