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The Błędowska Desert – the largest one of this kind in Europe.

The Błędowska Desert – the largest one of this kind in Europe.

Address:
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GPS:
50° 20' 42.0612" N 19° 31' 21.4104" E
Description

The biggest attraction of the Klucze commune is the Błędowska Desert, also dubbed the ”Polish Sahara.” It is the biggest desert in Europe. It is a unique natural and geographical feature since it came to be in a moderate and moist climate. The desert is situated within the

Eagle Nests’ Landscape Park and subject to partial ecological protection. The sand surface reaches up to 32 square km (length: 8-9 km, width: 3-4 km) and is crossed by the Biała Przemsza river valley. In the past, even mirage occurrences were noted here. Today, though partly covered with the sharp-leaf willow, it still attracts tourists. The local landscape is quite specific. At present, the northern part of the desert is used by the Polish military forces, as parachute practice area. The area also holds remains of a World War II bunker. The aim of the local natural protection is to preserve what is left of the largest Polish inland area of dune sand, with interesting morphological forms, numerous rare species of plants and animals and psammophilous grasslands. Subject to natural protection is the area situated south of the Biała Przemsza River, known as the Great Desert.

According to local legend, the desert’s origin is supernatural:

 

The whereabouts of hell are not exactly known, but some devilish habitat must have existed near Olkusz. It was many centuries ago, back when the first lead and silver mines came to be there. And these very mines became the subject of a grand council of demons somewhere deep underground.

"Impudent mortals! How dare they disturb us?!”

”One can’t even have a peaceful afternoon’s nap because of all that noise, all their banging and rattling up there… Always digging, always delving… If we don’t stop them, they may eventually reach our home!”

”God forbid!” foolishly blurted out the youngest of the minions. Thankfully, this godly exclamation was lost in the noisy dispute and went unnoticed. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have got away with even mentioning the Lord’s name among his fellows.

”They must be driven away and taught a lesson not to meddle in our devilish matters” revealed one demon with a serious, sagacious face and a tail already bald from old age. ”But how does one do that?” mused all the other devils.

”I’ve an idea,” said yet another and most cunning of them. ”All we have to do, is fill up the shafts that these impertinent creatures have dug out. Their work will be ruined and then they’ll let us be.”

”Fill them up!” scoffed the devils. “Easier said than done. Our kind is capable of many things but not omnipotent. Which one of us should dare and do this?”

”I will” said one of Beelzebub’s younger minions. All the older devils glanced at him pitifully. ”Here we are, racking our horned heads over the dilemma” they seemed to say. “And yet you say you can do it?

”I sure will” repeated the young devil and explained his idea how. ”Far in the north,” he said, ”the seashore abounds with sand. I’ll fly all the way up north with a big sack and get the sand to fill up the shafts.” Even the oldest and wisest devils nodded with respect.

”Then get ye to the sea, brother,” said they, “and mind you, get a huge sack, so that you fill’em all in one go.”

”I’m on my way!” he exclaimed, grabbing an enormous sack and off to the sea he flew.

He landed on the seashore at midnight, the only things disturbing the nightly silence and darkness being the gentle moonlight and quiet splashing of the waves against the shore. As soon as the devil filled his sack with the sand, he shouldered it, took off to the sky with all his evil powers and back to Olkusz he flew. Alas, he didn’t reach his destination. Maybe because of his carelessness and maybe because of some higher power at work, the sack got caught on the Olkusz church tower and ripped open, spilling the sand all over the surrounding fields.

Hence the Błędowska Desert is the result of the devil’s excursion to the sea, whereas the mine exploitation for lead and silver would not cease for a long time. And not even the angry grinding of the devils’ teeth seemed to bother the miners.

 

Viewing and observation points:

Klucze- Czubatka (382 m)-

One of the most important viewing points of the Klucze commune. From the top of the hill, there spreads a vast panoramic view of the Błędowska Desert. It is a perfect spot for paragliders. Interesting objects in the vicinity include the ruins of a post-World War II German command post and an observation tower, belonging to the Olkusz Forestry District.

 

 

 

Chechło-Dąbrówka (355 m)-

Another spot from which one can admire a panorama of the Błędowska Desert. The view is much more interesting because larger areas of sand are visible. The area on the side of Chechło is leased by the Ministry of Defence for military manoeuvres. In the vicinity there is also a bunker which served as a Polish command post during World War II.

 

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