Mniów commune is located in the north-western part of Kielce poviat. The national road DK-74 Kielce-Piotrków Trybunalski-Łódź runs through its territory. The territory of Mniów commune is divided into 23 villages, i.e. Baran, Borki, Cierchy, Gliniany Las, Grzymałków, Lisie Jamy, Malmurzyn, Mniów, Mokry Bór, Pałęgi, Pępice, Pielaki, Pieradła, Podchyby, Przełom, Rogowice, Serbinów, Skoki, Straszów, Węgrzynów, Wólka Kłucka, Zaborowice, Zachybie, the largest of which is Mniów. The area of the commune is 9,519 ha. There are 26 settlement units in the commune.
Mniów commune is located in the north-western part of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The area of the commune is located on the border of two different geographical lands: Świętokrzyskie Mountains and Suchedniów Plateau. The Świętokrzyskie Mountains cover the southern part of the commune, which is part of the Oblęgorek-Tumlin Hills. Adjacent to them is the Suchedniów Plateau, extending from the north. A significant part of the Oblęgorek-Tumlin Range is the Suchedniów-Oblęgorek Landscape Park with its buffer zone, where rare and protected species of fauna and flora can be found. There are also numerous ecological grounds and natural monuments. Moreover, outside the area of the aforementioned Park, the commune lies entirely within the Konecko-Łopuszno Protected Landscape Area. Archaeological sites, places of national remembrance and historical cult buildings are also protected.
Industrial traditions in Mniów commune go back deep into the past. In the 17th and 18th centuries, ores were mined here as a raw material for iron production and glass was smelted. The areas around Mniów were important centres of mining and metallurgy of the Old-Polish Industrial Region. In modern times, deposits of Triassic clay in Grzymałków and sand in Zaborowice are still being exploited. Currently, based on these resources, a programme for the use of ceramic raw materials is being implemented, involving the creation of a centre for handicraft and pottery in the Mniów commune.
The geographical location of the commune spreads in a valley between the mountains: Barania, Sieniawska and Perzowa, makes it interesting in terms of tourism. The hilly terrain is overgrown with beautiful, dense forests rich in mushrooms, berries and other kinds of undergrowth. The whole picturesque picture is complemented by the rivers flowing through the commune: Czarna Taraska, Łososina and Krasna.
Krasna River Valley forms a unique in Poland complex of marshes, Molinia meadows, swamp forests, riparian forests and alder forests. It is home to Trollius europaeus, Siberian iris, marsh gentian and rare orchid species: marsh helleborine and broad-leaved orchid. About 120 bird species can be found in the reserve, including such rarities as the western marsh harrier, black stork and lesser spotted eagle. The “Krasna Valley” can be reached via the yellow trail from Mniów. These and many other interesting mysterious and charming places, peace and quiet, fresh air, make the commune ideal conditions for recreation, hiking, cycling and horse-riding as well as for the development of agro-tourism.
In the 17th and 18th centuries ores were mined here as a raw material for iron production and glass was smelted. The area around Mniów was an important centre of mining and metallurgy of the Old Polish Industrial Basin. In modern times, deposits of Triassic clay in Grzymałków and sand in Zaborowice are still being exploited.
Hugo Kołłątaj himself wanted to have his residence in the picturesque village of Wólka Kłucka. He commissioned designs by Italian architects to build a palace here. However, he did not manage to complete the project. It was not until the priest’s nephew, Eustachy Kołłątaj, built the estate around 1830. Subsequent owners of the estate after Kołłątaj included the Wzdulski, Lipski and Dąbrowski families.
The classicist palace stood for years in a 1.53 ha garden on the banks of the Łososina River, the so-called Faithful River. It stands on the plan of an elongated rectangle. Facing south, it was made brick and plastered. It is single-storey at the front, on a high foundation, and storied at the back. A wide staircase led to the main entrance through a deep portico with six Ionic columns. The inner wall of the portico had large rectangular arcade windows. The palace consisted of 18 rooms. There was a corridor on the south axis of the building, large lounges in the front course and small rooms to the rear. The side elevations of the building had a similar division. There was also a chapel in the palace. The building had a low hipped roof and a volume of approximately 1,100 square metres. The building was 35×20 m in size. The beam with a denticulated cornice was located just below the roof. An avenue of old oak trees leads to the palace. On the opposite side of the Łososina River are outbuildings from the first half of the 19th century, once belonging to the palace. The park contains, among others, three old pedunculate oaks, which are monuments of nature.
