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The Wieliczka Mine. Beauty Enchanted in Salt

The exhibition was opened on 22 November 2018 and was organised in cooperation with Kopalnia Soli “Wieliczka” S.A., the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Jagiellonian University, the Nature Education Centre of the Jagiellonian University and the Committee for the Protection of the Crystal Grottoes.

The exhibition is curated by: Ewa Koszowska, Jerzy Przybyło and Zbigniew Sawłowicz.

The beauty of the Wieliczka Salt Mine is self-evident. Everyone who visited the beautiful undergrounds certainly remembers the monumental chapels, chambers, lakes and galleries. The creations sculpted by nature and human hand delight every visitor; however, there is also another secret underground world, inaccessible to ordinary tourists, and this extraordinary world is the main feature of this exhibition. The exhibits comprise photographs presenting objects on various scale, from mine-sized to microscopic, archive materials, as well as selected specimens of spectacular forms of primary and secondary salt crystallisation. The subsequent sections of the exhibitions showcase phenomena rarely seen on the tourist route – they introduce the visitors to the issue of the geological structure of the Wieliczka deposit, present the history of the discovery and protection of the first underground rock reserve in Poland  – the Crystal Grottoes, showcase the effects of natural forces seen on various rocks and the impact of saline water, as well as the impact of iron corrosion processes on speleothems. The visitors can see photographs and actual specimens of large halite crystals from the Crystal Grottoes, stalactites, pasta, cauliflowers and other forms of secondary crystallisation halite, including the unique St Kinga’s hair, as well the effects of tectonic processes, which are reflected in the form of folds or faults, speleothems stained with iron compounds formed in the process of its corrosion, as well as tools, which also undergo the very same process. One of the key attractions of the exhibition is the banascope – an invention of Professor Grzegorz Banaszkiewicz, a graphic artist, which is a digital photoplasticon, or a device, which can be used to watch stereoscopic pictures taken by mining geologist Jerzy Przybyło during his work in the mine.