The trip in Salt Mine starts from Daniłowicz Shaft. This shaft was reconstructed many times. At present it connects the surface with Level VI of the mine ( approx. depth 243 m) The shaft is divided into two sections: a staircase and a hoist ( for the elevator).Visitors enter the mine descending 378 steps down the staircase. The tour begins at the shaft bottom on Level 1 called Bono ( 64 metres underground).
Typical trip in the salt mine includes 28 points.
The first is Urszula Chamber was carved out in the upper part of the a large block of green salt. Miners began their work here approx. 1649 and extracted the salt manually for almost 400 years.
At the beginning of the 20th century Upper Urszula Chamber was secured with cribs and included in the tourists route. The device for the vertical transport of salt together with the hand cross were reconstructed in the Urszula chamber.
A cart referred as Hungarian dog was placed near the fore-shaft. The Hungarian dogs were pushed along wooden sleepers -boards which were reconstructed and installed into chamber's floor and corridors. Metal wheels made a specific sound which miners associated with the barking of dogs.
|Mikołaj Kopernik Chamber. The sculpture was carved in salt in 1973.|
The second chamber on the tourist route is Mikołaj Kopernik Chamber - it was named after Nicolaus Copernicus the great Polish astronomer who visited Wieliczka undergrounds in 1493 while being a student at Jagiellon University. A monument celebrating the 500th anniversary of this outstanding Pole's birth was placed in the centre of chamber.
The chamber cut in a block of salt remained intact thanks to a special system of wooden cribs securing the chamber.Wood from deciduous trees were used to build mining machines, whereas coniferous trees timber was used to erect securing and support structure.
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