January 2013
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Poland – 13th century Salt mine in Wieliczka

Poland is a country located in Central Europe. It has a long Baltic Sea coastline. It is bordered by:
• Belarus
• Czech Republic
• Germany
• Lithuania
• Russia
• Slovakia
• Ukraine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland.

Overview of Wieliczka Salt Mine

• It lies within the Krakow metropolitan area.
• The mine was built in the 13th century.
• This produced table salt continuously until 2007.
• This is one of the world’s oldest salt mines which are still in operation.
• The Royal mine was run by the Zupy Krakowskie Salt Mines.
• Commercial mining was discontinued in 1996.
• This was due to low salt prices and mine flooding.

The mine’s attractions includes:
– dozens of statues.
– three chapels.
– an entire cathedral that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners.
– the oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by contemporary artists.
• The Wieliczka salt mine has a depth of 327 meters (1,073 ft) and is over 300 kilometers (190 mi) long.
• The rock salt is naturally gray in various shades.
• This resembles unpolished granite.
• This is rather than the white or crystalline look that many visitors may expect.
• During World War II, the shafts were used by the occupying Germans.

The mine features an:
– underground lake
– the new exhibits on the history of salt mining
– a 3.5 kilometers (2.2 mi) touring route
– historic statues
– mythical figures carved out of rock salt
– sculptures fashioned by contemporary artists

• The Wieliczka mine is often referred to as “the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland.”
• In 1978 it was placed on the original UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites.
• Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt.
• This has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance.
• It also houses a private rehabilitation and wellness complex.

Tourism in Salt mine in Wieliczka

Visitors to this site have included:
• Nicolaus Copernicus
• Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
• Alexander von Humboldt
• Fryderyk Chopin
• Dmitri Mendeleyev
• Boleslaw Prus
• Ignacy Paderewski
• Robert Baden-Powell
• Jacob Bronowski
• Karol Wojtyla
• Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Places to see in Salt mine in Wieliczka

• There is a chapel.
• There is a reception room that is used for private functions.
• There is a chamber with walls carved by miners to resemble wood.
• There are wooden churches built in earlier centuries.
• A wooden staircase with 378 steps provides access to the 64 meters (210 ft) level of the mine.
• There is a 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) tour of:
– the mine’s corridors
– chapels
– statues
– lake
– 135 meters (443 ft) underground
• An elevator provides access to the surface.
• The elevator holds 36 people.
• It takes some 30 seconds to reach the surface.

Sports in Poland

• Mountain hikes
• Water sports
• Skiing
• Horse riding
• Cycling
• First bungee jump
• Paintball encounter
• Rock climbing

Best time to visit / climate

• The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country.
• The climate is oceanic in the north and west.
• It becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east.
• Summers are generally warm.
• It is with average temperatures between 18 °C (64 °F) and 30 °C (86.0 °F).
• Winters are rather cold.
• There are with average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the northwest and 6 °C (21 °F) in the northeast.
• Precipitation falls throughout the year.
• The warmest region in Poland is Lower Silesian that is located in south-western Poland.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get to Poland?

1. By plane
• Most of Europe’s major airlines fly to and from Poland.
• Poland’s national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines.
• There are also a number of low cost airlines that fly to Poland. These include:
– WizzAir
– EasyJet
– Germanwings
– Norwegian
– Ryanair
There are also direct flights from United States and Canada. LOT operates direct flights from:
– Toronto
– New York
– Chicago
– Non-direct flights from other cities
International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw (WAW). Other major airports in Poland are:
– Krakow
– Katowice
– Gdask
– Pozna
– Wrocaw
– Szczecin
– Rzeszow
– Bydgoszcz
A new terminal has been opened at the Warsaw Chopin airport which will significantly increase the airport’s capacity.

2. By Train
Direct connections with:
• Berlin
• Amsterdam, via Koeln, Hannover
• Kiev via Lviv
• Vienna
• Prague
• Moscow

3. By Car
You can enter Poland by one of many roads linking Poland with the neighboring countries.

4. By Bus
There are many international bus lines that connect major Polish cities.
• Voyager
• Eurolines
• Ecolines
• PolskiBus.com
• Simple Express

5. By Boat
• From Sweden
– Ystad by Unity Line
– Karlskrona by Stena Line
– Nynashamn
– Visby
– Ystad by Polferries

• From Denmark
– Copenhagen
– Bornholm

• From Finland
– Helsinki by Finnlines

• From Germany
– Rostock by Finnlines

6. By Yacht
There are more and more ports along Polish coast. Bigger marinas are located in:
– Szczecin
– Eba
– Hel
– Gdynia
– Gdask

7. By plane
– Polish national carrier LOT has daily connections.
– These are between the biggest cities with a hub in Warsaw.

8. By train
– In Poland, the national railway carriers are PKP InterCity and Przewozy Regionalne.
– There are few local carriers that belong to voivod ships or major cities.
– Train tickets are quite economical.
There are new InterCity routes such as:
• Warsaw – Katowice
• Warsaw – Krakow
• Warsaw – Pozna
• Pozna – Szczecin
Train types
• E-IC (ExpressInterCity) / EC (EuroCity) / Ex (Express)
• TLK (Twoje Linie Kolejowe)
• RE (RegioEkspress)
• IR (InterRegio)
• REGIO / Osobowy
• Podmiejski
• Narrow gauge

Some Travel Books on Poland

Poland Lonely Planet Poland Poland: A Unique Country & Its People

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.in
Hotels at staypoland.com
Hotels at travelpoland.com

Blogs / Sites about Poland

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at whc.unesco.org
Blogs at travelpoland.info
Blogs at tripadvisor.com

Images and photos of Poland

Images at google.com
Images at wikipedia.org
Images at whc.unesco.org
Images at tripadvisor.com

Videos of Poland

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