Bochnia is a town of 30,000 inhabitants on the river Raba in southern Poland. The town lies approximately in halfway [38 kilometres (24 mi)] between Tarnów (east) and the regional capital Kraków (west). Bochnia is most noted for its salt mine, the oldest functioning in Europe, built circa 1248. Since Poland's administrative reorganization in 1999, Bochnia has been the administrative capital of Bochnia County in Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Before reorganization it was part of Tarnów Voivodeship.
Bochnia is one of the oldest cities of Lesser Poland. The first known source mentioning the city is a letter of 1198, wherein Aymar the Monk, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, confirmed a donation by local magnate Mikora Gryfit to the monastery of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Miechów. The discovery of a major vein of rock salt at the site of the present mine in 1248 led to the granting of city privileges (Magdeburg rights) on 27 February 1253 by Bolesław V the Chaste.
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