Limanowa – in the heart of Beskid Wyspowy

The town square with a soaring stone church tower in the background
Limanowa, the cultural centre of the region, a town situated in the Beskid Wyspowy valley between two hills: Miejska Góra (the City Mountain) and Łysa Góra (the Bald Mountain). Few know that the patron saint of the town is St. Valentine, and President Ignacy Mościcki himself actually stayed in the manor house, which is now the seat of the museum. The place is also famous for the Battle of Limanowa fought during World War I, and the monuments are a testimony to turbulent history and a source of historical knowledge, not only about the region.

Limanowa, surrounded by the picturesque hills of Beskid Wyspowy,  is a perfect starting point for many trips, and a ski centre in winter. So, there’s something for everyone here!


Limanowa market square


The market square in Limanowa is a special place, it is the centre of meetings and social life of the town, which comes alive especially from spring to autumn. Passers-by are most of all delighted with the fountain that creates the sophisticated shapes of the water, perfectly charming in the evening lights. The square decorated with flower beds and ornamental spruce trees holds also many cafés in the summer. There are year-round restaurants in the nearby tenement houses, where you can relax and hang out over a cup of coffee with a view of the heart of the city and the dominant shape of the basilica. The central place of the market square is a modern Tourist Information Point. It is also the venue for concerts and festivals.


Religious monuments


One of the most recognisable monuments of Limanowa is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is also a monument commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Constitution of the 3rd of May. The dominant element of the stone temple is a 60 meter tower, and inside the basilica there is a 14th century Gothic sculpture of Pieta, known as Our Lady of Limanowa.


Undoubtedly, the 19th century gem of Limanowa's sacral architecture is the Chapel of Graces with a miraculous water spring. The chapel, plastered in white, covered with a wooden roof, looks beautiful in the shadow of a natural monument – a huge, over 300 year-old linden tree. It is believed that the water from the spring has healing powers, especially for eye diseases.


Jabłoniec Hill, a witness of historical events


Some say that the best way to get to know the history of a place is visiting the cemetery. Especially when in Limanowa, it is definitely worth visiting the War Cemetery No. 368, which is located on the Jabłoniec Hill (624 m above sea level). This is an important place commemorating the military operations carried out by Russians in the area of Galicia in 1914, and the cemetery is located in the place where the Russians were forced out of Limanowa by the Hungarians – hussars led by Colonel Othmar Muhr. An asphalt road leads to the hill where the war cemetery is located, where 161 Austro-Hungarian, one German and 247 Russian soldiers are buried. In the central place there is a chapel in the shape of an artillery shell – the mausoleum of Colonel Muhr. A visit to the cemetery is undoubtedly a history lesson on local events. There are other military graves at the Limanowa cemetery. In the War Cemetery No. 366, next to soldiers from World War I, soldiers of the Home Army and victims of German terror during World War II were also buried. The extremely interesting the Home Army Trail leads through the Land of Limanowa, connecting the sites of operation of underground soldiers, Allied airdrops, German pacifications and communist repressions against the independence underground after the war.


Limanowa from different perspectives – six exhibitions in one museum


The Regional Museum of the Land of Limanowa is very popular among tourists, and its most recognizable object is the Manor House of the Mars family. Interestingly, during his visit to Limanowa, President Ignacy Mościcki stayed in the manor house, which dates back to the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum presents as many as six permanent exhibitions. The history of the place and the Land of Limanowa is best presented in the exhibition ”Limanowa and Kieżmark” – Magdeburg cities on the Polish-Slovak trade route". Enthusiasts of military history will surely be very interested in the modern interactive permanent exhibition devoted to World War I, “Polish–Slovak brotherhood of arms – the 1914 Battle of Limanowa”. The exhibition recreates the field headquarters from the First World War. The history of Poland is also taught through the exhibition devoted to Józef Beck, the last minister of the Second Polish Republic, whose family home in 1899-1918 was located in Limanowa. An extremely interesting permanent exhibition that will surely be of interest to women is the exhibition on fashion. The museum boasts the largest in Poland, and probably in the whole of Europe, collection of pocket watch fobs (silver or gold watch-chains), and the title of the exhibition is ”History written in a watch fob”. A unique part of the exhibition is also devoted to the history of a five-generation family of Limanowa pharmacists, “The world of a former pharmacy on the Polish-Slovak border”. The exhibition presents the interior of the former pharmacy and the equipment used there. In turn, an exhibition devoted to the work of Maksymilian Brożek, a painter and graphic artist, invites you to the world of art.


