Wieliczka is one of the most popular cities of Lesser Poland. It is located not far from Kraków (the approximate distance between the settlements is 13 km). According to the results of archaeological researches, people have been engaged into salt production since 3,500 B.C. The continuous mining in Wieliczka lasted more than 700 years starting from the XIIIth century. Thus the salt mine in Wieliczka is considered to be one of the oldest and longest operating industrial enterprises in Europe. That was one of determinative factors for enlisting it into UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 1996, after the industrial development, personnel of the mine was redirected to creating underground tourist trails, renewal of old workings and cameras, ensuring their stability and security, restoration of old mining machinery and equipment. Now the tourism receipts in several times exceed the income from the industrial exploitation of mines in the past decades. Today there are 194 km of mine workings and 2,400 underground chambers. A visit to the old part of the mine starts from descent on a shaft "Danylowycz" (built in 1635–1642) by wooden staircase consisting of 394 sidesteps which lead to the first floor 'Bono' (the depth is 64 m).
In addition to the tourist sights, Wieliczka salt mine also offers the sanatorium and medical services. At a depth of 135 m there is a sanatorium with a specific underground salt microclimate. At a temperature slightly higher than 10°С and relative humidity of 74-90%, therapeutic aerosol is created, which is helpful in treatment of allergic diseases, bronchial asthma and other respiratory diseases. Main spa treatments offered by the resort are the following: