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The area of Kielce has been inhabited since at least the 5th century BC. Until the 6th or 7th century the banks of the Silnica were inhabited by Celts. They were driven out by a Slavic tribe of Vistulans who started hunting in the nearby huge forests and had settled most of the area now known as Małopolska and present-day Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The lands of Wiślanie were at first subdued by Bohemia, however they soon came under the control of the Piast dynasty and became a part of Poland. According to a local legend, Mieszko, son of Boleslaus II of Poland dreamt he was attacked by a band of brigands in a forest. In the dream he saw a vision of Saint Adalbert who drew a winding line which turned into a stream. When Mieszko woke up, he found the Silnica River whose waters helped him regain strength. He also discovered huge white tusks of an unknown animal. Mieszko announced he would build a town and a church to St. Adalbert at that site. According to this legend, the town's name Kielce commemorates the mysterious tusks (kieł in Polish).

Various other legends exist to explain the name's origin. One states that the town was named after its founder who belonged to the noble family of Kiełcz, while another claims that it stems from the Kelts who may have lived in the area in previous centuries. Other theories connect the town's name to occupational names relating to mud huts, iron tips for arrows and spears, or the production of tar (pkielce, a settlement of tar makers). The earliest extant document referring to the settlement by the name of Kielce dates to 1213.

The area of the Holy Cross Mountains was almost unpopulated until the 11th century when the first hunters established permanent settlements at the outskirts of the mountains. They needed a place to trade furs and meat for grain and other necessary products, and so the market of Kielce was formed. In the early 12th century the new settlement became a property of the Bishops of Kraków, who built a wooden church and a manor. In 1171 a stone church was erected by bishop Gedeon Gryf. During the times of Wincenty Kadłubek a parochial school in Kielce was opened in 1229. By 1295 the town was granted city rights. In the mid-13th century the town was destroyed by the Mongol invasion of Ögedei Khan, but it quickly recovered.

The area around Kielce was rich in minerals such as copper ore, lead ore, and iron, as well as limestone. In the 15th century Kielce became a significant centre of metallurgy. There were also several glass factories and armourer shops in the town. In 1527 bishop Piotr Tomicki founded a bell for the church and between 1637 and 1642 Manierist palace was erected near the market place by Bishop Jakub Zadzik. It is one of the very few examples of French Renaissance architecture in Poland and the only example of a magnate's manor from the times of Vasa dynasty to survive World War II.

During The Deluge the town was pillaged and burnt by the Swedes. Only the palace and the church survived, but the town managed to recover under the rule of bishop Andrzej Załuski. By 1761 Kielce had more than 4,000 inhabitants. In 1789 Kielce were nationalised and the burgers were granted the right to elect their representatives in Sejm. Until the end of the century the city's economy entered a period of fast growth. 

Bishop’s Palace and Italian Garden 


The residence of the Kraków (Cracow) Bishops in the city of Kielce, was founded by bishop Jakub ZadzikGreat Crown Chancellor. The structure, erected between 1637 and 1644, was covered with a high-storey twin roofs and accomplished with towers on the corners.

Its symmetrical, tripartite plan, loggias, towers and interior layout refer to the Royal residences dating back the 1620s and 1630s, including Ujazdów Castle and the Villa Regia. The design of the palace is attributed to Tommaso Poncino of Lugano (ca. 1570–1659), author of numerous works of sacred and secular architecture in Kraków, ŁowiczWarsawBright Mountain as well as in the Holy Cross region.

Initially before the palace was a courtyard enclosed by walls with ceremonial gateway from the city, the rear garden, called Italian, an orchard, all surrounded by a wall with embrasures and 2 bastions. One of the bastions was later converted into a gunpowder tower. The whole complex including the Collegiate Church, cour d'honneur, palace, garden and tower was aligned with a Bernardine Monastery on Karczówka hill (established 1624–1628).

The palace was expanded in the 18th century and converted into a French-style residence entre cour et jardin. One-storey wings were erected on both sides of the courtyard, one of them was connected by an indoor porch with the collegiate and a seminary of the Holy Trinity Church, funded by the bishop Konstanty Felicjan Szaniawski. The garden was embellished with French-style greenhouses, while large stables, coach houses, riding school, a granary and a brewery were erected in the palace complex.

