The Błędowska desert
The Polish Sahara
In the marvellous Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic System, between the towns of Klucze, Chechło and Błędów, at the border of Lesser Poland and the śląskie region, there is an unconventional attraction – the Błędowska desert, which attracts crowds of tourists from the wide surroundings. This area, which is sometimes called the „Polish Sahara”, is the largest area of existence of inland sand in Europe, and although for the last few decades it was strongly overgrown and there wasn’t too much open tracts of sand, in recent years it was strongly weeded and it is still incredibly interesting today.
The interesting thing is that 100 years ago, it was still possible to observe a mirage! Today, it is not so wild around here, there are plenty of observation platforms and information boards, but I’m convinced, that you’re going to really love it here. For the last dozen of years, we have visited the Błędowska desert several times, and now it looks deligthful. You should definitely visit this spectacular place!
Observation points in the desert
In the Błędowska desert there are several convenient observation point, which allow to enjoy the incredible beauty of this place. This sight is very unique, because the desert is a truely large area of exposed sands between the forest, that’s why it’s really difficult to find an equally wonderful attraction of its type anywhere in Poland!
There are three most popular and magnificent observation points in the Błędowska Desert. Two of them are located in the town of Klucze, and the third one os located in Chechło.
The oldest, yet still a very popular observation point at the Błędowska Desert is Mount Czubatka (382 meters above the sea level), located in Klucze. It is the best observation point at the „Polish Sahara”, because it is the most extensive. It is situated high above the sands, and some people say that it offers spectacular views at the sunset, unfortunately, we never had the chance to be here at this time. 🙂
This place can offer a large, free parking lot, benches, a picnic shed and information boards. From the parking lot you can follow the yellow Desert Trail to the sands through the forest, it’s about 1 kilometer of a pleasant walk. Here you can really feel like in a desert, it’s really beautiful here, and you can follow this trail through the entire width of the desert, all the way to Błędów. Along the way, you’ll encounter quite a lot of information boards.
The most recent observation point in the Błędowska Desert is Róża Wiatrów, also located in Klucze. It is a gorgeous, wooden platform with an interesting shape, from which the name of the object originated. Róża Wiatrów is adapted for trolleys – both for children and disabled people. It allows to admire the exposed sand of the Polish Sahara and get on them. In 2019, there was a military picnic by Róża Wiatrów as part of Juromania – an outdoor event of the Eagle Nest Trail. You can get here from Bolesławska street in Klucze and leave your car in the surroundings of the main road, but a lot of tourists decide to drive even closer in the direction of the desert. So far, it is not forbidden. This is a beaten forest path, passable for trolleys on dry day.
The third observation point for the Błędowska Desert is Dąbrówka in Chechło (355 meters above the sea level), here you can also see gigantic tracts of loose sands, torn apart by quads. These observation points are connected by a cycling trail called „To look from above”. Once, there was only a bunker here, painted in lovely colors, but in the recent years, a metal observation point with a beautiful panorama of the Błędowska Desert was also constructed at Dąbrówka. You can also wander directly through the sands in the surroundings. In this place there are also plenty of information boards. This is a very charming place. I recommend everyone to visit all these observation points. 🙂
Information for parents with little children
Because of the sands, The Błędowska Desert itself is not so available for trolleys, but all the observation points are adapted for visiting with trolleys, so if you’re not interested in walking through the open sands, but rather in just admiring views at them, you can easily take the trolley with you. In other case, you’ll have to take a baby carrier or a cloth.
The creation of the Błędowska Desert
The legend of the Błędowska Desert
If you believe in legends, the Błędowska Desert was created by the devil, who was so angry ar the mines of Olkusz, that he wanted to cover them with sand from the Baltic Sea. So he flew above the Jurassic System with a gigantic bag of sand on his backand was on his way to Olkusz. Seeing his target getting closer, he flew slightly lower and all of a sudden he hooked up by a high tower of the church in Błędów. At this point it’s easy to surmise, that the bag riped apart, and all of the sand fell out and spread all around the area, creating a desert.
