Category: Underground Attractions

Category: Underground Attractions

Kadzielnia Reserve Kielce

Kadzielnia is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kielce. The former quarry attracts visitors interested in music, extreme experiences such as ziplining and also geology enthusiasts.

It is located on a hill as part of the Kadzielnia Range and is 295m above sea level. As a quarry back in the 18th century, it was a significant source of limestone, which was required primarily for road construction and you can still find traces of mining activity around the area.

In the centre is the Geologists Rock and this is protected as part of the Kadzielnia Nature Reserve and is not open to tourists, instead visitors admire the rock from the surrounding paths and viewpoints surrounding the quarry.

You’ll find a number of attractions in Kadzielnia such as the underground tourist route, the amphitheatre, a zip-line station and a waterfall.

Kadzielnia is very popular with palaeontologists and geologists who come to the area in search of fossils. Many different fossils have been found including sponges, corals, daylilies, brachiopods and snails.

Kadzielnia is also home to 25 caves. There are three caves open to the public and this is where you can find the 140m long underground tourist route.

The Kadzielnia Amphitheater is one of the most unique and beautiful stages in the country. The surrounding rocks provide a natural backdrop and also enhance the acoustics. The amphitheatre has operated for more than 50 years and underwent a thorough modernisation in 2010, today it can seat as many as 5,430 spectators. During inclement weather, the stage and auditorium is covered with a retractable roof.

Kadzielnia Amphitheater

The amphitheater hosts large, modern artistic shows and concerts, among them the cult “pinwheel", the International Scout Festival of School Youth Culture and the annual Kielce Festival.

There’s much more to Kadzielnia than a concert among the rocks, exploring the caves and the amazing views. Thrill-seekers come to the area to admire the scenery from a height of 40m during a free rope descent. The Kadzielnia Rope Park includes three descents.

Every year, the Kadzielnia Sport Festival is hosted in the area and attracts extreme sports enthusiasts from near and afar.

Riese Complex

The Riese Complex was a Nazi Germany construction project from 1943 to 1945 consisting of seven top-secret underground structures located in the Owl Mountains and Książ Castle in Lower Silesia.

The actual purpose of the project remains unclear and Riese remains one of World War II’s greatest mysteries mainly due to a lack of documentation. Some historians suggest that the structures were planned as a network of underground factories and the tunnels below Książ Castle were to house an HQ element, perhaps an addition to Hitler’s collection of reinforced command centres.

Two things are certain, the size of the project was immense and none of the constructions were finished. Only a few tunnels were reinforced with concrete. Project Riese was abandoned at the initial stage of construction and only 9 km (25,000 m2, 100,000 m3) of tunnels were dug out.

A massive network of roads, narrow gauge railways and bridges were constructed to connect excavation sites with the nearby railway stations. In total, some 90,000 cubic metres of tunnels were carved into the mountains, the work involved to do this was strenuous and involved cutting down thousands of trees, building dams, digging reservoirs and drainage ditches, blasting rocks with explosives and reinforcing caverns with concrete and steel.

Seven major access points were constructed to separate tunnel systems at Walim-Rzeczka, Włodarz, Jugowice, Soboń, Sokolec, Osówka and Książ Castle.

To build these giant structures, the Nazis used prisoners of war, prisoners from concentration camps and forced labourers. Many of these workers lost their lives due to disease, malnutrition, exhaustion & dangerous underground works.

Initially, concentration camp prisoners were not used; however a typhus epidemic occurred amongst the workforce in December 1943 significantly slowing down production. Hitler handed over supervision of construction to Organisation Todt, headed by Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and engineer and around 13,000 prisoners of the camps were put to work, many conscripted from Auschwitz concentration camp.

Interestingly, Albert Speer himself stated that the Riese Project involved some 213,000 cubic metres of tunnels. Today, less than 100,000 are accounted for, suggesting that there are many tunnels and parts of the project still to be discovered. This is technically supported by the existence of narrow-gauge railways and plumbing that appear to lead nowhere, witness accounts also support this account.

113,000 cubic metres of undiscovered tunnels and a lack of documentation as to the purpose of the project has led to numerous conspiracy theories over the years. The favourite is that the tunnels were constructed to hide confiscated Nazi treasure including the famous Amber Room which disappeared from Saint Petersburg and missing gold and art from multiple locations around Europe. An area outside Wałbrzych was the focus of a story about a buried ‘Nazi gold train’ in August 2015 and today, the areas still attracts treasure hunters in search of their fortunes.

