The Swietokrzyskie Mountains
The Świętokrzyskie Mountains is the only Polish mountain range located in the central part of the country, outside of Sudety and Karpaty. These mountains are located in the area of the Świętokrzyskie region, in the central part of the Kielce-Sandomierz Upland, and they border with the Mazowsze Lowland from the north, with Niecka Nidziańska from the south, with the
Kraków-Częstochowa Jurassic System from the west and with the Lublin Upland from the east.
The peaks in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains
The Świętokrzyskie Mountains, which were named after the relics of the tree of the Holy Cross, located at Łysa Góra, which is also called Łysiec or Święty Krzyż, are the oldest mountains in Poland, which have been eroded by wind, water and snow for over a million years. That’s exactly why this mountain range isn’t impressively high, and its highest peaks are just slightly more than 600 meters above the sea level. The highest point of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains is Łysica (612 meters above the sea level), towering over Święta Katarzyna.
But that absolutely doesn’t mean that it’s not worth coming here, because these mountains can offer countless tourist attractions, which are often characteristic for this area, and rarely encountered anywhere else. Because of it’s age, this region is a sensation. When it comes to the diversity of the geological construction and the richness of the minerals appearing here, this region can only be equalled with Sudety. That’s also why the Świętokrzyskie Mountains are a paradise for geologists, both the home-grown ones and scientists. The characteristic element of the region are so-called gravel pits – tracts of heaped up stones and rocks of various sizes. They are perfectly visible from, for example, the observation platform at Święty Krzyż.
Tourists are guaranteed to be delighted with the countless objects of inanimate nature, beginning with caves, including the magnificent Raj Cave, which is available for tourists and considered the most beautiful cave in Poland, through the interesting gravel pits covering the sub-peak parts of Łysogóry – the highest local mountain range, to countless quarries and excavations, where you can find interesting specimens of minerals and fossils, as well as remainings of organisms preserved in rocks.
A great richness of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, which unfortunately is slowly dying, are the relics of primeval forests, which used to grow all over the area. Today, the only thing that survived here are fragments of the Jodłowa Wilderness and the Świętokrzyska Wilderness. They are protected as part of the Świętokrzyskie National Park, which was established in 1950 and has a deer for its symbol – this animal is still enhabiting the local, forested hills in large numbers. Through the park and the surrounding areas lead numerous tourist trails and paths, which allow tourists to get familiar with the most charming places in this land.
In the Świętokrzyskie Mountains you can also find many architectural monuments and traces of the region’s rich history – old castles, statues, museums, and mostly religious objects. They can be encountered on mountain trails, but also in small, charming towns, such as Chęciny, Święta Katarzyna, Bodzentyn, Jędrzejów, and of course in Kielce – the capital of the region.
Through the most interesting parts of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains leads the Main Świętokrzyskie Trail, marked in red, which is 105 kilometers long. It begins in Gołoszyce, and after covering the highest peaks and numerous attractions it ends in Kuźniaki.