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Giewont - Highlanders Sacred Mountain

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Of all the Tatra summits, Giewont (1894 m) appears to be most popular with both tourists and the local Highlanders, most of whom regard it as the symbol of the city. Its silhoutte, resembling the ''Sleeping Knight'', is connected with the legend according to which the Knight will rise from his sleep should the nation be in a real need. As compared to the other neighbouring peaks, Giewont is lower, but as it is well visible from Zakopane, Giewont seems to be the highest mountain summit. For this reason it is often portrayed on the pictures of Zakopane and the whole region of Podhale. It is situated off the main ridge of the Tatra Mountains between Dolina Malej Laki (the Little Meadow Valley) and Dolina Kondratowa (the Kondratowa Valley).

Giewont is not only famous for its distinctive shape, but also famous for the 15-metre-high cross erected on the top in 1901. The cross, made of jointed steel, reads ''To Jesus Christ from the Highlanders of Zakopane.'' As Pope John Paul II mentioned the cross at the Holy Mass held at the foot of Giewont in 1997, more and more tourists and pilgrims climb the mountain. The cross has also been a part of the coat of arms of Zakopane since 1997.

Tips for Hikers

If you are planning to climb Giewont on a warm day in the spring or summer, be ready to queue at the final stretch of the mountain. This part of the ascent is quite dangerous, thus, the path is chained. The 900 m altitude difference makes the route tiring. Moreover, the inexperienced climbers may find it hard to use the chains at one of the final stages. Watch out for the stones as some are very slippery. However, the painstaking trip is worth it as the view one can admire from the peak of Giewont is incredible. The only problem is the top is always crowded and the deep delight at the beauty beheld from the peak of Giewont is distracted.
Remember to wear proper gear as the weather in the Tatra Mountains is considered unpredictable and changeable. Never ascend the top if thunderstorm is approaching!


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