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:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.