Enjoy stunning views from the top of this challenging peak that's one of the most distinctive of the Tatra National Park's mountains. The mountain's silhouette has been likened to that of a sleeping knight and rises high above the town of Zakopane. Geologically, Giewont is composed of dolomite and limestone caves, as well as gneiss and granite in the southern section. The mountain is comprised of three peaks: Small Giewont, Great Giewont, and Long Giewont.
The legend of the sleeping knight
Giewont is a symbolic mountain and has a special place in Polish national spirit and identity. It was described by Maria Stecszkowska as "king of the area" in 1858. Its silhouette has long been likened to that of a sleeping knight. The Long Giewont is the knight's torso, and the Great Giewont is the knight's face as viewed from the side, with the three "peaks" being the chin, the nose, and the eyebrow. The local legend goes that the knight will rise from his sleep if the nation is in dire need.
Amazing hiking opportunities
A one of the most popular mountains for hikers in all of Poland, Giewont can get busy in the summer months, particularly in July and August. It is unknown who was first to climb Giewont—most likely it would have been local shepherds in 17th or 18th century. The first known and documented ascent was made by Franz Herbich in 1832. Today, climbing the peak is strictly banned, but hiking on the designated trails is allowed. The mountain offers great views and wonderful panoramas in all directions from the summit.
The steel cross at the summit
On top of the mountain is a famous old cross that was erected by the Highlanders more than one hundred years ago. The cross says "To Jesus Christ, from the Highlanders of Zakopane. 1900." Its construction was no easy feat, as this tall monument is built of jointed steel. More and more tourists and pilgrims climb the mountain, especially since Pope John Paul II mentioned the cross at the Holy Mass held at the foot of Giewont in 1997. The cross has also been a part of the coat of arms of Zakopane since 1997. The last stretch of the mountain is very hazardous, and today there are special chained paths to help you get to the top. Proper hiking equipment is recommended should you go the whole way. This symbol of Zakopane is a remarkable experience for lovers of hiking and one that should not be missed if you are staying in the region.