Tours & Experiences

Private Round Trip to Project Riese Including Tickets

Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region

Krzemionki is a complex of banded (striped) flint mines, which were in operation during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages (3,900-1,600 BC), and have been preserved in an almost intact state.

The Krzemionki mines are located in the mountain region of Świętokrzyskie. They were dedicated to the extraction and processing of striped flint, which was mainly used for axe-making. Products from the mines have been found as far away as 660km.

The Krzemionki mines were discovered in 1922 by a Polish geologist, Professor Jan Samsonowicz. His discovery was significant, Krzemionki is one of the most comprehensive prehistoric underground flint extraction and processing systems identified to date with underground mining structures, flint workshops and around 4,000 shafts and pits.

The site was designated as a Polish historic monument on 16th October 1994 and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 6th July 2019. The mines provide invaluable information about life and work in prehistoric settlements and the importance of flint mining for tool production in bygone days.

Small groups of tourists have visited the Krzemionki mines since the late 1950s but they were only available to large groups of visitors since 1985 when Tourist Route No. 1 was made available. A second underground route was opened in 1990 followed by an open-air archaeological museum in 1992.

The tourist route in Krzemionki is approx. 1.5 km long and presents the original excavations of Neolithic mines, mining heaps and shaft pits that make up the unique industrial landscape from 5,000 years ago.

The underground tourist route in its present form is 465m long, descending 11.5 m at the deepest point.

Krzemionki is located 8km north-east of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski , between the villages of Sudół and Magonie. You can get there by car (route number 754) or by bus from the centre of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski.

Visit the official website

Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine

The Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tarnowskie Góry, Upper Silesia, Poland. Today, it is a museum and tourist attraction.

A mining settlement and the first silver-bearing ore mines emerged in the region at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, today the mine and neighbouring Black Trout Adit are just remnants of a bygone silver mining industry.

During the mid-1930s, the idea to make part of the mine suitable for tourists was first considered but was put on hold due to the outbreak of World War II. The Tarnowskie Góry Land Lovers Association was founded in the 1950s to look at the feasibility of opening up a tourist route; which led to part of the drainage system called Black Trout Adit being opened to visitors in 1957. For a long time, this was the longest underground boat tour in Poland.

Due to safety concerns, it took a while for a tourist route to be opened within the corridors of the mine itself but eventually in September 1976, the route between shafts: Angel, God Bless and Viper were opened for tourists.

The mine was declared a Historic Monument by the president of Poland in 2004 and has been a part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage since 2014. The mine and its Underground Management System were inscribed to the UNESCO Heritage List in July 2017.

The mine is usually open for tourists with guided tours in several languages. The tour begins in a museum and then goes underground to visit corridors from the 18th and 19th centuries. The underground tourist route is 1,740m long, including 270m travelled in a boat through the flooded corridor. The route includes audio effects such as the sounds of miners working, running carts and blasting works.

Visit the official website

Guido Coal Mine

The Guido Coal Mine is a historic deep coal mine and museum in Zabrze, Silesia, Poland. It gets its name from the founder, Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck who opened the mine in 1855.

Today, the mine is a museum and has been designated as an object of cultural heritage and a cultural monument in Poland. Two levels of Guido Coal Mine are open to visitors with depths of 170m and 320m below ground level, which makes it the deepest visitor mine in Europe. The underground museum is located at the deepest level.

Visitors are transported down the shaft at a speed of 4m/s in an original Berlin hoisting machine dating from 1927. At the 170m level, there are chambers and galleries containing tools, rescue equipment and perfectly preserved horse stables, which are more than 100 years old.

At this level, visitors learn about the history of Silesian mining and the coal extraction methods which were used and also the role that horses played in the history of mining. On this level you will also find St. Barbara’s chapel.

At 320m below ground, attractions include; a ride in a suspended railway, operational mining machines and a pub.

On this level, you are able to see simulations of mining disasters and visit an exhibition dedicated to the politically repressed soldier-miners of the 1950s who were youngsters forced to work underground instead of doing military service.

The pub is the deepest drinking establishment in Europe and you are able to purchase Guido Beer, brewed locally in Gliwice and available as a lager or a stout.

