The Mine of Culture

In the past, the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine was the pride of kings and the source of the country’s wealth. Today, it is the wealth of Pole’s culture in which they take pride like kings of the past.

In 1976, the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine was entered on the national register of historic monuments and already in 1978 it was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The mine has always provided inspiration to artists. They would come here in throngs to draw inspiration for their work. A stay in the Wieliczka mine was fascinating enough to yield fruit in the form of sculptures, paintings, and literary works. Master Jan Matejko himself was awed as much by the Wieliczka mine as well as by its history which was reflected in the themes of his two oil paintings. One of them is dedicated to St. Kinga, the second one depicts attempts at saving the mine from fire.

Miners themselves have never been devoid of a variety of artistic talents thanks to which the saline chambers have been turned into a peculiar gallery of religious sculptures. It is so thanks to generations on generations of self-taught sculptor miners who worked on furnishing and decorating of subterranean chapels that our mine enjoys the rank of a monument unique on a global scale. Each generation of miners working here has left their mark on the saline sidewalls.

The mine’s interior is also a perfect scenery for works of professional artists. Among others, such artists as Ryszard Horowitz, Jerzy Skolimowski, and countless others exhibited their works here.

The underground resounds with classical music. New Year Concerts in the Warszawa Chamber or Misteria Paschalia Festival concerts in the Chapel of St. Kinga have already become a tradition. The chambers and corridors of salt also resounded with music during the concert of Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. The mine provided the venue for countless stars including Irena Jarocka, Maryla Rodowicz or such bands as Perfect and Golec Orkiestra.

A true treat for the guests sight-seeing the Tourist Route comes as concerts of one of Europe’s oldest miners’ bands. Established in 1830, the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine Representative Brass Band is known not only in Poland, but also abroad.

The severe scenery of the Wieliczka mine inspires imagination of filmmakers as well. It was here where Andrzej Zulawski, Juliusz Machulski, Lech Majewski and many others shot their works.

The mine is also a veritable salon of culture. Evenings with poetry and music hosted many artists including Marian Dziedziel, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Nowicki, and Anna Dymna. The undergrounds of Wieliczka provided the venue for artists of Piwnica pod Baranami and Loch Camelot to present their original programs.

A moment of reflexion by excellent music, communion with art deep under the ground – the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine allows to experience it all.

See you in the mine of culture!

Światowe dziedzictwo


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