The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most valuable cultural monuments in Poland, visited each year by over a million tourists from around the world. It is also a world class historical monument and as such is inscribed in UNESCO’s First World List of Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Today, the Wieliczka Salt Mine represents both many centuries of tradition and modernity, centuries of history, and an underground city with an extensive infrastructure. The Mine is the heritage of the work of several dozen generations of miners, and a monument of the history of Poland and the Polish nation – a brand that has been created in the Polish collective consciousness over centuries.
The historic Salt Mine in Wieliczka is the only mining site in the world functioning continuously since the Middle Ages. Its original excavations (longitudinals, traverses, chambers, lakes, as well as minor and major shafts) are located on nine levels and extend for the total of about 300 kilometres: reaching the depth of 327 metres they illustrate all the stages of mining technology development over time.
The quotation comes from the justification for entering the Wieliczka Salt Mine on UNESCO’s First World List of Cultural and Natural Heritage, on September 8, 1978 together with 11 other sites from around the world. Indeed, the Wieliczka Mine reflects the progress of mining technology, the development of work organisation and management, and the introducing of industry legislation since the Middle Ages.