This medium-sized town situated east of Warsaw has a long history and several sights to explore, including its most precious treasure, an El Greco masterpiece displayed in a local museum. Rarely visited as a tourist destination, Siedlce serves mainly as a transit town on the international road connecting Russia and Western Europe.
As a former property of the Czartoryski family, Siedlce is comprised of a former palace of this noble family. The Classic edifice rests in a beautiful park and once played a role as an aristocratic residence. Today, it’s used by the City Council.
One of the most impressive historical sights in Siedlce is the Town Hall, which gently combines Classic and Baroque styles, with a somewhat interesting result. The building now houses the Regional Museum. But the real surprise awaits art admirers in the Diocesan Museum, where you can see a painting by El Greco (1541-1614), “The Ecstasy of St. Francis”, discovered by chance by two art historians in this small Polish village over 40 years ago.
Visitors stay in Siedlce because of its convenient location near the E30, which leads from the border crossing in Swiecko through Poznan, Lodz, Warsaw and Siedlce, to Biala Podlaska and Terespol on the Belarusian border.
Siedlce lies in the eastern part of the Masovian Province, about 100 km from Warsaw. If you happen to come to Siedlce, think about a trip to Warsaw. The city is situated on the border of Masovia and Podlachia, which are two large regions of Poland.
The first records of the town date back to 1547, while its intense development started in the 18th Century. For a long time, the town was property of the noble Czartoryski family. In the 18th Century, Duchess Aleksandra Czartoryska converted Siedlce into an important centre of cultural life and rebuilt the palace in the Classic style. In those times, Siedlce was visited by many notorious people of the epoch, including Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the poets Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Franciszek Karpinski and Franciszek Kniaznin.
Siedlce began developing quickly in the 19th Century, when the new road and railway line connecting Siedlce and Warsaw were built.
At the end of the 19th Century, Siedlce became an educational centre. The local school was attended by Boleslaw Prus, one of the most famous Polish writers.