Miscellanea

Content

  1. Special offers (in blue)
  2. Examples of Polish tourist attractions – unique on European scale!
  3. An article about TOURISTS by Mr. Waldemar Leszczynski

 

SPECIAL OFFERS

 

 

2017 Bieszczady guided walking tours

 

Dates: anytime between January 1 – April 2, 2017

 

Start point: Rzeszów, 6 – 8 AM

 

End point: Rzeszów, 6 – 8 PM

 

Accommodation: a comfortable guesthouse somewhere in the Bieszczady Mountains

 

Total price: 500 pounds sterling per person for up to a-7-day Tour plus 71 pounds sterling per person for every additional day

 

Group: 20 – 25 participants

 

 

Itinerary (example). Itinerary will be tailored to Tourist’s needs.

Day 1 – transfer to Łańcut – Łańcut: the Lubomirski and Potocki Castle, English-style landscape Park, fortification and museum – transfer to Sanok – Sanok: Historical Museum – valuable collections of icons –transfer to the place of accommodation

Day 2 transfer to Ustrzyki Górne – red marked trail – Szeroki Wierch 1240 – Tarnica 1346 – Halicz 1333 – Rozsypaniec 1280 – Wołosate – transfer to the place of accommodation

Day 3 transfer to Suche Rzeki – yellow marked trail – the Orłowicza Pass 1099 – red marked trail – Chatka Puchatka PTTK 1228 – Brzegi Górne – Połonina Caryńska 1297 – Ustrzyki Górne – transfer to the place of accommodation

Day 4 – transfer to Ustrzyki Górne – blue marked trail – Krzemieniec 1221 – Wielka Rawka 1307 –yellow marked trail – Mała Rawka 1272 – green marked trail – Pod Małą Rawką PTTK – Wyżniańska Pass 855 – transfer to the place of accommodation

Day 5 – transfer to Majdan – Bieszczady narrow gauge railway – Balnica – yellow marked trail – Maniów – transfer to Solina – Solińskie Lake boat cruise – Dam in Solina – transfer to the place of accommodation

Day 6 – visits to some famous Orthodox churches or the bison corral – transfer to Sanok – the Museum of Folk Architecture, recommended by Larousse Encyclopedia – transfer to Rzeszów

 

PTTK – mountain hut run by Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society

number (eg. 948) – altitude in meters above sea level

 

 

Price includes:

-         detailed description of the trails, photo documentation of the trails and the accommodation – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         information about specific threats to life and health that may occur during the tour – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         licensed mountain guide,

-         English – Polish interpreter,

-         all the bus/coach transfers, described in the itinerary,

-         everyday evening transfers to the town of Ustrzyki Dolne and back,

-         accommodation,

-         Solińskie Lake boat cruise – if weather permits,

-         Bieszczady narrow gauge railway travel from Majdan to Balnica and back – operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays commencing January 18 until February 25, 2017.

-         visits to: the Lubomirski and Potocki Castle, English-style landscape Park, fortification and museum in Łańcut, Historical Museum and the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok, Dam in Solina, Bieszczady orthodox churches, the bison corral,

-         basic medical and accident insurance policy.

 

What you will see (full descriptions below - number 2): The Bieszczady Mountains, Bieszczadzki National Park, the town of Łańcut, Łańcut Castle, Łańcut Synagogue, the town of Sanok, Sanok Castle, Rural Architecture Museum of Sanok, Bieszczadzka forest railway, the village of Solina, Lake Solina, the town of Ustrzyki Dolne.

 


2017 Gorce – Pieniny guided walking tour from Rabka to Niedzica


Dates: 3 - 8 July and 17 - 22 July, 2017

 

Enrollment deadlines: 3 April, 2017 for the 3 - 8 July, 2017 Tour and 17 April, 2017 for the 17 - 22 July, 2017 Tour

 

Start point: Cracow (Kraków), 6 – 8 AM

 

End point: Cracow (Kraków), 6 – 8 PM

 

Total price: 500 pounds sterling per person

 

Group: 20 – 25 participants

 

Itinerary (in bold - accommodation) Cracow – transfer to Rabka – Rabka – red marked trail – Maciejowa 815 – Maciejowa PTTK – Bardo 948 – Stare Wierchy (Old Peaks) PTTK – Obidowiec 1106 – Turbacz 1310 - Turbacz PTTK – Kiczora 1282 – Knurowska Pass 846 – Bukowinka 935 – Kotelnica 946 – non-marked trailDębno (guesthouse)Czorsztyńskie Lake boat cruise – ruins of the royal castle - Czorsztyn (guesthouse)blue marked trail – Osice Pass – Trzy Kopce Pass – Łączana 818 – Szopka (Chwała Bogu) Pass 779 – Okrąglica 982 – Ostry Wierch 851 – Góra Zamkowa 799 – Bajków – Sutrówka 749 – Ociemny Wierch 740 – Czertez 774 – Czertezik 772 – Sosnów Pass 650 – Sokolica 747 – the Dunajec boat ferry - Szczawnica (PTTK/guesthouse)red marked trail – tourist frontier crossing Szczawnica/Czerwony Klasztor (Red Monastery) Slovakia – walk the Pieniny Road (Droga Pienińska) along the river Dunajec – Czerwony Klasztor (Red Monastery) – back to Poland – transfer to Sromowce Wyżne – white water rafting Sromowce – Szczawnica transfer to Niedzica Niedzica (PTTK/guesthouse) – the next day: Dunajec Castle and Dam in Niedzica – transfer to Cracow – Cracow

