Established between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Bochnia Salt Mine, is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and the oldest commercial company in Poland. The mine stopped producing salt in 1990 at which time, it became a tourist attraction. In 2013, a multimedia aspect was added to the tourist route; which spans two kilometres in length.
The complex offers four different routes for visitors. Among the mine’s attractions, there is the underground mining train that transports tourists along the tourist route, a 140m slide connecting two levels of the mine, and an underground boat crossing.
The history of salt extraction in the Bochnia region dates back to 3,500 years B.C. Prior to mining, salt was acquired by evaporating water from brine.
There’s a lot to see within the mine including: historical mining tools and equipment, galleries, chambers and a chapel with train tracks running through it.
The Chapel of St. Kinga dates back from 1747 and features a beautiful altar with a painting presenting the legend of St. Kinga and the discovery of rock salt.
The two main parts of Bochnia Salt Mine are the August Passage and the Ważyn Chamber.
The August Passage is the main communication and transportation route in the mine, running from east to west and connecting the Campi and Sutoris mine shafts. The Passage has a depth ranging from 176m to 212m and is nearly 3km in length.
The Ważyn Chamber; which has no supporting pillars, is the biggest chamber in the mine and can be found at a depth of 248m. It is 255m long, 14.4m wide and has a maximum height of 7.2m.