The inhabitants of the Foothills won't let you forget about the past by creating museums and cultural institutions. We present the ones that are definitely worth visiting!
Being in Bochnia, you must visit the place where salt has been mined since the mid-13th century. The mine was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013. We especially recommend choosing the route including the underground crossing by boat. Do you want to feel like a medieval warrior? Not a problem. The Ploughmen Settlement Archaeological Park in Bochnia will take you back to Middle Ages. The Bochnia archaeological open-air museum is a place where you can try your hand at ancient crafts. You can find out that small is beautiful by visiting the Arthropoda Butterfly Museum in Bochnia. The facility was founded on the basis of a private collection, and has over 4,500 butterfly specimens from around the world in its collection. We also recommend visiting the exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Ciężkowice. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by thousands of tourists every year. A few-hour walk with a guide allows you to learn about the history of the mine and mining industry. An amazing journey through underground chambers and corridors – the view of salt lakes, salt sculptures and statues will be remembered for a long time. We can get underground using the Regis shaft, which has been used to transport extracted salt for centuries. The mine houses the Crystal Caves nature reserve, however, due to the risk of harmful changes in the microclimate that may result in crystal corrosion, it is not available for mass sightseeing. It is also worth visiting the Krakow Saltworks Museum, where you will find as many as 20,000 mining related exhibits. Two exhibitions are available for visitors: one underground – located on the third level of the historic salt mine at a depth of 135 m and another one on the surface – in the medieval Saltworks Castle. After a long day of sightseeing, we recommend resting by the graduation tower.
In Nowy Wiśnicz, located not far from Bochnia, it is worth visiting the Museum of the Wiśnicz Land, which is part of the castle complex. You can find there, among others files, manuscripts, copies, posters, photographs depicting the town, Judaica, relics from the Carmelite church, and even original shackles from the Wiśnicz prison and the only preserved pre-war gala uniform of the Prison Guard. One of the most valuable exhibits is the 17th-century richly ornamented cannon barrel with the Szreniawa coat of arms and the initials of Stanisław Lubomirski, found in 2006 during the construction of the stadium.
In turn, the atmosphere of the great world of culture can be felt in Lusławice. It is the location of Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre For Music – a meeting place for young musicians and their masters.
Being in Biecz, it is worth visiting the Museum of the Biecz Land located in 4 buildings: Kromerówka in a Renaissance bourgeois tenement house from 1519, House with a Tower, i.e. a historic bourgeois tenement house from 1523, the Smith's Tower dating back to the Middle Ages and a turma under the town hall tower, i.e. the ancient prison.
In Stróże we will visit the beekeeping open-air museum, and in the Municipal Museum “Pod Wagą” in Zakliczyn we will see traditional everyday items. It is also worth going to the open-air museum of Wooden Folk Architecture in Dobczyce, which gathers former rural buildings. Similar exhibits were collected in the Foothills Village Open-air Museum in Szymbark.
At the Museum of the Oil Industry and Ethnography in Libusza, located on the Mine-Industrial Route, we will move to the beginning of the Polish oil industry. In the town 4 km away from Biecz, two former oil industry workers, Anna and Tadeusz Pabis, gathered real relics of the past, including an oil distillery, a mine forge from the mid-19th century, ceramic gallons for kerosene and paraffin. In the “Grociarnia” regional chamber in Jastrzębia you can see old working methods and tools as well as discover the everyday life of the region's inhabitants. The oldest exhibit in the room is the drużbak, a well boarding cut out in the trunk of a tree. It is estimated that the tree can be up to 400 years old and the exhibit itself close to 200.