 

PTTK – mountain hut run by Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society

number (eg. 948) – altitude in meters above sea level

 

 

Price includes:

-         detailed description of the trails, photo documentation of the trails and the accommodation – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         information about specific threats to life and health that may occur during the tour – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         licensed mountain guide,

-         English – Polish interpreter,

-         all the bus/coach transfers, described in the itinerary,

-         accommodation,

-         Czorsztyńskie Lake boat cruise,

-         white water rafting Sromowce – Szczawnica,

-         the Dunajec river ferry,

-         visits to: Dębno Parish Church, ruins of the royal castle in Czorsztyn, Red Monastery in Slovakia, Dunajec Castle and Dam in Niedzica,

-         basic medical and accident insurance policy.

 

What you will see (full descriptions below - number 1): The Gorce Mountains, Gorce National Park, the village of Dębno and its world famous church, the village of Czorsztyn and the ruins of the royal castle, The Pieniny Mountains, Pieniny National Park, the resort of Szczawnica, medieval monastery in Cerveny Klastor, Dunajec river and its gorge and Castle Dunajec in Niedzica.

 

 

2017 Bieszczady guided walking tour and Horse Trekking


Dates: 7 – 12 August and 21 – 26 August, 2017

 

Enrollment deadlines: 7 May, 2017 for the 7 – 12 August, 2017 Tour and 21 May, 2017 for the 21 – 26 August, 2017 Tour

 

Start point: Rzeszów, 6 – 8 AM

 

End point: Rzeszów, 6 – 8 PM

 

Accommodation: a comfortable guesthouse somewhere in the Bieszczady Mountains

 

Total price: 500 pounds sterling per person

 

Group: 20 – 25 participants

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – transfer to Łańcut – Łańcut: the Lubomirski and Potocki Castle, English-style landscape Park, fortification and museum – transfer to Sanok – Sanok: Historical Museum – valuable collections of icons – transfer to the place of accommodation – first visit to the stable

Day 2 a) transfer to Ustrzyki Górnered marked trail – Szeroki Wierch 1240 – Tarnica 1346 – Halicz 1333 – Rozsypaniec 1280 – Wołosate – transfer to the place of accommodation

b) mountain horse trekking

Day 3 a) transfer to Suche Rzekiyellow marked trail – the Orłowicza Pass 1099 – red marked trail – Chatka Puchatka PTTK 1228 – Brzegi Górne – Połonina Caryńska 1297 – Ustrzyki Górne – transfer to the place of accommodation

b) mountain horse trekking

Day 4 – a) transfer to Ustrzyki Górneblue marked trail – Krzemieniec 1221 – Wielka Rawka 1307 – yellow marked trail – Mała Rawka 1272 – green marked trail – Pod Małą Rawką PTTK – Wyżniańska Pass 855 – transfer to the place of accommodation

b) mountain horse trekking

Day 5 – transfer to MajdanBieszczady narrow gauge railway – Balnica – yellow marked trail – Maniów – transfer to SolinaSolińskie Lake boat cruise – Dam in Solina – transfer to the place of accommodation

Day 6 – last visit to the stable – visits to some famous Orthodox churches or the bison corral – transfer to Sanok – the Museum of Folk Architecture, recommended by Larousse Encyclopedia – transfer to Rzeszów

 

PTTK – mountain hut run by Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society

number (eg. 948) – altitude in meters above sea level

 

 

Price includes:

-         detailed description of the trails, photo documentation of the trails and the accommodation – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         information about specific threats to life and health that may occur during the tour – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         licensed mountain guide,

-         horse trekking and the leader,

-         English – Polish interpreter,

-         all the bus/coach transfers, described in the itinerary,

-         everyday evening transfers to the town of Ustrzyki Dolne and back,

-         accommodation,

-         Solińskie Lake boat cruise,

-         Bieszczady narrow gauge railway travel from Majdan to Balnica,

-         visits to: the Lubomirski and Potocki Castle, English-style landscape Park, fortification and museum in Łańcut, Historical Museum and the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok, Dam in Solina, Bieszczady orthodox churches, the bison corral,

-         basic medical and accident insurance policy.

 

What you will see (full descriptions below - number 2): The Bieszczady Mountains, Bieszczadzki National Park, the town of Łańcut, Łańcut Castle, Łańcut Synagogue, the town of Sanok, Sanok Castle, Rural Architecture Museum of Sanok, Bieszczadzka forest railway, the village of Solina, Lake Solina, the town of Ustrzyki Dolne.

