Five nature reserves
Kielce is a city in south-central Poland and has been the capital of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Province) since 1999. Often referred to as, “The heart of Poland” the region is home to the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and Świętokrzyski National Park.
With a history dating back over 900 years, Kielce was once an important mining centre, today, the city and its surroundings are better known for their historic architecture, green spaces and recreational areas like the Świętokrzyski National Park and the Kadzielnia Reserve. Kielce is the only city in Europe which counts five nature reserves within its borders.
The city today is ringed by post-war housing projects that even on a sunny day can look glum and many of the roads in the city are badly potholed, but, Kielce is in the process of a multiyear renovation process and it’s getting better.
There’s a lot of attractions to see in Kielce. The former Palace of the Kraków Bishops, the picturesque National Museum, Kielce Cathedral, the Sanctuary of the Holy Cross Wood Relic, and Dworek Laszczyków are must-sees.
Other places definitely worth visiting include: The National Museum, the Geological Museum, the Laurens Hammond Museum, the Diocese Museum, the Energy Science Centre at the Kielce Technology Park, the Museum of Toys and Play, the Museum of Stefan Żeromski’s School Years, the Geo-Education Centre and the Centre for Patriotic and Civic Thought.
See the Top 10 Things to do in Kielce.
The main street in Kielce is Sienkiewicza Street, which is 1.270m long and extends diagonally from the train station at Plac Niepodległości to Plac Moniuszki. The street was pedestrianised and renovated in the 00s and during the summer, you’ll find market stalls, street performers and outdoor tables for bars, ice cream parlours, restaurants and cafes.
Look out for the Karski Bench on the bridge over the River Silnica, it’s a good photo opportunity. Jan Karski was a member of the Polish underground army who smuggled himself into the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps with the intent of witnessing and recording the horror being perpetrated against the Jews. You’ll find a statue of Jan sat on the bench with plenty of room for you to sit down next to him.
Just 20km away from Kielce you will find the Museum of the Kielce Region Countryside Ethnographic Park in Tokarnia, which aims to maintain the most valuable monuments of rural and small-town housing in the Kielce Region and present them in an environment similar to the original. The museum exhibits an interesting collection of horse-drawn vehicles.
Kielce is a good base to explore the region’s tourist attractions such as Poland’s first Jurassic Park, the Bałtów Tourist Complex; which contains a 1 km long educational path with 100 life-size models of dinosaurs, the Jurassic Museum, the Prehistoric Oceanarium, a zoo and the Sabathówka Witches’ Village.
Other attractions you will find in the region are; the Krzemionki Archaeological Museum and Reserve, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019, the Living Museum of Porcelain in Ćmielów and the ruins of Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd.