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ECM 20, Krakow, Poland

August 25th - 31st 2001

The 20th European Crystallography Meeting was held in Krakow in August 2001. Those attending from the Chemical Crystallography Laboratory in Oxford were:
Professor Keith Prout and Dr Richard Cooper.

Click on a picture for a larger version.

The Setting

This church, Kosciol Mariacki, dominates the town square. There has been a church on this site since the early 13th century. The "hejnal" (a bugle alarm) is played from this tower every hour and on Polish Radio at noon. Legend has it that a Tartar arrow pierced the throat of the bugler whilst giving the alarm; in commemoration the bugle call breaks off suddenly. Krakow
The Cloth Hall in the centre of the town square. Designed in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 16th after a fire. Krakow
The town square again. Krakow is regarded as Poland's cultural and scientific capital. It was the seat of the Polish kings from the 13th until the 17th century. Krakow

The Conference

Simon Parsons and
 Howard Flack discussing twinning The twinning workshop was held the day before the main conference began and attracted around 20 participants. Following a morning of lectures and tutorial discussion sessions, there was an afternoon practical session (pictured here) where people could try out different software packages for handling twinning.
Michal Husak's 3D
 structure visualisation software and hardware. Michal Husak's 3D structure visualisation kit. Turning your head from side to side allows you to look around the molecule and you can move backwards and forwards through it. The gun allows you to SHOOT a probe atom through the structure and it will stick in an area of high electon density / void!
Accommodation The student accommodation. Small but functional.

The Salt Mine

Wieliczka is about 10km out of Krakow. It is Europe's oldest working salt mine and is now over 700 years old. Here is a statue of the great Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Saltmine
St. Anthony's Chapel (65m below ground) is the oldest surviving underground chapel dating from the 17th century. The miner's used to pray here that they would find some nice salt. Saltmine
The pulpit, made of Salt, and a statue of St. Peter. Saltmine
A salt chandelier. The giant salt crystals are from a nearby salt cave. Saltmine
Some salt statues tell the story of the legend of Kinga's ring. According to the legend, princess Kinga, before marrying the Polish king, threw her engagement ring into a shaft of the Maramures salt mine, and the ring travelled miraculously with the salt rock deposit to Wieliczka. Miners drilling a shaft in the place indicated by the princess found salt. The princess's engagement ring was found in the first block of salt delved out. Since then Kinga has been considered patron of salt miners. Saltmine
Casimir the Great, a Polish king who introduced laws to regulate mining, employment, and salt trade in 1368. Saltmine
This strange little salt dwarf is said to grant a couple of wishes. If you kiss his beard you will get married; if you kiss his bottom, then you will get divorced. Ugh. Salty. Saltmine
This is just a long tunnel with some water running down one side of it. There are over 300km of tunnels in the mine, so it's not wise to go wandering off from the tour. Saltmine
A huge underground chapel dedicated to the "Blessed Kinga", the life-work Jozef and Tomasz Markowski and Antoni Wyrodek. Saltmine
Another view from the top of the chapel. The chandeliers are made of ... wait for it ... salt. Saltmine
A view as we descend into the chapel down some stairs. They were probably made of salt. Saltmine
A view of our tour party and the salty stairs that we just descended. Saltmine
A salt carving of God (made from very pure transparent salt). A salt statue of the virgin Mary can be seen through the archway in the background. Saltmine
An underground salt lake (approx 9 metres deep). Imagine how salty that's going to be. Saltmine
One hundred metres below ground we stumble across a miner's band. They are 147 years old, but look quite well for it. Saltmine
Difficult to see this one. It's a statue of a friendly salt mine ghost (made of salt), on the opposite side of another salt lake. This lake isn't so deep this time, only about one-metre. Saltmine
Looking up above the lake at some old stairs to the level above. Saltmine
A view up one of the tallest underground caverns. This one is 36m high and was recently the site of the world's first underground hot-air balloon flight. Saltmine

The Conference Dinner

Leigh Rees The crystallographer's disco in the courtyard, following the conference dinner at Niepolomice Royal Castle. Leigh tries to encourage people onto the dancefloor with little success.
Nicola, Phil and Jacqui Groovy.
Crystallographers Finally the dancing gets underway. Yet...
Crystallographers there's something faintly embarrasing about the whole thing - like when your parent's start dancing at a wedding.

[Historical | Bowling | ECM 19 | IUCr 18 | ECM 20 | Durham | BCA 2004 | Didcot ]

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