Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wieliczka Salt Mines

The Salt Mines just outside of Kracow, Poland (MAP) have been in operation since the 13th century. The mine consists of over 200 km of underground passages, connecting more than 2.000 excavation chambers on 9 underground levels extending down to 327m below the surface. Over the centuries, miners have established a tradition of carving sculptures out of the native rock salt. As a result, the mine contains entire underground churches, altars, bas-reliefs, and dozens of life-size or larger statues. It also houses an underground museum and has a number of special purpose chambers such as a sanatorium for people suffering from respiratory ailments. The largest of the chapels, the Chapel of the Blessed King, is located 101 meters below the surface, it is over 50 meters long, 15 meters wide, 12 meters high, with a volume of 10.000 cubic meters.

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