 

 

2017 Yachting and Sightseeing – Masurian Lake District and Malbork Castle


Date: 3 – 10 September, 2017

 

Enrollment deadline: 3 June, 2017

 

Start point: Warsaw (Warszawa), 6 – 8 AM

 

End point: Warsaw (Warszawa), 6 – 8 PM

 

Total price: 600 pounds sterling per person

 

Group: 20 – 25 participants

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – transfer to Gierłoż – visits to Wolf’s Lair – Hitler’s headquarter – and Miniature Park of Warmia and Mazury – transfer to Mikołajki

Day 2 yachting: Mikołajki – Śniardwy Lake - Mikołajki

Day 3 yachting: Mikołajki – Tałty Lake – the village of Skorupki

Day 4 – transfer to Malbork – visit to Malbork – Castle of the Teutonic Order (UNESCO World Heritage List) – transfer to Giżycko

Day 5 – yachting: Giżycko – Kisajno and Dargin Lakes - Sztynort

Day 6 – yachting: Sztynort – Mamry Lake – visit to Mamerki – German Land Forces Command (OKH) Headquarters – Sztynort

Day 7 – yachting: Sztynort – Mamry Lake – Węgorapa River – Węgorzewo

Day 8 – transfer to Kadzidłowo – visit to Wild Animal Park – transfer to Warsaw

 

 

Price includes:

-         photo documentation of yachts and harbours – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         information about specific threats to life and health that may occur during the tour – will be e-mailed before the tour starts,

-         licensed yacht skippers,

-         English – Polish interpreter,

-         all the bus/coach transfers, described in the itinerary,

-         accommodation on yachts – 5 persons per yacht (only participants spend nights on yachts),

-         visits to: Wolf’s Lair and Miniature Park of Warmia and Mazury in Gierłoż, Malbork Castle, German Land Forces (OKH) Headquarters in Mamerki, Wild Animal Park in Kadzidłowo,

-         basic medical and accident insurance policy.

 

What you will see (full descriptions below - number 3): Wolf’s Lair, Miniature Park of Warmia and Mazury, the town of Mikołajki, Śniardwy Lake, The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, the town of Giżycko, the village of Sztynort, German Land Forces (OKH) Command in Mamerki, Mamry Lake, the town of Węgorzewo, Wild Animal Park in Kadzidłowo.

 

 

 

1. To see and visit during 2017 Gorce – Pieniny guided walking tour from Rabka to Niedzica (from Wikipedia):

 

The Gorce Mountains are part of the Western Beskids mountain range spreading across southernmost Poland. They are situated in Małopolska Province, at the western tip of the long Carpathian range extending east beyond the Dunajec River for some 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The Gorce are characterized by numerous ridges reaching in all directions for up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) east–west with a series of higher elevations cut by deep river valleys.

The range is dominated by about a dozen gentle peaks including Turbacz (the highest, at 1,301 metres (4,268 ft) above sea level) in the centre, and – facing east: Jaworzyna Kamienicka (1,288 m), Kiczora (1,282 metres (4,206 ft)), Kudłoń (1,276 metres (4,186 ft)), Przysłop, Czoło and Gorc Kamienicki. The south-eastern ridge of the Gorce reaches the Pieniny range (cut off by the Ochotnica pass), with Lubań (1,211 metres (3,973 ft)) as its tallest peak followed by Kotelnica, Runek and Marszałek. The north-west ridges include Obidowiec, and the peak of Suhora (1,000 m (3,300 ft)) featuring an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the Pedagogical University of Kraków.

There are a number of smaller caves in the Gorce, carved out in sedimentary rock and its conglomerates which form the Carpathian Flysch Belt. High annual rainfall is caused by the air forced up by the mountains and accumulating into clouds. Rain water flows fast in all directions due to dense ground and ground-cover; feeding the Raba river on the north-west side of the Gorce, and the Dunajec on the south-east side. Other rivers, formed by the mountains include the Kamienica (35 kilometres (22 mi) in length), the Ochotnica (24 kilometres (15 mi)) and the Porębianka (13 kilometres (8.1 mi)), as well as large streams such as the Turbacz, the Gorcowy and the Łopuszna among others. The main city is Nowy Targ on the Dunajec below in the valley of Podhale with large recreational villages including Tylmanowa, Szczawa and Ochotnica.

 

Gorce National Park is a national park in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, southern Poland. It covers central and northeastern parts of the Gorce Mountains, which are part of the Western Beskids (at the western end of the Carpathian range).

The first steps to protect this land go back to 1927, when a forest reserve was set up on land owned by Count Ludwik Wodzicki of Poręba Wielka. The National Park was created in 1981, then covering 23.9 square kilometres. Today, the area of the park has grown to 70.3 km2 (27.1 sq mi), of which 65.91 km² is forested. The area of the protective zone around the park is 166.47 km². The park lies within Limanowa County and Nowy Targ County, and has its headquarters in Poręba Wielka.

The Gorce range is dominated by arched peaks and river valleys which cut into the range. There are a few small caves and obviously - several peaks such as Turbacz (the highest - 1310 meters above sea level), Jaworzyna Kamienicka, Kiczora, Kudłoń, Czoło Turbacza and Gorc Kamienicki. Waters cover only 0.18 km² of park’s area - there are no lakes or big rivers, only streams.

 

Dębno is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Nowy Targ, within Nowy Targ County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It lies approximately 14 kilometres (9 mi) east of Nowy Targ and 69 km (43 mi) south of the regional capital Kraków.

The village has a population of 800.

Dębno is world-famous for its spectacular medieval wooden church, one of the protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The church, dedicated to Archangel Michael, is first mentioned in chronicles from 1335 AD, but the original wooden church is known to have burned down; its present form was rebuilt in the early baroque. The structure was built entirely from wood, without metal nails or fasteners. The architecture and proportions are a great example of a wooden gothic church, with some elements unique to the Podhale region. Interior walls are covered in gothic polychrome decoration from around 1500 AD, and decorated with paintings that date as early as 15th century. The main altarpiece is an elaborate triptych from mid-16th century. The oldest piece in the church is a crucifix dated at around 1380, saved from the fire, and now seen hanging from the ceiling. (An even older piece, a late romanesque painting from 1280, had since been moved to the Museum of the Archdiocese of Kraków.)