After the nationalization of bishop's estates in 1789, the palace was the seat of various institutions - the Main Directorate of Mining (1816–1827) and the country's first technical university - Mining Academy and later the seat of the Kielce province authorities (1867–1914). During the Second Republic the 17th-century cupolas on the towers, removed in the 19th century, were restored. The interior space was reconstructed - the 18th-century ceilings were removed exposing beam ceilings and friezes. Between 1919–1939 and 1945–1970 the palace housed the Provincial Office. The structure was converted into a museum in 1971.

In 1971, by the resolution of the Provincial Branch ofNational Council, the palace complex with adjacent buildings was transferred to the Świętokrzyskie Museum, followed by the September 18, 1971 grand opening of the first two expositions: one on the ground floor, called the Nine Centuries of Kielce; and, on the second floor: the Gallery of Historic Interiors. In 1975, in recognition of its contribution to the development of culture, the facility was given the rank of the National Museum by the Minister of Culture and Art.


Since the beginning the palace accompanied by a small decorative garden, calledItalian, referring to thecastlegardens created within the walls.The axis of the garden was the extension of the palace's axis, leading from the loggia into awell, roofed by a green dome, and the gunpowder tower. The central terrace with herbs and seasonal flowers was surrounded byfruit trees, forming a court orchard.The apartment directly adjacent to the western facade of the palace formed an integral part of the formal apartment, it was accompanied with so-calledgiardino segretto(secret garden), a place only for the owner.

In the following centuries the mannerist garden arrangement was maintained. The symmetrical geometricparterreswere enriched with rows ofhornbeamwithlindengazebosand dwarf fruit trees were planted (quince,cherries,apples).There were also buildings:orangery, fighouse, two greenhouses,ice houseandcold framesfor the cultivation of seedling plants.

In 1789, after the taking over of the bishops estates by the civil authorities, part of the garden plots was allocated to the officials, the staircase leading from the palace to the garden was rebuilt and the original layout of the garden was obliterated.The 17th-century geometrical garden with a central portion surrounded by an apple orchard, was restored in 2003.

KrzyZtopór CASTLE

Krzyżtopóris acastlelocated in the village ofUjazd,Iwaniskacommune,Opatów County,Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It was originally built by aPolish noblemanandVoivodeofSandomierz,Krzysztof Ossoliński(1587–1645).The castle was partially destroyed during theSwedishinvasion known asThe Delugein 1655,and then reduced to ruin during the war of theBar Confederationby theRussiansin 1770

It is unknown when the construction of this impressive fortress began. Krzysztof Ossoliński's father,Jan Zbigniew Ossoliński, gave him the village of Ujazd in 1619; however, first documented proof of the construction of the castle comes from 1627, when it was uncompleted. The nobleman probably finished it in 1644, having spent the enormous sum of 30 millionPolish złotyson the work. Unfortunately, Ossoliński did not enjoy it for long, as he died suddenly the next year inKraków.

The castle was inherited by Ossoliński's son Krzysztof Baldwin Ossoliński, who died in 1649 in theBattle of Zborów . After his death, the formidable complex was purchased by the family of theDenhoffs, then by theKalinowskis.

In 1655, during theSwedish invasion of Poland, the castle was captured by the Swedes, who occupied it until 1657, pillaging the entire complex.[1]The damage to the structure was so extensive that after the Swedes’ withdrawal it was not rebuilt, as it was deemed too costly. Several noble families (theMorsztyntheWiśniowieckisand thePacs) lived in the best preserved, western wing, but the castle otherwise remained in ruins.

In 1770, during theBar Confederation, Krzyżtopór, defended by the Confederate units, was seized by the Russians, who completed the building's ruin. Reportedly, last known inhabitant of the complex,Stanisław Sołtyk, lived there in the years 1782–87, after which time Krzyżtopór has been deserted.

During the Second World War the complex was again ransacked. A partial remodeling took place in 1971, and in 1980 thePolish Ministry of Internal Affairsdecided to rebuild it for use as a rest area for officers. This work was halted in 1981, whenmartial lawwas imposed in Poland.

The castle, without convenient proximity to main roads and rail connections, is visited by relatively few tourists. However, as walls, bastions and moat are relatively well-preserved, its magnitude is still very impressive. Though it is regarded as a permanent ruin, since around 90 percent of the walls have been preserved, reconstruction has been planned several times. Currently, efforts have been underway to roof the entire complex; however, this ambitious project lacks sufficient funding.

