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 first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.