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Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship is one of the 16 voivodeships contributing to Poland's territory. It is located in the southern-central part of Poland, bordered by six provinces: Mazowieckie to the north, Lubelskie to the east, Podkarpackie to the southeast, Małopolskie to the south, Śląskie to the southwest, and Łódzkie to the northwest. Eastern borders are naturally marked by the Vistula and Pilica rivers, which are also the most significant rivers flowing through the territory. Voivodeship's capital, Kielce, is located in the central part of the region.[1] The predominant geographical feature of the territory is the Świętokrzyskie Mountain range, after which the voivodeship is named. Świętokrzyskie Mountains are the oldest mountain range in Poland. Świętokrzyskie translates to English as Holy Cross. The name Holy Cross refers to a Christian relic located in a Benedictine monastery at Lysa Gora. The relic is said, "to be a small piece of wood from the Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified."[13] The Holy Cross Mountains are rich in minerals, and numerous archeological excavations prove that the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times.[1]

What Swietokrzyskie is known for

Świętokrzyskie region is named after the predominant Świętokrzyske Mountains, or the Holy Cross Mountains, which are located in the central and northern part of the region. The mountains offer various hiking and cycling opportunities for visitors. Świętokrzyske Mountains are the oldest mountain range in Poland and dispose of considerable mineral wealth. The mountains are nowadays mostly visited for the preserved nature as well as various caves, grottoes, outcrops, rocks and rock agglomerations, boulders, and other geological formations.[8] Atop one of the mountains contributing to the Holy Cross Mountain range, Łysa Góra Mountain, is located a Benedictine monastery, which was presumably built in the 11th century. The historic monastery functions to this day and is also open to tourists. The complex also consists of a museum and multiple monuments.[9] Another natural site is located inside Malik hill, in close proximity to Kielce, the province's capital. Raj or Paradise Cave in English, presumably the most famous tourist attraction of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, is considered to be one of Poland's most beautiful karst caves. The cave is not only a nature reserve but also an archeological site, as flint tools of a Neanderthal man who lived in the cave about 50,000 years ago were found there, as well as the remains of prehistoric animals - a mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, and cave bear. The cave has been open to tourists since 1972.[10]

Concerning historical sites and attractions of the region, one of the presumably most visited castles in the area is Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd. The ruins of the 17th-century castle are well-preserved. Various sightseeing routes and day tours are available for tourists. Workshops and multiple events are also held in the castle.[11]

Sandomierz is a historical town located on the eastern borders of the voivodeship. The city has a well-preserved Old Town, which poses a major cultural and tourist attraction. The Sandomierz city center was declared a National Monument of Poland in 2017. The city used to be a royal city of the Polish Crown until the 19th century. The predominant feature of the Old Town is the Market Square with the City Hall.[12] 


Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship is located in the southern-central part of Poland. The Vistula River poses part of the south-eastern borders of the voivodeship. To the west, the border is marked by the Pilica River. Most of the territory is located in the Vistula River basin, within the Malopolska Upland, Kielce Upland, the Nidziańska Basin, and the eastern part of the Przedborska Upland. The voivodeships' relief is relatively highly diversified. The predominant mountains of the province are Świętokrzyskie Mountains, with the highest peak Lysica, after which the region is named. The highest point of the territory is the top of Agata Mountain in the Bodzentyn commune at an altitude of 614 m above sea level. Regarding water relations, some significant rivers flowing through the region are the Vistula (upper and middle), Pilica, Nida, Nidzica, Lubrzanka, and Kamienna.[4]

Over 25% of the voivodeships' territory is forested. Most of the forests are part of the national parks. Świętokrzyskie Mountains, translated to English as the Holy Cross Mountains, are the oldest mountain range in Poland. Nowadays, the Holy Cross Mountains, with their flora and fauna, are under the protection of the Świętokrzyski National Park. The park is divided into eight different forest areas and five different landscape zones.[5] Besides the recreational and touristic options the Holy Cross Mountains offer, this mountain complex is also a place where mineral resources, such as limestone, gypsum, quartzite, sandstone, dolomite, marble, clay, sand, and sulfur can be found. Two-thirds of the province's territory is used for agriculture. The main crops are cereals, potatoes, fodder, vegetables, and fruit.[1]

Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship is located in the continental climate area, for which the alteration of seasons throughout the year with temperature extremes is typical.[6] The warmest month is August, with an average daily temperature of 23°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of -1°C. The driest month is March, with an average of 32 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during July, with an average of 95 mm.[7] 


Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship is often considered to be the "cradle" of the Polish industry. The archeological excavations can date the first settler in the area back to the Neolithic period. From that era, a flint mine has been found in today's town Krzemionki Opatowskie. Later, in close proximity to today's town Nowa Slupia, iron mining and smelting developed as early as the second century B.C.[1] The area of the capital city, Kielce, was inhabited since the fifth century B.C., primarily by Celts. Later, the territory was settled by the Lechitic tribe of Vistulans, who hunted local animals in the adjacent forests. Initially, the area belonged to Bohemia (today's Czechia).[2] Soon enough, the land was incorporated into Poland by Piasts in the 10th century. During the 13th century, the area was united with the duchy of Kraków. The voivodeship was located on a significant trade route junction, which aided the development of the economy and commerce. Świętokrzyskie Mountains, after which the area is named, were rich in minerals. Lead, silver, copper, and iron mines were established in the territory, which led to further development.[1]

In 1772, 1793, and 1795, the Partitions of Poland took place. During the partitions, the Polish territory was divided between Russia, Prussia, and Habsburg Monarchy (Austria), until eventually, Poland as an autonomic state ceased to exist.[3] In the last partition of 1795, the area of Swietokrzyskie was incorporated into the Austrian empire. Later, in the 19th century, the territory became under the rule of the Kingdom of Poland, which was, however, a Russian dependency. The 19th century marked significant economic growth for the province, as the metal and smelting industry developed rapidly as well as towns and cities in the region. During the Second World War, a considerable number of Jewish ghettos and labor camps were established in the area.[1] 

Nowadays, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship is divided into 13 districts and one city known as Kielce with district rights. Northern parts of the region are more industrially oriented, whereas, in the southern parts of the province, agriculture is of greater importance. The voivodeship is accountable for over half of Poland's lime produce.[4]