One of the Cracow area's major attractions is the Wieliczka salt mine. In medieval times, salt was as valuable as oil is today. Every European state needed access to salt and having rich mines meant prosperity for the kingdom. Poland has at least 4 salt mines, but this one is the most famous. Miners, whether of salt or coal (as in Silesia to the west of Cracow), have their own distinctive culture and they form a powerful brotherhood typical of those who work in very dangerous professions. The salt miners were also devout; as self-taught sculptors, they carved many statues and chapels in the mines. The top photo portrays the legend of St. Kinga, a Hungarian princess who married a Polish king and is credited with founding the Wieliczka salt mine.
Theodosia (Teddy) Robertson
- Raised in California, graduated from Dominican College, Phd in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Indiana University. Teaching at UM-Flint since 1986 in the History Department. Retired 2012, but continues to love teaching (online), writing, and research.