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Sabbath on Bald Mountain

Świętokrzyskie Mountains are not for the faint of heart. They may be the least prominent Polish mountains height-wise, but their history of witchcraft and paganism makes them the most eerie ones. If you like your skiing holidays sprinkled with a bit of the supernatural, Łysa Góra is where you should head.

Sabbath on Bald MountainŁysa Góra

Noliv O

The famous bare peak of Łysa Góra (Bald Mountain) has been tantalising people for centuries. Its name comes from the conspicuous rock landform called the stone sea or the stone run. Geologists will have us believe that it came to be as a result of erosion of particular rock varieties caused by myriad freezing-thawing cycles, but wouldn’t it be more interesting if the rocks were weapons of destruction abandoned by devils?

Every Polish child will tell you that Łysa Góra is where witches gather for their sabbath. Legend has it that they ruled the mountain for a long time until a Benedictine monastery was built there. From now on the peak was to be become a place of prayer rather than devilry. The forces of evil were naturally unhappy about this turn of events. The gates of hell opened and the devils spilled out, each holding a rock to hurl at the church and destroy it. However, the clear pealing of the monastery bells scared them off. They rushed back to hell, leaving the slope strewn with rocks, thus creating the famous stone sea.

The exact date of the foundation of the first church on the peak of Łysa Góra is indeed lost in the depths of history, giving somewhat more life to the legend. The current 18th century basilica houses the relics of the Holy Cross and it is open to visitors. The peak’s connections with the occult run deep: for centuries local people celebrated the Slavic tradition of June fires on the mountain, until it was condemned by the Church. There are also stone structures suggesting pagan practices.

You can ponder about all this while enjoying your après-ski drink at the aptly named “Sabat” (“Sabbath”) ski-station located at the foot of the mountain or while admiring the stunning view from the top station of the lift. The descent is relatively long (1 km) and fairly mild, therefore ideal for families with children or beginner skiers.

So, whether you prefer to whizz down the mountain on skis or on a broomstick, Łysa Góra is a place for you.

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