The history of Wieliczka dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was proudly named the Magnum Sal – the Great Salt. In the 13th century it was known as the largest source of salt in Poland, and over the years it became crucial for the country’s economy. The mine is currently one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments, whose attractions include dozens of statues and four chapels carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The older sculptures have been supplemented with new carvings made by contemporary artists. A wooden staircase provides access to the mine’s 64-metre level. A 3-kilometre tour features corridors, chapels, statues, and underground lake, 135 metres underground. An elevator returns visitors to the surface, it takes about 30 seconds.