Salt Mine Sculptures

Trip Start Jun 25, 2013
Trip End Jul 08, 2013

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What I did

Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Friday, July 5, 2013

Today Martha and Stephanie and I had an excursion to tour a salt mine. The others decided not to come, but rather opted to take it easy.  This salt mine is located about 20 minutes outside of Krakow.   This salt mine was in operation for over 700 years, with tunnels that extend for over 300 kilometers.  Now the mine is no longer functional, but is instead a tourist attraction. 

Most of the rock salt in this mine is actually grey as there are impurities mixed in with the salt.  The salt has to go through processing to arrive at the white we see on our table – although there are veins of white that appear throughout.  We also saw patches of what they call 'cauliflowers' of salt growing on the walls and ceilings.

Back when the mine was functional, some of the miners would carve sculptures out of the salt.  When the mine closed and became a tourist attraction, some of those same miners were contracted to sculpt on a large scale.  There are some truly dramatic works of art throughout the mine. 

One of the large caverns has been converted into a chapel.  The altar, the lectern, everything is carved out of salt. The hanging chandeliers are made with salt crystals.   People have weddings there, concerts are held there. It is really very impressive.  There is a large statue of Pope John Paul in the back of the chapel.  Apparently he visited this place 3 times prior to becoming pope.  Another chamber has been made into a dinning/meeting room.

After our tour of the mine we returned to the city center.  We had a nice lunch, in a lovely open air courtyard.  Only problem, there came a sudden downpour of rain and that brought a quick end to our lunch. 

Later in the afternoon we all boarded a train and departed Krakow and headed for our new destination: Warsaw.  It was a really lovely journey with beautiful green countryside and quaint little villages along the way.  The train glides so smoothly – it was a very comfortable way to travel.  We arrived at Warsaw fairly late in the evening, so we will set out to explore tomorrow.
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