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Monthly ArchiveMarch 2020

The Wieliczka Salt Mine for 40 years on the UNESCO World Heritage List

In September, 40 years have passed since the historic salt mine in Wieliczka was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the year of entry – 1978 – 741.5 thousand people visited the mine. tourists; in 2017 – already 1 million 708 thousand By the end of 2018, mine hosts are expecting another attendance record.

“The Historic Salt Mine in Wieliczka is the only mining site in the world, open continuously since the Middle Ages to the present. Its original excavations (walkways, ramps, mining chambers, lakes, shafts, shafts) illustrate all stages of mining technology development in individual historical periods” – this is the fragment of the justification for the entry of the Wieliczka mine on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The first prestigious list of human treasures was agreed during the UNESCO session in Washington, which took place on September 5-8, 1978. Among the 12 places and objects from around the world, having the “highest universal value”, were the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine and the Old Town in Krakow.

The president of the management board of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, emphasizes, “for 40 years we have come a long way from + salt factory + to the priceless monument and world-famous tourist attraction”.

“40 years ago, Poland was behind the Iron Curtain. The sumptuous socialist economy at that time made the Wieliczka mine primarily an industrial plant producing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of evaporated salt. In 1976, the Salt Mine + Wieliczka + was entered into the National Heritage Register, two years later it was entered on the Heritage List UNESCO. It was a preview of a change in thinking about the Wieliczka underground – it came in time, because the further exploitation of the salt deposit was as uneconomical as it was even dangerous for the mine and the city on the surface “.

Krakow Auschwitz Salt Mine tour

“In 1996, we definitively closed the industrial chapter in the history of the mine and focused on security work, thanks to which the priceless mine has a chance to survive the next centuries and enjoy the eyes of next generations”.

As he assured, “contemporary mining art allows to preserve historic excavations, securely make them available for sightseeing, and take care of the city on the surface.” He also stated that “in the 21st century Wieliczka Salina came ready for the challenges of the new era, reorganized, open to innovation, certain of its unique beauty, ready to host nearly 2 million tourists a year.”

The mine authorities emphasize that “the universal value of the Wieliczka Salina is on the one hand clear, well-preserved traces of mining work, testimonies of people’s struggle with nature and geological wonders, on the other – a spiritual heritage.” And due to the increased tourist traffic, the mine can not only grow, but also consistently implement plans for securing underground corridors.

According to the president of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine, the Tourist Trail Damian Konieczny, a mine on the UNESCO list, acts like a magnet for tourists. “Such great interest in the underground Wieliczka enjoys and at the same time obliges. Enjoys, because in these salty walls there are over 700 years of Polish history, our entire mining heritage, which we want to share and which we want to share. I oblige, because we want all our guests to present a salty treasure most completely, safely and comfortably, in an inspiring and interesting way, “he assured.

According to him, “the ever-increasing turnout on underground routes proves that mine owners are heading in the right direction, and people of the 21st century, although in love with technology and haste, still need to experience authentic beauty, centuries-old history, and living tradition.” As he pointed out, the solutions recently used in the mine include facilities in the booking and service system, solutions for greater traffic flow and online ticket availability. Tourists will also benefit from the reconstruction of the Paderewski shaft, investments in underground technical infrastructure and construction of the Tourist Service Center planned for the coming years.

Currently, tourists can visit the mine along the classic tourist route and as part of their ticket visit the underground Krakow Saltworks Museum Wieliczka. They can also explore the mine on Trasa G√≥rnicza, or take a trip to the wild areas of the mine along the “Secrets of the Wieliczka Mine” route. For pilgrims, the “God bless” Pilgrimage Route was prepared, and for children – getting to know “Solilandia”.

The Wieliczka mine has been operating continuously since the mid-thirteenth century. During this time, 26 shafts were drilled deep into nine levels reaching up to 327 meters and salt from over 2,000 was selected. chambers. A labyrinth of nearly 300 km of corridors was built near Wieliczka. Organized tourist movement has been there since the end of the 18th century. In 1978, the mine was inscribed on the First List of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage.