Magical Lower Silesia

Neighbouring the Czech Republic, the south-western part of Poland, where the West and Central Sudeted begin, abounds in attractive sights, such as old castles, scenic ruins, historical churches and abbeys or remnants of nazi constructions from the world war II period.

Church of Peace in Świdnica

Świdnica, the old capital of the Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor, was a chartered town as early as the mid-13th century. Although it survived a war, Świdnica suffered somewhat from neglect. Now it is regaining its former splendour. The most important monument of modern Świdnica, besides the beutiful Old Town, is the protestant Church of Peace.

Church of peace in Świdnica is one of just two structures of this kind that have survived until today - the other one is also in Poland, in Jawor. This is reputedly the biggest timber-framed church in the world. Because of this uniqueness, in 2001 it was included in UNESCO World Heritage List. The rather peculiar interior, somewhatdifficult to describe, owes its grandeur mainly to the lavishly decorated galleries containing boxes for nobleman. Equally interesting are are the 1752 high altar, pulpit andthe 17th century wooden organ.

See more pictures of churches in Świdnica and Jawor


The former Cistercian abbey in Krzeszów comprises two magnificent churches, a mausoleum, monks' quarters, a guest house plus an array of smaller chapels and outbuildings. Ranking among the best sights in Silesia, it is also a place of unusual beauty, with the towers of the monumental Baroque complex scenically set against the rural landscape.

Visiting Krzeszów see necessarily : the monastic Church of St. Mary of Grace , adorned with huge figures, makes a great impression, as does the elaborately decorated, lofty interior; mausoleum of the Piasts from Świdnica and Jawor; St. Joseph's Church - the biggest 17th-century cycle of its kind in Silesia.

Tunnels in Góry Sowie

The mysterious tunnels in Góry Sowie make an unusual reminder of World War II. Built at enormous financial expense and the cost of countless lives of the prisoners from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, they never served any purpose. Tens of kilometres of shafts and tunnels were drilled in rock in 1943. A small fragment is now open for visitors.

In 1943, Walim , like many other villages in the area, was turned into a labour branch of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. Prisoners lived in factory buildings and worked in the forests on the nearby Mt. Włodarz (811 m).

The mountain slopes were crisscrossed with narrow-gauge tracks, 56 km of roads, 100 km of pipelines, housing estates and phone lines. Day and night 28,000 people worked here until May 1945, when many tunnels were blown up or concealed. Only a small part of the complex is known now: nine km of tunnels with a total area of 25,000 sq metres and 30 entrances, of which 14 have never been explored because they collapsed.

The most intriguing are certainly the Osówka tunnels near Głuszyca, billed as a "mysterious subterranean town". The tour inside the mount is more than 1.5 km long, the strange tunnels representing various stages of construction. In winter their extra attraction is a wealth of fantastic ice forms.

Source: Poland - an ilustrated guidebook. For more information look at Pascal

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