Wieliczka County (Polish: powiat Wielicki) is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Malopolskie, in southern Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Wieliczka, which lies 13 kilometres (8 miles) south-east of the regional capital Kraków. The only other town in the county is Niepołomice, lying 12 km (7 miles) north-east of Wieliczka and the district has 93 locations altogether.
The county dates back to the time of the Emperor, Franz Joseph I, in 1853 and now covers an area of 427.8 square kilometres (165.2 sq miles). As of 2006 its total population was 104,477, out of which the population of Wieliczka was 19,133, Niepołomice was 8,537, and the rural population was 77,596. Wieliczka County is 15th among the 22 districts of the Małopolska Region and farmlands cover 64% of the county, with forested areas making up 19%.
Wieliczka County is bordered by Bochnia County to the east, Myślenice County to the south, and the city of Kraków and Kraków County to the north-west. With the planned construction of the A4 highway the county will have an excellent connection to Cracow and will create an overall improvement to transport for the district including a well-developed network of local roads, both regional, county and municipal.
Wieliczka County has a pleasing scenic landscape for the visiting tourist and is where you can find the Wieliczka salt mine, which is visited by more than 1,000,000 people each year. Another site of interest for tourists is the Royal Castle in Niepołomice. This Renaissance styled building known as the “Little Wawel”, was formerly a royal seat and today is a place where conferences are held, together with Old Polish feasts and concerts.
By contrast, the southern area of the district is characterized by a number of beautiful scenic places, from which you can admire the mountains, the Tatras. Wieliczka Foothills intersects with the Raba valley and it is frequently visited by tourists.
Forest Niepołomicka occupies an area of 10.9 thousand ha. Formerly it was a favourite hunting ground for many of the Polish kings from the time of Casimir the Great. There are many old trees within the forest and about 30 protected plant species. In the forest there are numerous trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. There is a Bison breeding centre on about 56 hectares of the forest with a herd of about 30 which was established to preserve and protect a species that is threatened with extinction. It is not open to the public.
The county is subdivided into five gminas (two urban-rural and three rural). These are listed in the following table, in descending order of population.
The editor acknowledges with grateful thanks that some of the above information is from Wikipedia.
A Powiat (pronounced povyat) is the second level of Polish administrative division, between Voivodships and Communes. As such it is roughly equivalent to counties or districts in the United Kingdom. There is no official equivalent of the name in English.
Some of the towns in a Voivodship can be centres of more than one powiat. The reason is that in several cases the town itself and its surroundings form separate entities of administrative division. This is usually the case for large Polish cities, but can also apply to several smaller towns.
Powiat Wielicki - Malopolskie - Poland - Polska - Poland Travel Guide