Ślęża Landscape Park

Lower Silesia

Some 34km southwest of Wrocław, the solitary forested cone of Mt Ślęża rises to 718m above the surrounding open plain. It was one of the holy places of an ancient pagan tribe that set up cult sites in the area from at least the 5th century BC until the 11th century AD. The massif is surrounded by the 82-sq-km Ślęża Landscape Park; at its northern foot is the small town of Sobótka, the starting point for hikes to the top.

The summit of Ślęża – from which the name 'Silesia' may descend – was circled by a stone wall marking off the sanctuary where rituals were held; the remains of these ramparts survive to this day. Mysterious votive statues were crudely carved out of granite, and several of them are scattered over the mountain’s slopes.

From Sobótka, follow the red route for a two-hour hike up the mountain. You’ll find two statues called the Bear (Miś) and the Fish (Ryba) on the way, plus a tall television mast and a 19th-century church at the top.

Coming down, you can take the steeper but faster (1¼ hours) yellow route directly to the PTTK hostel, about 800m west of your starting point. On the road back into town you’ll pass another stone statue, called the Monk (Mnich); it resembles an urn to untrained eyes.

Sobótka is easily reached by regular buses from Wrocław (7.50zł, 55 minutes) and Świdnica (6zł, 40 minutes).

Ślęża is accessible as a day trip from Wrocław, but if you want to overnight, there are half a dozen hotels in central Sobótka.

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