Wieluń district is located in the south-western part of Łódź Region. It borders 4 other districts of the region: districts of Wieruszów, Sieradz, Łask and Pajęczno and Kluczbork and Olesno districts located in Opole Region. The district covers the area of 920 square kilometres with the population of 78,000. Wieluń is inhabited by 32,700 people. The district comprises 1 town of Wieluń, the seat of the district and 10 communes with their seats in Biała, Czarnożyły, Konopnica, Mokrsk, Osjaków, Ostrówek, Pątnów, Skomlin, Wieluń and Wierzchlas.
Wieluń – a town, the capital of the region of Wieluń, charter granted before 1283. Wieluń has an original mediaeval spatial layout, formerly surrounded by the 16th-century defence walls. Till today their relicts and ruins of towers: “Męczarnia”, “Prochownia”, “Swawola” and “Skarbczyk” can be seen. A monumental “Cracow Gate” and a classical town hall which was added to it in 1842 are preserved as well. A castle and the outline of its moat belonged to town’s fortifications as well. The palace, housing presently the local authorities, was erected in 1840 on the basis of the remains of the castle.
At 4.40 am Hitlerian Luftwaffe by bombing the old town in Wieluń started World War II. This mediaeval capital of the Wieluń region, bombed several times within a few hours, was destroyed in 70%. About 1,200 citizens were killed.
Centrally located ruins of the Romanesque collegiate church (once one of Poland’s most beautiful churches) are the symbols of these tragic events. The church used to have 9 altars and 3 chapels serving as the place of bishops’ synods and meetings of Polish gentry. Museum of Wieluń Region located in the former convent of Bernardine sisters is one of the most interesting regional museums in the Region of Łódź. It exhibits archaeological findings from the indelta of the Warta and Prosna rivers, featuring the history of settlement since 1200 BC. Old farmers’ and craftsmen’s tools, weavers’ and smiths’ products, coopery and some elements of furnishings can be seen on display. Militaries, maps and plans, coins and memorabilia related to independence fights are exhibited as well.
Worth visiting / sightseeing:
- fragments of the town’s defensive walls (originally 6 towers and 3 gates: Krakowska, Gaszyńska and Kaliska) built from stones, bricks and Jurassic sandstones in the 14th in times of King Casimir the Great Today, the part in Podwale street with “Męczarnia” (“ Torment”) tower and the fragment in Reformacka street with “Swawola” (‘Frolic”) tower (restored in 1966) are the best preserved fragments of walls together with the most treasured element – the former Brama Krakowska (the Gate of Cracow, from 1350, extended in the 16th c.), currently a clock tower of a classical Town Hall added in 1842;
- a classical palace (1840), at present the seat of the District Authorities in Wieluń, built in place of the former castle in Wieluń (the 14th c.);
- ruins of a Gothic cathedral in Wieluń (foundations preserved in the form of permanent ruins), destroyed in the first days of World War II;
- a former monastery complex of the Augustian Order founded in 1217: a Gothic church dedicated to Corpus Christi (after 1350, converted in 1497 in the late Gothic style, inside i.a. mediaeval tools of torture called a pillory) and a Baroque monastery building (1677, later partly pulled down);
- a former convent complex of Observant sisters: a Baroque church (1612-16), converted in 1764 and 1850; (nowadays Evangelical one) and a convent from 1613-15, housing today the Museum of the Region of Wieluń;
- a former monastery complex of the Pauline Order (founded by Duke Władysław Opolczyk in 1393-94; at present the convent of Observant sisters): a Gothic-Baroque church dedicated to St Nicholas with late-Baroque furnishings and an early-Baroque convent.
- a monastery complex of the Order of the Reformati: a Baroque monastery (1629) and a church dedicated to the Annunciation of the BVM (the half of the 18th c.);
- a former monastery complex of the Piarists: a Baroque monastery (1740, converted in 1801) and a church dedicated to St Joseph (at present a parish church);
- a wooden church dedicated to St Barbara (the 16th c.) on the premises of a former cholera cemetery on the outskirts of town (by the road to Mokrsko);
- a Roman Catholic cemetery – a burial place of several hundred soldiers of the Polish Army fallen on 1-3 September 1939 in defence of Wieluń and also of soldiers of the Red Army fallen in January 1945 taking parts in struggles for liberation of the town;
- a former Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (1900-1902) on the premises of the public park, operating till the outbreak of World War I, converted, nowadays the seat of the community centre in Wieluń.