Until the end of the 16th century, Mniów belonged to the parish of Chełmce. The
first, wooden parish church was erected in 1596 with the foundation of Jakub Rawita Gawroński, castellan of Wieluń. Unfortunately, it did not survive to our times. It burnt down together with the parish buildings at the beginning of the 17th century. On 6 November 1632, Pope Urban VIII granted the shrine in Mniów the right to organise an indulgenced feast of St Stanislaus on 8 May.
In 1650, Szymon Żurawski, the priest, started the construction of a new brick church next to the wooden one. Unfortunately, due to the invasion of the Swedes in 1655 and his death, he did not complete the construction. The work was completed by Stanisław Owczarkiewicz, the priest. The consecration of the church took place on 16 August 1685. It was performed on the authority of the Archbishop of Gniezno, Jan Wydzga, by the suffragan bishop, Władyslaw Silnicki. The church in Mniów, as specified in documents in the Diocesan Archives in Kielce, played a significant role – due to the temple, a parish school existed here for almost a century. In 1775, Pope Pius VI issued a bull which provided the basis for the functioning of a separate parish of Mniów. In 1816, the parish had 864 residents, and in 1844 the number of believers was already 2040.
In 1805, the diocese of Kielce was established and the parish of Mniów was included in it. But already in 1818 a papal bull abolished the diocese of Kielce and a new one was established in Sandomierz. Along with the diocese, the Szydłowiec deanery was established and Mniów was included in it. After the January Uprising, the parish became part of the deanery of Końskie. And from 1925 to 1933 of the Zagnańsk deanery. In 1933 there were further changes to the boundaries of the diocese, a new deanery of Piekoszów was created and the parish of Mniów was incorporated into it. Currently, the parish belongs to the Łopuszno deanery.
The patron saint of the church is St. Stanislaus, Bishop of Kraków. The main altar of the church is supported by four gilded Corinthian columns. The main altar contains an image of the Virgin Mary with the Child on her left arm, by an unknown author. On the sliding panel there is an image of the Church’s patron saint, St Stanislaus, resurrecting Peter. At the top there is a sculpture of St. Anthony between two angels. On the sides of the altar stand the statues of the saint bishops: Adalbert and Stanislaus in pontifical attire. The two side altars feature paintings: on the left, the Heart of Jesus in the centre, Our Lady of Nursing at the top, and on the right, St. Tekla in the centre, St. James at the top.
The church once housed three valuable bells, but they were requisitioned by Austrian troops during the First World War. The largest of the bells was cast in bronze in 1886 at Zwoleński in Warsaw. The medium-sized bell dated from 1666, and bore the Prussian Coat of Arms and the letters S.O.p.M – an abbreviation of Stanisław Owczarkiewicz, the parish priest of Mniów. The date of manufacture of the smallest of the bells, with no specific marks, is unknown. The total value of the bells before the war was at least 2000 marks.
Janusz Kowal is an extraordinary man who comes from and lives in the Mniów commune. He is the founder of the Forest Gallery. He has created extraordinary works of art within his premises which not only delight with their uniqueness from an artistic point of view, but also give positive energy. It is worth coming here and seeing these gigantic wooden works of art with your own eyes.
These works of art are the result of the extraordinary artistic skills of Janusz, who has also been involved in painting and even reconstruction and restoration in his life. For five years he was also president of the “Dorzecze Bobrzy” [Bobrza Basin] Association of Artists and Folk Artists. – I started with artistic ceramics through various artistic techniques, metal washings and bas-relief,” recalls Janusz. However, as he emphasises, he lives in a forest environment. – Trees appeal to me. I use wood to create my sculptures. I use natural trees, branches. I braid them with birch twigs which are known in our countryside for their use in brooms, hence I call this technique Świętokrzyskie broom,” says Janusz.
Driving along Gajowa street in Mniów, one cannot omit the huge sculptures made with broomstick technique. You will also see a bio-energy pillar, a wooden archer or a pyramid-shaped skeleton. – It started with making a large deer for the 40th anniversary of our hunting club. I didn’t want to leave it in the forest, so I took it and set it up in my yard. Then other sculptures followed and that’s how it all started. It has to be said that the huge sculptures standing on Gajowa street in Mniów are truly impressive and eye-catching, and are attracting more and more interest from tourists.