The Błędowska Desert

Written by Administrator    Wednesday, 16 February 2011 22:56

According to the legend Błędowska Desert was created from ….Baltic Sea sand. In 1920s people could still notice here a mirage phenomenon. Despite the fact that only the small area of the desert is covered by the open patch of sand, it still remains an interesting place for geographers, naturalists and tourists.

The Błędowska Desert is the best known place in Klucze commune. Its origin is related to  people's intensive  economic activity in 13thcentury. That time silver mining and metallurgy industries started to develop. The demand for timber was the cause of mass deforestation on this area. After bare soil had exposed accumulated loose post-glacial sands, natural processes characteristic of natural deserts started.

Legend in turn says that it was the carelessness of the devil that contributed to creating of Błędowska Desert. How did it happen? According to folk tales devils got angry when arrogant Olkusz miners were digging deeper and deeper. They decided that the best thing would be to bury Olkusz mines using Baltic Sea sand. Gliding through the air devil carried on his back huge sack filled with sea sand. Lowering his flight in order to spill it on the opencast he was passing by a hill in Klucze where he bumped into a church tower and made a hole in the sack. Large amount of sand spilled over the local fields leaving the mark of devil’s journey to the Baltic Sea.

Not a legend but a fact was a mirage phenomenon occurring in the Błędowska Desert in 1920s when sandy dunes were a common part of the local landscape. About mirage phenomenon wrote in magazine ‘Kosmos’ famous botanist, professor Kazimierz Piech. Marian Kantor-Mirski, historian of Zagłębie and author of ‘ From the past of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie and surroundings’ cycle described the Błędowska Desert as ‘ dreadful void, terrific wildness, sea of sand, vast bare land...'

Present-day view of the desert differs from above mentioned description. Nowadays patches of sand can be found only in one particular place near Klucze and in the vicinity of Chechło village. The desert was once a training area . Nowadays it is used as a drop zone which makes special attraction for observers. In 1999 NATO forces carried out there military excercises . The panorama of the desert can be admired from two vantage points: ‘Czubatka’ in Klucze (382 m above sea level) and ‘Dąbrówka’ in Chechło (355 m above sea level).

It is important to take into consideration the fact that the north part of the desert is a military area and there is located no entrance sign. The south part of the desert is The a protected area as an ecological site. Błędowska Desert is a habitat of various protected and unique plants like stemless carline thistle (in the desert) or lily of the valley,lilium martagon, Marsh Labrador tea found in valley of White Przemsza River. It attract naturalists. On bare sands can be observed ant lion funnels which they use waiting for their prey. On roots of perrennial knawel among grassy lawns and wild thyme petals lives insect called Polish knawel. In the 15th and 16th century mentioned insects were kept on a large scale in order to acquire red pigment used in textile. Poland was the main source of supply with red pigment in Europe that time.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 February 2011 19:36