Wieliczka

  • Wieliczka

    Situated right on the outskirts of Krakow, Wieliczka is widely known for its salt mine, the oldest in the world, inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 1978. The local salt mining tradition dates back to Neolithic times; it is already attested to by documents from the 11th century.

    Wieliczka

    Wieliczka

    Situated right on the outskirts of Krakow, Wieliczka is widely known for its salt mine, the oldest in the world, inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 1978. The local salt mining tradition dates back to Neolithic times; it is already attested to by documents from the 11th century.

    Pic. Paweł Mazur

  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe

    In 1790 Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) accompanied Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, as his “secret councillor” and minister, during the duke’s journey around Silesia. During this excursion, whose purpose is not entirely clear – it was probably connected with scientific (geological), but maybe also with military matters – he visited Krakow as well (on the 5th-7th of September) and the salt mine in Wieliczka (most probably on the 6th of September).

    Johann Wolfgang Goethe

    In 1790 Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) accompanied Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, as his “secret councillor” and minister, during the duke’s journey around Silesia. During this excursion, whose purpose is not entirely clear – it was probably connected with scientific (geological), but maybe also with military matters – he visited Krakow as well (on the 5th-7th of September) and the salt mine in Wieliczka (most probably on the 6th of September).

    In Krakow, they stayed in the corner house at 36 Market Square, which belonged to a town councillor named Bartsch – back then, this was a first-rate inn. And that is, in fact, all we know.

    Only one piece relating to this journey to Poland has survived in Goethe’s notebook, a piece written before he arrived in Krakow, which begins with these words: “Ach wir sind zur Qual geboren…”, which may be interpreted as an expression of a Polish patriot’s suffering, as is by Stanisław Krzyżanowski, or as an expression of “general human longing evoked by the sad charm of a Polish autumn day, to which the artist’s individuality is opposed in its vivid force.”

    To commemorate Goethe’s visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a statute of the poet was created by a miner and sculptor, Józef Kowalczyk, and situated at the entrance to the Weimar Chamber. [ezp].