Category Archives: Poland

Wawel Castle – Cathedral

In 2010 the Polish president was buried here among the kings of Poland after he died in a suspicious plane crash in Russia, together with 91 other people.

The plane crashed on its way to Katyn to commemorate the 1940 massacre of Polish prisoners of war by Berea’s (Putin’s predecessor) NKVD. The Russians denied culpability until 1990 when they revealed that Stalin himself approved the order.

Approximately 22 000 people, high officers, the intelegensia, landowners, factory owners, priests, lawyers, –  were gunned down in the Katyn forest near Smolensk in Russia.

The Polish do not think it is a coincidence that once again Polish leaders are killed, and that in Russia, on their way to Katyn.

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Kopalinia Sol – Wieliczka

It amuses me to use products from the region, so I had to have salt from the Wieliczka mine while I was in Krakow. Fool that I am, I was thrilled every time I used it 🙂 I was even silly enough to take one of those small packets of salt from the cafeteria in the mine. Saw it again the other day, it is still floating around in my bag, contriving to travel with me. Sometimes I do wonder if I don’t perhaps get attached too easily 😀

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They are quite proud of their mine and it got on the list as a UNESCO world heritige site already in 1978. Salt was mined here since the 13th century, so for more than 750 years. All workers were always free, no slave labour was ever used here. Mining was stopped in 2007, – too much flooding in relation to the price of salt. Today salt is extracted from the water they have to keep pumping from the mine. Perhaps this method could have saved them a lot of touble for centuries 😉

The workers used to live in the mine and left an unbelievable legacy. They kept horses there as well, the men at least got to get out from time to time but the poor horses spent their lives never seeing the sun.

When you first enter the mine it seems more like a wood mine than a salt mine. So much of the corridors are lined with wood. The wood is so salted it is probably preserved for ever.

This is their cathedral. It is cut from the (salt)rock deep in the mine. Even the chandeliers are salt crystal. This wasn’t made by trained artists, but by the miners themselves. Just goes to show if you do something a lot you get good at it.. You have to care as well off course.

Some of the statues were made later, the one of pope John Paul, an earlier bishop of Krakow. Janow Pavlov is his naam in Polish so I suspect the plaque is for him. There is also a statue of him.

Copernicus (also Polish) was also added later. Goethe isn’t a local, but he visited the mine and they added him. Chopin was also there, but I didn’t see him, perhaps too thin..

Casimir was their king, I don’t remember when he was made, but I seem to think he was in an older part of the mine.

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An exhibition of crystals from the mine.

Death at the Cathedral

Sometimes I am very naive and don’t realise how many jobs there are in the world.

This is seemingly a good job opportunity for a married man and he made dead certain I paid for the photos!

On the big market square in Krakau in Poland (according to them the biggest market square in Europe) beside the Basylica Mariacka w Krakowie (or St Mary’s Basilica in Cracow) he takes up his position in the morning.

I heard every living soul who was born there in the past, died – scary if you think about it 😉

Maybe that is his message.

You can see the guy knows his trade, the sickle is securely fastened. Perhaps for tourists who are unwilling to pay!