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:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.