What to see in Kielce and surroundings
Kielce is a Polish city located in the Swietokrzyskie Mountains, upon the river Silnica. It is the capital of the swietokrzyskie region.
According to legend, the creation of Kielce is associated with prince Mieszko – the son of Boleslaw Szczodry. For more than 900 years, the area of the current city of Kielce was occupied by forests full of animals, which attracted hunters, including prince Mieszko. During one of his hunting trips he fell asleep and had a dream of being attacked by robbers. Suddenly, he was visited by st. Wojciech, who created a stream of water. Later, prince Mieszko created a settlement here, which was the origin of the city of Kielce.
Attractions in Kielce
The Krakow Bishops’ Palace
The Krakow Bishops’ Palace is a baroque palace in Kielce and a former residence of the bishops of Krakow. It is the best-preserved original early-baroque palace residence from the first half of the 17th century in Poland.
The building was constructed between 1637 and 1641 on the Cathedral Hill from the initiative of Jakub Zadzik – the grand chancellor of the crown and bishop of Krakow.
In 1806, emperor Franz II Habsburg of Austria donated the palace for the needs of the newly created diocese of Kielce.
The Toy Museum
The Toy Museum in Kielce was established in 1979 as the Toymaking Museum. It has an enormous collection of historical and modern toys alike.
In the 1970s, the National Toy Cooperative Society was created in Kielce, which united and coordinated more than 80% toy producers in Poland. Its structure included the Toymaking Museum, which was established on December 1st 1979.
On June 1st 1982, the museum gained its own independent headquarters in a monumental granary. On June 1st 1988, a new permanent exhibit was opened in a tenement house at Kosciuszki street. Currently, the museum is located at 2 Wolnosci Square.
The „Kadzielnia” nature reserve
The „Kadzielnia” nature reserve is a strict reserve of inanimate nature located in the city of Kielce.
The rocky Kadzielnia hill is created from Upper Devonian limestones. Here you can see numerous fossils of corals, trilobites, nautiforms and other marine animals from 350 million years ago.
In this nature reserve you can observe numerous tectonic and mineralization phenomena.
At the area of the „Kadzielnia” nature reserve there are several small caves, the longest of which include the Jeleniowska Cave, the Zawaliskowa Cave and the Urwista na Kadzielni Cave.
Geonatura Kielce is an educational park located in the area of Kielce. It was appointed
on September 18th 2003 under the name „The Geoeducation Centre in Kielce”. It later changed its name to „Geopark Kielce” because of the expansion of the object’s activity. It was meant not only for educational purpose, but also sporting, touristic and promotional activity.
On March 18th 2021, Geopark Kielce changed its name to „Geonatura Kielce” due to the guidelines of the Worldwide Geopark Network for two colliding „geopark” names on one area.
The Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Kielce is locateed at the intersection of Karczowkowska and Jagiellońska streets and occupies the area of mroe than 13.72 hectares.
The creation of the garden is associated with the idea of establishing it given in 1985 by professor Stanislaw Cieslinski. The original plan was to create a garden on the Grabina and Dalnia hills. But ultimately, the idea was not fulfilled because of problems with land ownership.
The idea of creating the garden in Kielce was revived in 2004, when the city’s president – Wojciech Lubawski found a smaller allotment and started creating the garden after receiving a positive opinion from botanists.
The surroundings of Kielce
The castle in Checiny
The castle in Checiny is a royal castle from the late 13th and early 14th centuries located in the town of Checiny, not far from Kielce.
There are no clear source materials about the creation of the castle in Checiny. Based on the existing documents it is possible to assume that its construction began in the late 13th century. We do know for sure, that the castle already existed in 1306, when Wladyslaw Lokietek gave it to Jan Muskata – the bishop of Krakow.
The castle was the starting point for the journey to the battle of Plowce in 1331. During the archaeological research between May and July of 2013, the foundations of an unknown tower were discovered. It turned out to be the oldest element of the castle created by Waclaw II of Czechia.
Sandomierz is a city situated in the swietokrzyskie region, upon the river Vistula. Because of its location on seven hills, it is sometimes called the „little Rome”.
The earliest traces of settlement in this area originated from the neolithic period. In the 11th century, a settlement wa created, which was the princely headquarters.
During the reign of Boleslaw Chrobry the city had a significant role. It was the third main headquarters of the Polish kingdom behind Wroclaw and Krakow.
Busko-Zdroj is a Polish health spa town located in the swietokrzyskie region.
The first historical mention of Busko originated from 1166. The chronicle of the diocese of Krakow mentioned a village called „Bugsk” and a church. The first document mentioning brines in Busko is a privilege of Boleslaw Wstydliwy from 1252. The first research of using local waters in medicine was organized by doctor Jan Winterfeld.
Currently, the health spa area of Busko-Zdroj is lcoated in the southern part of the town. The sanatorium basev consists of 13 objects, which hold up to 2066 patients in total.
Krzyztopor is a ruined palace residence surrounded by bastion fortifications located in the village of Ujazd.
It was constructed between 1627 and 1644 by voivode Krzysztof Ossolinski. It was never fully completed. Krzysztof Ossolinski didn’t enjoy his creation for long, because died suddenly 1 year after the construction was finished. Krzyztopor was inherited by his son – Krzysztof Baldwin Ossolinski. The castle had many owners until 1770, when it was burned by the Russian army while being defended by supporters of the Bar Confederation.
The Raj Cave
The Raj Cave is a lime cave located in the town of Checiny, in the swietokrzyskie region. The cave was created within limestone rocks, which were formed on the bottom of a shallow sea approximately 360 million years ago.
Roughly 50.000 years ago, the cave was inhabited by the neanderthal. Flint tools founbd inside the cave suggest that it was inhabited by neanderthals twice. The Raj Cave was discovered for modern people in 1963 during the excavation of stone for construcion purposes on the slope of the Malik hill. In 1966, a decision was made to tmake the cave available for tourists.
JuraPark Baltow is a tourist complex located in the village of Baltow, in the swietokrzyskie region.
The research at the area of Baltow was started by Gerard Gierlinski from the National Geology Institute in Warsaw. During the research,remainings of several dinosaurs were discovered, including the allosaurus, the stegosaurus and the compsognathus. The compelx consists of a Jurassic Park with nearly 100 dinosaur models of original sizes, the Baltow ZOO with several species of animals and an amusement park with gokarts and merry-go-rounds.