The area of Kielce has been inhabited since
at least the 5th century BC. Until the 6th or 7th
century the banks of the Silnica were inhabited
by Celts. They were driven out by a Slavic
tribe of Vistulans who started hunting in the
nearby huge forests and had settled most of the
area now known as Małopolska and present-day
Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The lands of Wiślanie
were at first subdued by Bohemia,
however they soon came under the control
of the Piast dynasty and became a part of Poland.
According to a local legend, Mieszko, son of Boleslaus II
of Poland dreamt he was attacked by a band of brigands
in a forest. In the dream he saw a vision of Saint Adalbert
who drew a winding line which turned into a stream.
When Mieszko woke up, he found the Silnica River
whose waters helped him regain strength.
He also discovered huge white tusks of an unknown animal.
Mieszko announced he would build a town and a church
to St. Adalbert at that site. According to this legend,
the town's name Kielce commemorates the mysterious tusks
(kieł in Polish).
There are other legends explaining the name’s origin.
One states that the town
was named after its founder who belonged
to the noble family of Kiełcz, while another claims
that it stems from the Kelts who may have lived
in the area in previous centuries.
Other theories connect the town's name
to occupational names relating to mud huts,
iron tips for arrows and spears, or the production of tar
(pkielce, a settlement of tar makers).
The earliest extant document referring to the settlement
by the name of Kielce dates to 1213.
Palace of Kraków Bishops (1637–1641):
houses a museum with an important gallery of Polish paintings
(12th century, rebuilt 1632–1635 and again in the19th century)