Benedictine Monastery of Holy Cross

Monastery in Świętokrzyski National Park

This hilltop monastery got its name from the segment of Jesus’ cross that was supposedly kept here. The abbey is at the top of Łysa Góra (595m) – the second-highest peak in the Świętokrzyski range after Łysica (612m). It has a fascinating history going back nearly a millennium. Most sources estimate it was built in the 11th century on an 8th- and 9th-century pagan worship site.

In more recent times, with the abolition of the Benedictine Order by the Russians in 1819, the abbey was converted into a prison. After a brief period of restoration, under Nazi Germany the buildings were reconverted into prisons. The Gestapo tortured many monks here before transporting them to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and many Soviet prisoners of war were executed and buried in mass graves near the peak. Under communism, the abbey was transferred to the national park and renovations commenced.