All because of the Olkusz mines
We won’t force you to believe it, if you don’t want to, but the fact certainly remains, that the Olkusz mines were the reason of the creation of the Błędowska Desert. The exposure of the sand in this area happened in the 13th century, went the strongly developed mining of silver and metallurgy became the cause of massive clearing of forests in the surroundings and the exposure of loose glacial sands, which were blown here all the way from the Baltic.
Typical desert phenomena
At that time, aeolian processes began, which were the activity of the wind, typical for a desert. As a result, sandy dunes were created, which seemed ot have no end. The interesting thing is that at the Błędowska Desert some people even observed sand storms and the mysterious phenomenon of a mirage, which was described by a famous botanist – Kazimierz Piech. Naturalists described thisd place as a desert, a sea of sand and plenty of bare land. That still wass the case 100 years ago!
The fouling of the Błędowska Desert
In the 1960s, the discovered sandy area in the Błędowska Desert was artificially forested, but there are still plenty of typical seaside dune species of plants and desert plants growing here. There was also a natural, gradual overgrowth of exposed sands – vegetation succession It could have lead to the fact, that the next generation would probably never be able to see the Polish desert for their own eyes.
The Błędowska Desert today
Luckily, for the last few years, the area of the desert was intensively cleaned and weeded. That way, a lot of exposed tracts of sand appeared once again. They are best seen from the side of the jurassic town of Klucze and near the village of Chechło. Only the precious individuals of plants were left alone, which are characteristic of the sands and desert conditions.
Through the middle of the desert, from the west ot the east runs the Biała Przemsza river, through a deep valley. It divides the Błędowska desert into the northern part from the side of Chechło and the southern part, to the west from Klucze. The area of the desert is included in the Natura 2000 protection program. Since 1995, fragments of the Desert have been put into wcological use. In 2004, the „Polska Sahara” association was established to promote and protect the Błędowska Desert, which organized the „Desert Mirages” every summer, among others.
The northern part of the desert is a former military compound, and this area is still owned by the army. But today, you can only observe parachute jumps here. There is no entry in this part of the desert, although you can enter the „Dąbrówka” observation point, from which you can admire the gorgeous, large tracts of sand and enter them in the surroundings of the observation points. From below the platform at Dąbrówka you can also get to the nearby observation point by Pustynna street in Chechło.
The Błędowska Desert – sightseeing
The Błędowska Desert can be visited by walking through an educational, natural path marked in red, which begins at Rudnicka street in Klucze and runs through the desert to the pool of Biała Przemsza. You can also follow the yellow Desert Trail through the desert, to which you can enter at Górna street in Klucze, next to the parking lot at Czubatka. It runs through the entire width of the desert to Błędów.
Fans of horse rides can choose the orange Transjurassic Trail of Horse Tourism, and cyclists can use the especially marked cycling trails.
The northern part of the Błędowska Desert is a military area, as I’ve already mentioned, and for years entering it was forbidden, but by the Dąbrówka observation point in Chechło tourists can easily enter the area of open sands. In 1999, the NATO military maneuvers took place here, and during World War II, the troops of Afrika Korps were practicing here.
The Błędowska Desert in the movies
Not everyone knows, that the Błędowska Desert became the scenery of hte popular Polish TV series „Czterej Pancerni i Pies”. The famous movie „Faraon” by Jerzy Kawalerowicz was also shot here.
Woodworms in the Jurassic System
What does the desert in the Kraków-Częstochowa Jurassic System have in common with red dye? In the grasses of the Błędowska Desert you might sometimes find a bug known as the Polish woodworm. In the 16th century, this species was bred in Poland in order to gain the red dye for fabrics (cochineal). Poland used to be the main supplier of this good in Europe! Currenty it is a common dye in kitchen, but it is no longer collecred from the Polish woodworm.