Ever dreamt of visiting the UNESCO-protected salt mine in Wieliczka, but never really managed to get there? Now you can – and the best bit is, you don’t even need to worry about expensive air fares.
Google applied the same technology it’s been using for years to help us explore various cities around the world and created a 360-degree tour of the famous salt mine outside Krakow.
The salt mine first started operating in the 13th century and throughout the centuries the miners have not only been producing what once was one of Poland’s most precious commodities, but also carved out some mind-blowingly detailed and beautiful sculptures, halls and corridors. Most of which are made of pure salt, obviously. (Yes, some tour guides do encourage you to lick the walls or the floor to see for yourself. Don’t – it *is* salt.)
The famous St Kinga Chapel (top picture) is probably one of the most spectacular areas of the mine. Even the chandeliers are made of salt. It’s still used as a chapel, but also for classical music concerts, weddings and other occasions.
The mine itself is over 300 metres deep – not that deep compared to many coal mines – and there are almost 300 kilometres (yes, that’s right) of subterranean corridors. Only a tiny fraction of them is accessible to the public.
It looks like the Google experience has recreated the most popular tourist trail, and they’ve done a great job. It’s not the same as experiencing the real thing, obviously, but at least there are no crowds to battle with…