 

Czorsztyn is a village in Poland, in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Nowy Targ County. The village lies in Pieniny, is located in the mountain range on the current Polish-Slovakian border. It is famous for the ruins of a 14th-17th century castle, which was the scene of the Kostka-Napierski Uprising in 1651.

Czorsztyn gave its name to the man-made reservoir also known as the Czorsztyn Lake, completed in 1994.

 

The ruins of Czorsztyn Castle are located in the southernmost part of Poland in Czorsztyn (Nowy Targ County in Lesser Poland), at Czorsztyn Lake within Pieniny National Park borders.

On the other side of the Czorsztyn Lake is located Niedzica Castle.

The Czorsztyn Castle stands at the top of the hill nearby Dunajec. According to Jan Długosz, in 1246 the owner of the castle was Piotr Wydżga. However that theory was never after confirmed by other historians, so the beginnings of castle functioning are dated on 14th century. Large development of the castle took place during the reign of Casimir III the Great. In years 1629–1643, when Jan Baranowski was a starosta of Czorsztyn, the castle was fundamentally rebuilt. In 1790 the roof of the castle burnt after a thunder clap. In the result castle was quickly broken down and became empty.

 

Pieniny is a mountain range in the south of Poland and the north of Slovakia.

The Pieniny mountain range is divided into three parts – Pieniny Spiskie (Slovak: Spišské Pieniny) and Pieniny Właściwe (Slovak: Centrálne Pieniny) in Poland; and, Malé Pieniny (English: Lesser or Little Pieniny; Polish: Małe Pieniny) in Slovakia. The Pieniny mountains consist mainly of the limestone and dolomite rock strata. The most famous peak, Trzy Korony (Three Crowns), is 982 meters high. It is also the summit of the Three Crowns Massif. Pieniny’s highest peak –Wysoka (Polish); Vysoké Skalky (Slovak) – reaches 1,050 meters above sea level.

Pieniny mountains formed at the bottom of the sea in several geological epochs. They were folded and raised in Upper Cretaceous. At the beginning of the Paleogene geologic period a second wave of tectonic movements took place causing a further shift. The third wave of movements during the Paleogene and Neogene resulted in a more complex tectonic structure. At the same time erosion resulted in stripping of the outer mantle rocks and further modeling of terrain. Peaks were built from weather resistant Jurassic rocks, mainly limestone. Valleys and passes were created from softer and more susceptible to weathering rocks of Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. Caves are few and rather small. By contrast, rivers and streams are often deeply indented in the rock, creating approximately 15 ravines and gorges. The most famous gorges of the Pieniny mountains are the Dunajec River Gorge in Pieniny National Park and the Homole Ravine (Polish: Wąwóz Homole). Hills along the northern border of Pieniny are of volcanic origin.

 

Szczawnica is a resort town in Nowy Targ County in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. As of June 30, 2007, its population was 7,378.

Szczawnica is a well-known resort town since the mid nineteenth century. Due to the presence of alkali sorrel springs and favorable climatic conditions, many respiratory and digestive tract illnesses are treated there. In 2005 the popular local spa was officially returned by the Polish government to its prewar owners – Count Stadnicki family. The spa has almost two hundred year history. Its last private owner was Count Adam Stadnicki, whose grandson – Andrzej Mańkowski – is the founder of the new Uzdrowiskowe Museum being fitted in the center of Szczawnica, at Dietl Square (2009). The museum of the Szczawnica resort aims to present more than 350 different types of artifacts associated with the local therapeutics, archival documents, drawings, plans of buildings, old photographs, postcards and books.

Szczawnica has many snow skiing trails and slopes. The longest (2 km) at Palenica, is fitted with a 4-person ski lift with overhead lighting and a capacity of 2,200 people per hour. It is operated by a state agency.

 

Červený Kláštor (in 1873 Sublechnic) is a small village and municipality in the far north Kežmarok District in the Prešov Region of northern Slovakia, near the Polish border in the Zamagurie region.

A Camaldolese Monastery was established on this location, than part of the Habsburg-ruled Kingdom of Hungary, in 1710.

In 1782 it was secularized as part of Emperor Joseph II's campaign against monastic orders that in his view didn't pursue useful activities. The monastery building still exists, however.

The present village was founded in 1828.

 

Červený Kláštor (Red Monastery) is a medieval monastery located in Slovakia. It is located in the village of Červený Kláštor within the Pieniny Mountains, next to the Dunajec River.

The monastery was founded in the early 14th century, during the Hungarian Empire. Court documents from 1307 state that a man by the name of master Kokoš from Brezovica, founded six monasteries as a punishment for murder. In 1319 he donated 62 sectors of his village, Lechnice to the Carthusian order. A wooden structre was built in 1330, which was later replaced by bricks and stones. The monastery gets the name "Red" from the red bricks that were used on the roofs.

The monastery suffered several quarrels with Czorsztyn lords, and was occupied by Hussites in 1431 and in 1433. It was adversely hit by the Battle of Mohács in 1515, and in 1545 Czorsztyn Knights from Niedzica Castle attacked the monastery, and the monks fled across the Dunajec River into Poland. The monastery was abolished during the Reformation in 1563, becoming a private residence for wealthy noblemen.

