5. Krakow: Auschwitz & Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Day Trip
The concentration camp in Oświęcim is one of the largest European necropolises and one of the most visited tragic memorials after World War II. It is also a story when humanity falls, KL Auschwitz is a story of bestiality, extermination, but also martyrdom and heroism of prisoners.
The first plans to build a concentration camp in Oświęcim, where barracks of Wehrmacht soldiers were situated, were made at the and od 1939. The reason for the sudden interest in this area was the fact that prisons were overcrowded, which forced German dignitaries to search for a new place to accommodate the prisoners. In February 1942 it was decided to “finally resolve the Jewish problem / ger. Endlösung der Judenfrage /.
The Nazi plans to exterminate the Jews mainly involved mass extermination with the help of the extermination camps created over the years. Auschwitz-Birkenau was one of the main foundations of the organized genocide in which the Nazis mastered the mass extermination of people. The scale of the event and its cruel methods still cause great stir today.
The concentration camp is divided into two parts: Auschwitz and Birkenau.
During the Tour you will see:
– railway platform on which pre-selection took place,
– entrance gate with the inscription “Arbait macht frai”,
– residential barracks for prisoners,
– the entire organized system of extermination of people,
– the death camp area fenced with electric barbed wire,
– gas chambers and furnaces,
original items left by prisoners,
– forced labor places,
– a huge amount of photos, souvenirs, technical plans,
– the historical exhibition and the belongings of the people murdered here.
Wieliczka is a small town located about 15 km from the center of Cracow. Its history is closely related to salt deposits and a mine, which was operating continuously for over 800 years. The salt mine in Wieliczka is a monument inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
From the beginning of its existence, the salt mine was a prince’s property, and then the royal property. The mine was the largest industrial plant in former Poland and one of the largest in Europe. Itoperated for nearly 800 years, during which 26 shafts were bored on nine levels, reaching up to 327 meters into the ground, and salt from 2,040 chambers was extracted. Underneeth Wieliczka there is a labyrinth of almost 300 km (!) of corridors.
The mine is characterized by a unique microclimate, constant temperature (approx. 14-16 ° C), constant pressure, ionization and a high content of potassium, magnesium and calcium in the air, so it is very healthy for a human body, especially for people with upper respiratory tract diseases.
The trip takes about 2-3 hours and it starts with getting exactly 800 steps down. During this underground adventure, participants will see, among others: salt caves, chapels, an underground lake or a ballroom carved in salt. An unforgettable experience.