Wieliczka

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Template:Infobox Poland Wieliczka is a town (2005 population: 18,590) in southern Poland in the Kraków metropolitan area, and situated (since 1999) in Lesser Poland Voivodship, previously (1975-1998) in Kraków Voivodship. The town was founded in 1289 by Duke Henry the Righteous.

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Wieliczka.jpg
Chapel of Saint Kinga, deep within the Wieliczka salt mine.

Located under the town of Wieliczka is the world's oldest operating salt mine, which has been worked since prehistoric times.

The mine is also notable for a long tradition of tourism: the famous, breath-taking site has been visited over the centuries by Nicolaus Copernicus, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Dmitri Mendeleev, Bolesław Prus, Ignacy Paderewski, Robert Baden-Powell, Karol Wojtyła (the later Pope John Paul II), crowned heads, as well as hosts of ordinary people.

During World War II, the salt mine was used by the occupying Germans as housing for war-related production plants.

The awe-inspiring, ancient labyrinthine salt mine helped inspire the Labyrinth scenes in Bolesław Prus' 1895 historical novel, Pharaoh.

In 1978 the Wieliczka salt mine was entered into the UNESCO roster of World Heritage Sites.

External links

Photos

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Wieliczka-color.jpg
Bottom of Kunegunda's Shaft.
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Wieliczka-daVinci.jpg
Da Vinci's Last Supper, sculpted into the rock salt.

pl:Wieliczka de:Wieliczka

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