The Bochnia Salt Mine
The salt mine in Bochnia is a monumental salt mine, open for touristic and medical movement, closed for mining, Which used to lead exploitation between 1251 and 1990.
The origins of the Bochnia Salt Mine can be traced back to 1248, when huge rock salt deposit was discovered. This discovery is related to the legend of St. Kinga. The surroundings of Bochnia were known for getting salt by evaporating water from brine.
The salt mine in Bochnia was a royal business, bringing enormous earnings to Poland.
In 1368, king Kazimierz Wielki established a document called the Statue of Saltworks, which made the organization rules of the saltworks and the rights of selling salt. At that time, salt was exported to Russia and Hungary.
After 1772, the mine came into the hands of Austria, remainig under their rule through the times of partitions until 1918.
In 1981, historical excavations were enlisted to the register of monuments. The mine became a touristic attraction and a medical centre.
By 1990, industrial salt mining was officially finished. Among many monumental machines, in the mine you can find a fully functional and occasionally actuated power machine of the elevators in the shafts, powered up by a steam engine. On June 23rd 2013, the Bochnia Salt Mine was enlisted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.