The most precious building in Kielce is this typical Polish manor house known as Dworek. It dates back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth times and has been well maintained. Check with the local tourist office on potential visits to the inside of the building, which now houses a small regional museum.
Kielce is certainly a city for the architectural enthusiast and it contains many standout buildings. The Palace of the Kraków Bishops is a stunning 17th-century palace which was once the summer residence for the Bishops of Kraków. You can go inside and admire the palace which houses the National Museum including an elaborate and important collection of Polish paintings. Check the website for opening times, temporary exhibitions and events and prices.
For something different and a break from the normal museums in Polish cities, Kielce has a museum dedicated to toys and games. In Polish, known as the Muzeum Zabawek i Zabawy, this impressive museum appeals not just to children and families but to those of all ages. Inside the museum traces the history of cards, games, toys and crafts through the generations. Part of the exhibition has a ‘Made in Poland’ section, which has a display of products from the Communist era when the country was known as PRL. This is a unique museum that is worthy of a few hours of your time. It is housed in a well-maintained yellow building and sits on Independence Square.
Kielce is a green city and has an attractive city park. Complete with weeping willow trees, a duck pond and a fountain, this is a fine place to relax and read a book. The River Silnica runs through the park, which also has some popular cafés, bars and restaurants around it. In summer months, there is a good vibe here and plenty of beer gardens in which to grab a drink.
Again, Kielce’s architectural charm is clear for all to see at the city’s Town Hall (Ratusz). It sits afront a pedestrianised square with fountains and some bars and cafés. Stop by for a relaxing drink and snack in the main square here (Stary Rynek). There are craft beer bars, cafés and even a Croatian restaurant, so there is plenty of choice. During the holiday season, the square features a large Christmas tree and lights.
The city’s beloved football team, Korona Kielce, play in Poland’s top division, the Ekstraklasa. The club colours are yellow and red, and the club name translates as ‘Kielce Crown’ in English. The team has finished as runner-up in the Polish Cup once, in 2007. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office at the stadium and from some outlets in the city. For big matches, the stadium, Stadion Miejski Kielce, sells out. It has a capacity of 15,550 and has hosted the under 21s European Championships.
Kielce has many churches to be admired, but if you want to attend a service, head to a Mass at the famous main Cathedral, which has a magnificent interior. It was built in the 12th century and subsequently destroyed in the 13th century. But since then, it has been rebuilt and is constantly looked after. There is a tall gold-coloured altar at the front, baroque-style walls and painted roofs. Regular Masses are held in this strictly Catholic church, which has hardly changed since the 1700s.
While the Polish city of Łódź is famous for its Piotrkowska Street, here in Kielce it’s Sienkiewicza Street that is the place to be for avid shoppers. It is the main commercial and historic street in the city and has been since the middle of the 19th century. The streets runs from the main train station to Independence Square. As you stroll your way along it, you’ll cover a distance of 1.2 kilometres and pass by many shops, historic monuments and cafés. It is pedestrianised and contains many popular high street stores, attracting new business to the city.
You can get another nature fix in Kielce just a short walk or bus ride from the city centre. Head to Kadzielnia Nature Reserve, which is a large and leafy park area. Here you can see geological formations, an underground cave path and lots more greenery. There is also an amphitheatre (which hosts regular concerts), monuments and a park for local skateboarders. There is another lake area here and a short hike up through rocks for a good viewpoint.