Spala is a popular resort, located in the centre of Poland, by the Pilica river. Tourists are attracted by its beautiful landscape park and nature reserves. The town lies in the area of the former Pilica Forest, where Polish kings and Russian tsars used to hunt. Spala’s inhabitants still cultivate the hunting tradition. This beautiful and enchanting place is really worth visiting.
Spala is a small, but popular Polish holiday resort. Many Polish celebrities visit this town in order to relax and rest in a harmony with nature here. Your stay in Spala’s Landscape Park will be an unforgettable experience. The park was founded in 1995 and has the area of approximately 36 ha. It covers the Pilica valley and the most valuable Spala’s forests with rich fauna and flora. While in the park, you have a chance to admire impressive ancient forests with pines and oaks. You may also find here numerous wild animals, like boars, roe deer and red deer. In the park, in Ksiaz forestry, there is also a bison reserve with the area of 32 ha. The most valuable relics of the former Pilica Forest are protected by such nature reserves as Gac Spalska, Konewka and Jelen. Picturesque forests and valleys along the river attract active visitors. There are numerous foot and bike trails in the landscape park and canoeing enthusiasts may head for rafting on the Pilica. Spala itself holds one of Europe’s most important sport centres with indoor sports halls, a pool, gyms, spas and tennis courts. Spala may also boast of many interesting monuments. One of the most characteristic places in the town is a water tower (36 metres tall). Worthy a visit is also a wooden church from 1923, built in Zakopane (the capital of Podhale region) style. Near the church you will find an English garden with many exotic tree types. A very interesting monument is a building of the former coach house and orangery from the 20th century. There is also a museum in Spala known as a House of Memory of The Heroic Fight and Martyrdom of the Foresters and Woodsmen of Poland. The town’s symbol is an iron bison monument located in the park. An unquestionable tourist attraction is also cyclical open-air events, like Presidential Harvest Festival (which has been organized since 1929) and Spala’s Hubertus (Poland’s greatest hunting festival). Spala is also a perfect destination for art lovers, who may buy many interesting products and crafts on the local fair.
Spala lies in Lodz Voivodeship, in a close proximity to Tomaszow Mazowiecki and within the area of Lodz Upland. The region’s terrain is dominated by plains and hills. There is a country road no. 48 running through the town. A local transport is also well-developed. It is easy to get to Radom and Rawa Mazowiecka from here. In the summer season you may go for a sightseeing tour in Spala. Spala’s railway will show you all the town’s most important attractions.
The first records about Spala are from the 17th century. At that time, in the area of present Spala, there were three settlements. One of them disappeared from the map of Poland and the remaining two are today’s Konewka and Spala. The name of the settlement comes from the last name of its then-owner, i.e. Marcin Spala, the miller. After the Second Partition of Poland, in 1793, goods from Inowlodz village together with a forest were joined to Prussia. At the same time the exploitation of forests began. Wood was used for the production of charcoal, tar and as a fuel. Some wood was transported on the Pilica to the Vistula.
The town was developing and a saw-mill came to existence. Unfortunately, as a result of the January Uprising, Spala confronted an economic decline. In the 19th century the beauty of Spala’s forests was discovered by tsar Alexander III. During his reigns a Polish residential complex was built..
In 1885 a wooden palace together with barracks, a military casino and guest houses was built in Spala. In the late 19th century the residence was surrounded by a landscape park. The area was at first managed by Wielopole margrave and from 1888 Ignacy Boncza-Modzelewski. During the First World War Spala was under German occupation. Germans overharvested the neighbouring forests and in 1918, while they were pulling out from Spala, they devastated many buildings of the palace complex. .
After Poland’s regaining independence, the palace was rebuilt and in 1922 Spala became a summer residence of Poland’s presidents. President Ignacy Moscicki was a frequent guest in Spala. He was a keen hunter and established a tradition of a harvest festival. In the beginning of the Second World War Germans founded the East Army High Command in Spala. At the same time, large bunkers in the neighbouring villages, Konewka and Jelen, were built. They were supposed to protect military staff’s trains. .
In 1945 Spala was freed but the Red Army burnt the presidential palace. In the times of the People’s Republic of Poland (Polish: PRL) tourism declined in Spala. Hotels in the town centre were transformed into Workers’ Holiday Fund (Polish: Fundusz Wczasów Pracowniczych, FWP). There were, however, investments in entertainment and sport made. The breakthrough came with the opening of the Central Sport Centre, in which Polish best sportsmen train. After the fall of communism, private investors bought and rebuilt the historical objects and the park and erected new hotels and restaurants. Nowadays Spala attracts many tourists from all over Poland.