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The Sutoris Bochnia shaft - Obiekt - VisitMalopolska

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Szyb Sutoris Bochnia

The Sutoris Bochnia shaft

Szyb i zabudowania nadszybia.
ul. Solna, 32-700 Bochnia Tourist region: Pogórza
tel. +48 146926752
tel. +48 146926754
It is one of the first shafts in the Bochnia salt mine, first struck in the middle of the 13th century and the oldest still functioning mining shaft in Europe. In 2013, the unique mine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the vicinity of Bochnia, salt from evaporated brine was obtained as early as 3500 BC and the history of its extraction began from brine wells. The beginnings of the mine in Bochnia date back to 1248, when rock salt was discovered during the deepening of the well. In 1251, mining began in the Sutoris shaft. The mine was a profitable royal enterprise. In 1368, King Kazimierz Wielki issued the so-called Salt works Statutes defining the rules for the sale of salt. From the 13th century to 1772, the mine was part of the Krakow Salt works.


The oldest Sutoris shaft is associated with the legend of Saint Kinga's ring, which says that it was here that the Duchess found a lump of salt with her engagement ring embedded in it. In the past, the shaft was called Szewczy or Szewcza Góra, and this word (meaning shoemaker in English) in Latin is sutor, hence the name of the shaft. It has been known under this name since 1397, since the shoemakers' guild had a large share in the extracted salt.


The original shaft depth of 60–70 metres is the same as the present first level of the Danielowiec shaft. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Sutoris was one of the main mining shafts. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the mine developed and new shafts were built. In the 17th century, its development was hampered by wars, the economic crisis, and the exhaustion of readily available resources and technical limitations. Deeper mining began in the 18th century. The Sutoris shaft was launched again, which in 1830 reached a depth of 176 metres, i.e. the level of August, today a fragment of the underground tourist route.


In 1874, the first steam hoisting machine in the mine was installed above the shaft. In the years 1905–1906, the headlamp buildings designed by Ferdinand Liebling were built. In the years 1993–1995, the tower was replaced and the shaft opening was widened.


When the mine reached a depth of 468 metres, its exploitation was considered unprofitable and in 1990 mining was stopped. Today, tourists and patients use the mine's historic buildings.


In the years 2017–2020, work was carried out in the vicinity of the Sutoris shaft to make new workings available to visitors. Stairs were built in the shaft, enabling descents to the mine and the creation of a tourist route. The works are to be completed in 2021.