Poland’s Underground Salt Cathedral in Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in southern Poland 135 meters (443 ft) under the ground. In 1978 Wieliczka Salt Mine entered into the UNESCO First World Heritage List. It was also proclaimed a Historical Monument by the President of the Republic of Poland in 1994. The mine is located in the town of Wieliczka and is within the Kraków metropolitan area.
The mine was built in the 13th century and produced table salt until 2007. It was one of the world’s oldest salt mines still in operation. Commercial mining was canceled in 1996 due to low salt prices and mine flooding. Now a museum, the mine’s attractions include dozens of statues, three chapels and an entire cathedral that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by contemporary artists. About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually.