The Sowie Mountains and the Strzelin Hills

The picturesque Sowie Mountains (lit. Owl Mountains), the Central Sudetes range, delight with amazing landscapes that can be admired from many viewpoints. They are a wonderful place for hiking and biking tours and, in winter, breathtaking views can be admired while cross-country skiing on the many trails prepared for especially it.

Being in the Sowie Mountains be sure to visit the lookout tower on The Great Owl (Wielka Sowa), the highest peak of the range rising to a height of 1015 m.

The Sowie Mountains

The twenty-five-meter tall tower is a symbol of these mountains. Built in 1906, it was constructed as a result of a then prevailing cult of the first Chancellor of the German Reich Otto von Bismarck. As many as 240 towers were built around the world on the same initiative. From it we can admire the vast views of almost all the Sudetes from the Giant Mountains to the Snieznik Massif and, on clear days, we will also see Wroclaw. Other worth seeing vantage points include the tower of the Assumption of Mary church in Bielawa, the tower on the summit of Kalenica and the Silver Mountain (Srebrna Gora) Fortress, which is also an extremely original monument of military architecture. The Sowie Mountains attract many tourists also thanks to medieval castles and picturesque ruins. You must see the magnificent, Grodno Castle, near Zagorze Slaskie. In Zagorze, it is worth seeing the spectacular dam on The Bystrzyca River and the Lubachow Lake created as a result of it. The castle in Owiesno and the ruins of Rogowiec Castle are also very impressive.

Similarly imposing are Walim Adits which also were a part of the ‘Riese’ project. The ‘Little River’ (‘Rzeczka’) complex consists of 500 m of corridors with impressive halls hiding the deepest obscurities of World War II: prisoners from the Gross Rosen camp were used to build them and most of them died of inhuman working conditions, diseases and hunger.

Project Riese

It is impossible not to mention Osowka Underground City – made available for visiting the largest part of the complex of underground corridors and halls located in the Owl Mountains. Osowka is a part of the ‘Riese’ project carried out by the German Nazis from 1943 to 1945. It is probable that Nazi weapons factories were to be established in the network of underground corridors. According to other sources, some of them were to be Hitler’s headquarters and the headquarters of the German armed forces. In Osowka, you can see 1,700 m of underground tunnels and two large ground structures.

The Sleza Mountain, rising above the surrounding area at 718 meters above sea level, is located about 30 km southwest of Wroclaw.

The Sleza Massif

It is close enough not to have to go too far from the capital of Lower Silesia and to be able to experience the pleasures that a hike gives. And this is why crowds of, not only of Polish, hikers come every day to the summit of this Silesian Olympus.   Presumably, it is from the Sleza Mountain (and having the same word root the Sleza river) that the name of the Sleza tribe originates. Its members lived in the area before the rise of the Polish state in the 10th century. At that time, the mountain served as the most important centre of pagan Slavic worship of the sun god – Svarog. Currently, at the popular summit towering over Sobotka, you can find a historical Catholic church and a hostel erected at the beginning of the 20th century, recently renamed PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society) Roman Zmorski Tourist House.   A dense network of tourist routes marked out in the area, among which there are two archaeological paths, a bicycle route and long-distance routes, connect Sleza with Swidnica, Strzelin, the Tapadlo Mountain Pass, Gozdnica and Radunia, the second largest peak of the massif. It takes just a short walk through the dense forest that grows over the mountainside to understand that there is something very special about the Slaza Mountain. The Sleza Landscape Park surrounding the mountain was created to protect both cultural monuments and local fauna and flora.