CHAPEL OF THE BLESSED KINGA
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The amazing Chapel of the Blessed Kinga sits at one of the deepest parts of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It is said that Kinga threw her ring into a salt mine in Hungary and whilst travelling to Kraków she stopped at Wieliczka and told her servants to dig a well. This they did, but found not water but salt and in the first lump of salt they found her ring. For the next seven centuries salt was mined here and the mines were turned into one of the wonders of Eastern Europe which are rightly on the World Heritage List.
In 1697 miners were banned from taking any wooden statues into the main chapel here after a terrible fire, and so they began to carve the fixtures and fittings from rock salt. This has become known as the Chapel of the Blessed Kinga and is quite amazing.
Everything here is carved from rock salt the walls, the statues, the stairs, even the chandeliers! Such is its fame that amongst its many visitors can be included Copernicus, Goethe, Humboldt, Baden-Powell, Bill Clinton and, of course, Pope John Paul II who is honoured with his own salt statue.
The Chapel of the Blessed Kinga is just the finale of an astonishing tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a truly unique place.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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