Today we toured the Wieliscka Salt Mines, which are about 1.5 hours away from Katowice. Here are some interesting things about the site (I'll share the website address and you can check it out tomorrow).
- salt was first mined here about 900 years ago
- 9 levels going down more than 900 metres
- tunnels totalling more than 380 kilometres
- became one of Poland's UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978
- we visited the first 3 levels, 135 metres down, walked about 2 km
- amazing carvings all done by miners, not professional artists
The chapel area was Mel, Tyler, Linda and Edward's favourite part of the tour. You can see the altar, all carved from salt, here.
The walls in the chapel (which was huge, about 250 ft. long with a ceiling that was 100 ft. high) were covered with carvings telling Biblical stories. Here Mary and Joseph are fleeing to Egypt. Little lights lit up certain parts and the effects were stunning.
My favourite display was the legend of the salt mine, showing the princess who gave salt to the people as part of her dowry. There was an audio tape and different sections of the display lit up as the story was explained. Everything was carved from salt!
Numerous sculptures along the tourist road, all carved by miners. This one was in the newest gallery and shows a miner and a carpenter. There are no forests left in the area because all the timber was harvested and used as pillars and supports in the mine.
There were several chandeliers with little salt crystals hanging pieces.
Bob's favourite room was the conference room, where you can attend weddings, New Year's Eve parties and other special events. The walls are all salt. It was a very interesting day!