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w pobliżu Strzeblów, Województwo dolnośląskie (Rzeczpospolita Polska)
Ślęża - Slavs’ sacred mountainIts height is not very impressive, but it is magical, it fascinates and excites many people of various professions and interests. The mountain is grown with thick forest, it often disappears in clouds and shows in its full on a sunny day. During storm it is lit with hundreds of lightning’s – the highest frequency of storms with lightning in Europe. The whole region takes its name from the mountain. Sleza rises 500 m over the surrounding plains. As soon as we leave Swidnica, regardless of the direction, we can see the mountain in the horizon, looking as a bastion. According to archeologists, people first appeared in Sleza massif in Pleistocene era, colonization and agriculture began here in late Stone Age (4000 – 1800 B.C.). In Bronze Age (1800 – 700 B.C.) the area was quite densely populated (today’s town of Sobotka). The main professions were agriculture and pottery. Probably in that period the site became a center of cult, where Sleza was dedicated to the Sun. The cult images found on the slopes of the Sleza Mountain (the Virgin with a Fish, the Bear, the Palmer) were probably made during the Lusatian culture (700 – 400 B.C.), though some archeologists tend to notice Celtic influence. The center of the cult was at the highest part of the mountain and was surrounded with stone embankment, ruins of which can still be seen at the top of the mountain. The Celts, who arrived in the area around 300’s B.C., influenced local tribes: they developed metallurgy, pottery and glassmaking, disseminated the wheel, bloomeries, pottery kilns, simple farming tools, introduced coins, which they made by themselves, had connections with the Roman Empire. Celts are considered guards of the Amber Route, which connected the coast of the Baltic sea with the Adriatic and Greek islands. One of the ways of the Route ran by the Sleza mountain, which was proved by findings of the archeologists. Caravans carrying amber from the Baltic stopped near the mountain before getting through the Sudety mountains on their way south.The 10th century brought Christianization of the region. In the 12th Century Augustinian Church and monastery were built at the top of the mountain. At present there stands the Church of the Visitation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Christians believe Sleza to be an analogue of the Tabor Mountain. At the foot of the church starts a track of St. James. Sleza’s track of St. James was set up in 2009. It is a part of the Camino going from the top of the Sleza mountain to the town of Sroda Slaska, where it joins St. James’ route running from the Ukrainian border, called Via Regia.
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