Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

by Starre Vartan

The Wieliczka Salt Mine has existed — and been recognized as a marvel — for so long that its famous visitors include Copernicus, Goethe and Chopin. This incredibly unique space was officially recognized as a UNESCO heritage site in 1978 but had been used as a salt mine near Krakow, Poland, since the 13th century.

During the Renaissance, it was one of the biggest businesses in Europe, since salt was recognized as a key ingredient for safe food preservation. The mine continued to produce salt until the late 1990s, but now it’s one of Poland’s main tourist attractions with over a million visitors every year.

It’s pretty obvious why so many flock to see it. This large complex more than 1,000 feet underground is a marvel of centuries of human construction and decoration. The entire mine is over 178 miles long, but only part of that is open to visitors, who can take a two-mile-long tour of the various rooms and artworks.

The oldest art was created by the miners themselves, and in recent years artists and artisans have added to the craftsmanship, sculptures and reliefs throughout the public areas of the mines.

In addition to the chapel pictured at the top of this page, there are many other decorated spaces and tunnels. One chamber’s walls were carved to resemble wood, as churches were built of at the time, while others feature Disney-like recreations of history in the mines.

In the 19th century, huge chandeliers — made of salt crystal, of course — were brought in to fill the spaces with light. There’s even a lake (above) and a grotto (below).

Surprisingly, there’s also a health resort within the mine — the air is said to be beneficial to those who have respiratory issues. You can visit for the day or stay overnight to experience what the website calls “subterraneotherapy.”

Staying overnight in the salt caves could be a unique adventure — accommodations are in the Stable Chamber, which used to be where the horses were kept in the 12th century when horses were used to power salt excavations. According to the resort’s site: “…there is no pollution in which the environment on the surface abounds today; there are no allergens, bacteria and fungi, or harmful electromagnetic radiation, either.” Sounds peaceful, for sure.

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/blogs/subterranean-polish-city-carved-out-salt

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by Elyse Wanshel

Poland is kicking the concept of a traditional bike trail to the curb.

On Sept. 23, the rural town of Lidzbark Warminski opened a short biking path that glows blue in the dark. Charging by day via the sun, the special section of trail is a new addition to a larger recreation path that leads up to Wielochowskie Lake.

European engineering company TPA sp. z o.o designed the technology that lights this segment of the bike path. The asphalt contains synthetic particles called “luminophores,” which at night emit power captured from sunlight, creating the electric blue hue. TPA says the glow lasts up to 10 hours, according to Polish newspaper Gazeta Olsztyńska.

This segment of bike trail isn’t just pretty; it’s also supposed to be practical.

“We hope that the glowing bicycle path will help prevent bicycle and pedestrian accidents at night,” Igor Ruttmar, TPA president and CEO, told ABC News. “It’s a problem here in Poland, especially in the areas farther from the cities that are darker and more invisible in the night.”

For now, only 328 feet of the bike path glows at night. Ruttmar told ABC News that TPA may expand the project.

“We want to test out this short section,” he told the outlet. “See how it endures the winter and then create a plan to make it longer.”

Other European nations have ventured down similar tracks. Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch designer created a “Starry Night” bike trail, which was installed in 2014 in the town of Eindhoven, where Van Gogh lived for a few years.

And in 2013, Christ’s Pieces Park in Cambridge, England, covered 1,614 square feet of path with a spray-on, glow-in-the-dark coating called “Starpath,” made by the U.K.-based company Pro-Teq Surfacing.

A Polish woman who spent 11 hours in cold storage in a mortuary after being declared dead has returned to her family, complaining of feeling cold. Officials say Janina Kolkiewicz, 91, was declared dead after an examination by the family doctor. However, mortuary staff were astonished to notice movement in her body bag while it was in storage. The police have launched an investigation.

Back home, Ms Kolkiewicz warmed up with a bowl of soup and two pancakes. Her family and doctor said they were in shock, according to the website of the Polish newspaper Dziennik Wschodni.

The woman’s niece, in the eastern Polish town of Ostrow Lubelski, summoned the doctor after coming home one morning to find that her aunt did not seem to be breathing or to have a pulse. After examining the woman, the family doctor declared her dead and wrote out her death certificate.

The body was taken to the mortuary and preparations were made for a funeral in two days’ time. “I was sure she was dead,” Dr Wieslawa Czyz told the television channel TVP. “I’m stunned, I don’t understand what happened. Her heart had stopped beating, she was no longer breathing,” Dr Czyz said.

However, the mortuary staff called some hours later to report that the woman was not yet dead, her niece told Dziennik Wschodni. The death certificate has been declared invalid, the newspaper says.

Ms Kolkiewicz told her relatives she felt “normal, fine” after returning home. She is apparently unaware of how near she came to the grave. “My aunt has no inkling of what happened since she has late-stage dementia,” Bogumila Kolkiewicz, her niece, told local media.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30048087