The Bochnia Salt Mine is located in Bochnia near Krakow. The mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and was the oldest Polish and European salt mine still in operation until its closure in 1990. The extraction of salt on this site started in the 12th or 13th century and is documented in 1248. The tunnels of the mine are 4.5 kilometers long and reach a depth of 468 meters. Between 330 meters and 468 meters depth, 16 levels were mined.
In 2013, the Bochnia Salt Mine was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the heritage site of the Royal Wieliczka and Bochnia Salt Mines. The Wieliczka Salt Mine was included on the very first World Heritage List.
The history of salt production in the Bochnia region dates back to 3,500 BC. Salt was obtained by evaporating water from brine. Brine pits gave way to excavating salt using mining methods.
The beginnings of the Bochnia mine as an excavation factory date back to 1248. As a royal facility, the mine generated a huge income. In 1368, King Casimir the Great issued a document called the Statute of the Saltworks. It defined the organizational and legal principles for the sale of salt. The oldest mine shafts of Bochnia are the Sutoris and Gazaris shafts. The Bochnia mine and the Sutoris shaft mentioned in the legend on the ring of St. Kinga. The mine developed rapidly in the 15th and 16th centuries. More shafts were built at that time, namely Regis, Bochneris and Campi. In the 17th century, due to wars and an economic downturn, the development of the plant slowed down.
After 1771 the mine became part of the territories occupied by the Austrians. It remained under Austro-Hungarian control until 1918. In the 20th century, salt production declined significantly due to reduced profitability. In 1981 the mine was included in the Polish register of historical monuments. In the 1990s, the Bochnia Mine was opened to tourists and has been a tourist attraction ever since.
- The temperature in the mine is between 15 and 16°C, with a relative humidity of 70%.
- It is recommended to bring warm clothes and comfortable shoes.
- Along the tourist route you have to climb or descend about 700 stairs.
- During your stay underground you will be accompanied by a guide.
- Persons whose condition indicates the use of alcohol or other similar substances are prohibited from entering the mine.
- Only adults can enter the mine unaccompanied.
- Children and young people under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- In the mine it is forbidden to transport tobacco or to smoke or to transport lighting equipment.
- Extra service for Polish-language tours: stay up to 3 hours - PLN 170
- Additional service for foreign language tours: stay up to 3 hours - PLN 230
- Additional rafting service - PLN 250