Viewpoints: rocks, towers, mountain peaks
Rudawy Janowickie Mountains
tourism, mystery, dreams...

Gniewczyce and the Wołek viewpoint

A deserted settlement in the forests of the Rudawy Janowickie mountains is worth a visit on your way to the Wołek viewpoint (878 m above sea level).
Never a village in its own right, the settlement grew up above the buildings of Mniszków.

Its name was either Kreuzwiese (used until around the year 1946) or Gniewczyce, and it was home to lumberjacks and charcoal burners, who would burn the charcoal for steel mills and get wood for the mines.

The settlement’s name derived from the old conciliation cross standing by the road ( so-called conciliation cross – a monolithic cross, simple and austere in form, made from local material), near which the well-known “Kreuzschenke” inn was later built. Seventeen crofters lived there in 1786, but after the decline of mining the settlement barely kept going through shepherding and cottage-industry weaving. After 1945 the place depopulated, some of the homes were never settled, and in time all of them fell into ruin or were pulled down. Even the conciliation cross disappeared, only resurfacing in 1972 when it was transferred to Rędzinki hamlet. All that remains today of this small settlement are the ruins of the homesteads, boundary strips, and dry stone walls between fields overgrown with sorbus and feral fruit trees. From here there’s an impressive view across the Rudawy Janowickie and other mountain ranges bordering them.

Wołek was once one of the more beautiful viewpoints over the Giant, Izery, Wałbrzych and Kamienne mountains. Some mountain pine was planted on the meadow on the peak around the year 1880, but although the seedlings took root, they did not grow. Apart from planting mountain pine, the RGV society built a lodge for tourists to the west of the peak. Sadly not a trace of it is to be found today. The forest has expanded, and the panoramic view stretches over the Giant Mountains and the Jelenia Góra valley. The silence and very small number of tourists make up for what has been lost.

Translation Jonathan Weber