- the Museum of the Region of Wieluń (in the former convent of the Observant sisters): inter alia, findings from archaeological digs in the indelta of the upper Prosna and Warta rivers, folklore of Wieluń region, agricultural and craftsmen’s tools, furnishings, militaria, maps, numismatic collections and a library: publications of archaeology, art history, ethnography and regional ones.
Former cities and towns
Kamion – a former town, charter granted before 1462 till the end of the 16th century, a well-known holiday centre on the Warta river. Worth visiting / sightseeing: a wooden chapel (1750-70).
Osjaków – a former town, charter granted from 1446 to 1793. Worth visiting / sightseeing: a brick- built parish church dedicated to St Jadwiga (1912-14); a former synagogue (the beginning of the 19th c.) and a Jewish cemetery (today without tombstones).
Toporów – a former town, charter granted from the 15th to16th centuries, a well-known holiday centre on the river Warta. Worth visiting / sightseeing: a contemporary, brick-built, parish church – in its interior a picture painted in 1996 by an eminent Polish painter, Jerzy Duda-Gracz.
Main tourist attractions
- Biała – a wooden church dedicated to St Peter in Manacles (1743), at the local cemetery the grave of insurgents of 1963.
- Bieniec – in the vicinity of the village (on the left bank of the Warta river) Wąwóz Królowj Bony (the Gorge of Queen Bona), with a very rare ivy in bloom.
- Chotów – a late –Renaissance brick-built church dedicated to St Marcin (1616).
- Czarnożyły – a Baroque, brick-built, parish church dedicated to St Bartholomew (1726, converted in 1912-16); a palace and a farm (the 18th c.); a palace of the Brzostowski family from the 18th century and a surrounding park, in its present shape from the 19th century.
- Dąbrowa – a brick-built church dedicated to St Laurence (the half of the 14th c.) – the oldest Gothic church preserved in the region of Wieluń.
- Gaszyn – a wooden church dedicated to the BVM (the 16th c.) considered as the most interesting wooden church in Wieluń region.
- Grębień – a wooden church dedicated to the Holy Trinity (at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, probably from 1500) – the oldest completely preserved wooden church in the region of Łódź.
- Kadłub – a wooden church dedicated to St Andrew (the beginning of the 16th c., converted in 1949).
- Kamionka – ruins of the Renaissance fortified manor (the 16th c., built of Gothic bricks) with a later projection (the 17th c.) containing a staircase.
- Kępowizna – a wooden watermill (1910-12) on the Warta River, at present with electric propulsion.
- Kochlew – a wooden watermill (the 19th –20th centuries), beside a shrine with St Jan Nepomucen, according to the legend brought by flood to the village.
- Komorniki – a brick-built church dedicated to the Birth of the BVM (1631).
- Konopnica – remains of the historic conical settlement called “Zamczysko” (“the Castle”, on a forested high bank of the Warta river) inhabited in the 13th and the first half of the 14th centuries; an early-Baroque church dedicated to St Roch (1642), remains of the former monastery complex of the Pauline Order; a manor of the Kozarski family (the 19th c.), the residence of the last owners of Konopnica, built according to the design of Henryk Marconi in Romantic Gothic style; a military cemetery from World War II with graves of soldiers of the Dionizy Czachowski 72 Infantry Regiment fallen in 1939 in battles for the Warta river crossing.
- Krzętle – remains of the kurgan burial place from the end of the 7th century AD, with skeletal and cremated burial grounds.
- Krzyworzeka – a church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul (originally Romanesque from 1264, converted in the 18th and 20th centuries); nearby a unique Romanesque tower – belfry (the 13th c.) built of fieldstones.
- Kurów – remains of the historic settlement from the period of Łużyce culture (the 7th –5th centuries AD) with iron and bronze relics, and elements of the former palisade. “Lasek Kurowski” forest reserve in the vicinity of the village.
- Łagiewniki – a wooden church dedicated to the Decapitation of St John the Baptist (1623, restored i.a. in 1805).