In 1699, Ladislav Maťašovský, a bishop in Nitra, purchased the monastery, and donated to the Camaldolese order, who settled down it this area in 1711. In 1782 it was secularized as part of Emperor Joseph II's campaign against monastic orders that in his view didn't pursue useful activities. The monastery’s library was sold to Budapest, and the church equipment to Muszyn, Poland.

In 1820 the Emperor Franz Joseph I donated the monastery to the newly founded Greek-Catholic diocese of Prešov.

The monastery suffered a fire in 1907 and was heavily damaged during the Second World War, but after being rebuilt in 1956–66 it was opened again and serves as a museum.

 

The Dunajec is a river running through southern Poland. It is the right tributary of the Vistula River. It begins in Nowy Targ at the junction of two short mountain rivers, Czarny Dunajec and Biały Dunajec (Black and White Dunajec). Dunajec forms a border between Poland and Slovakia for 27 kilometers in the Pieniny Środkowe (Slovak: Centrálne Pieniny) range, east of the Czorsztyn reservoir. It is the only river taking waters from the Slovak territory to the Baltic Sea.

The Dunajec is 274 kilometers long, running through southern Poland for 247 kilometers, which makes it Poland's fourteenth longest river. It has a basin area of 6,804 square kilometres (4,852 in Poland, and 1,952 in Slovakia). On the Slovak/Polish border, it flows through the Zamagurie region, with attractions such as the Dunajec River Gorge, the Trzy Korony massif with a 500 metres (1,600 ft) precipice, Červený Kláštor, and two Pieniny castles in Czorsztyn and Niedzica.

Below the two source streams Dunajec flows through a broad valley called Nowotarska Basin. It then supplies the waters of the dam in Niedzica (Jezioro Czorsztyńskie Lake) and the dam in Sromowce Wyżne (Sromowce Wyżne reservoir). Flowing through the central part of the Pieniny range, it creates a picturesque turn at the Polish Slovak border between Sromowce Wyżne and Szczawnica. Further down it turns to the north into the Western Beskid Mountains, and Sądecka Basin (where it merges with its own largest tributary, the Poprad river). It flows across an open valley of the Beskid Foothills and falls down across Rożnów. Foothills (with two more dams: the Jezioro Rożnowskie Lake, and Jezioro Czchowskie Lake) and finally, it leads into the Sandomierz Basin and the valley of Vistula Lowlands. Dunajec flows into the Vistula River in the vicinity of Opatowiec.

 

Niedzica Castle also known as Dunajec Castle is located in the southernmost part of Poland in Niedzica (Nowy Targ County in Lesser Poland). It was erected between the years 1320 and 1326 by Kokos of Brezovica on the site of an ancient stronghold surrounded by earthen walls in the Pieniny mountains. The Niedzica Castle stands at an altitude of 566 m, on a hill 300 m upstream from the Dunajec River mouth, measured from the center of the dam on Czorsztyn Lake. The outline of Niedzica Castle can best be viewed from the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle on the other side of the lake. It is known as one of the most picturesque castles in the country and adorns the covers of many books.

The castle was an important centre of Polish-Hungarian relations since the 14th century. It was a place where the money lent by the Polish king to the Hungarian king Sigismund had to be returned following an agreement signed in 1412. Once the loan was paid back, the Polish king returned the 16 Spiš towns given to him by Sigismund as collateral. For centuries the castle was a border-post with Hungary. At the time of the Turkish invasion five hundred years ago, a deal was struck at Niedzica to make it a Polish protectorate.

The castle was built by a Hungarian known as Kokos from Brezovica with family rights dating back to 1325. In 1470 it became the property of the aristocratic Zápolya family. However, in 1528, the entire county including the castle was given away by John Zápolya aspiring to the Hungarian throne, and became the property of Viliam Drugeth who received it as a reward for his support. Sixty years later it became the property of Hieronim Łaski and his son Olbracht. At the end of the 16th century the castle was bought by Ján Horváth from Plaveč. The fortress was renovated many times in the fifteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth and in the beginning of the 19th century by its successive owners. The last Hungarian inhabitants remained there until in 1943 when the coming of the front in World War II inspired the Salamon family to abandon it. The last countess left with her children two years before the Red Army marched in. The final reconstruction of the castle was completed in 1963 under the supervision of the Polish Ministry of Culture. It has served as a historical museum ever since.

Although in large part only ruins remain of what used to be the Gothic castle in Niedzica, its dungeons and a number of rooms survived, as have some of the paintings — including the Crucifixion that once adorned the chapel — and furnishings which are not entirely as they were in the 1930s. The architectural design consists of a densely packed complex of buildings with a courtyard surrounded by residential wings with arcades, towers and fortified walls.

The museum in Niedzica holds archaeological artifacts related to the castle, remnants of the masonry that once adorned its interiors, prints and engravings with views of the castle from various periods, and historical documentation. The museum's collections include ethnographic exhibits from the Spiš region, a collection of antique clocks, 18th and 19th century pistols, hunting rifles, and taxidermied game. In 1996, a new collection was added. Because of the fortress's Hungarian origins, Ákos Engelmayer, Hungarian ambassador to Poland (1990-1995), donated his collection of Hungarian-related items of historical interest from Poland, such as maps of Hungary from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, engravings depicting various Hungarian kings and castles, as well as cities and battlegrounds; which it is hoped have become the largest collection of Hungarian-related materials outside of Hungary. The castle is a great place to visit. The views are magnificent, particularly to the south over the Pieniny mountains.

