In 1996 the production of Kopalnia Soli, the salt mine of Krakow stopped. Today some small scale mining take place and it is the water in the mine that have a very high dose of salt that is processed in to a pure product. Today the mine makes it’s money from tourism and considering the number of tourists when we were there that should be a good business.
Arriving we get a guide, the tours start every half an hour and we get the funniest polish guide I ever met. A girl with dark hair and the driest sense of humour telling stories with a dark polish accent on her English, a fantastic experience.
Going down hundreds of steps below ground you shouldn’t be afraid of cramped spaces and spaces below ground because it is far down and it is tunnels, normal sized but not especially big. There are several kilo-meters of tunnels and without a guide it must be extremely difficult to find a way to the top. With the guided tour that takes two hours we only covered a small part of the mine!
Walking around in the salty tunnels you get to face your fear of cramped places, but also of darkness and being lost below ground. When overcoming the fear, it took me some minutes, you get to experience beautiful tunnels and vaults where several religious ornaments are placed, due to the work of the extremely religious miners. (Something we found out about polish people our first day when going into a catholic church above ground which almost where full of non tourists praying in the afternoon.) Here in the mine you find the biggest Catholic church situated below ground. It is found among the photos, it is the grand room with the big lanterns in the ceiling and the altar, entirely made of salt. The church is still used, they have masses and few weddings a year.
To get back above ground we take the smallest iron elevator I have ever seen, yet again putting my limits to the test.
Photos shot with Canon EOS M3, edited in lightroom the app
How to get here: Local bus 304 towards Wcielska. The bus take 20 minutes from Krakow Glow y snd cost 8 zloty for two persons. The tickets can be bought in the bus but you need change. If you don’t want to go by bus the best option is local train for 4,75 zloty for 2 (student discount for one).
Cost at the mine:
Admission fee – 143 zloty for 2, one student fee 64 one adult 79
Paying 10 zloty extra in the mine for photographing the church. They actually have a guy sitting there collecting 10 zloty all day.