Salt mines are special compared to other underground excavation sites: once they are closed for extraction purposes, they can be opened for visitors, or for storage purposes—all because of their unique microclimate with natural air-conditioning and constant temperature and atmospheric pressure all year.
Road salt is one of those city services that we take for granted, an invisible network infrastructure with a murky provenance. But though you may not know it, the salt on your roads might come from a sprawling, century-old mine right below your feet.
If opulent isn’t an adjective you’d immediately associate with the mining profession, then you’ve clearly never had a peek inside Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mine. The subterranean marvel (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) has been operational since the first shafts were dug way back in the 13th century, but the decor has…