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Legendary Locations exclusive: Salt Cathedral of Poland, a masterpiece over 400 feet underground

Comprised of all salt, this is a jaw dropping place of worship. Pic credit: Travel Channel
Comprised of all salt, this is a jaw dropping place of worship. Pic credit: Travel Channel

On tonight’s Legendary Locations on Travel Channel hosted by Josh Gates, he examines an ancient cathedral made entirely of salt with artistic renditions of the saints and the Christ all in honed and chiseled salt, buried 20 stories beneath the streets of Wieliczka, Poland.

The famous Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland is exactly 443 feet underground. How the chapel came to be is a modern mystery and a seemingly superhuman feat.

This sacred place is also a declared UNESCO site, a First World Heritage List entrant from 1978. The salt cathedral was also made a Historical Monument by the President of the Republic of Poland back in 1994.

Josh Gates takes us to Wieliczka, part of the Krakow metropolitan area. A guide gives us a first-hand accounting of this amazing tour of this man-made wonder made entirely of salt.

The guide says, “Welcome to the chapel of Wieliczka… the world’s deepest church 30 stories underground [and] crafted by miners. Everything you may see here was carved out of salt, all these reliefs and carved altars, chandeliers and if you’d like to you may even taste it!”

Pointing at the polished floors that look like tile, he adds, “The floor looks like polished marble, but it’s one single block of salt, these are not tiles… it is 100 feet long 60 feet wide.”

Gates does the voiceover in the clip and says,  “Geologists say the treasure of salt from which this Cathedral was made is the residue from a primordial sea that evaporated 13.6 six million years ago, but that explanation of how the villagers got salt here isn’t nearly as fun as the legend.”

What is Legendary Locations?

Explorer Josh Gates (Expedition Unknown) heads to the most arcane and fascinating wonders and fabled places on the plant.

This returning series on Travel Channel has 13 all-new episodes –in an hour-long format for the show’s second season.

In his patented inquisitive style, Gates shares the lore, the stories and the facts about these locations swimming in history, backstories and uncovered secrets.

He employs experts and those locally in the know at each turn.

In a press release from Travel Channel, he says:

“As I continue my travels and adventures, it never ceases to amaze me how many incredible and surprising stories are tucked away in every corner of the globe.

Whether it’s the myth of underground tunnels beneath the city of Portland, Oregon, or Henry Ford’s lost city in the Amazon rainforest, I’m excited to bring our viewers around the world to explore these truly legendary locations.”

Upcoming episodes, from Travel Channel:

End of the World – Premieres Tuesday, April 9 at 10/9c

From West Virginia’s secret underground government bunker to a Japanese town that survived a massive tsunami, Josh Gates highlights legendary locations where the end of the world is just the beginning.

Rock and a Hard Place – Premieres Tuesday, April 16 at 10/9c

Josh Gates takes us to places where perseverance paid off – from a New England town where the wrongfully accused stood their ground to a Japanese mountain where self-starvation for the common good was an honored tradition.

Man vs. Nature – Premieres Tuesday, April 23 at 10/9c

From an abandoned American dream in the Amazon jungle to an abbey in France where countless souls lost their lives, Josh Gates reveals legendary locations where man has battled the forces of nature.

Vocation, Vocation, Vocation – Premieres Tuesday, April 30 at 10/9c

From a samurai smackdown in Japan to a writer finding inspiration at a Boston fort, Josh Gates shares locations where people’s vocations compelled them to act in the name of passion and dedication.

Legendary Locations hosted by Josh Gates premieres Tuesday, April 2 at 10/9c on Travel Channel.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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