THE STORY OF THE WIELICZKA SALT MINE
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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 deposits gradually settled to form a distinct seam of rock salt. Now that could've been the end of the story, but then we wouldn't be here today. Wieliczka would've been like dozens of other salt mines that simply supply the world with an indispensable commodity. But Wieliczka isn't like other mines. It seems that by a quirk in the evolutionary process, or rather by a nudge from the Carpathian mountains as they settled into place, the salty deposit with its surrounding layer of protective clay and silt was thrust up on top of itself. The deeper…
Just to be on the safe side. The more stratified layers of seam salt became buried under great discrete blocks of greensalt embedded in a clayey mass.People had been fetching salt from springs and brine wells in these parts for thousands of years. So when the wells dried up and they started digging for salt in Wieliczka in the thirteenth century.
Wieliczka Salt Mine consists of 2,000 excavated chambers. Features include a large chapel ornamented with works of art, altars and statues – all carved from salt. There are also a museum, sports hall, and rehabilitation and treatment center for people with respiratory ailments. You can enjoy all of this in The Salt of the Earth, as well as mine shafts that are no longer open to the public.