The Bochnia Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and the oldest one in Poland. The mine was established between the 12th and 13th centuries after salt was first discovered in Bochnia, and became part of the Royal mining company żupy krakowskie (Kraków salt works).
The mine was closed some time after World War I. In 1981 it was declared a heritage monument. The site is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments, as designated October 6, 2000, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.
The mine shafts measure 4.5 kilometres in length at about 330–468 metres in depth below the surface, at 16 different levels. The August Passage is the main communication and transportation route in the mine. It runs from the east to the west of mine, connecting in a straight line the bottom ends of the Campi and Sutoris shafts. It is situated at a depth of 176m - from the top of the Sutoris shaft and the depth of 212m counting from the top of the Campi shaft. The August Passage was initially called the Long Stove. Its first part, extending between the Rabsztyn Chute and a Campi Shaft was built in the years 1723-1743, in accordance with a design by Jan Gottfried borlach. His great achievements was to regulate routes in the mine by ensuring their straightening and leveling. As a result of this, over the next decades, the August Passage was able to reach a length of nearly 3-km. Excavated chambers, shafts and passages form an underground town, which is now open to sightseers. The largest of the preserved chambers has been converted into a sanatorium.
The Ważyn Chamber was named after the name of the administrator Andrzej Ważyński. The deepness of this chamber, the biggest in Bochnia Salt Mine, is 248m, its length - 255m, its maximum width 14,4m and maximum height 7,2m. The chamber uses no supporting pillars. Salt from Ważyn chamber was extracted from 1697 until the 1950s.
In 2013 the mine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the Wieliczka Salt Mine inscription of 1978.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.