Nowa Słupia [ˈnɔva ˈswupja] is a town in Kielce County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Nowa Słupia. It lies approximately 34 km (21 mi) east of the regional capital Kielce. The village has an approximate population of 1,600.
Nowa Słupia, which in the past was known as Słup and Słupia Nowa, has a long and rich history, and used to be a town from 1351 to 1869. The village is located in the Swietokrzyskie Mountains, at the foothills of Lysa Gora, the second highest peak of the mountains. Nowa Słupia borders Swietokrzyski National Park. The village, which is a junction of three regional roads (751th, 753rd and 756th), is a starting point of several tourist trails.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, Nowa Słupia belonged to the Święty Krzyż Benedictine Abbey, and at that time the village was called Słup. In 1351, due to efforts of Benedictine abbots, King Kazimierz Wielki granted town charter to Slup. The new town’s name was changed into Słupia Nowa, to distinguish it from the nearby village of Słupia, which now is called Stara Słupia. Słupia Nowa developed as a center of services for pilgrims, who headed to Swiety Krzyz. Among the pilgrims, was King Wladyslaw Jagiello. In 1405, Słupia received a privilege for weekly fairs. The town prospered in the period known as Polish Golden Age, and in 1578 it had 21 workshops with a mill.
Until the Partitions of Poland, Nowa Słupia remained within Sandomierz Voivodeship. The town then briefly belonged to the Habsburg Empire, and in 1815 – 1915, it was part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland. In 1819, the Swiety Krzyz Abbey was closed, which resulted in decline of the town. In 1869, following the January Uprising, Nowa Słupia was reduced to the status of a village, together with several other locations in northern Lesser Poland. Before World War II, the village had the population of 3,350, and was part of Kielce Voivodeship. In 1929, almost whole village burned in a fire. During the war, Nowa Słupia was an important center of the Home Army and other anti-German organizations. In July 1943, Germans pacified the village, murdering 200 residents.
Currently, Nowa Słupia is a tourist center, with Mieczyslaw Radwan Museum of Old-Polish Steel Mills, opened in 1960. Every year, a festival called Dymarki Swietokrzyskie (Holy Cross Bloomeries) is organized here in mid-August, at an open-air museum, Archeological – and Cultural Center. One of major local points of interest is the so-called Stone Pilgrim (Kamienny pielgrzym), a stone figure of a kneeling man, located near main entrance to the National Park. According to a legend, the figure once was a vain knight, who went on a pilgrimage to the abbey. Upon hearing the sound of the bells, he stated that they tolled in his honor, for which he was punished and turned into stone. The figure moves towards the summit at a pace of one grain of sand a year, and it will reach the top at the end of the world. Nowa Słupia also has the St. Lawrence parish church (1678).
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