Situated in the Sudety Mountains, Swieradow-Zdroj has long been a spa famous for its healing mineral waters, unpolluted air and pleasant scenery. Nowadays visitors arriving looking to improve or look after their health can take advantage of the modern medical facilities. Apart from being a spa, Swieradow is a tourist and holiday centre, visited particularly by people interested in winter sports as it offers marvellous conditions for skiing. Additionally, in both the town and its surroundings there are opportunities for visitors to enjoy an array of walking and biking routes.
In the heart of Swieradow-Zdroj, within the surroundings of the Spa Park, is a magnificent historic Spa House with an 80-m-long walking hall where you can taste the mineral waters. The Spa House, crowned by a clock tower some 45 m in height, also houses a spa hospital. Swieradow boasts beautiful architecture preserved from the period of its greatest prosperity, the 18th and mid-19th centuries.
The town enjoys a unique location on the border of the Karkonoski National Park, offering wonderful vistas of the mountainous, forested area. You will find an abundance of hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing trails all around the town. The main Sudety red trail starts in Swieradow-Zdroj, a trail that is also named after the promoter of tourism in the Sudety, Dr Mieczyslaw Orlowicz (his memorial is to be seen in the town).
Different kinds of attractions await those who come to Swieradow in June for the International Rally of Antique Vehicles. With a parade and a race between old cars as well as concerts and cabaret shows; it is a fun event for all who attend. Next the town becomes a music centre of international significance, with the European Meetings of Young Musicians “Eurounionorchestries” taking place annually in August.
Swieradow-Zdroj lies 100 km from Wroclaw and 300 km from Berlin, not far from the borders with the Czech Republic and Germany. It is situated in the very middle of the Sudety Mountains, on the northern slope of the Izerskie Mountains. Located at 490-550 m above sea level, Swieradow occupies the Kwisa river valley, between the two mountains of Stog Izerski (1,107 m) and Sepia Gora (828 m).
The specific climate, balmy and with healing properties, is determined by several factors, namely its altitude above sea level, the proximity to the mountains and forests as well as vapours of the local mineral waters. Though the coolest and most humid in all of the Sudety, the climate of Swieradow boosts immunity to illness.
Swieradow-Zdroj was probably established at the close of the 13th century or at the beginning of the 14th century. The oldest record of Swieradow dates back to 1337, mentioning a tavern called “Fegebeutel”, from which the settlement of lumbermen and shepherds took its name. This word means “a place where your purse will be cleaned” (“Czyscisakwa” in Polish). Later the name was changed to Bad Flinsberg. Flins was one of the pagan gods of Lusatians, although whether it is a correct origin of the name remains unknown.
As early as in the 16th century it was believed that the local springs possessed healing powers. In 1572 Leonard Thutneysser wrote about the discovery of the extraordinary qualities of the waters. The next to write about them was Fryderyk Luca, in 1683 in a Silesian chronicle. More than a half a century later, the owners of the land, the Schaffgotsch family, launched a commission to collect scientific information and provide a report on the curative properties of the water of Swieradow. The commission decided they indeed possessed such qualities and could be used in the treatment of certain diseases.
The health resort began to develop in 1768, after the first spa building had been erected by the proprietors of the land. This growth picked up even more speed in 1909, with the opening of a direct railway connection from Wroclaw to Gorlitz. The second decade of the 20th century marked a period of the greatest development of the health resort.
Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Swieradow was regarded as a fashionable spa and received many guests, mainly wealthy Berliners. After the war, in 1945, Bad Flinsberg became Wieniec-Zdroj in Polish (“wieniec” means “wreath”). It was so named because of the hills encircling the valley from all sides: Sepa Gora in the east, Zajecznik in the north, Stog Izerski in the south-west and Opaleniec in the west.
In May 1946, Swieradow returned to its former spa activities. In 1946 a final decision was made that the town’s name would be Swieradow-Zdroj, a name with an unclear etymology.