The legend of the founding of Kielce

There exists many legends surrounding the origin of Kielce City. The most popular one is connected with the figure of Prince Mieszko, the son of Boleslaus the Brave.

Over 900 years ago the vast majority of actual area of the Kielce City was covered by wide forests surrounding The Holy Cross Mountains. The wilderness attracting many daredevils and hunters. According to tradition transmitted orally the young Prince Mieszko once hunted in the forest. While chasing a wild animal he separated from his companions and got lost. Exhausted from finding the way back, he decided to spend the night in the wilderness. He dreamt that he was attacked by brigands who wanted to pour poison into his mouth. Our would -be monarch probably lost the battle with much stronger opponent. He almost  lost all strenght and breath, when suddenly he saw Saint Adalbert in his dream vision. The saint raised his crosier and drew on the ground a winding line which turned miraculously into a stream. He drank the water and suddenly experienced a feeling of supernatural power which woke him up. At that time the figure of the Saint had vanished The prince saw a spring nearby. The water was as clear and tasty as it was in his dream. Mieszko recovered his strength and quickly found his companions. When he was leaving the clearing, he noticed the huge white tusks of an unknown animal, perhaps a boar. The prince announced he would build a town with a church in that place. Soon St Adalbert’s Church was erected in the clearing, the stream whose water returned strength to Mieszko was called Silnica (‘Strong Water’), while the name of the settlement was Kielce, to commemorate the mysterious tusks (‘kieł’ in Polish).


Other legends claim that the town owes its name to the founder, belonging to the noble family of Kiełcz. Some derive the name Kielce from the Celts, who stayed in this area during their wandering around Europe. There exists  also a hypothesis that in Old Polish the word reflected the jobs of people who used to live here and who were busy making mud huts, or, according to another theory, making iron tips for arrows and spears. Some even connect Kielce with the production of tar, which in our ancestors’ dialect was called ‘pkiel’, while ‘pkielce’ simply meant a settlement of tar makers. This is what the legends say.

What can be said with certainty is that at the beginning of the 11th century the Kielce area was inhabited by hunters and beekeepers, who bartered the fruit of their work for seed grain with the community of nearby Nida river valley. That marketplace was established at the southern edge of the Fir Forest and  allowed the settlement to develop.


Archeoloistts, in turn, confirm the existence of the settlement tin the first half of the 9th century.

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