Who knows where the town called Sandomierz is?
I think only Google knows. Hidden in the middle of nowhere, was very important in the history of Poland. Based on the bank of the main polish river – Vistula, was on the way of the amber truck coming from Roman or Greek empires. This is how the town developed as well as became famous for trade. Later on, loved by kings which built the castle here and town got shape, which we can admire until now. City used to be called small Rome because as Rome was located on seven hills and had huge amount of churches per citizen. Sandomierz was and still is important capital of clergy in the region.
What to see?
Take a walk through the main gate to the old part called Brama Opatowska Tower and come to see the main market, which is unique in Poland for its slope. Town is small but conceal precious monuments, such as Ratusz – city hall, cathedral, underground path, historic buildings, castle. On the hill next to the old town is the oldest monument – church of Saint Jakob from XIII century. In fact, this hill was the first which was inhabited.
Coming from the old part you can go by Ucho Igielne, small hidden gate which Dominicans were using to come from the Jabub’s Hill to the town. Town had also Jewish synagogue, going behind, you will find a terrace with a nice view towards the west. On the other side of the town come to see Dom Długosza – Museum of the very first chronicler, which was born in this region. Thanks to him we have first mentions about history of Poland. Just next to it stands Collegium Gostomianum, which used to be Jesuit college and now is quite renowned high school. Between those two buildings is one of the best viewpoints on the riverside and twisted stairs down to the pope square.
Walk to the port as well, calm area offers boat cruises on the Vistula river. Not to mention it is not just a touristic shoddy boat. The leader of the business is a real enthusiast of old historical boats. He brought those old boats and repaired them to invite visitors for the cruise. Seeing him you know how much he enjoys what he does and specially being on the boat. Local pirate…
What is Sandomierz famous for?
Few years ago town became popular because of TV series shot in here. It has very high product placement, so that touristic movement increased dramatically! Series called “Ojciec Mateusz” (Father Mateo) is a polish version of Italian “Don Mateo”. It is story about the priest working as a detective. As I mentioned before town was always important religious center, and currently it still is…
Town and the region in general is famous for loess soil (very fertile for agriculture) consequently for spectacular gorges. The must see one is Wąwóz Królowej Jadwigi (Queen Jadwiga gorge) near Saint Jakub church. It is around 8 meters high tunnel where water and trees roots created breathtaking scenery.
Apart from the old town
Now I will take you for a walk far from touristic attractions of Sandomierz. On the south end of the town (towards Kraków) stands one strange hill “Salve Regina“. The name comes from Latin and means “welcome queen”. It is a cone shaped hill which looks like human made but according to the research it is a natural mound. Thanks to its structure it hides a lot of legends and was used as a religious cult since centuries. I invite you for a walk there before sunset to see meanders of the Vistula River and on the other side apple orchards.
Region is the biggest source of apples in Poland. I highly recommend visiting the town in the late spring to see all the apple trees blooming. View like from a fairy tale! Summer season is also too crowded since town is small and tourists are way too much nowadays. Under those circumstances spring and autumn are best times to come to Sandomierz.