Monastery and Church on the hill of Karczowka in Kielce
Karczowka Hill is a picturesque hill in Kielce with a post-Bernardine monastery from the 17th century. Karczowka is a characteristic landmark, noticeable from every side of the city, located in its western part. On the top of the hill there is it’s the main attraction – a beautifully located monastery, which towers dominate the tree cover. The early-baroque church, founded by bishop Szyszkowski, was erected between 1624 and 1628 as a thanksgiving for saving the city from a plague. Between 1629 and 1631, the church was enlarged by a monastery with galleries and some farm buildings – it was commemorated with an erection board from 1626 in the church porch which has been preserved till nowadays.
Inside the temple there is a Chapel of St. Barbara with an interesting figure of the miners’ patron in the altar. It was made of a block of galena from a lead ore, which was probably excavated near the Karczowka Hill. The hill (340 metres above the sea level) is the highest elevation of the Kadzielnianskie Range in Kielce. It consists of Devonian limestone and is covered by an old-growth pine forest, where some trees are as old as 170 years. In 1953 it has been turned into a Karczowka Scenic Reservation with the area of 26,55 hectares (65,61 acres), covering the limestone hills, old-growth forest and historic sites. Moreover, it is an area which abundant in mineral ores and geological phenomena, e.g. there are many historical traces of lead exploitation, while at the mountain’s foot there are certain outcrops of Zechstein conglomerates, further, on the slopes and top of the hill, you can see some Devonian limestone rocks. The pine forest hill is also an excellent observation post of Kielce and its area. The whole city panorama and, if the wheat-ear allows, even the further ranges of the Swietokrzyskie Mountains are visible from there. Additionally, in a few years, botanical gardens are planned to be located at the hill’s foot, which therefore shall make it even more attractive for the tourists. A wonderful view of Kielce is available in here. It is also here, that the young Zeromski came to skip lessons. Finally, here as well, masses of Kielce citizens come to take a rest.