Monday, December 27, 2010

EUROPE: POLAND: CENTURIES OLD SALT MINE CHAPEL 200 METERS BELOW GROUND

NEWSPL. REPORT: Christmas Eve celebrations have already started in the Wieliczka salt mine, near Krakow, where carols sung by the miners and their families echoed from the St. Kinga chapel,200 meters below ground level.

The special Christmas mass began at 7 am this morning.

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Entrance to the Salt mine (Nadszybie Daniłowicza)
Entrance with
headframe
St Barbara's statue
St Barbara
carved in rock salt
Da Vinci's "The Last Supper", carved in salt
Da Vinci's "The Last Supper"
carved in a wall of rock salt
Salt statue of Pope John Paul II
Salt statue
of Pope John Paul II

This underground sanctuary and its salt sculptures had been created in the 18th century.

The first midnight mass was said on Christmas Eve 1865.

The tradition had been interrupted after World War Two when the communist authorities banned the celebrations giving safety precautions as a reaso and were resumed in the late 1980s.

WHAT IS THE MINE? WIKIPEDIA SOURCE: The Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, lies within the Kraków metropolitan area. Themine continuously produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007 as one of the world's oldest operating salt mines (the oldest being the Bochnia Salt Mine). It is believed to be the world's 14th-oldest company still in operation.

The mine's attractions for tourists include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually.

Commercial mining was discontinued in 1996 due to low salt prices and mine flooding.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wieliczka_Salt_Mine

http://www.thenews.pl/national/artykul146138_salt-mine-echoes-to-sound-of-christmas-carols.html

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