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Underground Splendour: Wieliczka Salt Mine Hosts European Games' Flame of Peace and Medals
The Path of the Flame of Peace
Beginning its journey from the shores of the Baltic Sea, the Flame of Peace of the European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 plunged 125 meters deep into the earth at the "Wieliczka" Salt Mine on June 5. This subterranean level will host the flame throughout the duration of the Games (ending on July 2), within a salt sculpture, promoting the ideals of the Olympic values and the leading motto of the European Games beginning on June 21 in Malopolska: "We are unity."
Solemn Handover of the Flame of Peace
The ceremonial handover of the Flame of Peace to the mine gathered numerous dignitaries, among which were Kamil Bortniczuk, Minister of Sport and Tourism, Deputy Minister of State Assets Andrzej Śliwka, and Marshal of the Malopolska Voivodeship, Witold Kozłowski. During the ceremony, a salt sculpture housing the Flame of Peace was unveiled, and the European Games' medals to be awarded to the winners were presented.
Markers of Enthusiasm
The Minister of Sport and Tourism, Kamil Bortniczuk, expressed his excitement: "Not just sport, but the whole country is celebrating. We have the opportunity to present ourselves as a stable, safe country capable of organizing world-class sports events. A big thank you to everyone who helped us reach this point, we had to endure a lot to achieve this. A bright future awaits us, with the prospect of organizing even more ambitious projects."
Symbols of Peace and Tradition
The medals for the third European Games were made from recycled metals, such as electronic materials and unused jewelry. The medals feature graphic references to symbols of peace, Polish history, and Malopolska traditions.
Underground Journey of the Flame of Peace
The Flame of Peace arrived at Wieliczka in the afternoon. It was transferred to a mining lamp and then descended into the earth's depths. Mine workers - miners, guide, and orchestra musicians - conveyed it to the Stanisław Staszic chamber at a depth of 125 m, where it will be overseen by the mine crew and admired by visitors from around the world until the end of the European Games.
Fire and Salt: Symbols of Unity and Truth
The Flame of Peace in the miner's lamp reminds us of Olympic values such as honor, honesty, solidarity. The President of the "Wieliczka" Salt Mine, Paweł Nowak, noted: "The Flame of Peace has a symbolic dimension. In the past, the flame carried in a lantern gave miners encouragement, allowed them to find their way, and dispelled the darkness of the mine. It was a companion and guide. Today, 125 meters underground, we have placed the Flame of Peace on salt, which for centuries has been a source of Poland's wealth."
Unique Salt Sculptures
In the Wieliczka Salt Mine, miners created a powerful pedestal for the Flame of Peace in the shape of a miner's helmet, topped with a salt sculpture representing the Games' logo. The sculpture was created by talented miner-sculptor Jan Banaś. At the center of the composition is a mining lamp with a flame, guarded by salt sculptures of the Games' mascots: Dragon Krakus and Salamander Sandra.
Marcin Nowak, President of the Organizing Committee, stressed the excellent cooperation with the "Wieliczka" Mine, stating: "Our presence in this extraordinary place is another stage of the journey of the Flame of Peace. Today is also a special day because the medals that will soon be won by our athletes have been shown. I deeply believe that on the first day of the Games at least one of these medals will end up around the neck of a Polish athlete. I invite everyone to the biggest event of 2023 in Europe."Wstecz
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Book a guided tour and descend 135 meters underground to admire a hidden treasure inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Marvel at an underground temple, lake, ballroom, and more. Take a guided tour of the Wilieczka Salt Mine.