The castle was prominently featured inJames Michener's 1981 novel,Poland. Several local legends also involve the castle. According to one story, the Ossoliński father and son were punished by God for their vanity, in that neither of them was able to enjoy the castle for long. Other legends claim that under the ruins there is a hidden treasury of the Ossoliński family, guarded by the ghost of Krzysztof Baldwin Ossoliński .


Sightseeing of this park is a journey through time across every geological period. Today, more than forty replicas of dinosaurs can be found on show in the park. The largest attractions are the life-size models of dinosaurs which can be found along the prescribed route.

Of special interest are the real-life scenes featuring six "Sauropods" and two "Theropods" which have been painstakingly reconstructed according to the dinosaur pathways found inSoltykow, to the east of the town ofSkarzysko Kamienna.

All the dinosaur models have been finished off with enormous detail to give them as similar as possible appearance to the original prehistoric animals after consultation with specialists from the Polish Geological Institute.

The prepared routes have been designed not only to give pleasure to the many visitors that come here but also as an educational tool. Information points have been placed at strategic locations along the entire trail, informing visitors about the relevant geological period through which they are passing as well as descriptions of characteristic features of that era and the particular dinosaur models that are being depicted. It is possible to stop for a rest in shadow of trees along the sightseeing route to admire the refreshing water cascades and the luxuriant, green vegetation.

More than 40 models of dinosaurs of theTriassic,JurassicandCretaceousperiods can be found in the park.

Wilanów Palace


Wilanów PalaceorWilanowski Palaceis aroyal palace located in theWilanów district,Warsaw. Wilanów Palace survivedPoland's partitionsand both World Wars, and so serves as a reminder of the culture of the Polish state as it was before the misfortunes of the 18th century.

It is one of Poland's most important monuments. ThePalace's museum, established in 1805, is a repository of the country's royal and artistic heritage. The palace and park in Wilanów hosts cultural events and concerts, including Summer Royal Concerts in the Rose Garden and the International Summer Early Music Academy.

The palace, together with other elements ofWarsaw Old Town, is one of Poland's official nationalHistoric Monuments(Pomnik historii), as designated September 16, 1994. Its listing is maintained by theNational Heritage Board of Poland.

Since 2006, the palace has been a member of the international association of European Royal Residences.

Wilanów Palace was built for kingJohn III Sobieskiin the last quarter of the 17th century and later was enlarged by other owners.It represents the characteristic type ofbaroquesuburban residence builtentre cour et jardin(between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture is original, a merger of generally European art with distinctively Polish building traditions.Upon its elevations and in the palace interiors ancient symbols glorify the Sobieski family, especially the military triumphs of the king.

After the death of John III Sobieski in 1696, the palace was owned by his sons and later by the famous magnate families Sieniawskis,Czartoryskis,Lubomirskis,Potockisand Branicki family of theKorczak coat of arms. In 1720, the property was purchased by PolishstateswomanElżbieta Sieniawskawho enlarged the palace. Between 1730 and 1733 it was a residence ofAugustus II the Strong, also a king of Poland (the palace was exchanged with him for the Blue Palace at Senatorska Street), and after his death the property came to Sieniawska's daughterMaria Zofia Czartoryska.Every owner changed the interiors of the palace, as well as the gardens and grounds, according to the current fashion and needs. In 1778 the estate was inherited byIzabela Lubomirska, calledThe Blue Marquise.She refurbished some of the interiors in theneoclassical stylebetween 1792–1793 and build acorps de garde, a kitchen building and a bathroom building under the supervision of Szymon Bogumił Zug.

In the year 1805 the ownerStanisław Kostka Potockimade a museum in a part of the palace, one of the first public museums in PolandA most notable example of the collections is Potocki's equestrian portrait made by renowned neoclassical French artistJacques-Louis Davidin 1781.Besides European and Oriental art, the central part of the palace displayed a commemoration of king John III Sobieski and the glorious national past. The palace was damaged by German forces in World War II,but it was not demolished after the 1944Warsaw Uprising. After the war, the palace was renovated, and most of the collection stolen byGermanywas repatriated. In 1962 it was reopened to the public.


The Old Town was established in the 13th century. Initially surrounded by an earthwork rampart, prior to 1339 it was fortified with brickcity walls. The town originally grew up around the castle of theDukes of Mazoviathat later became theRoyal Castle. The Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta) was laid out sometime in the late 13th or early 14th century, along the main road linking the castle with theNew Townto the north.

