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Holy Cross

Practical Information

  • Detailed InformationZwińRozwiń
    • Object type:
      • Shrines and worship
      • Religious monuments
    • County:
    • Community:
      Nowa Słupia
    • Address:
      Święty Krzyż
    • Postal Code:
    • Latitude:
    • Longitude:
    • Tourist region:
      Kielce Region
  • Description

    Among the numerous peaks of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Łysa Góra is the one most shrouded in mystery. The murmur of beeches and firs calms the wandering pilgrims, but when the gusty wind breaks, the legends of the Witches' Sabbaths held on the stone run - a rocky rubble on the northern slope of Łysa Góra - come to mind.


    Today, the remains of a pagan cult rampart (or perhaps a castle town?) shelter the bald peak with the oldest Polish shrine hiding the Relics of the Holy Cross Tree. This treasure is also guarded by the nature of the Świętokrzyski National Park.

    Read on and then discover the secrets of Łysa Góra...

    The church

    A small Romanesque church, a fragment of which you will see in a small probe on the south side of the church, the Gothic part of the church overlooking the rebuilt Gothic-style cloisters, nothing left of the Renaissance or Baroque. In the 18th century, the church at Holy Cross, after fires and devastation, was supposed to be... modern (today we call it classicist). The construction was undertaken by Fr Józef Karsznicki, who erected a single-nave, oriented temple with beautiful finishes modelled on Italian churches. The centre of the temple was kept white and decorated with symmetrical columns and porticoes, characteristic for classicism. The construction and finishing of the interior took 20 years and progressed very slowly. Today, 6 large paintings (360/250 cm) by Franciszek Smuglewicz from the 19th century catch the eye. These include "The Death of St Joseph", St Benedict's encounter with St Scholastica and St Eemeric in conversation with an angel." In the chancel you will see the main altar with a large 3 m by 5 m painting of the Holy Trinity. Sumuglewicz gently combined colours and played with light.

    The cloister - a meeting place
    A kind of corridor whose arms form a closed quadrangle. In the past, the most important parts of the monastery were located along the cloister: the church, the sacristy, the chapter house, the dormitory, the refectory and the gatehouse. Today it is a meeting place for tourists and pilgrims. Built in the 15th century in the Gothic style. In the vaults there are keystones with the coats of arms of the benefactors of the monastery: the Odrowąż, Wieniawa, Toporczyk families. In the south arm of the cloister, the 15th century Gothic window frames of the church were exposed in 1939 after a German bombardment. Beneath them is a probe - a piece of the church's Romanesque wall.

    The Oleśnicki Family Chapel
    A valuable early Baroque monument built on the framework of an old chapter house. In the first period it served as the burial chapel of the Oleśnicki family. The Relics were moved to it in 1723. The most important place in the chapel is occupied by the Relics, whose history is captured in the paintings on the walls of the chapel. The frescoes of the Italian school in the dome also attract attention. It is a place of tranquillity and all-day prayer.

    The crypt of Jeremy Wiśniowiecki

    The entrance to the crypt at the Holy Cross is located in the southern wall of the church. The Benedictine monks who resided at the Holy Cross from 1776 until the dissolution of the abbey in 1819 rest here. The room to the left contains the mummified corpse of Prince Jeremy Wiśniowiecki, his portrait and an easel with his biography. The prince went down in Polish history as an excellent leader, tactician and organiser of many war expeditions. He said of himself that he was made for war.

    The Mission Museum
    In the cloister you will see a sign directing you to a place close to the hearts of the oblates. No wonder, since they have been collecting heirlooms there for years, gathered during numerous and dangerous expeditions. In addition to the mission hall, you will also see two other halls dedicated to the history of the abbey. Admission to the museum is a voluntary donation to the missions.

    The pre-history of Łysa Góra and the history of the Benedictine monastery from the 11th to the 19th century,
    The period from the dissolution of the Benedictine Order in 1819, through the establishment of a prison within the monastic walls in 1882 to the years of the Second World War. 

    Missionary activity. The exhibits presented here come from missionary countries: Africa (Cameroon, Lesotho, Egypt, Madagascar), Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, India, Japan, China), North America (Canada) and Europe (Ukraine). The collection includes costumes, jewellery, everyday objects, objects of worship (including an Inuit Bible) and python skins.

