As well as being the economic, cultural and educational centre of the region, the scenically located city of Kielce is an attractive spot for people wanting to enjoy plenty of fresh air. The city also has many green areas where you can relax and play, and there are even a number of walking routes for you to try if you feel more ambitious. Kielce gives you the opportunity to rediscover nature, for there are five nature reserves within the city’s suburban area.Finding remnants of Kielce’s 900 years worth of history is easy; the city is dotted with historic monuments. The best place to get to know the city is the Market Square with its collection of fine buildings, and from there you should check out the remodelled cathedral from 1171 with its valuable interior and rich treasury, the 17th century bishop’s palace with its gallery of paintings and sanctuary of Marshal Pilsudski, and the Neo-Gothic palace. That still leaves romantic towers, churches, museums, old manor houses and tenement houses to be investigated on another day.Kielce has a marked Tourist Route, which is as yet still rare in Poland. For the far more adventurous is an 80 km long walking route that winds around the city, along the Silnica River and leads to a number of scenic sites. Many of the latter can be easily reached by bicycle, and some parts of the route are marked for motorists as well.A significant asset is the variety of picturesque recreational areas and the good range of sports facilities, giving you an opportunity to participate in various types of active recreation and outdoor fun.
A great many of fairs and exhibitions are held in Kielce throughout the year, while the numerous restful hotels, restaurants and cafes provide top Kielce is also the capital city of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Voivodeship) since 1999, previously in Kielce Voivodeship (1919–1939, 1945–1998). The city is located in the middle quality service. of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains (Holy Cross Mountains), at the banks of Silnica river, in northern part of the historical Polish province of Lesser Poland. Kielce was once an important centre of limestone mining.Situated to the south of Warsaw and having a population of 204,000, Kielce is the capital of the Swietokrzyskie voivodship.
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).
The city nestles at the foot of the Swietokrzyskie Mountains, the oldest mountain chain in Europe with peaks varying considerably from 260 m to 406 m above sea level. Surrounded by forests, it lies in the valley of the Bobrza River and its tributary, the Silnica.
According to some scientists, Kielce is a great open-air geological museum, for in no other place else in the world can such a diversity of geological forms be seen as here.
Founded in 1950, the Swietokrzyski National Park embraces the highest part of Swietokrzyskie Mountains, which stretch away to the east of Kielce.