Until 1817 the Old Town's most notable feature was the Town Hall built before 1429. In 1701 the square was rebuilt byTylman Gamerski, and in 1817 the Town Hall was demolished. Since the 19th century, the four sides of the Market Square have borne the names of four notable Poles who once lived on the respective sides:Ignacy Zakrzewski(south),Hugo Kołłątaj(west),Jan Dekert(north) and Franciszek Barss (east).

In the early 1910s Warsaw Old Town was the home of the prominentYiddishwriterAlter Kacyzne, who later depicted life there in his 1929 novel "שטאַרקעאוןשוואַכע" (Sterke un Sweche, "The Strong and the Weak"). As depicted in the novel, the Old Town at that time was a slum neighborhood, with poor families - some Jewish, other Christian - living very crowded in subdivided tenements which had once been aristocrats' palaces. Parts of it were bohemian, with painters and artists having their studios, while some streets were aRed-light districthousingbrothels.

In 1918 theRoyal Castleonce again became the seat of Poland's highest authorities: thePresident of Polandand his chancellery. In the late 1930s, during themayoraltyofStefan Starzyński, the municipal authorities began refurbishing the Old Town and restoring it to its former glory. The Barbican and the Old Town Market Place were partly restored. These efforts, however, were brought to an end by the outbreak ofWorld War II.

During theInvasion of Poland (1939), much of the district was badly damaged by the GermanLuftwaffe, which targeted the city's residential areas and historic landmarks in a campaign ofterror bombing.Following theSiege of Warsaw, parts of the Old Town were rebuilt, but immediately after theWarsaw Uprising(August–October 1944) what had been left standing wassystematically blown upby theGerman Army. A statue commemorating the Uprising, "the Little Insurgent," now stands on the Old Town's medieval city wall.

AfterWorld War II, the Old Town was meticulously rebuilt.[3]As many as possible of the original bricks were reused. However the reconstruction was not necessarily built accurately to pre-war Warsaw, often by deferring to an earlier period, attempting to improve upon the original, or by adding an authentic looking facade to cover a more modern building.  The rubble was sifted for reusable decorative elements, which were reinserted into their original places.Bernardo Bellotto's 18th-centuryvedute, as well as pre-World-War IIarchitecture students' drawings, were used as essential sources in the reconstruction effort, however Bellotto's drawings were not immune toartistic licenceand embellishment, and in some cases this has been transferred into the reconstructed buildings.

TheOld Town Market Place(Rynek Starego Miasta), which dates back to the end of the 13th century, is the true heart of the Old Town, and until the end of the 18th century it was the heart of all of Warsaw.Here the representatives of guilds and merchants met in the Town Hall (built before 1429, pulled down in 1817), and fairs and the occasional execution were held. The houses around it represented theGothic styleuntil the great fire of 1607, after which they were rebuilt in late-Renaissance style.

Castle Square(plac Zamkowy) is a visitor's first view of the reconstructed Old Town, when approaching from the more modern center of Warsaw. It is an impressive sight, dominated byZygmunt's Column, which towers above the beautiful Old Town houses. Enclosed between the Old Town and the Royal Castle, Castle Square is steeped in history. Here was the gateway leading into the city called theKrakówGate (Brama Krakowska).It was developed in the 14th century and continued to be a defensive area for the kings. The square was in its glory in the 17th century when Warsaw became the country's capital and it was here in 1644 that KingWładysław IVerected the column to glorify his fatherSigismund III Vasa, who is best known for moving the capital of Poland from Kraków to Warsaw.

Canon Square (plac Kanonia), behindSt. John's Cathedral, is a small triangular square.Its name comes from the 17th-century tenement houses which belonged to the canons of the Warsaw chapter.Some of these canons were quite famous, likeStanisław Staszicwho was the co-author of theConstitution of May 3, 1791. Formerly, it was a parochial cemetery, of which there remains aBaroquefigure of Our Lady from the 18th century.In the middle of the square, is the bronze bell of Warsaw, thatGrand Crown TreasurerJan Mikołaj Daniłowicz, founded in 1646 for the Jesuit Church inJarosław.The bell was cast in 1646 by Daniel Tym - the designer of theZygmunt's Column. Where the Canon Square meets the Royal Square is a covered passage built for QueenAnna Jagiellonin the late 16th century and extended in the 1620s after Michał Piekarski's failed 1620 attempt to assassinate KingSigismund III Vasaas he was entering the Cathedral.Also the thinnest house in Warsaw is located there.

