Błędów Desert (or Pustynia Błędowska in Polish) is a unique desert area in central Europe. It is located outside of the city of Olkusz, northwest of Krakow in southern Poland. Błędów Desert covers an area of 32 km2 with the sand, which particularly in the summer creates the perfect illusion of the African desert. You can admire here the sand dunes, as well as to experience mirage.
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by Grzegorz
According to an ancient legend, Błędów Desert was created by the devil, who tore the the bag of sand at the local church tower.
In fact, the sand is the remaining of melting glaciers. However it overgrown after some time. The present appearance of the countryside made people already in the thirteenth century, when they began to use land here, water and cut down forests. A narrow layer of the soil was destroyed and the sand appeared again. At the beginning of the 19th century, the desert had 80 km2. Now the sand is overgrowing again, and the desert is shrinking.
Since 2010, some projects have been initiated to save this unique area. Błędów Desert is often referred to as the Polish Sahara. This similarity is often used by the filmmakers. In the past, it was a training area for army. Today, you can find here the remains of fortifications however the part of the desert is still a military area.
Błędów Desert is best accessible from the village of Chechlo and Klucze, where you can follow the tourist trail. A popular way to see the beauty of this unique European piece of desert is from horseback.
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