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Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mine draws crowds

01.12.2022 17:00
The historic Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland has attracted 1 million visitors so far this year.
Wieliczka Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

The millionth visitor was a 70-year-old tourist from the Czech Republic, who arrived with her daughter and granddaughter.

The tourist was given a VIP welcome by the mine’s management and offered several gifts, including a sculpture carved in salt, a miner’s helmet and a voucher for a stay in the Wieliczka underground spa.

The mine’s CEO, Paweł Nowak, said: “One million visitors in 331 days is a big cause for celebration."

He told the media that, after a record 2019, which saw 1.8 million visitors, there were "two lean years" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year has seen a 55-percent increase in the number of visitors compared with the same period in 2021, he said.

Poles account for 58 percent of the visitors this year.

Among foreign visitors, those from Britain, France, Germany and the United States top the list.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine was founded in the middle of the 13th century. Its underground corridors are almost 300 km long and reach a depth of 135 metres. The mine was opened to tourists at the end of the 18th century.

At present, they are taken along a 3 km route that includes 20 chambers chiselled out in rock salt, magnificent statues sculpted in salt, a large chapel, and a lake.

There is also an underground spa, which is located far from the tourist trail.

In 1978, the Wieliczka Mine was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.