A picturesque spa village situated about 100 km north of Krakow, Solec Zdroj is an excellent destination for patients seeking quality medical care as well as for the city dweller tired of the daily hustle and wishing instead to re-engage with nature. There are two sulphate water springs in Solec, the high sulphur and mineral composition being the most healing in the country, winning recognition throughout Europe.
The mineral springs of Solec Zdroj have great medical properties, especially in helping people suffering from rheumatic diseases or from post-injury orthopaedic conditions. To best help serve the convenience of visitors, the spa buildings were built close to each other in a lovely spa park, which features magnificent specimens of trees like ancient common limes, black pines, sycamores, magnolias, large catalpas and larches. Adjacent to the park is a lake you can use for swimming or skating, season permitting.
Since a pure environment is very important in the treatment of the diseases of civilisation, Solec Zdroj has for quite a long time focussed different activities aimed at protecting its ecological-based resources. Solec Zdroj is now recognised as the most ecologically advanced community in the Swietokrzyskie Voivodship.
Moreover, while you are here you must see the St. Nicholas church, with its crucifix dating back to the turn of the 16th century and the Renaissance tombstone of a famous magnate by the name of Samuel Zborowski.
Solec Zdroj is both the name of a gmina (the local community, consisting of a number of villages and a town) and the central town of 5400 inhabitants, situated in the south-eastern portion of the Swietokrzyskie Voivodship. It lies on the Rzoska River, only a few kilometres from the meeting of the Nida and Vistula Rivers. The main route between Sandomierz and Krakow passes within 3 km of the town.
Situated 160 m above sea level and protected to the northeast by a range of hills, Solec benefits from its own unique microclimate, whose most important characteristics include an abundance of days with sunshine and low rainfall during the year.
The old chronicles note that a village called Solec Zdroj was already in existence by the 14th century. However, it was only in the 18th century, when local waters were utilised to produce salt, that the healing properties were discovered. One of the then owners of Solec Zdroj founded a salt works by excavating a shaft to commence the search for salt, an activity launched by Stanislaw Staszic, one of the most distinguished representatives of the Polish Enlightenment. In 1815, a rich spring of a bitter and salty flavour was found at a depth of 121 metres, forming an abundant resource of mineral water. Soon after this the first wooden bathing facilities were built. In 1837 Solec was registered as a Polish spa town, and with this event the modern era of the town began. Of course, Solec also owes its development to Jozef Dietl, a famous doctor from Krakow.
Later, the Daniewski brothers became new owners of the spa, pushing the modernisation and development of the town and its facilities. Thanks to them Solec was turned into an increasingly popular resort both in Poland and abroad between the wars. Suddenly, as a European standard spa, Solec began to attract a constant flow of celebrity guests from the artistic and political world of the times. A marvellous park with unique trees and picturesque surroundings set the perfect scene for healing as well as for relaxation. Numerous villas were created, while the park and bathing facilities were admired by all who came. Never before or since has the resort enjoyed such a wonderful period of prosperity.
Despite the devastation of World War I, the following years brought about a rapid restoration and further development. Within five years, the number of the patients at the spa doubled. By 1925 electricity had been introduced into the spa facilities as well as to the majority of villas, and a shaft was sunk to a greater depth and a large tank for mineral water was built.
Unfortunately, World War II brought another wave of destruction to Solec, but even though many buildings and facilities were damaged and the spa park devastated, by 1946 the resort was once more in operation. However, it has never managed to regain its former prestige, partly due to a change in planning direction in 1951 when it became part of the Busko Zdroj resort. In spite of its great natural and curative values, Solec began to deteriorate due to an acute deficiency in investments. After 47 years of state ownership, the resort was returned to the Daniewski and Dzianotta families. Now, following many new investments, Solec once more faces the opportunity to relaunch itself as a vital resort.