Chapel of St Kinga. 110m underground. Picture from Wired magazine
The Saint Kinga’s Chapel is the most impressive and opulent of underground temples. The chamber, carved in a block of salt, has been a place of worship since 1896. The chapel ornamentation has been created over a period of more than a hundred years. From late 19th century until 1963, the sculpting was conducted by self-taught miners-sculptors, Józef and Tomasz Markowski and Antoni Wyrodek. Their work is continued by the new generation of miners, who create new sculpting projects.
Picture from http://www.kopalnia.pl/
Sculptures which decorate the chapel walls are New Testament scenes. Closest to the stairs, on the right, the Jesus Before Herod and Massacre of the Innocents reliefs are to be seen, and above them, a Nativity scene. Slightly further, the Chapel of Madonna and Child, with the depiction of God the Father atop, is to be seen, as well as the Flight Into Egypt relief, and above it, Christ Falling Under the Cross.
Next to the main altar, a side altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart, the Twelve-year-old Jesus Preaching At the Temple relief, and a pulpit whose base resembles the walls of the Wawel castle can be seen. In a niche of the altar table, Saint Kinga’s relics were placed.
The figures of Christ Crucified and two kneeling monks are salt copies of the sculptures from the Saint Anthony’s Chapel, which were presented at EXPO 1900 in Paris.
The Weimar chamber. Picture from http://www.kopalnia.pl/
The Weimar Chamber was created in the early 20th century, after a block of green salt was excavated by machines. In the 1960s the bottom of the chamber was flooded with brine, and a lake was created. The shores of the lake are watched over by a statue of the Treasurer – the good spirit of the mine. The sculpture, made by the miner-sculptor Stanisław Anioł, was the symbol of the Wieliczka Mine at the EXPO 2000 in Hanover. In the Weimar Chamber, a touching small-scale son-et-lumière show is presented, transporting the visitors back to the times when the chamber was excavated.
Keep on reading. These excerpts are from :