    Viewing tower at the Holy Cross
    One of the most interesting views of the Świętokrzyski National Park is from the church tower of the monastery on Łysa Góra. The highest point in the region has a story with a happy ending. In 1914, the tower was destroyed by the Austrians. And exactly 100 years later, thanks to the cooperation of good people, the monument was restored for tourists and pilgrims.

    The summit itself rises 595 metres above sea level, and a terrace for tourists has been built at 35 metres from the level of the courtyard. It's worth the climb! From the tower, we'll get a bird's-eye view of the Łysogóry Mountains, see the Fir Forest and the beautiful striped fields surrounding it with our own eyes... And if we're lucky, we'll even see the Tatra Mountains!

    For pilgrims - Relics of the Holy Cross Tree
    As Poland's oldest sanctuary and the place where the Relic of the Holy Cross Tree is deposited, Łysa Góra has been the site of numerous pilgrimages since the Middle Ages. Tradition recorded in the oldest monographs conveys that the tree came from Hungary, possibly brought by Bolesław Krzywousty, who went on a pilgrimage to Samogyvar after killing Zbigniew.

    According to legend, the relics were given to the abbey by the Hungarian prince Emeric, who got lost in the forest in pursuit of a deer. In return for finding his way, an angel instructed him to leave what he held most precious - relics - on the mountain. You will see the relics in the chapel of the Oleśnicki family deposited in an armoured tabernacle. The Tree of the Holy Cross was moulded into a double-armed cross and framed in richly decorated sheet metal. Such a cross is called a caravaca and in the 17th and 18th centuries was regarded as a miraculous defence against the plague.

    Information for pilgrims:
    11.30 a.m. - MASS with the exposition of the relics; at the end of the Mass, there is an opportunity to kiss the relic of the Tree of the Holy Cross.
    EXHIBITION OF THE RELICS OF THE TREE OF THE HOLY CROSS. After every Mass on Sundays during Lent, after the Stations of the Cross service, In ordinary times: at the request of organised pilgrimage groups and individual pilgrims after prior notification at the information desk in the cloisters.

    For gourmets
    No one leaves the Holy Cross hungry. In the eatery in the monastery basement, sour soup and bigos reign, as do large portions of pork chops. A delicious apple pie, cheesecake and a spiced apple drink, great for warming up in winter, await in the "Pharmacy" café. Apart from that, delicious coffee and tea. Here you will also buy herbs, tinctures and various specialities. In the summer, there is a café in the vortex selling ice cream, sweets and drinks.
    If that's not enough, in Huta Szklana you can try the zalewajka świętokrzyska served by Karczma Izba Dobrego Smaku and, during the season, pancakes with Bieliny strawberries. In Nowa Słupia you can taste the specialities of Karczma Mnicha and ice cream from the "Tradycja" confectionery.

    How to get to the Holy Cross?
    Łysa Góra - the Holy Cross is a pilgrimage site and can therefore be reached on foot, by car and by bike.

    On foot
    The Blue Trail - the Royal Road (3 km)

    The most popular route to Łysa Góra leads from Nowa Słupia. The route starts at the car park in the centre of Nowa Słupia (or at the car park at the foot of the Świętokrzyski National Park, saving us 1 km of walking on asphalt). We ascend the blue trail, which at the foot of Łysa Góra is called the "Royal Road". All the way to the top we are accompanied by the Stations of the Cross. There are benches and rest areas along the way. The most difficult moment is the steep ascent to the plateau before the summit. When we stand in the clearing - an oblong plateau - we can see the shrine of the Holy Cross. With each step we will be closer to the most important place in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. 

    By bike and by car or on foot
    A fragment of the red trail from the Hucka Pass in Huta Szklana (2.2 km)
    In Huta Szklana, you can park your car in the car park next to the "Izba Dobrego Smaku" Inn and the Medieval Settlement (you are welcome by the inhabitants of the settlement) and the souvenir shops. From there, it is only a little over 2 km along the asphalt road to the summit. The same road can be used by cars <check the traffic rules on the section Huta Szklana - Święty Krzyż> and by bicycles. For hikers who want to avoid the asphalt road, there is an alternative - the forest didactic trail of the Świętokrzyski National Park, which starts right at the gate to the Świętokrzyski National Park. There are information boards and resting places on the route. Use this option when visiting with a group of children - it's safe!



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    • 21.060447692871
    • 50.857976708121
    • Święty Krzyż
    • Holy Cross