Primož Jakopin, photo diary

A Visit to Śląsk / Silesia
Bochnia Salt Mine and Wawel Castle of Kraków

September 30, 2018, 75 pictures

          Most images are approximately 683 x 1024 pixels in size, numbers in front of the picture descriptions are serial numbers of the original photo files. Event participants who contributed to the making of these pictures: Krzysztof and Agnieszka - Aga Rosner, Krzysiek Handzlik and Joanna Markiewicz - Asia, Tomasz - Tomek and Izabela - Iza Manda, Marcin Szendoł and Marta Kałuža with Bartek and Michał Szendoł.

          Pictures photo and copyright (c) Primož Jakopin 2018 except 41977 where the credits go to Bartek Szendoł.

At the Guesthouse


41909. Breakfast: millet porridge with kiwi and soaked dry cranberries, oatmeal cookies, camomille tea



Kopalnia Soli Bochnia / Bochnia Salt Mine


41948. It was established in 1248, when salt was a rare commodity, called white gold.



41911. Front view of the old steam-driven mine shaft lifting mechanism ...



41910. ... and its main two wheels, from the side



41912. Iza at a large piece of excavated salt mineral



41913. A snack in the car trunk



41914. Chimney in the mine's yard



41915. After descending to mid level of the mine, which was adapted for tourist use in the eighties of the past century (tunnels were widened and their height enlarged, new timber supports), the visitors embark on a train where you sit in horse-riding-like arrangement. In the picture: Bartek, Marcin and Marta.



41916. The mine tunnel with rails and different tube infrastructure



41917. The tour is interspersed with stops where a guide (Beata led our group) tells about the mine history and development. It is complemented by the video clips with fragments depicting historic personalities and the miners.



41918. Michał is kissing the salt deposits, dried from the water, on the tunnel wall.



41919. Side tunnel front, filled with old timber



41920. Salt mineral on the ceiling of a once excavated tunnel. The mine is, contrary to situation of other mines, very dry. Only 8.000 liters of water have to be pumped out of the lowest mine hirizons every day.



41921. Salt deposits, left by the evaporated salt water, on the tunnel wall



41922. Side crack in the mine strata, with added supporting timber



41924. Side staircase connecting two different mine horizons. Dry air in the mine enables the timber to stay intact for decades.



41925. Large wooden spindle of an old elevator spindle with rope



41926. Chapel of the Blessed King



41927. Patterns of evaporated salt on the wall, which was not excavated but is the bottom of the ancient sea, turned upwards ...



41928. ... with well discernible shallow sea sand patterns.



41929. One of the statues, carved out of salt, in the side wall of the chapel



41930. The staircase which descends to the mine recreational area includes a wooden slide at the side ...



41931. ... which the vistors can use - like Michał in this picture.



41932. Basketball playground



41933. Restaurant tables and chairs



41934. The tunnel which leads to the ...



41935. ... part of the mine with still water, pumped in to extract salt, and over which the visitors travel in a wooden ferry boat ...



41936. ... operated by two boatmen. They have oars but they are used to propel the boat not by paddling (there is little room for it) but by pushing the boat from the side tunnel walls. The water depth is 60 cm.



41938. Krzysiek on exit from the boat



41939. The first party was waiting for the boat to return with the other half of the group



41940. Water level pole scale



41941. At the end of the tour the visitors could check the minecarts, loaded with excavated mineral, timber and the like.



41942. Here Marta has collected ...



41943. ... some specimen in her hand.



41946. Krzysiek at an old minecart with a large cylinder of excavated mineral



41947. Small macaroni-like salt stalactites on the tunnel ceiling



Wawel Castle in Kraków


41949. Krzystof



41953. Aga



41955. Marcin



41950. Marta



41957. Krzysiek



41952. Asia



41956. Tomek



41954. Iza



41958. View of the castle cathedral of St. Wacław and St. Stanisław with its towers, from the yard



41959. The "bones" of Smok Wawelski / Wawel Dragon on the outer cathedral wall. The dragon's cave below the castle hill was unfortunately closed for visitors at the time.



41960. several side wings and 19 chapels adorn the cathedral, each a small shrine of its own.



41961. Great emphasis is given on the sculptures, usually white, sharply contrasting the black marble walls.



41962. Very special is the black crucifix of queen-saint Jadwiga.



41963. Royal tomb with a venetian baldachine on eight pillars - a play of brown and white



41969. Asia in one of the lower passages



41968. The trail up through the bell tower leads through the supporting timber framework, there are even some narrow passages such as this one with Marcin.



41964. Krzysiek, Asia and the lower bell



41967. The most impressive, on top of the accessible part of the tower, is the king Sigismund bell.



41966. View north to Kraków city from the bell tower



41971. Frederic Chopin memorial plaque, as distinctive as the composer himself



41972. One of the masterpieces in black and white, dedicated to the king Jan III Sobieski



41973. Chapel dome ceilings are another pleasure to look at, such as this white filigree patterned with two storey side windows ...



41974. ... or the one with large top window and with mignon-like trapeze niches ...



41975. ... and richly frescoed one in gold, red and blue.



41976. Tomb of the king Stefan Batory / Stephen Báthory



41977. All together now: Marta, Marcin, the author, Tomek, Iza, Krzystof, Aga, Asia and Krzysiek. The picture was taken by ...



41981. ... Bartek



41978. Sigismund's chapel with a golden dome. It survived the WWII under a layer of tar, applied just in time.



41979. Late afternoon sun on the upper floor colonade, renaissance courtyard of the castle



41980. Long shadows of the visitors exiting the castle, against the sun



41982. View of the Wisła / Vistula river from the trail around the castle



41983. Horse-drawn carriage ride are getting more and more popular - here is one with pink horse head feathers, ...



41984. ... white ones ...



41985. ... and yellow red colour arrangement.



41986. Carriages were always white, here complemented by black horse pair (with white patches).



41987. The Church of St Peter and Paul, a baroque masterpiece



41988. A chandelier in the Ukrainian slow food restaurant, like a maiden skirt



41989. 14th century Saint Mary's Basilica, Main Market Square in Kraków



41990. Rynek Główny / Old Cloth Hall is now exclusively devoted to souvenir shops



  A Visit to Śląsk / Silesia, Jaskinia Miecharska Cave     A Visit to Śląsk / Silesia, Returning from Bielsko-Biała  

This page, text and photos by Primož Jakopin; send inquiries and comments to primoz jakopin guest arnes si (insert dots and at sign as appropriate). Page initiated on October 10, 2018; date of the last change: October 24, 2018.