Blog

Wieliczka City

Wieliczka: More Than Just a Mine – A City Guide

Have you ever heard of a city where life takes place on “two levels”? No? The city is called Wieliczka and every year attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from Poland, but also from abroad. Get to know the history of the town where life takes place on the surface of the earth and 135 meters below it.

Wieliczka City

A city that almost sank underground and at the same time a city whose most valuable monument has been inscribed on the UNESCO world list of monuments.

Of course, we are talking about Wieliczka. Small, because it is inhabited by about 24,000 people, it is inextricably linked with salt.

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine

When visiting this city, it is worth stopping for a longer time and going for a walk. Not only in the underground chambers of the salt mine. What’s worth seeing in Wieliczka City?

Why can you still buy Wieliczka salt? Where is it produced and how? We are in a hurry to answer!

Salt Mine in Wieliczka City of course!

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most visited attractions in Poland! No wonder, it is the only mine in the world active from the Middle Ages until today.

What’s more, the mine was inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1978 as one of the first objects from around the world.

St. Kinga's chapel in Wieliczka Salt Mine
St. Kinga’s chapel in Wieliczka Salt Mine

If we wanted to walk through all the sidewalks and mine workings, we would have to cover almost 300 km on 9 levels.

However, much shorter tourist routes have been prepared for tourists. Standard sightseeing takes about 2.5 hours, and then we have 3.5 km to go.

Stairs in the salt mine in Wieliczka city
Stairs in the salt mine in Wieliczka city

However, entering this amazing underground world of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, we will also see stunning brine lakes and salt chambers.

The most beautiful of the mine chambers is the Chapel of St. Kinga. However, for those eager for excitement, a more extreme one has been prepared – the Miners’ Route. It begins at the oldest surviving Regis shaft.

Underground lake in Wieliczka Salt Mine
Underground lake in Wieliczka Salt Mine

Then, dressed in work clothes and equipped with flashlights, we set off into the mysterious and raw chambers of the mine.

Wieliczka Salt mine how to get there
Inside the salt mine

Wieliczka also have a castle

The Saltworks Castle was the first seat of the mine management. Today, in the courtyard there is the oldest thirteenth-century Prospectors’ Shaft.

Unfortunately, it is already closed, but we can enter its symbolic dummy. In the castle we will also see the ruins of defensive walls and fragments of the foundations of the oldest canteen in the world, which served meals for miners working in Wieliczka.

Bird's-eye view
Bird’s-eye view

It is also worth entering the tower to see the castle area from above and be sure to visit the Krakow Saltworks Museum.

This is an interesting place where you will see an impressive collection of beautiful salt shakers made of gold, porcelain or other precious metals.

Also in the museum you can see old photos of Wieliczka, or antique miners’ equipment.

Sea breeze in the middle of the city? Absolutely!

The graduation tower in Wieliczka is a newly created facility where you can relax and get some healthy air.

All this thanks to the drops of water flowing down the walls of the graduation towers, thanks to which a healing salt mist is produced here, which can barely be seen.

The graduation tower in Wieliczka
The graduation tower in Wieliczka

For interesting views, it is worth climbing the octagonal tower of graduation towers! Such a 30-minute walk will certainly improve our well-being and strengthen our airways.

What’s more, around the graduation towers you will also find a pleasant park with a children’s playground.

Church of St. Clement in Wieliczka City

Opposite the castle is the church of St. Clement. It was erected in the 14th century. In the Middle Ages, a dedicated mass was held there every day for the mining crew.

The present church was built in the early 19th century, on the foundations of the old one. The reason for the construction of the new one was that the previous gothic church suffered heavily as a result of underground tremors in the mine.

Church of St. Clement
Church of St. Clement

Church of St. Clement in Wieliczka is a temple under a rather unusual and rare challenge. However, it turns out that it was St. Clement who was the first patron saint of miners! First of all, it is worth visiting the interior of the church to see richly decorated altars and beautiful frescoes.

In addition, right next to the church there is a bell tower founded by the king of Poland in 1674 to 1696  – Jan III Sobieski. He gave it as a votive offering of gratitude after the victorious battle over the Turks.

Franciscan Monastery

The monumental snow-white walls of the Franciscan Monastery tower over Wieliczka. We can reach the monastery even by the Wieliczka promenade, i.e. the Salt Route.

The monastery is a great monument of Wieliczka. It was built almost 400 years ago, mainly thanks to funds obtained from the sale of salt. What’s more, the church was also the first brick Reformed temple in Poland!

Franciscan Monastery in Wieliczka
Franciscan Monastery in Wieliczka

The monastery did not avoid the turmoil of war, it was repeatedly devastated and shelled. Its walls also served as a laundry and supply point for troops.

Fortunately, after the war, the monastery regained its former splendor. In the church we will see the historic Image of Our Lady of Grace from the seventeenth century.

It is painted on a stone slab. It enjoys great reverence among both miners and the local population. In the monastery gardens there is a copy of the chapel of Assisi built by St. Francis.

3D World in the middle of the Old Town

3D painting Salt World can be found on the Wieliczka Market Square. This is an interesting attraction that you have to see and necessarily take a picture on it.

The painting will be visible in three dimensions only on the camera! Just follow the instructions and stand in the designated place to create such an amazing photo.

An additional effect is added by the figures of miners who seem to emerge from inside the mine. However, the painting is blurring more and more every year, so hurry up with a visit to this place!

3D painting Salt World
3D painting Salt World

Church of St. Sebastian

The church of St. Sebastian is a tiny and very atmospheric temple. What’s more, this beautiful monument is almost 500 years old. It is decorated with picturesque polychromes and colourful stained glass windows.

From the viewpoint next to the church square we will also see a nice panorama of Wieliczka. Although getting here requires driving through many winding streets of Wieliczka. It is worth getting a bit lost to get to know the city from a different side.

The church of St. Sebastian
The church of St. Sebastian

You must visit Wieliczka city!

Wieliczka is a charming city of Lesser Poland, which will surely surprise you with positive energy.

When planning your trip here, be sure to travel through the underground of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Catch a healthy breath in the spa and discover the oldest mine shaft. In addition, learn about the interesting history of the city of salt. Its centuries-old monuments and modern attractions, which are also not lacking here.

Chandelier in Wieliczka Salt Mine
Chandelier in Wieliczka Salt Mine

If you have already wanted to go on a trip to Wieliczka, take a look here:

KrakowTOP

We are a team of travel lovers passionate about Krakow. We've explored every part of it and learned its history, traditions, and local secrets. We're eager to share our best tips with you. We know hidden gems and local favorites. We're more than writers; we're your personal guides. In our articles, you'll find everything what you need to know about Krakow. KrakowTOP.com team.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button