The Chapel of Saint Kinga is the most impressive and the richest in form underground temple. The chapel was founded in 1896 in an excavation formed following the exploitation of a huge mass of green salt. It measures 54 metres in length, 15-18 metres in width and 10-12 metres in height.
The chapel connects the higher Level II with lower Level II. The chapel decor was formed in a period of seventy years.
The chief architect and sculptor of chapel was Jozef Markowski in the years 1895-1920. He sculpted the main altar consisting of three parts. An oil painting presenting St. Kinga , and a miner handing her ring taken from a lump of salt, was once hung in the middle part of altar.
|St. Kinga Chapel|
In 1914 the figure of St. Kinga sculpted in salt replaced the painting and the wall behind the statue was decorated with rock salt crystals, called halite.
The figures of St. Joseph, the patron of carpenters, and the figure of St. Clement the patron saint of the Wieliczka parish stand in the side niches of the altar between two pairs of columns.
At the entrance to the chapel on the left side of the staircase Markowski placed a figure of a miner holding an oil lamp and on the right side the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.
On the side wall there is "The Last Supper" following the example of Leonardo da Vinci famous fresco.
The Chapel of Saint Kinga is a specific art gallery and a venue for organising concerts, apart from place for generating aesthetic impressions, the chapel is also a place for religious worship and service.
Holy mass is celebrated here on special occasions and on 24th July ( St. Kinga Day), 4th December
( St. Barbara Day, and 24th December (Christmas Eve Midnight Mass) as well as regular masses in the mornings.