Kopalnia Soli w Bochni

Bochnia Salt Mine - Uzdrowisko Kopalnia Soli - Health Resort and Salt Mine


Useful Information

Location: ul. Campi 15, 32-700 Bochnia.
In the town centre of Bochnia, some 25 km east of Wieliczka, on the main road from Kraków to Tarnów.
(49.969062, 20.417494)
Open: Tourist Route: All year Mon-Fri 12, 12:30, 14:30, Sat, Sun 10:15, 12:15, 12:30, 12:45, 14:15, 14:30.
Old Mountains Expedition: after appointment.
[2022]
Fee: Tourist Route: Adults PLN 79, Children (5-15) PLN 63, Children (0-4) free, Students (-26) PLN 63, Seniors (65+) PLN 63, Disabled PLN 63, Family (2+2) PLN 185.
Underground ferry crossing: Polish PLN 20, English PLN 26.
Old Mountains Expedition: Group of 5 PLN 500, Additional Person PLN 100.
[2022]
Classification: MineSalt Mine ExplainHalotherapy
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=4,500 m, VR=469 m, 16 levels, T=15 °C, H=70 %.
Guided tours: D=60 min., L=1,500 m, VR=212-250 m, St=700.
V=150,000/a [2009].
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Kopalnia Soli w Bochni, Tourist Service Office, ul. Campi 15, 32-700 Bochnia, Tel: +48-14-692-67-52, Tel: +48-14-692-67-54. E-mail:
Punkt Informacji Turystycznej, ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 2, 32-700 Bochnia, Tel: +48-14-692-67-64.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1248 salt mine established.
1981 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Monuments.
1990 mine closed.
2000 mine site declared a national Historic Monument.
2013 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the Wieliczka Salt Mine inscription of 1978.

Geology

The salt deposits in the northern foreland of the Carpathians was deposited during the Badenium (~15 Ma). This was a result of the Carpathian orogeny, which caused the downlift in front of the mountains. The evaporites are found all along the mountains, but only around Cracow they contain rock salt, in the other parts there is only gypsum. In the Wieliczka layer five evaporation cycles were found. The evaporites are covered by marls and siltstones, which are water-resistant and protect the salt from being dissolved by groundwater.

At Bochnia the salt forms an anticline with a core of dolomite, which is almost vertical. The salt layers are heavily folded. The best salt is found at depths between 200 and 450 m.

Description

The Kopalnia Soli w Bochni (salt mines of Bochnia) are located in the town Bochnia. There are actually two locations, one in the center with the Sutoris shaft (176 m) and a spectacular headframe, where the ticket office and the tourist information are located. A second mine areal is located in the west of the town close to the bypass road, and also has a headframe of the Campi shaft (212 m). The two shafts are connected by the August Passage, which was initially called the Piec Długi (Long Stove). The main passage offered a level and straight connection between the mining location and the shafts, and grew to a length of 3 km.

Bochnia Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world as it was established in 1248. Salt springs had been discovered in the area during the 12th and 13th century. The salt mines at Wieliczka and Bochnia belonged together from the 14th century to 1772 and were called Żupy krakowskie (Royal Cracow Salt Mines). On 22-APR-1368, Casimir the Great issued a mining order regulating salt production and trade. The administration of the salt mines was the responsibility of a Żupnik (salt count), who had his seat in the salt count's castle of Wieliczka.

With the Wieliczka mmine the most famous tourist center, this mine actually concentrated on being a spa. It was named Uzdrowisko Kopalnia Soli (Health Resort Salt Mine). Speleotherapy is the idea that the special air in a cave, humid, cold and free of pollution, might help with respiratory diseases. Quite similar is halotherapy, but the air in salt mines is completely dry, cold and full of salt particles. Salt is a well known cure for various diseases, alternatively people stay at certain oceans very close to the sea, or in recent years artificial salt caves were opened. Halotherapy has a long tradition in Eastern Europe, much more than in the west, and was offered at Bochnia Salt Mine sine the mid 20th century.

The Ważyn Chamber was named after the administrator Andrzej Ważyński. It is the biggest chamber in Bochnia Salt Mine, 255 m long and 14.4 m wide, and 7.2 m high, and located 250 m below the surface. It was created by extracting salt from 1697 until the 1950s, and was transformed into a sanatorium in 1984. Today patients suffering from respiratory aliments can seek relief by spending time here. For this purpose a sports field, dancing floor, deck-chair saloon, restaurant, gift shop and overnight accommodation with 300 beds were installed. It is also available for hire for conferences, courses, and weddings. The air has a rather high humidity of 70 % and contains sodium chloride, magnesium, manganese and calcium, which originate from the surrounding evaporites. But there are no allergenes or other pollution from outside.

Several tours are offered at the mine. The regular tour is for some reason called Underground Multimedia Exposition. The tour shows the oldest and most interesting parts of the mine, including the August and Sienkiewicz Levels, and the Dobosz Inter-Level. The network of chambers and galleries shows the unique geological structure of the salt, wooden treadmills, the Mysiur Stables and Saint Kinga's Chapel. The Mysiur Stable is a salt chamber where the salt was mined in the mid-18th century, in 1771 it was transformed into a stable for horses which worked at a nearby treadmill. St. Kinga’s Chapel is located at the August Passage, 212 m below ground, established 1747 as the New Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels. It was at first just a small niche for prayer, but over time it was enlarged. In 1782 it was renamed Chapel of the Blessed Kinga. The arc of the chapel uses the tectonic structure of the salt, which also forms an arc, but as a result it is not completely symmetric. There is an optional boat ride (see below) and an optional mine train ride. The Old Mountains Expedition shows the oldest parts of the mine, which have never before been made available to tourists. This is where rock salt was mined from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. The Underground ferry crossing is in an underground chamber flooded with brine. Tourists cross the 120 m wide brine lake accompanied by two raftsmen, who spin colourful tales about the mysterious Bochnia mine, which are obviously totally true. This is without a doubt the biggest attraction of the Bochnia mine.