The Castle in Wieliczka was the historical seat of the mine’s management board between the 13 th century and 1945. Currently, the facility is made available to tourists and is the official seat of the Cracow Saltworks of Wieliczka.
Saltworks Castle was constructed at the end of the 13th century as an administrative centre of one of the largest enterprises in Europe: the Cracow Saltworks*. It performed its function incessantly for almost 700 years. The unique value of the Castle resulted in its inclusion in theunesco World Heritage List.
The Castle regulated the life of the saltworks employees; it housed a court, a prison, a saltworks kitchen and a chapel. From the castle tower, miners were summoned to work and tools were distributed from its warehouses, along with tallow for lighting the work places in the mine. Wages were paid in the Castle; the Castle also accommodated premises for most important saltworks officials. In the Austrian times, tourists could buy tickets to the salt mine here. In 1945, the Central Castle was damaged by Soviet bombing. Renovated at the effort of the Cracow Saltworks Museum Wieliczka, it opened its doors to visitors in 1985.
*The Cracow Saltworks is the former royal salt enterprise, encompassing salt mines in Wieliczka and in Bochnia, saltworks and infrastructure related to salt production, and the Saltworks Castle. At the end of the 14th century, it supplied approx. 1/3 of all revenues of the Royal Treasury. A mine administrator directly subject to the king held highest position in the saltworks.