BOCHNIA SALT MINE:
Participants in the conference will see the mine on the third day of the conference, 21.11.2018.
Right after the arrival at Bochnia in the Campi elevator shaft top, the participants of the conference will see an important technological monument – still operable steam engine from 1909, with which 100 trolleys with salt per shift were hauled up from the shaft counting 10 levels. The machine was in operation as long as 1996. It will also be possible for visitors to acquaint themselves with minerals, rocks and salt forms to be found in the Bochnia mine. The conference participants will be taken down on an elevator to the 4th level called August, to the depth of 176 metres underground. Next, they will ride 1 km on a train to the shaft bottom of the oldest shaft in the mine, Sutoris, from the 13th c. From there, the participants will get by galleries and another elevator to the Ważyn Chamber, located at the depth of 248 metres underground. It is the biggest (255 m long, 15 m wide and 7 m high) chamber in the mine. Its single modules will be venues for conference proceedings and meals.
After the end of the proceedings, the participants will continue sightseeing in the mine in language groups of maximum 25 people and with guides. The route will cover about 4 kilometres, and the sightseeing will last for 3 hours. A special route will be prepared for the participants in the conference, combining elements of a tourist, multimedia, nature and pilgrim’s routes. Along the route, the visitors will see galleries and chambers of unique shapes and geological structures, marks left by manual and mechanical technique of deposit mining, various supports in the excavations, salt sculptures, as well as historic tools and mining devices. Familiarisation with diverse aspects of activity in the Bochnia mine will be facilitated by multimedia. The visitors will meet people who have been brought back to life: Polish kings, merchants from Genoa and a ghost of a Cistercian. Stages in development of mining technology throughout the ages will be presented with the use of special broadcasts, animation and presentations, as will be episodes of fight with elements threatening the mine. The biggest asset in the mine, however, will be its raw and natural character. The visitors will see a complex of narrow and perpendicular Christian Chambers, the Mysiur Chamber, where in the 18th c. there was a stable for horses and whose interior has been preserved in a virtually unchanged form since then. They will also get a look at St. Kinga’s Chapel from 1747 with a beautiful altar and salt sculptures. The legend has it that it was right there that rock salt was discovered in Poland. The brave ones will be able to go down a 139-metre-high wooden slide, situated in a dip-heading, leading back to the Ważyn Chamber. The less brave will get there by going down 307 steps along the slide, and the even less brave – on an elevator, after a roundabout route along galleries.
The sightseeing participants will go also to the eastern, older regions of the mine called “Old Mountains”. This part is intended for people who are physically fit and have no problems with moving around. It features Stations of the Cross, situated along the Regis stairs leading up, referring to the road covered by Jesus on the way to the Golgotha Hill. There are beautiful, rarely visited chapels of Passionis and Crucyfix with polychromies from the 18th c. The participants will also go by the so-called Horse Road – narrow galleries along which horses working in the mine walked in the past to lower levels.
Nonetheless, equally important will be the geological qualities of this region. Various types of salt and minerals constituting the deposit will be well visible here: striped and crystal salt, gypsum and anhydrite, including the characteristic “bowel stone” anhydrite with folds, clay rocks and mud stones, as well as tuff layers (volcanic ash), being a sign of the presence of once active volcanos in the region. Owing to these layers, the age of the Bochnia deposit was established precisely as 13.6 million years. On the route, the participants in the excursion will also get to know places where a halite fluorescence, unique in Polish mines, has been discovered recently. It will also be possible to see how chambers and salt galleries are subject, as a result of pressure exerted by the surrounding rock, to continuous, slow clamping. In certain places, there will be marks of completely converged workings: wooden fragments or hemp lines sticking all of a sudden from smooth sides. They are accompanied by beautiful salt drip-stones, efflorescence, cauliflowers and fibrous salt. On the deepest visited level, Sienkiewicz, the excursion participants will reach Chamber 81, where they will lengthwise cross by boat a brine-flooded working.
After the sightseeing is finished, the conference participants will return to the Ważyn Chamber.