Karczówka Monastery

A picturesque hill in Kielce with a post-Bernardine monastery from the 17th century.

Karczówka 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 Marcin 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 Karczówka Hill.
The hill (340 metres above the sea level) is the highest elevation of the Kadzielniańskie 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 Karczówka 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 wheatear allows, even the further ranges of the Świętokrzyskie 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.


KrakówalsoCracoworKrakowis the second largest andone of the oldest citiesinPoland. Situated on theVistula River in theLesser Polandregion, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. It was the capital of theCrown of the Kingdom of Polandfrom 1038 to 1569; thePolish–Lithuanian Commonwealthfrom 1569 to 1596;theFree City of Krakówfrom 1815 to 1846; theGrand Duchy of Cracowfrom 1846 to 1918; andKraków Voivodeshipfrom the 14th century to 1998. It has been the capital ofLesser Poland Voivodeshipsince 1999.

The city has grown from aStone Agesettlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet onWawel Hilland was already being reported as a busy trading centre ofSlavonicEurope in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of theSecond Polish Republicin 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000, with approximately 8 million additional people living within a 100 km (62 mi) radius of itsmain square.

After theinvasion of Polandat the start ofWorld War II, Kraków became the capital of Germany'sGeneral Government. The Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as theKraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to Germanextermination campssuch as the nearbyAuschwitznever to return, and theNazi concentration campslikePłaszów.

In 1978, Karol Wojtyła,archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to thepapacyasPope John Paul II— the firstSlavicpope ever, and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.Also that year,UNESCOapproved the first ever sites for its newWorld Heritage List, includingthe entire Old Townin inscribingCracow's Historic Centre.Kraków is classified as aglobal citybyGaWC, with the ranking of High sufficiency. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities,its extensive cultural heritage across the epochs ofGothic,RenaissanceandBaroque architectureincludes theWawel Cathedraland theRoyal Castleon the banks of theVistula river, theSt. Mary's Basilicaand the largestmedievalmarket square in Europe, theRynek Główny. Kraków is home toJagiellonian University, one of theoldest universities in the worldand traditionally Poland's most reputable institution of higher learning.

In 2000, Kraków was namedEuropean Capital of Culture. The city will also host the nextWorld Youth Dayin 2016.


TheGothicWawel CastleinKrakówin Poland was built at the behest ofCasimir III the Great, who reigned from 1333 to 1370, and consists of a number of structures situated around the central courtyard.

In the 14th century it was rebuilt byJogailaandJadwiga of Poland. Their reign saw the addition of the tower called the Hen's Foot (Kurza Stopka) and theDanishTower.The Jadwiga andJogailaChamber, in which the swordSzczerbiec, was used in coronation ceremonies, is exhibited today and is another remnant of this period.Other structures were developed on the hill during that time as well, in order to serve as quarters for the numerous clergy, royal clerks and craftsmen. Defensive walls and towers such as Jordanka, Lubranka, Sandomierska, Tęczyńska, Szlachecka, Złodziejska and Panieńska were erected in the same period.

The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally important site in Poland. For centuries the residence of thekings of Polandand the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums. Established in 1930, the museum encompasses ten curatorial departments responsible for collections of paintings, including an important collection ofItalian Renaissance paintings, prints, sculpture, textiles, among them theSigismund II Augustustapestry collection, goldsmith’s work, arms and armor, ceramics, Meissen porcelain, and period furniture. The museum’s holdings in oriental art include the largest collection of Ottoman tents in Europe. With seven specialized conservation studios, the museum is also an important center for the conservation of works of art.

People have lived onWawel Hillat the site of the Castle as early as fifty thousand years ago, in the Paleolithic Age. The settlement was apparently bustling with trade, assorted crafts and local farming. When more people began to settle down on the Wawel Hill and when trade became more efficient, the rulers of Poland took up their residence at the Hill as well.

During the early 16th century KingSigismund I the Old and his wife brought in the best native and foreign artists including Italian architects, sculptors, and German decorators, to refurbish the castle into a splendidRenaissancepalace.It soon became a paragon of stately residence in Central and Eastern Europe and served widely as a model throughout the region.

