Świeradów-Zdrój

Resort with the Flins in the background

     From Stóg Izerski (1107 m), Świeradów-Zdrój looks like a crescent, bent along the Kwisa bend that crosses the Izerskie Mountains with Mała Kamienna to Wysoki ridge in the south and Kamienicki ridge in the north. Freshwater pearly mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera), completely wiped out by pearl divers, lived in the streams flowing down to the river in its upper part. Accounting for the fact that gold was searched for and taken out of the Kwisa waters, it turns out that it is not an ordinary mountain river but a goddess with an unusual past that flows through Świeradów Zdrój. However, nowadays it is not famous because of these stories. Świeradów certainly would not be "Zdrój" ("Spa") without its spurting springs of mineral waters that containing radon, very rare in Poland.
    Such waters were mentioned for the first time in 1572. At that time, Świeradów was a settlement for forest workers who were employed on the Schaffgotsch family properties. It is unlikely that they did not know about these particular springs upon the Kwisa, especially as in the 18th century, the chronicle of an Evangelical parish in Mirsk mentioned a legend on the origins of Świeradów, relating to the Milczan or Bieśnicz tribes, who were to supposed to have a cult centre with a statue of gold lion at a "miraculous spring".
    In the 18th century, a medical commission analysed the chemical composition of the waters spurting upon the Kwisa, acknowledging them as medicinal waters and supporting the establishment of a health resort, dealing mainly with the treatment of rheumatic diseases, as well as diseases of the locomotor system, cardiovascular system, women's diseases, and nervous system ailments. A spa resort was opened in 1899 for people coming to Świeradów, with the biggest walking hall of all the Sudeten resorts, which was surrounded by a park in the mid 19th century.
    Świeradów Zdrój has never seemed crowded. Patients staying here walk not only through its centre, but also in Czerniawa-Zdrój, situated at the Polish-Czech border, Góreczno, Kamieniec, or Górna, with the characteristic Sudeten log and half-timbered cottages. Maybe there are also those who cannot stop thinking about Flins, a gold idol, worshipped by the Łużyce Slavs, reportedly hidden somewhere within the Wysoki ridge of the Izerskie Mountains. At last, they walk across the former Bad Flinsberg.
 
Sandra Nejranowska
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