At times, the route can be steep and dark and visitors must wear a protective helmet at all times, flat shoes are recommended. The route is 3.5km long and takes around 2 ½ hours. The temperature underground is between 13 and 16 degrees Celsius regardless of season.

Visit the Guido Coal Mine website.

Bochnia Salt Mine

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.

Bochnia Salt Mine is one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments and has also been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the Wieliczka Salt Mine inscription.

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.

Tours & Experiences

The Bochnia Salt Mine Tour from Krakow with private transfer

Bochnia Salt Mine Unesco Tour From Kraków

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site located around 14km southeast of Kraków and is one of Poland’s most popular attractions, welcoming tourists since 1722.

Wieliczka Salt Mine is a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels, shafts and chambers, underground saline lakes, chapels with altarpieces, majestic timber constructions and unique statues sculpted in rock salt. The size of the mine is staggering, it reaches a depth of 327m and extends via horizontal passages and chambers for over 287 km distributed over nine levels. Only a small part of the mine is open to the public.

The highlight of the mine is a vast chamber housing the ornamented Chapel of St Kinga. Everything that you will see within the chamber is made from salt including altarpieces and chandeliers. It took over 30 years for three sculptors to complete this underground temple, and about 20,000 tonnes of rock salt had to be removed. The rock salt in the mine resembles unpolished granite and its natural colour is grey, not white as many people might expect.

The older sculptures have been supplemented with new carvings made by contemporary artists.

Historically, Wieliczka Salt Mine was a working mine; however due to falling salt prices and flooding, commercial salt mining was discontinued. The mine has produced salt since the 13th century and was one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines.

Other highlights are the salt lake in the Erazm Barącz Chamber, whose water is denser than the Dead Sea, and the awe-inspiring 36m-high Stanisław Staszic Chamber.

If you’re worried about the air quality down there, great news: the mine’s special microclimate actually has a beneficial effect on asthma sufferers and those with allergies!

One of the best ways to see Wieliczka Salt Mine is to take a guided tour. This is the tour which we recommend – Wieliczka Salt Mine: Round Trip from Krakow + Guided Tour.

Besides the salt mine, the picturesque town of Wieliczka has a number of other worthwhile attractions such as the Kraków Saltworks Castle, which is home to the Saltworks Museum, the beautiful classicist Church of St. Clement, the 18th century Przychocki Palace, the Sztygarówka (Foreman’s House), St. Sebastian’s church, and the Franciscan Monastery.

Ksiaz Castle

The incredibly beautiful and photogenic Ksiaz Castle was built in the late 13th century following the destruction of an earlier stronghold. Over the years the castle has been the home to many noble families including the Silesian Duke Bolko 1 (who built it) and the mighty House of Hochberg. The castle is situated in thick woodlands adding to its majesty and is at the heart of a rumour of a lost Nazi gold train believed to be buried in the vicinity of the castle.

During World War II, Ksiaz Castle was taken over by the occupying German forces and following Hitler’s direct orders, a system of tunnels was constructed underneath the castle and surrounding areas. The construction was one of seven underground structures all developed under the code name Project Riese.

The function of the tunnels underneath Ksiaz Castle remains unclear mainly due to a lack of documentation; however it is likely that they were going to be part of the Führer’s Headquarters network.

The construction of the tunnels within Project Riese was carried out by forced labourers, POWs and prisoners of concentration camps with many losing their lives due to disease and malnutrition.

In 2018, a 1.5km section of the tunnels was opened to the public as a tourist attraction and a 45 minute tour is available.

In true form, the Nazi occupiers deliberately destroyed many of the historic chambers within the castle and after the war, Ksiaz Castle was used as a barracks by the Red Army for a while before becoming largely abandoned. Thankfully, renovation work was undertaken in 1952 to restore the castle back to its former grandeur.

Since the 13th century, Ksiaz Castle has been remodeled numerous times and today you can see a variety of styles within its architecture including Romanesque, baroque and neo-Renaissance.

Visitors today can explore and admire numerous chambers, terraces and the surrounding gardens. The showpiece of the tour is Maximilian Hall with its painted ceiling depicting mythological scenes.

Wroclaw to Project Riese and Ksiaz Castle Private Tour.

See information about other underground attractions in Poland.