Main Attractions in Kielce

From the 12th century to the 17th century, Kielce was controlled by the Kracow bishops, who left it with numerous and some remarkable landmarks. The most important and one that draws the most tourists is the Bishop's Palace. Constructed during mid- 17th century under the sway of Bishap Jakub Zadzik, this opulent, Mannerist palace is a valuable and representative example of Polish residences in the Waza epoch. Today it is home to the Kielce branch of the national Museum and houses valuable 17th and 18th century paintings, furniture, tapestry and other arts, all of which create the ambiance characteristic of a house belonging to a rich industrialist.

On your list of must-see in Kielce, the Cathedral of the Ascension the Virgin Mary, should be a priority feature. Facing the palace, the cathedral was originally constructed in the Romanesque style in the 12th century but after many alterations adopted the neo-Baroque look. The interiors feature beautiful wall paintings, heraldic cartouches type tombstones and sculptures as well as an underground shrine of Kielce ordinaries. But it is the paining of the Benevolent Virgin Mary, an object of reverent worship that visitors most enjoy.

If you're going hiking in the Swietokrzyskie mountains, do make a trip to the 15th century Bernadine monastery. The complex, which is more or less in its original form, includes a chapel with a unique lead-ore sculpture of St. Barbara. A visit to the picturesque nature reserve Kadzielnia that houses a colossal ampitheatre, is an unforgettable experience. Beautifully located amongst limestone that imparts an echo effect, the theatre can host an audience of more than 5000 people, and several renowned artists have performed here.

A walk down the central artery or main commercial street of the town, Sienkiewicza Street, in addition to many attractive shops and department stores has some historic buildings and monuments. These include the Secession style Bank Gospodarki Zywnosciowej; across the river Silnica we find the erstwhile Wersal Hotel with an attention-grabbing facade; and behind the hotel building one can see the an unusual edifice of the bus station in the form of a flying saucer which is also a monument honoring Henryk Sienkiewicz.
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