Located in the heart of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Kielce is the economic and tourist center of the region.
A known legend traces the founding of the city to the tale of Mieszko, the son of Boleslaus the Bold, who lived over 900 years ago. As the prince, tired with hunting in vast fir forests and searching for lost companions, fell asleep, he dreamt that brigands tried to pour poison down his throat. Suddenly, Saint Adalbert appeared to him and traced a wavy shape on the ground, which became a stream of water that gave superhuman power to the would-be victim of the nightmare apparitions.
Kielce is a city which enjoys a special bond with nature. The city area includes five natural reserves, with the Świętokrzyski Natural Park preserving mountain fir forests and vast stony areas. The highly varied geological structure of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains can be seen in the Museum of Geological Specimens. The slopes surrounding the town house numerous ski lifts. Many tourist trails linking monuments from different periods of Polish history cross in Kielce. The oldest ones include a neolithic flint quarry in Krzemionki Opatowskie. It is hard to miss the Łysica cloister and the Chęciny castle, as well as the Museum of Kielce Countryside in Tokarnia.
The museums in the city itself are also well worth a visit. The largest ones include a division of the National Museum in the Cracow Bishops Palace located in the city center. Since the history of Kielce is closely tied with the history of the ecclesiastical see, to have a fuller look into the city heritage one should also visit the Diocesan Musem. In order to get an hint of the living conditions of Polish gentry and commoners one should visit the romantic mansion of the Laszczykowie family, built from larch wood.