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A borough with a population nearing 50,000 located in a pretty valley outside Krakow, Wieliczka is known far and wide primarily for its ancient salt mine.
Considered Poland’s first wonder, the Salt Mine was inscribed in the UNESCO List of Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1978 as one of the twelve original sites. „The historical salt mine in Wieliczka is the only mine in the world where production has been practiced since the Middle Ages and has never been closed. “With all the original excavations – corridors, ramps, excavation chambers, lakes, wells and shafts – preserved, the evolution of the mining process throughout the centuries is perfectly illustrated here,” states the Justification for the inscription of the Salt Mine in the UNESCO List. The range of historical objects on display recalls the exciting history and the salt roots of this mining town.
Also dating back to the 13th century is Wieliczka castle which, since its beginnings, has been the administrative seat of the Krakow Salinas (salt mines and salt works in Bochnia and Wieliczka). These salt mines were often visited by king Casimir the Great. The perfectly preserved chessboard-like street pattern of the town centre goes back to his time, as do the fortifications of the town with its twenty-nine towers, of which only one, dating from the 14th century, has survived. These days, the Castle houses the Krakow Salt Works Museum, which holds the world’s largest collection of salt cellars, as well as treasures from the Bronze Age and a display presenting the history of Wieliczka.
St. Clement’s Parish Church is located in the vicinity of the Castle.
One of the key priorities for borough authorities is economic development. The borough strategy for 2007-2013 caters to the needs of both tourism and a dynamically developing property market. Wieliczka’s strategy aims at ensuring sustained development for the town and the borough, with a special focus on a growth of residential and commercial areas, particularly tourism and industrial clusters. In line with its Long-Term Investment Plan, 300 tasks will be completed as part of 18 key projects in the years 2007- 2013, totalling 448 million zlotys in value. The sum of 200 million zlotys has been allocated to investment projects relating to the building of a sewer system and road infrastructure. Investment expenditure is four times higher than in previous years. The rate of growth is reflected in the 2008 budget of the borough, which envisages a 100% increase of investment compared to last year. The key investment objectives correspond to the Long-Term Development Plan and the Development Strategy for the borough of Wieliczka, which provide for investing in the development of tourism and the enhancement of the existing tourist facilities.
The newly prepared study for the zoning plan has extended the areas available for investment to 200 hectares.