We have had an interesting day. We started out early (on the bus at 7.00) for our visit to the salt mine at Wieliczka and it was worth the early rise as we were the first tour group there and there were very few people there. It was a different story when we came out!! The mine was started in the 13th century and bought enormous wealth to the King of Poland because of the value of salt as a preservative. It wasn't bad for the miners either as each week they were given a handful of salt, which was more valuable than gold. We visited several enormous chambers that had been hewn by hand out of the black salt, and went to the 3rd level, a depth of 135 meters - there are 9 levels in all. We only saw 1% of the entire network, which extends for 300 kilometres. We visited the magnificent St Kinga's Chapel, dating from the 17th century. The salt wall carvings feature scenes from the New Testament carved by miners.
This afternoon we did a tour with a local guide which took us back to the Jewish Quarter we visited yesterday, and then across the river to the site of another ghetto, as well as to the site of Oscar Schindler's factory - all that remained were the gates. We were then dropped off and walked up Wawel Hill to see the Renaissance Castle and visit the Cathedral. From there we headed down the Royal Route to the Market Square, where we visited St Mary's Basilica. We were on our own then, and we continued on to the beginning of the Royal Route at the Florianska Gate.
|St Mary's Basilica|
|Cloth Hall, Market Square|
After such an energetic day it was very nice to get back to our hotel and put our feet up.