Swietokrzyskie – the old mountains and monuments of technology
The witches, pilgrims turned into stone, the mummies almost like in Egyptian tombs; technical monuments of the Stone Age, Iron Age and the present times and in the background, one of the oldest landscapes in Poland - all of this characterises the Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship.
Kielce is the largest city of the region and the main industrial, cultural and scientific centre. The town located on seven hills like Rome, is famous not only for the Bishops' Palace and the Basilica Cathedral, but also for the Toy Museum. In addition to tourists, the city also attracts organisers of conferences and exhibitions with its modern facility - Tragom Kielce.
In the vicinity of Kielce there are the ruins of a castle in Chęciny and not the biggest, but the most beautiful cave in Poland – Raj cave, with a complex of corridors and chambers decorated with karst formations: draperies, columns and icicles hanging from the ceiling.
Świetokrzyskie Mountains are located in the centre of the region. Their main range is Łysogóra, with the highest pick Łysica, famous for its slopes covered with boulder fields and fir forests and... witches' Sabbaths. Probably for the sake of balance, already in the twelfth century, a sanctuary was founded on the next summit - Święty Krzyż (the Holy Cross), to which the Polish Kings made pilgrimages.
At the eastern end of the Voivodeship, near Sandomierz, there are the oldest Polish mountains, dating from 500 million years ago, Góry Pieprzowe (the Pepper Mountains). So oxidized and broken that they actually resembles pepper, the mountains form a unique geological and natural reserve luxuriantly planted with wild roses.
The Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship has also technical monuments. The oldest are flint mines in Krzemionki Opatowskie, to which already five thousand years ago queued the troglodytes from all over Europe to get the flint axes.
Some 3000 years later in Nowa Słupia first attempts at melting iron in bloomers were made, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the vicinity of Końskie the Old Polish Industrial District was created. Its greatest attractions - such as the huge water wheel in Sielpia, blast furnace for charcoal in Chlewiska and iron axes production plant in Maleniec – are now available to tourists.