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Szczyrk is a town of 5,500 inhabitants located in the Beskid ¦l±ski in the valley of the River Żylica. Owing to its privileged natural conditions, such as its mountainous location, favourable climate, large amount of sunshine, long-lasting snow cover and natural vegetation, Szczyrk is a town with a great deal to offer in terms of recreation and leisure. The most significant tourist features of the town and its surrounding area are its ideal conditions for walking, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and also paragliding and tobogganing. Additional advantages include the chairlift on Skrzyczne mountain, ski-jumps and numerous downhill ski runs. The town of Szczyrk is one of the organizers of the Beskidzie Region Week of Cultural Events, which each year hosts about 100 folklore groups from all over the world.

Kapela góralska Antoniego Gluzy
 
            The earliest mentions of a settlement in Szczyrk appeared around the 15th century, when the shepherding people of Albanian-Romanian origin known as Wallachs arrived in the area. Inhabitants at that time were farmers, shepherds and wood cutters. As the number of inhabitants increased, so the town spread up into the mountains. Production of wood and sheep products developed further. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Szczyrk supplied wood to the mills in Upper Silesia. The town also produced woollen cloth. Around this time, the area was terrorized by numerous bands of robbers, who earned their living by plundering rich farmers. The most renowned of these robbers were Ondraszek and Klimczok.

            Tourism continued to develop following the end of the First World War when wounded Austrian soldiers came to Szczyrk for treatment. In the intra-war period, around a dozen guest houses were opened, as well as the mountain hostel on Skrzyczne. However, the growing importance of Szczyrk was confirmed following the end of the Second World War by the construction of a chairlift on Skrzyczne, as well as many other ski-lifts and ski runs. Around the same time, Silesian mills and factories began building tourist complexes. On 1 January 1973, Szczyrk was officially incorporated as a town and became one of Poland’s major ski resorts. Currently, the town offers accommodation for about 7,500 visitors. It boasts 60 km of ski runs, a snowboarding pipe, natural toboggan runs, ski-jumps, 70 km of mountain walking routes and over 60 km of cycle routes. Szczyrk is also an excellent location for paragliding, the best take-off point being Skrzyczne.


 
Skrzyczne

             Since 1999 the town has come under the borough of Bielsko-Biała. It currently has an area of about 39 km2.

 

 

MONUMENTS AND PLACES OF INTEREST IN SZCZYRK
 
Jakub

- Church of Saint James – a wooden church, constructed at the end of the 18th century and enlarged between 1937 and 1939. Worth noting is its baroque steeple with tented cover, and inside, the stone baptismal font dating from 1800, baroque pulpit and 18th century picture of Saint John. The church is located on the hill and has an interesting fence.
 
Sanktuarium na Górce

- Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary Queen of Poland on the Hill – this is an important site for the cult of the Virgin Mary. On this spot, on 25 July 1894, the Virgin Mary appeared in the branches of a beech tree to a small girl named Julianna Pezda. She asked for a shrine to be constructed on the site of the tree. On the day construction works began, water began flowing from a spring in the side of the hill located behind the church. In 1912 a brick chapel was constructed and a church erected in 1948. Since the First World War, the monument has been under the care of the Sallesians. On 3 May 1994, Bishop T. Rakoczy enlisted the shrine on the register of local sanctuaries of the Virgin Mary.
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- Cemetery at Więzikowa Kępka – this was founded at the beginning of the 19th century as a result of the spread of typhus. The oldest graves date from the second half of the 19th century and are marked with iron crosses. Graves from the middle part of the century are made of white marble. The cemetery also contains the graves of some famous sportsmen: A. Łaciak, A. Wieczorek and U. Szkodziak.
- Brick Chapel of 1830 (B6) this contains the oldest monument in Szczyrk, namely the wooden mission cross of 1730 – a memento of the Jesuit missionaries.
- Chapel and Evangelical Cemetery in Salmopol – up to 1928 Salmopol was an independent village set up by evangelical settlers. The cemetery was founded in 1812, while the oldest graves originate from the beginning of the 20th century. In 1897 an evangelical chapel was founded.
 
 

 

 


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