Saturday, March 03, 2007

PHOTO HUNTERS March 3 - 2007-03-01

Theme: Salty

A salt statue of Pope John Paul II , more than 600 feet below the surface

In 2005, Anna and I did a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, near Krakow, in Southern Poland. For one reason or another, we had never heard about these Mines before. When in Krakow, we received a SMS from our daughter, who strictly ordered us to go to the Mines.

- They are fantastic. You’ll never regret going there.

She was absolutely right. It was a memory for lifetime in many ways.

The most impressing part isthe chapel of the Blessed Kinga, which to all intents and purposes is a full blown church, the only difference being that it is 200 metres undergound, and carved entirely from salt, (including the chandeliers that hang from the ceiling). It is a quite astounding sight, and all the more so as it was carved not by an outsider, but by a group of gifted miners themselves.

Some background

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, nowadays practically on the southeast outskirts of Krakow, has been worked for 900 years. It used to be one of the world's biggest and most profitable industrial establishments when common salt was commercially a medieval equivalent of today's oil. Always a magnet, since the mid-18th century Krakow's Wieliczka salt mine has become increasingly a tourist attraction in the first place. Today visitors walk underground for about 2,000 m ( 1.3 miles) in the oldest part of the salt mine and see its subterranean museum, which takes three hours or so.

Nine centuries of mining in Wieliczka produced a total of some 200 kilometers (130 miles) of passages as well as 2,040 caverns of varied size. The tourist route starts 64 m deep and ends 135 m (430 feet) below the earth surface, where the world's biggest museum of mining is located with the unique centuries-old equipment among its exhibits. Still below, some 210 m (650 feet) deep, there is a sanatorium for those suffering from asthma and allergy. Occasionally concerts and other events take place in the Wieliczka mine’s biggest chambers.

UNESCO has entered the Wieliczka Salt Mine in its World Heritage Register.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

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Blogger Fleur de Lisa said...

What a fascinating place. I must admit that I've never heard of it either. Your world travels are quite impressive Tor. I'm so glad you took so many photos so that we may travel along with you. :)

March 03, 2007 4:33 pm  
Blogger A. said...

Fascinating and original! Really excellent post.

March 03, 2007 4:44 pm  
Anonymous ghee said...

Magnificent!!600 feet below the surface??amazing!!

Happy weekend,Tor! :)

March 03, 2007 5:30 pm  
Anonymous pat said...

WOW - what an amazing place!!!

Have a great weekend.

March 03, 2007 5:36 pm  
Blogger PowersTwinB said...

a salt statue!? very cool! thanks for visiting my blog...

March 03, 2007 5:36 pm  
Anonymous Maribeth said...

That is spectacular! I haven't heard of these mines either. Oh now I will have to go back to Poland! :~)

March 03, 2007 5:46 pm  
Blogger lime said...

that sounds like a truly amazing place! thanks for sharing.

March 03, 2007 5:47 pm  
Blogger mar said...

Very impressive!! very informative post as well, happy saturday and thanks for your nice comment :)

March 03, 2007 5:52 pm  
Blogger Desert Diva said...

What an amazing place - you're fortunate that you had the opportunity to visit. What a great choice for this week's "salty" theme. Have a great weekend!

March 03, 2007 6:30 pm  
Blogger ImBlessed2x said...

Beautiful and very original theme choice! Nice work.

March 03, 2007 8:26 pm  
Blogger srp said...

This must have been an amazing place to visit. What a great idea for the theme. Did you ever feel claustrophobic down in the mines?

March 03, 2007 8:49 pm  
Blogger Ex-Shammickite said...

This is a new one for me, I have never been to Poland but if I do, I will definitely visit this mine. A great picture for a salty theme!

March 03, 2007 9:54 pm  
Blogger Ex-Shammickite said...

This is a new one for me, I have never been to Poland but if I do, I will definitely visit this mine. A great picture for a salty theme!

March 03, 2007 9:54 pm  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

impressive!!!! what a great write up, thanks for sharing this.

March 04, 2007 12:53 am  
Blogger meeyauw said...

You always have such interesting posts for Photo Hunt but this one is simply outstanding! I never heard of such a thing and its beautiful! Thank you.

