Holy Cross Province
Holy Cross – updated 22 September 2022
Holy Cross Province (Swietokrzyskie) is located in south-eastern Poland and has the city of Kielce as its regional capital. Often referred to as, “The heart of Poland” the region is home to the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and Świętokrzyski National Park.
Holy Cross Province isn’t the biggest in Poland at only 11,700 square kilometres but it is very popular with tourists. In addition to the National Park, there are nine Landscape Parks to explore and a multitude of other attractions.
The Świętokrzyskie Mountains are not particularly high; however, they are ancient. Quartzite has been discovered in the area that is 500 million years old. The highest peak is Mount Łysica at 614 m and is located within the Świętokrzyski National Park.
Łysa Góra at 595 m is the second highest mountain in the region and is known locally as Święty Krzyż (Mount Holy Cross). If you believe local folk legend, during Pagan times, witches practiced their dark arts on Mount Łysiec. The mountain is also home to The Sanctuary of The Holy Cross Wood Relic. Today, you can see remains of a 9th century stone rampart surrounding the top of the mountain in addition to the Benedictine monastery with its Relics of the Holy Cross Tree. The 1000-year-old monastery is managed by the Missionary Oblates.
Within the region, you will find 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 popular attractions include: 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.
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.
Kielce has a history back over 900 years, and the exact date that it was founded remains unknown. It is a lively city centred on the Rynek (the main square), the cathedral, the remarkable Palace of the Kraków Bishops, and a pretty expanse of parkland surrounding both of them.