- Łaszew – a wooden church dedicated to St John the Baptist (the first half of the 16th c.).
- Łyskornia – a brick-built church dedicated to St Maria Magdalena (1660, converted i.a. in 1786 and 1921).
- Masłowice – a manor and a park complex: a classical manor (the first half of the 19th c.), a landscape park specimens of ancient trees, beside a classical brick-built outhouse (1820-30), in the vicinity a classical chapel from the beginning of the 19th century.
- Mokrsko – a late-Baroque brick-built church dedicated to St Stanisław (1626), in front of the church – a monument with an eagle in memory of volunteers fallen during Polish-Soviet war in 1918-20; a manor and a park complex: a brick-built manor, a park with specimens of monumental trees, fishing ponds with a small islet.
- Naramice – a wooden church dedicated to All Saints (the 16th c.).
- Okalew – in the nearby forest; a kurgan burial grounds related to the settlement of the pre-Slavic culture (the Bronze Epoch)
- Olewin – a former manor park, within its boundaries a small-leaf linden with 5.6 m in perimeter.
- Ostrówek – a manor and a park complex: a manor (approx 1925) surrounded by the 19th –century park covering the surface of 8.21 ha; a former Evangelical-Augsburg cemetery (at the turn of the 18th –19th centuries), remains of the German settlement in times of partitions of Poland (1772-95)
- Ożarów – a larch manor of the Bartochowski family (1757) with corner annexes, restored in 1977-80, surrounded by a landscape park; at present the seat of the Museum of Manor Interiors (the branch of the Museum of the Region of Wieluń); a collection of portraits of the gentry of Wieluń, furniture incl wardrobes, chests, a chest of drawers from the 18th century and richly ornamented silk belts worn by Polish nobles, Meissen china and silverware from the 18th century. Temporary displays, regular musical concerts.
- Popowice – a wooden church dedicated to All Saints (the 16th c., restored in 1720, a tower from the turn of the 17th –18th centuries).
- Przywóz – two unique kurgans dating back to the times of Roman influences (the 1st –2nd centuries AD) – probably the burial place of tribal chieftains (during archaeological digs besides human remains, precious dishes of Roman origin and silver and gold jewellery were discovered in the place).
- Raczyn – a wooden church dedicated to St Tekla (1843, extended in 1935)
- Ruda – an originally Romanesque church dedicated to St Wojciech, funded according to the tradition by Piotr Dunin in 1142 (converted in the 15th –17th centuries)- one of the oldest preserved churches in the region of Łódź, in the eastern wall of the church a Romanesque portal, two (at present walled in) characteristic Romanesque windows.
- Rychłocice – a manor and a perk complex: a classical manor (1820-30) surrounded by a landscape park with monumental specimens of trees (i.a. a yew and black poplars), a neo-Gothic granary (approx 1830) and outbuildings; in the vicinity: a wooden church dedicated to the Annunciation of the BVM (1918).
- Skomlin – a larch church dedicated to St Philip and St James (1746), beside a brick-built belfry (1836); a manor wooden granary (1777)- a two-storeyed framework construction built of larch wood; at the local cemetery- a neo-Gothic brick-built chapel dedicated to St Barbara (the 18th c., converted in 1916).
- Strobin and Walków – traces of primitive smelting furnaces discovered within the boundaries of both villages.
- Strugi – a kurgan with the diameter of 12-15 m and the height of 1.2 m, the burial grounds of tribal chieftains, dated back to the 2nd and 3rd countries AD.
- Widoradz – remains of the historic ring-shaped settlement – the relict of late mediaeval fortifications surrounded by a fourfold circle of embankments and moats, a defensive complex functioning from the half of the 13th century and totally destroyed by the fire in the 14th century.
- Wielgie – a manor and a park complex: a manor (the half of the 19th c.) and the 19th –century park covering the surface of 8.09 ha with monumental specimens of trees.
- Wierzchlas – a brick-built church dedicated to St Nicholas (the 15th c., converted in 1760).
- Wiktorów – a wooden church dedicated to St Zygmunt (the first half of the 16th c., converted in the 18th c. and in 1976-87).
- Załęcze Wielkie a holiday village, “Nadwarciański Gród” Scout Recreation Centre.