- KRAKOW -

Wieliczka Salt Mine Part 2

HOME PAGE KRAKOW
1 : Introduction
2 : City (Day)
3 : City (Night)
4 : Churches
5 : Castle/Cathedral
6 : Fete
7 : Kazimierz and Podgórze
8 : Wieliczka Salt Mine
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ST KINGA'S CHAPEL

Kinga (Kunegunda) was a daughter of Hungarian King Bela IV and niece of St Elizabeth of Hungary. She married King Boleslaus V of Poland when aged sixteen.

According to legend, Kinga's father wanted to show royal generosity by giving gold and silver from his treasury to the Poles. Kinga asked him to give a salt instead since Poles did have gold and silver but they did not have a good supply of much needed salt.

The king let Kinga take as much Hungarian salt as she wanted, but Kinda had a premonition and the story has it that Kinga threw her engagement ring into the Maramures salt mine in Hungary. The ring miraculously travelled along with salt deposits to Wieliczka.

After her wedding in Krakow, Kinga went for a trip to the nearby town of Wieliczka where she ordered a well to be dug.

The men later had to stop digging after encountering some hard stoney substance deep in the ground.

Kinga ordered them to bring up a piece of the stone.This turned out to be composed of pure salt and also contained Kinga's ring !

At the same place huge deposits of pure salt were later found and Kinga subsequently became the Patron Saint of Salt-miners.

On the right is a photograph of a Wieliczka salt sculpture depicting Saint Kinga at the time of being presented with the lump of salt and her engagement ring.




St Kinga Chapel is located 101 metres below the surface.

The great number of sculptures, bas-reliefs, columns and altars, beautifully carved in the salt rock, and chandeliers with salt crystals embellish this magnificent underground chapel.

The floor of the chapel and main altar (below) is accesssed by the stairway (right).




ST JOHN'S CHAPEL.



THE WARSAW CHAMBER

The chamber is 54 metres long, 17 metres wide and 9 metres high and located 122.5 metres below ground.

It has very good acoustics and succesful concerts, as well as various other social events such as conferences, balls, banquets and other events, are held here.



UNDERGROUND RESTAURANT


This restaurant, situated deep underground in the Witold Budryk Chamber and close to the Warsaw Chamber, is available for meals and light refreshments.





EXHIBITION

A demonstration of salt crystals and other rock formations is also present below ground as well as various other sculptured exhibits (left and below).







It's time to leave the mine.

Fortunately the visitor doesn't have to make the arduous reverse climb to achieve this!

A modern lift has been constructed within the Danilowicz Shaft to convey mine guests safely back to the surface (above and left).



Arriving back at ground level one sees a monument indicating the mine's deserved adoption on to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

"The Wieliczka salt mine is legally protected both as a registered historic monument and as the Monument of History ....

"The protection of the monument is the responsibility of the Conservator's Office for Protecting Historic Monuments ....

"The application of mining laws and regulations is the responsibility of the Krakow District Mining Office....

"The functioning of the programmes for the conservation and management of the site is satisfactory."




A MEMORABLE VISIT, INDEED!

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