Świętokrzyskie (“Holy Cross”) Voivodeship (province), in the midst of its namesake, Poland‘s Świętokrzyskie Mountains, is where you’ll find Kielce. The capital and largest city of this province, Kielce (KYELT-seh) is where over 200,000 Poles call home.
I usually get my first taste of European cities by way of the train station, and I often get a feel for the place through that first impression. The railway station in Kielce gave me a faithful representation, but unfortunately, it foretold a bleak trip. However, I just had to dig further to experience the Kielce which the locals love and know.
Top Attractions in Kielce, Poland
Palace of the Kraków Bishops
Probably the most popular of the attractions Kielce offers, and about the most impressive, the Palace of the Kraków Bishops (Pałac Biskupów Krakowskich) is a must-see. Completed in 1644, it was originally used as a summer residence for the bishops of the Diocese of Kraków. Today, it is home to the local branch of the National Museum of Poland.
Pałac Biskupów Krakowskich, plac Zamkowy 1, 25-001 Kielce [see in Google Maps]
Henryk Sienkiewicz Street
Running straight through the heart of Kielce, from the main railway station in the west to the Kielce Cultural Center in the east, Sienkiewicz Street (ulica Henryka Sienkiewicza) is over a kilometer of cobblestones, cafes, and random shops. Stay alert – though it feels like a street where you can walk off the sidewalk, and people do, cars still cross it and drive through it.
Ul. Henryka Sienkiewicza [see in Google Maps]
Market Square & Museum of Intercultural Dialogue
The Market Square (Rynek) in Kielce is not as focal a plaza as its counterparts in other Polish cities; however, this is probably due to Kielce having plenty to offer in several parts of town. Dominating Rynek is the Kielce government building, with restaurants and shops surrounding an open area of trees, benches, fountains, and monuments.
Check out the Dialogue of Cultures Museum (Muzeum Dialogu Kultur), also known as the Museum of Intercultural Dialogue, while you’re at Rynek.