About the devil who wanted to hide the silver mines near Olkusz
One of the legends of the town of Olkusz, passed down by generations, tells the story of the silver mines, to which the town owed its prosperity. One day, the devil decided to fill up the excavations that were so valuable for the inhabitants of the region. He took sand from the Baltic Sea in a huge sack and set off towards Olkusz. Along the way, when he lowered his flight near Błędów; the sack caught the church tower and all its contents spilled out, creating the Błędowska Desert. The devil, discouraged by this mishap, according to the proverb “Where the devil himself fails, he sends a woman”, used a river to implement his plan... the river Baba [a pun here: Baba is a not-too-flattering expression for “woman” in Polish], which soon flooded the mine tunnels.
According to historical sources, the rising water level in the rock excavations and the insufficient scope of the drainage system posed a serious problem for local miners from the fifteenth century onwards. The Baba River flooded the Pilecka adit in 1679. Its flood waters also destroyed the Ponikowska adit in 1703 (both adits finally collapsed in 1712).
However, the devil’s plan was not eventually brought to fruition – the mines excavating lead and zinc ores still operate in Olkusz region to this day. In the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums you can see sphalerite and marcasite (Markasyt, “Pomorzany” Mine) from the “Pomorzany” mine which was opened in 1974.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.