In the fire of 1595, the northeast part of the castle burned down.KingSigismund III Vasarebuilt it, although of his efforts only the Senator Stairs and the fireplace in the Bird Room remain today.In 1609 King Sigismund moved the capital toWarsaw, and tough times for Wawel began. Both the castle and other buildings were neglected despite the concerns of local governors. TheSwedish invasionsof 1655–1657 and 1702 contributed to the further deterioration of the castle.

The Hill was occupied by the Prussian Army in 1794. Royal Insignia were stolen and never retrieved (apart from theSzczerbiec). After theThird Partition of Poland(1795) Wawel, as an important defensive point, was mostly demolished and the remaining part was modernised by Austrians with defensive walls. The interior of the castle was changed and some of the buildings pulled down. In the second part of the 19th century the Austrians redesigned the defensive walls making them a part of a stronghold. However, in 1905 the emperorFranz Joseph I of Austriagave an order for Austrian troops to leave Wawel. Restoration works began, with the discovery of the Rotunda of Virgin Mary as well as other relics of the past. The renovations of the Wawel Hill were financed by public subscriptions.

After World War I, the authorities of the newly independentPolish Second Republicdecided that Wawel Castle was to become a representative building of the Polish state and would be used by the Governor and later by the President himself.In 1921 thePolish Parliamentpassed a resolution which gave Wawel official status as the residence of thePresident of Poland. Following the ravages of World War II, by the decree of theState National Council, Wawel Castle became a national museum.

The Crown Treasury situated in the historicGothicrooms which were used from the 15th century on for storing thePolish coronationinsignia andCrown Jewels, feature on display priceless objects from the former Treasury that survived plunder, among them the memorabilia ofPolish monarchsincluding members of their families and eminent personages, like the hat and sword given toJohn III Sobieskiby the pope after theBattle of Vienna, as well as the coronation swordSzczerbiec


The Museum of the Kielce Region Countryside and the Ethnographic Park in Tokarnia

The Museum of the Kielce Region Countryside and the Ethnographic Park in Tokarnia present historical wooden architecture monuments transfered from different localities of the Świętokrzyskie region. The museum is composed of 38 features in five sectors: small-town architecture, highlands, estate and farm, Swiętokrzyskie architecture and loess landscape.

The Museum of the Kielce Region Countryside and the Ethnographic Park in Tokarnia was founded in 1976 and opened its doors in 1977. It constitutes the fulfilment of the scientific aspirations of an ethnographer and expert in traditional folk culture, professor Roman Reinfuss. He intended to reproduce a typical settlement arrangement from the villages of different subregions of the Kielce region: the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, the Krakowsko-Częstochowska and Sandomierska Uplands as well as the Nidziańska Basin. On an area of 65 ha a total of 38 features have been collected which reflect the spatial arrangement of a village: the shape of a homestead, enclosures, the small architecture elements etc. Almost in every cottage we can witness some traditional handicraft workshops, such as: a carpenter’s, roofer or plaiter’s working place. The rural landscape resembling 18th and 19th century setting has been completed with elements of farming industry, such as a windmill and a blacksmith’s shop, as well as public utility buildings (e.g.: a school, a shop), a farm and estate complex, and sacral buildings – a church and a few chapels. The gorgeous natural scenery and traditional green areas complete the architecture: e.g. home garden surrounding some groups of buildings and separating them. All these elements enhance the impression of authenticity and make the visitors feel as though they were in a different age. That is why the Museum of the Kielce Region Countryside can become an attractive place not only for a Sunday stroll.

The Museum of the Kielce Region Countryside also has a complex of sacral buildings. Visitors can admire, among other things, the magnificent church under the invocation of Our Lady of Consolation from Rogów, built of wooden logs in 1763. The polychrome ceiling is breathtaking. A wooden bell tower from Kazimiera Wielka is located next to the church. There is also a stone figure of Saint John Nepomucen nearby. This Czech saint protected fields and villages of the Kielce region from floods, but also from droughts.

The museum is, moreover, the only heir of the works of the famous folk sculptor Jan Bernasiewicz – the creator of the „Garden of sculptures”. The exhibition devoted to his and his wife’s artistic work, a folk poetess writing about her husband’s sculptures, is open to visitors in the homestead from Bukowska Wola.


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