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      The Swietokrzyskie voivodship is situated in southern Poland and its centre is formed by the Kielecka Upland (Wyzyna Kielecka) the core of which are Gory Swietokrzyskie (the Holy Cross Mountains), with the highest mountain range of Lysogory. To the east there lies Sandomierska Uplands, the Vislula river makes the southern border of the region. Kielce and Sandomierz areas constitute the northern part of Malopolska (Little Poland) region, which includes some of the traditional heartlands of the Polish state. The Swietokrzyskie voivodship is one of the smallest voivodships in Poland, both in terms of area and population. Nature scientists associate this region with the beautiful Swietokrzyskie Mountains, and tourists with numerous historical landmarks. Although the region has most unique scenic and tourism attractions it is relatively less developed. At present, the voivodship has been included in the Malopolski Programme of Rural Development, co-financed by the European Union. Kielce - capital of the region is situated on the international route linking Warsaw, Cracow and Budapest. It is also a crossing point of the local routes leading to Radom, Lublin, Tarnow, Czestochowa and Piotrkow Trybunalski
      Swietokrzyskie is an agricultural and industrial region. Best conditions for agriculture exist in the Vistula river valley poviats, where fertile black and brown soils have predominantly developed. In the Sandomierz area fruit-growing and gardening is well developed. The region abounds with rock minerals, Iimestone (in particular the so called Kielce marble), sandstone, ceramic clays, glass-making sands. A very important mineral is sulphur, mined in the Staszow area, where also small deposits of iron ore are located Traditional metal-working industry is of major importance in the region. Other important industries include automotive industry (Starachowice), engineering, glass (Sandomierz), ceramics (Cmielow), lime and cement. High growth dynamics is enjoyed by food processing industry (fruit and vegetables processing plants in Dwikozy and Pinczow). The region's most profitable company is the Ostrowiec Steelworks in Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, which achieved PLN 784 million in revenue in 1997. The Starachowicka Special Economic Zone functions in the region and highlights the investment assets of the voivodship. The economy of the Swietokrzyskie voivodship consists of approximately 61,000, mostly small and medium sized, businesses which employ a total of 358,000 people. The most companies - over 26,500 - are in trade and services (64,600 employees). 6,792 manufacturing companies altogether employ 93,300 people. The overwhelming majority of the voivodship's businesses, over 58,600 (96.17%), are private. The private companies employ 54.5% of all employed in the voivodship's economy. The remainder of employees work for 2,339 public enterprises. Taking into account the geological structure, it is not surprising that the biggest foreign investors (mainly German and French) are connected with construction and cement production.
      In 1997, a Foundation for the Establishment of a University was set up by two public schools: the Pedagogic University with over 17,000 sludents, and the Swietokrzyski Technical University, with 6,000 students. The plan is that these two schools will create a fully-fledged university. The voivodship's students can also attend six private colleges situated in Kielce, Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski and Sandomierz.
      A rich history, numerous ancient cultural sites, captivating landscapes, fresh air from the Swietokrzyskie forests - all contribute to the development of the agro tourisrn of the region. The picturesque Swietokrzyskie Mountains, Fir Woods (Puszcza Jodlowa) and Swiety Krzyz with its Benedictine monastery, are all the places assuring the region's high position in the Polish tourist map. Undoubtedly, the regions most beautiful town is Sandomierz. Apart from interesting old architecture, visitors are attracted by loess ravines and subterranean tourist routes. Jedrzejow, Wachock and Koprzywnica are three Cistercian abbeys, which put the Kielce region on the list of cultural heritage. There is a museum of sundials and gnominic devices in Jedrzejow. The collection of 500 exhibits is considered the third largest in the world, after Oxford and Chicago.


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