Kielce Today

Kielce is situated in the Central Malopolska Upland, at the edge of the Swietokrzyskie Mountains. The greater part of Kielce fills a valley, the sides of which are formed by the Maslowskie and Dyminskie ranges, and by numerous hills from 260 to 408 meters above sea level. The Silnica river, the left tributary of the Bobrza river, flows through the city.

Today's Kielce, with its 250.000 inhabitants, resembles the pre-war city of 60.000, or even the regional capital from the 1950s and 60s, to only a small extent. It is now a large economic, administrative, scientific, and cultural center, the capital of one of the sixteen voivodeships in Poland.

In terms of its economy, the city is dominated by the electro-machinery, construction, and building materials industries. Among the most significant enterprises here, known both in Poland and abroad, is EXBUD S.A., one of the largest companies in East Central Europe, whose famous Business Center is in Kielce. The "NSK-Iskra" S.A. Ball Bearing Works, a company with a long tradition, manufactures not only ball bearings, but also heater and spark plugs, the sole producer in Poland. The tradition of the Ludwikow Mill is continued by the "POLMO-SHL" Specialized Car Factory. The "CHEMAR" SA Chemical Equipment and Industrial Fittings Works, an exporter of products in demand throughout Europe, has a good position on the market. The company now doing business as "David Smith" S.A. is the former Kielce Paper Products Factory, known for the production of cardboard packaging. The oldest factory in Kielce is the "Bialogon" Kielce Pump Factory, its roots spring from the "Alexandra" Copper Mill, founded in 1817. Of the numerous construction firms, one should certainly mention "KPBP-BICK" S.A. Industrial Building Enterprise, KPBM - Kielce Ltd., Mitex Bud and "Piasecki".

There are several thousand business entities on the Kielce market. The majority of people are employed in industry, construction firms, commerce, public utilities, housing, and transportation. The are nearly 25 banks in the city. Trade, services, and craft production are thriving. A beneficial role in economic transformation is being played by the Kielce Fair Center, built in 1992, this is a company whose majority shareholder is the commune of Kielce. In terms of outdoor and indoor exhibition area, the Kielce Fair Center already holds second place in Poland, after the Poznan Fairs Trade and Exhibition Center, it holds fifth place in the ranking of Poland's largest fairgrounds.

Modern Kielce is also an important academic center, with several institutions of higher education. The largest of these, the College of Education, offers courses in the faculties of humanities, mathematics and natural sciences, education, and administration and management. According to a ranking published by the "WPROST" weekly magazine, this school holds first place in Poland among other schools of education. The well-equipped Swietokrzyskie Technical University educates students in the faculties of civil engineering, mechanics, electromechanics, and automation engineering. The Higher Seminary, which has been active since 1726, trains priests in the faculty of philosophy and theology. The College of Commerce and High School of Economy and Administration grants a baccalaureate degree in the fields: management and marketing, economy, banking. The College of Insurance educates future employees of insurance firms and banks, while the Wszechnica Swietokrzyska concentrates on employees of state and local government administration.

Kielce has 11 secondary schools, 16 vocational schools (with economic, mechanical, metalworking, building, chemistry, electrical, and medical profiles), one of the largest art school complexes in Poland (faculties of sculpture, weaving, ceramics and others), and the Primary and Secondary Complex of Music Schools. There are also 35 primary schools, and 36 local government kindergartens.

The cultural life of Kielce has regional, national and international scope. It is here that the International Scouting Festival of School Youth has taken place for over 20 years (for example, at the beautiful amphitheater on Kadzielnia). Many people gather at the country music festivals, festivals for youth ensembles and soloists, festival of chamber and organ music, "Jeunesses Musicales". The film festivals on health protection are also well attended, as are the numerous art reviews, exhibitions, concerts, and garden parties. One of the most important cultural institutions is the National Museum, among whose locations is a palace dating back to mid-17th centruy, where one can see interiors with paintings, furniture, tapestry, and products of artistic craft from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as a magnificent gallery of Polish painting. Also worth visiting are the Museum of Stefan Zeromski, the only Toy Museum in Poland, and the Museum of Geological Forms. A magnificent reportoire of plays, concerts, and exhibitions is offered by the Stefan Zeromski Theater, the "KUBUS" Puppet and Actor Theater, the Oskar Kolberg Kielce Philharmonic, the modern Kielce Cultural Center, the Voivodeship Culture Club, the Art Exhibition Bureau with the "Piwnice" Gallery, the House of Creative Circles, the Voivodeship Public Library (with a large collection of old prints), a gallery of artistic photography, and several cinemas called "ROMANTICA" with Dolby Digital Surround sound, "MOSKWA" with Dolby Prologic Surround sound, and two others.

Information from book Kieleckie 2000 "Bound for the Future"