Between two hills


Miejska Góra and Łysa Góra are undoubtedly the most popular excursion destinations in the area of Limanowa, visited not only by tourists, but also by the inhabitants of Limanowa and the surrounding area. A nature walk delivers many positive experiences, and thanks to the beautiful panorama you can look at Limanowa from a different perspective.


The blue trail to Miejska Góra starts from Limanowa Ski and runs along a mysterious forest path, where you pass the Stations of the Cross and a shelter where you can rest. The path is narrow at times and seems rarely travelled, which creates an atmosphere of mystery. The walk is quite short, and at the top of Miejska Góra there is the famous Millennium Cross. It is 37 meters high and was built in 1997-1999 at the initiative of the social committee to commemorate 2,000 years of Christianity. Interestingly, the Millennium Cross is twice as tall as the cross on Giewont, and at the time of its erection it was considered the tallest cross in Poland. The summit gives a beautiful view over Limanowa and a stunning panorama of the mountain ranges: Beskid Wyspowy, Beskid Sądecki, the Gorce Mountains and under clear skies even the Tatra Mountains.


From Miejska Góra, the yellow trail leads to Łysa Góra. A wide, very picturesque trail crossing meadows and wooded areas is a steep climb. The effort is compensated by stunning views, and there are many legends connected with the summit. One of them says that on Palm Sunday, the devil dries his money here, hidden in a cave. Another, in turn, recalls the story of the church that once stood at the top of Łysa Góra, which fell underground because of drunken revellers who looked inside. Both legends refer to a mysterious tectonic fracture that runs through the mountain massif. It is said that even today, on every Feast of Corpus Christi, the sounds of bells echo from under the ground...


The energy lost during the ascent to Łysa Góra can be compensated for by treating yourself to the delicious trout served in the Trout Station, a restaurant on the mountaintop. It is also worth enjoying the small amusement park next to the restaurant.


Of course, the most famous attraction in the winter are the ski runs from Łysa Góra – Limanowa Ski invites winter sports enthusiasts. Skiers can enjoy three downhill runs of varying difficulty, a chairlift and two ski lifts. Equipment rental is available on site, as well as a ski school and catering facilities.


Attractive natural surroundings


A little-known, but equally beautiful hill, which can be reached, among others from Limanowa, is Góra Paproć (the Fern Mountain) (645 m above sea level). It is easily accessible, because it can be reached by car, and the views over the hills of Beskid Wyspowy and the Gorce Mountains, and the surrounding villages nested in the valleys and beautiful meadows invite you to stop and take a stroll. At the top there is a chapel of Our Lady Queen of the Beskidy. The second spot with a stunning view is the Jaworz Hill with an observation tower – it is the highest peak of the Łososińskie Range in Beskid Wyspowy, 921 m above sea level. The Limanowa poviat also offers a network of multi-functional routes as part of the Velo Limanowski project (for example, a 25-kilometer route around Limanowa). Tourists  can choose among five bicycle routes of various lengths, three cross-country skiing routes and six hiking routes in the surrounding municipalities and towns. These are ready-made proposals for those who prefer outdoor activities, regardless of the season. Information about things to see and do, as well as the detailed route map can be found at www.velolimanowski.pl. Before visiting, it is also worth getting the tourist guides and maps published as part of the project, which will certainly help in the exploration of the Limanowa area and will make it easier to use the prepared attractions.

 

 

 

Historic surroundings


Apart from its natural values, the vicinity of Limanowa is also abundant in places of religious worship, among which it is worth highlighting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Consolation in Pasierbiec, with an adjacent bronze Stations of the Cross. A charming site is the baroque wooden church in Łososina Górna. The church is built on a log frame structure with a sheet metal roof and a dominant, square tower. In the area, it is also worth visiting the wooden Church of John the Evangelist in Pisarzowa and the Church of Mary Magdalene in Kasina Wielka, and the Cistercian monastery in Szczyrzyc with the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Szczyrzyc.

 
Limanowa and its surroundings in winter


The vicinity of Limanowa is also a great place for winter holidays. There are several ski resorts in the town itself and in its vicinity:


•    LimanowaSki Ski Station 
•    Ski station in Laskowa 
•    Ski station in Kasina Wielka on Śnieżnica mountain
•    Complex of cross-country skiing trails around Mogielica 

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