Mountains as flat as a table
These mountains with plated structure, which are rare in Europe, are built of horizontal joint sandstones. The Stołowe Mountains owe their name to the fact that they resemble a flat table.
Located in the Sudetes, Stołowe Mountains attract tourists with fantastic rock formations characteristic only of this part of Poland. The intriguing landscape includes rocks resembling animals, e.g. a squirrel, a hen, an elephant or mushroom, clubs and gates.
Each journey programme has to include the rock city at Szczeliniec Wielki. It is the highest point of the Stołowe Mountains (919 metres a.s.l.). The peak of Szczeliniec may be accessed via 680 stone steps. As a result of erosion, amazing natural sculptures have been formed, such as the ‘Mammoth’ also referred to as the ‘Anthropoid’, the ‘Camel’, or the ‘Head of Princess Emilka’. A 100-metre crevice called ‘Hell’ with snow until the middle of June is a real sensation.
Mountains wrapped with legends
The most beautiful story explaining why the Stołowe Mountains abound with so many diverse and bizarre rock formations is the legend about the love of Liczyrzepa to Emilka.
Once upon a time, a castle was constructed in the Stołowe Mountains, whose owner was a beautiful girl – Emilka. Sadly, the magnificent building was created without the consent of the Mountain Spirit. When the Spirit saw beautiful Emilka, he fell in love with her. Assuming the form of Liczyrzepa, he asked for her hand. But Emilka's heart already belonged to a young man – Murzynek. Her refusal made Liczyrzepa furious. He decided to destroy the castle and the girl. After a long fight, the lord of the mountains tore the girl's heart out and turned her body and the bodies of her subjects into stones. As the legend goes, in Eastern Sudetes it is sometimes possible to hear the beat of Emilka's heart embedded in one of the rocks in the whisper of the wind.
In the Stołowe Mountains, labyrinths of crevices and dead-ends in 10-metre-high stone blocks are also worth visiting. They are called the Errant Rocks. At the height of ca. 740 metres a.s.l., in turn, there is a vast mountain meadow called Łężyckie Skałki. Abounding with high grass, herbs and flowers, it is called by the locals the African Savannah.
A part of the mountains on the Polish side belongs to the Stołowe Mountains National Park, where tourists may enjoy numerous bicycle, ski-running and mountain climbing routes.
Walking along the designated paths, we may encounter deer, roe deer, black storks or fire salamanders. We will definitely be delighted with Ruthenica filograna, the smallest Polish snail that reigns in this area. We can also be surprised by mouflons brought to the Table Mountains from Corsica. In 2002, the first Frog Museum in Poland was established in the territory of the Stołowe Mountains National Park. The purpose of the facility is to develop the concept of amphibian's protection among tourists, in particular with respect to frogs. The museum presents over 3000 exhibits, and its collection keeps growing.