March 04, 2007 1:56 am  
Blogger Heart of Rachel said...

Amazing! This is the first time I've heard of a salt statue. Really fascinating. Thank you for sharing all that interesting information. I enjoyed reading it.

March 04, 2007 2:13 am  
Anonymous Mrs Lifecruiser said...

*whistles* Yes, quite impressive place indeed!!! No wonder that it's on the Worlds heritage list.

Excellent written post as usual.

March 04, 2007 2:26 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

That is amazing! I am so glad you shared with us! My Grandfather was a miner and my Mom has always shared stories and now I will have one to share with her! :)

March 04, 2007 5:12 am  
Blogger Chateau said...

Wow, awesome! That is really interesting. Thanks for sharing about this place. It definitely is a must-see... I'll keep in my list IF and WHEN i get to Europe LOL.
Thanks for dropping by my blog.

March 04, 2007 5:27 am  
Blogger Joy Des Jardins said...

I've learned something from you Toraa. Wonderful story...amazing place. Thanks for the lesson.

March 04, 2007 6:54 am  
Blogger Shionge said...

Oh I must have missed that when I visited Poland. Thank you for sharing Toraa....

March 04, 2007 7:19 am  
Blogger Firefly said...

How cool! And, yes, very salty! What a great photo for this theme!! I must tell me friend who lives in Krakow about it!

March 04, 2007 2:58 pm  
Blogger Ginnie said...

This is so cool, Tor, to learn about this most fascinating place...and to see your very creative entry for the Salty theme. Bravo!

March 04, 2007 3:39 pm  
Blogger Analía said...

What a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the information, it's like traveling hidden in an imaginary suitcase. I'm so far from those beautiful places!!
I was reading an old comment you left in my blog about the layout. Well, I've changed it so maybe you could go and check if now it's easier to read.
Take care

March 04, 2007 6:37 pm  
Anonymous Barbara H. said...

This is one of the most unusual pictures for today's theme. I am amazed that the carving held its shape for so many years.

Thanks for stopping by!

March 04, 2007 7:07 pm  
Blogger RobK said...

I remember hearing about these some time ago. Very cool picture!

March 04, 2007 7:57 pm  
Blogger RennyBA said...

What a fascinating place and what a story teller you are TorAa - this was very interesting and readable - thanks for sharing!
Hope you've had a great weekend too!

March 04, 2007 10:56 pm  
Blogger Runaway Rubber Duckie said...

I didnt know you played photo hunt. Toraa! I can only imagine what a herd of cows would do to that statue!!

March 05, 2007 4:08 am  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Very cool! Must have been hard work because of our saying, "Back to the Salt Mines!" meaning back to hard work.
Maybe they got free salt!
(I eat too much of that stuff!)

March 05, 2007 4:39 am  
Blogger Drama Div@ said...

one thing i love most about this blogville is thgat i can learn about new, interesting exciting places to go... as a result, "my most wanted to go list" automatically expands..:P

have a great day!

March 05, 2007 4:46 am  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

I've never heard of those salt mines and they sound fascinating, although I have a morbid fear of being in caves or anything like that, so I won't be going that far underground to see it! Amazing statue of the Pope, all from salt. Aren't people clever?

March 05, 2007 8:19 am  
Blogger AL said...

Very interesting and informative!
I would not miss it if I travel to Poland.

Have a great week ahead :)

March 05, 2007 9:15 am  
Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

If i go to Poland i shall track ti down.

March 05, 2007 5:08 pm  
Blogger LoveMyStarr said...

That is amazing! I would love to visit there!

March 06, 2007 2:37 am  
Blogger Angelo de los Angeles said...

WOW that's cool! I hope the salt sculpture doesn't get washed away! Happy Hunting :)

March 06, 2007 5:47 am  
Blogger AMAZING GRACIE said...

Another kernel of knowledge gleaned from the blogs!!! Fascinating information!
I came by to thank you for visiting me and to invite you to come again for another Margarita!

March 06, 2007 9:22 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I vaguely remember going into a salt mine when I was in Poland some 30 years ago or so.

I was very impressed by the chambers and ornaments all made out of salt.

March 14, 2007 4:07 am  

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