What the fuck, you may ask. I’m right there with you, dear reader. I don’t know what the fuck either. “Wieliczka” is a health resort located in Poland, which might make sense of why locals would prefer to spend their vacations underground.
How do you monetize an abandoned salt mine? As it turns out, hyper saline water has therapeutic benefits for cardiopulminary issues. Visitors with such conditions come to soak in the water, under the supervision of medically qualified staff.
However that’s not all there is to do. Bring your kids! Polish children love to be left in caves, according to some highly credible folktales from the 1500s I’ve read. Either they find their way out by themselves or they are not fit to carry on the family name. Such is Polish tradition, it is not ours to question.
For reals though they somehow built a miniature amusement park with a handful of functioning rides in a partly flooded subterranean chamber. You can rent a boat and paddle the fuck around thinking “Holy monkey mary, I’m boating underground. Finally I have a story I can upstage that fuck Dave with at the next office party.”
Commercial mining stopped in 1996, due in part to that flooding. During its use, the miners carved four chapels out of solid rock so that during breaks they could pray that the mine wouldn’t flood. Unfortunately God is a fire type Pokemon and thus powerless against water, so it flooded anyway.
The lengths to which they’ve gone to decorate it and make it feel homey, even comfortable bring to mind City of Ember. I could imagine places like this becoming multigenerational refuges for survivors of nuclear war, living out their lives, starting families, growing old and dying underground while they wait for surface radiation to subside.
Coober Pedy in Australia furnishes a real world example of a subterranean town, albeit in their case they live that way due to the lethally sweltering surface heat. I could imagine subterranean cities being preferable to life on the surface were we to get serious about colonizing Antarctica though.
The whole thing is about 327 meters (one fifth of a mile) deep, and 287 kilometers (178 miles) long. Deep enough to survive anything short of a direct hit with bunker busters. This quality attracted the Nazis to the notion of setting up various industrial activities in support of the war effort in this mine, insulated against bombing. However Soviet encroachment upon Poland by that point in the war meant that project didn’t get far.
It’s crazy to think about what amazing stuff like this is hidden underground. Most people don’t even know this place exists. I’ve collected information on dozens of other equally astonishing subterranean oddities. It’s a part of the planet that usually goes overlooked. There’s shit down there that looks like an irl Minecraft build.
Anyway that’s all for now. If you’re flush with crypto and need vacation ideas, you can hardly beat the Wieliczka salt mine resort from a novelty standpoint. None of your friends will have done anything remotely comparable, and you’re certain to make some unique memories by visiting such an anomaly.
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