Before the Czorsztyn reservoir was built, the castle had a very Dracula-like setting, perched high on a wall above the Dunajec River. It was a place rich in tales and legends with some of the former residents resembling characters from gothic novels. In the post-World War II period Polish newspapers wrote at length about Sebastián Berzeviczy (one of Niedzica's owners) who traveled to the New World in the 18th century. According to a popular legend, he fell in love with the alleged Inca princess. Their daughter Umina married the nephew of an Inca insurrection leader Túpac Amaru II, whose assumed name implied descent from Inca kings. Túpac Amaru was eventually executed by the Spaniards after rebelling against the colonial government. The legend goes on to claim that the sacred scrolls of the Incas had been handed down to his surviving family members. His nephew, Andrés Túpac Amaru a.k.a. Andreas with wife Umina and his father-in-law Sebastián Berzeviczy fled to Italy, where Andrés was killed in suspicious circumstances. Consequently, Umina with son and her father fled to Hungary and settled at the castle. Sources claim that Umina was assassinated there some time later. Her testament to son Anton, written in 1797 and stored there, allegedly contained information about the lost treasure of the Incas. There was a leaden case found at the castle with some “quipu” writings, but it was lost in Kraków in the following years. Later, news appeared about expeditions searching for fantastic treasures at Lake Titicaca in Peru. The notion that the Inca treasure map could be hidden somewhere in the depths of the castle is still cherished today.

Other tales follow the exploits of a motley crew of the castle's other former owners. They include stories of counts and jesters who tortured village folk, stabbed priests and misbehaved.

 

 

2. To see and visit during 2017 Bieszczady guided walking tour and Horse Trekking (from Wikipedia):

 

Bieszczady is the Polish name for a mountain range in the extreme south-east of Poland, extending into Ukraine and Slovakia. It forms the western part of what is known in Polish as the Eastern Beskids (Beskidy Wschodnie), and is more generally part of the Outer Eastern Carpathians. The mountain range is situated between the Łupków Pass (640 m) and the Vyshkovskyi Pass (933 m).

In a narrower but very frequent sense, Bieszczady refers only to the Western Bieszczady or even only to the part of the range lying within Poland.

The highest peak of Bieszczady is Mt. Pikuy (1405 m) in Ukraine. The highest peak of the Polish part is Tarnica (1346 m).

 

Bieszczady National Park is the third largest National Park in Poland, located in Subcarpathian Voivodeship in the extreme south-east corner of the country, bordering Slovakia and Ukraine.

The Park was created in 1973. At the time it covered only 59.55 square kilometres (22.99 sq mi), but over the years it was enlarged four times. The last enlargements took place in 1996, when the Park incorporated the former villages of Bukowiec, Beniowa and Carynskie, and in 1999, when the former villages of Dzwiniacz, Tarnawa and Sokoliki were added.

Currently it occupies an area of 292.02 square kilometres (112.75 sq mi), covering the highest areas of the Polish part of the Bieszczady Mountains. In 1992 the Park and its surrounding areas became part of the UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which has a total area of 2,132.11 square kilometres (823.21 sq mi), and also includes areas in Slovakia and (since 1998) Ukraine.

Forests cover about 80% of the area of the National Park. The woods are mainly natural and in some cases it can be said that they have preserved their pristine character. The highest peak in the park, Tarnica, is 1,346 metres (4,416 ft) above sea level. Animal life is abundant with several species of endangered animals thriving in the area, among them bears, wolves, wildcats, wild boars, beavers, otters and lynxes as well as deer, moose and European bisons (of which around 100 live in the area). The Park also contains interesting bird species, including eagles and owls, and is home to the largest Polish population of Aesculapian snakes.

The area of the Park is sparsely populated (less than 1 person per km²), which means that animals can roam freely. The region is very popular among tourists, but there are not many facilities in the area. Around 70% of the Park’s area is regarded as strict preserve, which means that the use of trails is restricted. The Park’s authorities promote walking trips.

 

Łańcut is a town in south-eastern Poland, with 18,004 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009. Situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship (since 1999), it is the capital of Łańcut County.

Archeological investigations carried out in the region of Łańcut confirm the existence of human settlements from about 4000 years B.C.

The first owner of the town was Otton (z Pilczy) Pilecki, who was given the Łańcut estate by the polish king, Casimir III the Great, in 1349, as a reward for his service. At the same time, the king also granted Łańcut its city rights according to Magdeburg law. In 1381 Łańcut was officially named a ‘town’ for the first time, by Otton Pilecki, in the foundation charter of the town. Łańcut remained under the ownership of the Pilecki family up to 1586.

The city was then owned consecutively by aristocratic Polish families of Stadnicki, Lubomirski, and Potocki. Łańcut was purchased by Stanisław Lubomirski in 1629, at which time he secured the services of architect Matteo (Polish: ‘Maciej’) Trapola and the stuccoist Giovanni Battista Falconi, in order to build a fortified residence in the town, Łańcut Castle, completed in 1641 and reconstructed many times since.

