First International Dark Sky Community

Sopotnia Wielka in Jeleśnia, Poland, has been recognized as the first International Dark Sky Community, a result of grassroots efforts dating back to the late 1990s. Local activists successfully advocated for reduced street lighting, making Sopotnia Wielka a hub for astro-tourism. Significant milestones include replacing 150 street lamps with dark-sky-friendly fixtures in 2011. The community’s success is attributed to years of dedicated work by the POLARIS-OPP Association and residents. Annual dark-sky festivals, initiated in 2013, have further solidified Sopotnia Wielka as Poland’s largest dark-sky event. The adoption of a Rational Lighting Policy, incorporated into the 2023-2030 Development Strategy, cements its commitment to dark sky advocacy and places it among over 200 global communities dedicated to mitigating light pollution.


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