St. Anne's Mountain. A mystical place worth visiting
St. Anne's Mountain is the highest elevation of the Silesian Upland, situated at the top of the Landscape Park of the same name. The hill is a famous place of religious worship, and in the past it was also the point of bloody fights during the Silesian Uprisings. Currently, it is a popular destination for local residents. What is the history of this place?
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1. Where is Saint Anne's Mountain?
Góra Świętej Anny (German: Sankt Annaberg) is the highest elevation of the Chełmno ridge in the Silesian Upland. Its height is 408 m above sea level. The relative height, measured from the bottom of the Odra River valley, is about 220 m. On its top and slopes there is a village of the same name.
Geographically, Saint Anne's Mountain is a tall hill. It is a nephelinite heartwood within the Chełmno basement, which is made of Triassic limestone rocks. The great blocks of Triassic and Cretaceous limestones, Cretaceous sandstones, nephelites and pyroclastics at this site are associated with the collapse of the volcano 27 million years ago.
The currently exposed rocks come from the deepest part of the caldera, which is several dozen meters below the surface on which the volcanic cone stood. This cone was eroded in the Neogene. In some places, the slopes of the hill are covered with loess, related to the North Polish glaciation.
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On the southern slope of the hill there are closed quarries: one nepheline (in the St. Anne's Mountain nature reserve) and two limestone. In the aforementioned reserve a 5 m long karst cave, and one smaller one on the other side of the rim. Since 2006, the reserve has been open to the public thanks to the educational trail. Some protected species can be found there, such as:
- viper zigzag;
- slow worm;
- smooth snake.
3. History of St. Anne's Mountain
The first mentions of the church on Góra Chełmska or Góra Saint George (earlier names of this hill) appeared at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, a baroque church was built on it, to which the Franciscans came.
In the nineteenth century, the modern name became popular: Saint Anne's Mountain. In May 1921, a bloody battle between Silesian insurgents and the German Freikorps took place here. The fighting ended in an armistice.
In 1980, this Church received the dignity of a minor basilica, and three years later Pope John Paul II visited it.
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This mountain, as with most places of religious worship, is associated with a number of legends and unusual stories. They concern both the place itself and the miraculous figure of St. Anna.
4. What is worth visiting on Saint Anne's Mountain?
St. Anne's Mountain is primarily a Sanctuary, but apart from it, there are also many interesting walking routes. What is worth seeing?
- St. Anne's Sanctuary (the main point of the program) - we get to the temple through the so-called Rajski Square, surrounded by cloisters. The interior of the church is distinguished by the wealth of decorations and paintings that were made in the 1950s and 1960s. The most valuable object is the medieval figure of St. Anna Samotrzecia.
- Góra Św. Landscape Park Anna - established in 1988 to protect the flora and fauna of this area. There are valuable objects, the so-called geological heritage. Noteworthy is the Nephelinite Quarry, where a special walking path has been created.
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- Monument to the Uprising and the Amphitheater - after the last Silesian Uprising, this mountain was located in Germany. To commemorate their fallen soldiers, the Nazis built a rotunda-shaped mausoleum on the site of the former quarry to counterbalance the nearby church. After the war, the mausoleum was blown up by soldiers of the Polish People's Army and the Red Army, and in its place a new monument was erected, designed by Ksawery Dunikowski.
- Kalwaria - at the beginning of the 18th century, the first chapels were built on the slopes of St. Anne's Mountain. In the following years, a few more sacred buildings were added (including Gradusy - Holy Stairs). The last chapel was built in 1910, dedicated to the Coronation of the Mother of God. There are maps in the vicinity of the basilica that show the course of individual routes, and the routes are quite well marked.