The castle is situated in the centre of the town and constructed in the style of a grand aristocratic palace-residence. It was last owned until 1944 by the Potocki family, and made infamous in late 16th century during the times of Stanisław Stadnicki. After 1775 the palace was owned by Izabella Lubomirska, who extended it and had the interiors remodelled. The palace is currently a museum particularly well known for its large collection of historic carriages. Since 1961, a well-known classical music festival is held there annually.

In 1772, after Poland's First Partition, Łańcut became part of the Habsburg Monarchy where it remained until 1918 when it became part of independent Poland.

At the end of the 18th century, the Lubomirski family established in Łańcut a distillery known for producing flavoured and sweetened vodkas. The distillery has changed ownership several times and now exists under the name of Polmos Łańcut.

The last owner of Łańcut, Alfred Potocki, was one of the richest men in prewar Poland, accumulating a fantastic collection of art during his tenancy. Shortly before the arrival of the Red Army in 1944, he loaded 11 railway carriages with the most valuable objects and fled to Liechtenstein.

Prior to World War II, Łańcut had a thriving Jewish community constituting about one-third of the city population. Local Jewish cemeteries are theresting place of the famous Rabbi Zvi Naftali Horowitz, the Grand Rabbi of Ropshitz (Ropczyce) and Rabbi Ahron Moshe Leifer, the Grand Rabbi of Żołynia. Every year, followers of the Hasidic Judaism come to pray at their graves. On August 4, 1942 (21 Av), a German SS extermination unit took some 2,750 Jews of Łańcut to the Falkinia Forest where they were herded near a mass grave and executed by machine gun. In the wake of the liquidation of the Jews of Poland, Łańcut currently has a thriving Roman Catholic community.

The Music Festival in Łańcut has been an annual event since 1961. The Festival is a series of modern and classical music concerts performed by distinguished European soloists, ensembles and choirs.

 

Łańcut Castle is a 17th-century palace in Łańcut, Poland. It now houses a large museum. The castle is situated in the centre of the town and constructed in the style of a grand aristocratic palace-residence.

The site was originally occupied by castle built by Stanisław Lubomirski in 1629–42. The owner secured the services of architect Matteo Trapola and the stuccoist Giovanni Battista Falconi, in order to build a fortified residence.

In the second half of the 18th century, Izabela Lubomirska, née Czartoryski, converted the castle into the present palace complex. She extended it and had the interiors remodelled. Another reconstruction occurred in 1894–1903 in the style of French Neo-baroque.

During its history, it has been the home of the noble Polish Pilecki, Stadnicki, Lubomirski, and Potocki families. The palace is currently a museum particularly well known for its large collection of historic carriages. In the castle grounds there is a park with the little romantic castle, a coachhouse with a collection of carriages and a guest-house in the English style.

 

The Łańcut Synagogue is a Baroque synagogue in Łańcut, Poland. The Łańcut Synagogue is a rare surviving example of the four-pillar, vaulted synagogues that were built throughout the Polish lands in both wood and masonry from the sixteenth through the early nineteenth centuries. The synagogue was renovated in the mid-20th century, and underwent renovations in the years 1983-1990.

The synagogue is a simple Baroque, masonry building with a vestibule and side room, main hall and a women's balcony above the vestibule reached by an exterior staircase. The windows of the main hall are unusually large for a Polish synagogue; Krinsky believes that this may reflect the security of the Jews in Łańcut, who lived under the protection of the landowning family. The synagogue is built with eight, barrel-vaulted bays around a central Bimah, the four, massive, masonry pillars of which support the ceiling and roof. Painted, decorative plasterwork adorns the pillar capitals, ceiling, and walls. The floor in the restored building is made of concrete. The walls are decorated reproductions of the pre-war paintings. They feature traditional Jewish subjects, such as Noah and the Ark, symbols of the Zodiac, and images of musical instruments mentioned in the Book of Psalms.

 

Sanok is a town in south-eastern Poland with 39,110 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009.

The line of the river Dunajec and that of the San, both in West Galicia, marked the two successive stages in the breakthrough battle which initiated the Austro-German offensive of 1915 on the eastern front. An attempt to stand on the line of the Wisłok river and the Łupków Pass failed before renewed Austro-German attacks on 8 May 1915. Wisłok Valley was one of the strategically important Carpathian rivers bitterly contested in battles on the Eastern Front of World War I during the winter of 1914-1915.

During World War I, the Russians came to the town in May 1915 and stayed there until July, leaving the town significantly damaged.

During the Second Polish Republic (1919–1939), Sanok was a known centre of Ukrainian nationalism in Galicia, but also of cultural heritage of the Lemkos and other Rusyns. In 1943 the foundation of the Waffen-SS Division Galizien took place in heavily Ukrainian-populated Sanok, with many locals volunteering in the ethnic Ukrainian Waffen-SS. Because of fear of Ukrainian separatism by both Soviet and Polish authorities, the Ukrainian and Lemko population of Sanok and its region was mostly deported to the former eastern territories of Germany attached to Poland after World War II (the so-called Recovered Territories) during Operation Vistula (1946–1947). Some the Lemkos expelled returned to Sanok after 1989. Sanok contains an open air museum called a skansen in the Biała Góra district, where examples of architecture from all of the region's main ethnic groups have been moved and carefully reassembled in a skansen evoking everyday rural life in the 19th century. Nearby stands Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (1786–1947) presently, the tserkva of the Orthodox cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

 

The Sanok Royal Castle was built in the late 14th century in Sanok, Poland. The castle is situated on the San River at hill 317 m above sea level on a steep slope. Today it is the seat of the Sanok Historical Museum.

