There is probably no person in Poland who would never hear about Wieliczka. Virtually everyone knows, that it's where Poland's most famous mine is located, where salt has been extracted for hundreds of years. That is the main reason why Wieliczka Salt Mine was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and also why it is eagerly visited by organized groups coming to Kraków.
The history of Cracow Saltworks goes all the way back to the feudal fragmentation in the 12th century. Salt began to be mined in Wieliczka for prince Bolesław the Chaste (the same one who granted the Magdeburg Rights to the district of Kraków). It is mainly Saint Kinga, who happened to be Bolesław's wife that is associated with salt mines. According to the legend, she is the one responsible for 'bringing the salt to Poland'. According to the legend when a young Hungarian princess was set to leave her home and come to meet her future spouse on Wawel Castle, her father asked her whether she would like to receive a parting gift. Saint Kinga did not want anything to herself, she only wanted something she could give to her future subjects. She asked for salt, which has already been mined in Hungary, but not in Poland.
Her father agreed. She went to one of Hungarian saltworks and threw her ring into the shaft. After arriving in Poland she ordered to dig in the place she indicated in what is Wieliczka today. Soon miners discovered a lump of salt with a princess's ring in it. That's how the legend credits Saint Kinga for bringing salt to her new country. The reality may not differ so much from the story- it is highly probable that we do owe the discovery of salt to Saint Kinga, who brought with her Hungarian miners, experienced in mining salt, who knew their trade and managed to find first deposits and build a mine.
Salt Mine business turned out to be very profitable and many people made a fortune on it, including polish royal treasury. It was all overseen by a man called Żupnik who took care of day to day workings of the mine and made sure that a part of the proceeds went to the prince. He received a great compensation for his work, Wieliczka Saltworks Castle, which is open for sightseeing, was built for him. In this castle, you can also see one of a kind collection of salt shakers in a variety of shapes from all around the world.