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Kielce

(4.3/5 based on 340+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: museums, parks, sightseeing
Kielce is a city in central Poland with 199,475 inhabitants (June 2014). It is also the capital city of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Voivodeship) since 1999, previously in Kielce Voivodeship (1919 - 1939, 1945 - 1998). The city is located in the middle of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains (Holy Cross Mountains), at the banks of Silnica river, in northern part of the historical Polish province of Lesser Poland. Kielce was once an important centre of limestone mining.HistoryThe area of Kielce has been inhabited since at least the 5th century BC. Until the 6th or 7th century the banks of the Silnica were inhabited by Celts. They were driven out by a Slavic tribe of Vistulans who started hunting in the nearby huge forests and had settled most of the area now known as Małopolska and present-day Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The lands of Wiślanie were at first subdued by Bohemia, however they soon came under the control of the Piast dynasty and became a part of Poland. According to a local legend, Mieszko, son of Boleslaus II of Poland dreamt he was attacked by a band of brigands in a forest. In the dream he saw a vision of Saint Adalbert who drew a winding line which turned into a stream. When Mieszko woke up, he found the Silnica River whose waters helped him regain strength. He also discovered huge white tusks of an unknown animal. Mieszko announced he would build a town and a church to St. Adalbert at that site. According to this legend, the town's name Kielce commemorates the mysterious tusks (kieł in Polish).
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