Warsaw

Konstancin-Jeziorna

  Konstancin-Jeziorna     08 Jul 2020
Ahhh, spa towns, often found far from urban centres - not in this case. Located just south of Warsaw's Ursynów district in the Piaseczno county (a mere 20km from Warsaw's city centre), it's easy to get to by public transport (heading into zone 2), making it an ideal day out for couples, families, or those just eager to explore beyond the confines of the city.

Konstancin-Jeziorna is a fairly new town, having only been created in 1969 by amalgamating separate villages (the main ones being Konstancin, Jeziorna, Chylice and Skolimów). The beginnings of Konstancin can be traced back to 1897 when Count Witold Skórzewski (of the aristocratic Potulicki family), and owner of the Obory Palace Estate (photo below, closed to the public), decided to found a summer resort by dividing his land into plots. He gave the village the original name of Konstancja after his mother Konstancja Skórzewska. In the late 19th/early 20th century, the area was known primarily for its spa and summer resorts due to its micro climate (popular retreats were to be found all round Warsaw, but none more famous than what is now Konstancin-Jeziorna), having  gained 'health resort' status in 1917. Due to its popularity, the town became a destination not only for relaxation, but also as a prime location to live, with numerous villas springing up around the town over the years. Today, they are an attraction in themselves, where you can find the majority on ul. Sienkiewicza, some in perfect condition, while others have stood empty for years and are now in various states of decay. Riches come and go...
 
The Obory Palace Estate in Konstancin-Jeziorna. Photo: Urząd Miasta i Gminy Konstancin-Jeziorna

Arriving in Konstancin-Jeziorna, you can choose to start, or even end your trip in the oldest part of the town in Jeziorna (dating back to the 15 century, the site of part of the Obory Palace Estate that was popular for duelling matches!), which is now home to Stara PAPIERnia (En: old paper mill), a transformed post-industrial site, now a shopping centre with a handful of gastro points inside. The former function, and from where the name hails, was its original use as a paper mill dating back to 1776, drawing its water supply from the Jeziorka river.

Most visitors to the town choose to head to straight to the charming Park Zdrojowy (En: 'Health Resort Park'), the heart and symbol of the spa resort's reputation. As a stand alone park, it has the usual wide alleys, even an amphitheatre for summer concerts, a spa with salt pool, but the main attraction is definitely the salt graduation tower. Saline deposits were discovered here in 1956, which only increased Konstancin's reputation as a health resort, leading to the development of hospitals and health centres treating rheumatological, neurological, cardiological, and laryngological ailments (all the 'als'). The state enterprise “Uzdrowisko Konstancin” (Konstancin Health Resort) was founded, and in the 1970s the salt graduation tower was built. It is the tower which people enjoy visiting, to breathe in the salty mist! The tower works by emitting saline from the underground Julian spring, which is pumped to a height of 6 metres and is sieved through the blackthorn tower structure, resulting in the spraying of the mist. Being so close to Warsaw itself, it's no wonder so many locals choose to visit for a day away from the city!
 
Park Zdrojowy's star attraction - the Salt Graduation Tower. Photo: Urząd Miasta i Gminy Konstancin-Jeziorna

To get there from the city centre, the easiest option is to take bus 200 from stop Dw. Centralny 05 (Warsaw Central 
Railway Station
) which takes you directly to the entrance of Park Zdrojowy (bus stop with the same name). Alternatively, take the M1 metro line to the end station Kabaty, and from there switch to bus 710, travelling to stop Sobieskiego (if you wish to first go to Stara PAPIERnia then take the short 5 min walk to the park) or directly to the next stop, Park Zdrojowy. Both journeys will take 50 mins and require zone 2 tickets. 
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