Sandomierz is associated by Poles with the a tv serial “Father Matthew"; about a detective priest. The city has benefited greatly from this in terms of domestic tourism. So don't be surprised if you come to Sandomierz and are invited from all over to visit Father Matthew's pierogi, or Father Matthew's favourite tea, or to follow Father Matthew's footsteps.
Let's leave the commercials behind.
Sandomierz lies on the Vistula River, where the San River flows (in Polish domierza) into the Vistula River, hence, according to some, the name of the town. The location combined with the soil conditions, mild climate and access to striped stone were excellent conditions for people to settle down.
The first traces of settlement date back to 5,000 BC. This is evidenced by numerous archaeological discoveries made within the city.
The convenient location and the possibility of transporting goods along the river developed trade. Around the 11C, Sandomierz was established as one of the three royal legal seats. The dynamic development was hindered by a few Tartar invasions. After the Tatar invasions, the city was rebuilt in a new, fully European shape.
Sandomierz owns the most to King Casimir the Great, the Polish ruler, who “found the wooden city and left it made of brick". During his reign, the cathedral, the Royal Castle and the defensive walls with 4 gates - Opatowska (survived to this day), Krakowska, Lubelska and Zawichojska were built.
Sandomierz developed further until the middle of the 17C. The townspeople got rich by trading and craftsmanship. They started to build houses, cultivate gardens and vineyards, educate sons at universities. Merchants, under tenement houses located around the market square, dug cellars, often multi-storey, which served as warehouses for various goods transported by the river.
The good days of the city ended with the Swedish Deluge. While retreating, the invader blew up a part of the castle, among other things. Later on, Sandomierz was devastated by the plague and fire (1757).
Then came the time of the partitions of Poland. The city was tormented by Russian and later Austrian troops. Sandomierz became an arena of military operations also during the WW1. In the city and its surroundings heavy fights took place. After gaining of independence in 1918, it seemed that the days of flourish would come back. In the interwar period, a great opportunity was seen in the Central Industrial District, which was created on a grand scale, and its centre was planned in Sandomierz. It was planned to expand the city to 100,000 inhabitants.
With the outbreak of World War II, these plans were ruined. The city was occupied by German troops and the five-year period of the Nazi occupation began. At that time, many of the inhabitants were killed or deported, among them Jews from the Sandomierz Ghetto.
Currently, Sandomierz has 24,000 inhabitants. There are 120 architectural monuments with a preserved medieval urban layout.
Charming buildings combined with the beauty of the landscape are a treat for tourists.
What to do and see:
Underground tourist route - it is the part of the underground system of chambers and tunnels accessible to tourists.
The City Hall - built in 14C in the shape of a tower.
The Castle – the gothic castle erected on Vistula River slope by King Casimir the Great. At present the Regional Museum.
Długosz House – one of the best preserved gothic housing buildings in Sandomierz.
The Bishop’s Place
Collegium Gostomianum – the College is one of the oldest secondary schools in Poland.
Queen Jadwiga Ravine – a natural ravine approx. 500m long and 10 m deep.
The Olesnicki Tenement – at present Post Office building.
The Opatowska Gate – built in 14-16C. It is 30m tall. You can admire the panorama of the town and Vistula River.
In July 2019, Krzemionki Opatowskie was introduced to the UNESCO heritage list (about 1 hour drive from Sandomierz).
The striped flint mines were discovered in 1922 and date back to 4-2 BC. There are approximately 4,000 shafts with a depth of up to 9 metres. They mined flint, which was used to make tools.
It is said to be the first industrial area in the history of mankind.
Sandomierz seems to be rather off the beaten track for foreign tourists, but if you have more time to explore Poland outside the main must see places, write to us at email@example.com.
We will help you plan and organize your tailor-made trip.