Welcome to Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, a historic city located in southeastern Poland in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. With a population of 66,258 residents as of 2021, Ostrowiec is one of the oldest industrial centers of Poland, and is known for its rich history in metallurgy. The city is situated on the Kamienna river, with northern districts located in the Iłża Foothills and the southern part belonging to the Opatów Upland. Nearby, the stunning Świętokrzyskie Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to the city.
One of the highlights of Ostrowiec is the archaeological reserve at Krzemionki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Historic Monument of Poland. Here, visitors can explore prehistoric striped flint mines that date back to the Neolithic period. For a family-friendly day out, don’t miss the dinosaur park in Bałtów, where visitors can see life-size models of various dinosaur species.
Ostrowiec is also easily accessible from National Road No. 9, which is part of the European route E371, as well as local roads 751, 754, and 755. The town has had a rail connection since 1884 along electrified rail line No. 25, which goes from Łódź Kaliska to Dębica. Additionally, the Polish government planned the construction of a rail line from Kielce to Lublin via Ostrowiec in the 1960s.
The history of Ostrowiec dates back to the Stone Age, with the oldest testimonies of human habitation dating back to around 4000 BC. The village of Ostrow, which gave birth to the contemporary Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, was first mentioned in documents from the 14th century. In 1564, town charter was granted to the settlement of Denków, which is now one of the districts of Ostrowiec. The city itself was built in 1597 by Jakub Gawroński of Rawa coat of arms on the left bank of the Kamienna river and received town privileges in 1613. Throughout the centuries, Ostrowiec was owned by many Polish aristocratic families, including the Tarnowski, Czartoryski, and Radziwiłł families, among others.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Ostrowiec became one of the main centers of Polish industry. The Klimkiewicz Steelworks, later known as the Ostrowiec Works, was opened in 1837 and became the second-largest plant in Congress Poland. Ostrowiec was also one of the main centers of the Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland from 1905-1907. During World War II, Ostrowiec was occupied by Germany and included within the Radom District of the General Government. Most of the town’s Jewish community was murdered in the Holocaust in 1943-1944, while the town itself was a center of the Polish resistance movement.
Today, visitors to Ostrowiec can explore a wealth of historical and cultural attractions. The Collegiate church of Michael the Archangel, built in the early 17th century and remodelled in neo-Baroque style in 1924-1938, is a must-visit for its stunning architecture. St. Stanislaus church in Denków, built in 1700 with an 1806 bell tower, is also a popular attraction. For those interested in art and history, the Historic-Archeological Museum in the Wielopolski family park and palace in the district of Czestocice is a must-visit. The museum is housed in a hunting palace that was built between 1887-1899.
Overall, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski is a charming destination that offers a rich history, stunning natural beauty, and a wealth of cultural attractions. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s industrial past or immersing yourself in its vibrant cultural scene, Ostrowiec has something for everyone. Come and discover this hidden gem of Poland for yourself!