In accordance with royal regulations, the miners were to attend mass in a chapel before starting work. As God-fearing members of a mining community they needed no second bidding. Prayer was an important way of preparing oneself for the perils of the day ahead.  In time, the miners erected new chapels which were often elaborately equipped with all the trappings of a shrine "up in the world". 

If we're really going to get to the bottom of things, we have to go back 20 million years to the Miocene era, when the Carpathians were being formed. Geological evidence suggests that there was a sea here at that time, a sea which evaporated leaving a wealth of mineral deposits, including common or garden sodium chloride.

The recipe for salt-mining is simple: hack it from the rock; bring it to the surface; and repeat indefinitely. The classical equipment of the salt miner is equally simple: his pickaxe, his mallet and his muscles. With these alone, the men of Wieliczka searched for the treasure buried beneath their town.


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