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Art Underground: Wieliczka’s Salt Sculptures

Wieliczka Salt Mines Near Krakow In Poland - Salt Crystal Chandelier

A Salty Conspiracy

There are some secrets in this world that don’t make any sense. The Wieliczka Salt Mines near Krakow sparkle so mysteriously that I can’t help but wonder whether they’re part of an international conspiracy.

People queue for hours to see the Mona Lisa. Everyone’s heard of Belgium’s uninspiring Mannekin Pis. And crowds wait and shiver to see a few clockwork figures in Prague.

Yet a salt mine that functioned for over 800 years, whose miners created life-sized figures deep beneath the earth, whose art survived the Nazis, the communist occupation, floods and landslides? Barely a word.

Survived the Nazis, the communist occupation, floods and landslides

Well, alright, I am stretching a point. The Wieliczka Salt Mines do attract over a million visitors each year and UNESCO have duly acknowledged them as a World Heritage Site. Still, 8.5 million people visit the Louvre in Paris each year (and if you ask me, her smile’s not that mysterious.)

Chapel of St Kinga in Wieliczka Salt Mines near Krakow, Poland

Art Underground: Salt Sculptures in Wieliczka

So, today I thought I’d share my photos of the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Sit back and enjoy, or if you’re interested in more then please read my article in Desert Leaf.

Narrow, poorly lit tunels in Wieliczka Salt Mines, Krakow

A fully functioning mine…

Top Image: A Salt Chandelier in St Kinga Chapel, Wieliczka Salt Mines, Poland.

Staircase going further and further beneath the earth at the Wieliczka Salt Mines

Over 300 kilometres of mine shafts at Wieliczka…


St King Chapel, Wieliczka, Beneath the light of salt chandeliers

The Magnificent St Kinga Chapel, Wieliczka. Better than the Mannekin Pis…


7 Responses to Art Underground: Wieliczka’s Salt Sculptures

  1. Lucia February 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Wow! wow! wow! I have never seen anything quite like that before…you are so right, it is interesting to see what becomes a famous site and what doesn’t. I love discovering unique spots like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gilda Riccardi February 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Loved the article and photos. I have been there and it is quite a spectacular site. You captured it all so well. Thanks for bringing back fond memories of my time in Poland.

  3. Sonja March 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Incredible post! Glad to hear about this!

  4. Abi March 9, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Thank you! They’re such a beautiful testament to human creativity in any circumstance…

  5. Simon April 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    What a wonderful post! I had never heard about the salt sculptures and I am amazed by how many wonderful things there are that are ‘barely’ known.
    Thank for sharing this little gem!

  6. Alice July 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Was in Crakow recently and visited Salt Mine.What a wonderful experience. I have never been anywhere as fantastic. St Kinga chapel is absolutely spectacular. Our guide was super.Well worth a visit.

    • Abi July 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Yes, it’s absolutely incredible. I can’t believe it isn’t better known!