A Salt Mine With Chapels, Underground Lakes, and Chandeliers Made of Salt

How often do you really think about the salt shaker that’s sitting on your kitchen countertop? Most of us use salt in our food, but few of us actually invest a lot of time into thinking about the miracle of salt. Do you know who has spent a lot of time thinking about salt? People who have worked in salt mines. These people literally lived and breathed salt. Near Krakow, Poland is a salt mine that is so unique that it’s turned into a tourist attraction.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine shows that salt is more than a miracle that makes our food taste good. Salt can actually be a masterpiece when it’s in the right hands. The mine opened in the 13th century and is a part of the First UNESCO World Heritage List. The mine reaches more than 1,000 feet into the ground at its deepest point and it has 2,000 chambers, underground lakes, and even chapels. The mine is lit with enormous chandeliers that are actually made of salt. In fact, everything in the entire mine is made of salt.


The floors, ceilings, and statues in the image below are all made of salt. Oh, and of course, so are the chandeliers.


The guides who conduct the tours will even let you taste the salt. Lick your finger and stick it to anything. Then, if you’re brave enough, stick your finger in your mouth. Yep, salt.


The history of the mine dates all the way back to the Middle Ages and used to be called the “Magnum Sal,” which translates to the Great Salt.


In the 1200s, the Great Salt was the largest salt source in the country of Poland and was important in the country’s economy.


These days, the mine is one of Poland’s most popular tourist attractions.


According to Aleksandra Sieradzka, the director of marketing and communications for the mine, all 2000 chambers are carved out of salt.


The corridors and floors are all made of salt.


Two of the chapels are the St. Anthony Chapel and the St. Kinga Chapel and both are made completely of salt. This includes the statues of saints and the altars.


The carvings were done by the sculptor miners.


For the chandeliers, artisans carved crystal salt, which is salt in its purest form.


The mine has some white beams that serve as braces to add some reinforcement to the mine.


The brown wooden platforms that you see in some of the photos are walking paths for the tourists who flock to the mine every year.


Because the mind is such a maze, there are only guided tours.


But isn’t salt fragile? Nope. It’s actually about as hard as gypsum. However, carving in salt does require quite a bit of experience.


The thing about salt is that every block is different.


Various blocks of salt can differ not just in size, but also in hardness and color.


There’s even a ballroom inside of the mine called the Warszawa Chamber.


One of the most popular activities in the mine is the New Year’s concerts that occur during the first weekend of every January.


Also, mass is held in the mine every Sunday.


What makes this even more fascinating is that only about two percent of the mine is tourist accessible.


The mine is a labyrinth that stretches up to 498 feet in length.


There are nine levels in the mine.






Here’s a great video.

Read more: Wieliczka-SaltMine.com

I hope I get to see this someday. Beautiful!


Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Best Stuff Online, AmReading.com, and a few other websites. In 2011, she made the decision to pursue her dreams and become a full-time writer. Tiff is obsessed with finding the most interesting, coolest stuff online and sharing it with the world. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page.