The first mention of Sanok is found in 12th c. chronicles. The stronghold was destroyed in the 13th c. during the Tatar invasion in 1241. In the 14th c. the town of Sanok became fortified and a defensive castle was built.

The earliest mention of the stronghold comes from 1150 and was written in the Hypatian Codex. The Ruthenian chronicler describes the expedition of King Géza II of Hungary to Ruthenia and the capture of the towns of Przemyśl and Sanok. In the time of the Piast dynasty, after the recovery of the Red Ruthenia by King Casimir III the Great, the royal palace surrounded by a defensive wall was built on the hilltop.

During the reign of King Władysław Jagiełło, his wedding with Elisabeth of Pilica took place at the castle on May 2, 1417. The town and district authorities with a castellan at the top had their seat at the Sanok castle. In 1425, it was established the Higher Court of German law at the Sanok Castle. It was also a residence of the King's fourth wife Sophia of Halshany until her death in 1461. Queen Bona Sforza ordered the rebuilding of the Gothic castle in the Renaissance style between 1523-1548. Between 1555-1556, the castle was the seat of Isabella Jagiellon, Queen of Hungary, after her escape from Transylvania. At the end of the 16th century, the castle underwent further expansion: the south wing was built at that time. At the turn of the 18th century the North wing was added.

In 1915, after the Russian invasion, the South wing was demolished. In the interwar period the castle served as the Museum of Sanok. The Museum, established in 1934 by the Society of Friends of the Region of Sanok, had at first collections of the Sanok region, weapons and arms — the history of the town and castle of Sanok, furniture, artistic craftsmanship. With the beginning of World War II in September 1939, the castle was ransacked. In August 1944, the local German authorities looted the oldest surviving monuments of Polish culture, some of which were retrieved by the Polish Government after the war. Its collections were transferred to the castle where, since 1945, they have formed part of the Historical Museum, added to the latter's collection are some 200 icons from Lemko villages.

 

The Rural Architecture Museum of Sanok is one of the biggest open air museums in Poland. It was established in 1958 by Aleksander Rybicki and contains 200 buildings which have been relocated from different areas of Sanok Land (Low Beskids, Pogórze Bukowskie, Doły Jasielsko Sanockie). The Sanok museum shows 19th and early 20th century life in this area of Poland.

The park is divided into distinct but similar-looking sections - each featuring an ethnic group who lived in the region prior to the post-World War II forced resettlements. (Boykos, Lemkos), Dolinians (Dale Dwellers) and Polish Uplanders (pl. Pogórzanie) homes and churches have been transported there from surrounding villages, restored to their original condition and furnished with authentic objects of the period.

The individual ethnographic groups (the Bojko, Lemko, Pogórzanie and Dolinianie folks) are arranged in separate sections which perfectly fit the landscape physiography: the Bojko and Lemko architecture was located in the upper part of the Park, whereas that of the Pogórzanie and in the upper part of the area.

One can go inside many of the buildings including several homes, a school house and a Roman Catholic or Greek-Catholic church. The museum also possesses a large photographic archive, including authentic photos from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The ethnographic museum in Sanok has undergone a major transformation in the last two years. A "new" Rynek (Town Square) has been built just inside the entrance. It is a replica of a Galician town square from the second half of the 19th century, inhabited by Polish Jewish and Rusyn populations. Besides reconstructed houses from various Subcarpathian towns, there is also a genuine Jewish house, firehouse, tavern, post-office, chemist's, shop, barber's and others. The exhibits include replicas of typical galician houses from Dębowiec, Jaśliska, Sanok, Jaćmierz, Niebylec, Jedlicze, Bircza, Rybotycze, Sokołów Małopolski, Brzozów, Stara Wieś, Ustrzyki Dolne, and Golcowa.

This skansen is interesting because it includes sections devoted to the various ethnical groups who inhabited the Bieszczady area prior to World War II and Akcja Wisla.

Its Address is 38-500 Sanok, street Traugutta 3. The entrance to the Museum is across the bridge over the river San (Rybicki street). Parking is available near the museum, which is open year round.

 

Bieszczadzka Forest Railway is a narrow gauge railway built in a sparsely populated, forest region of Bieszczady Mountains. Construction commenced at the end of 19th century and completed before the World War I. Nowadays, a part of the railway is utilized as a tourist attraction. Trains run regularly on weekends from the beginning of May till the end of September. In July and August also on weekdays.

The main station with all the rolling stock is located in Majdan near Cisna.

 

Solina is a village in Lesko County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in south-eastern Poland. It is the former seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Solina (in 1999 Polańczyk became the new seat). It lies approximately 15 kilometres (9 mi) south-east of Lesko and 80 km (50 mi) south-east of the regional capital Rzeszów. In 2002 the village had a population of 190.

It is best known for being a spa village that lies near the shores of Lake Solina and is a popular area for tourists visiting the lake. Its name comes from the word solanka, meaning "brine".

 

Lake Solina is an artificial lake in the Bieszczady Mountains region, more precisely in Lesko County of theSubcarpathian Voivodship of Poland. Its coordinates are 49°22′27″N 22°27′8″E.

The lake was created in 1968 by the construction of the Solina Dam on the San River. It has an area of 22 square kilometres (8 sq mi) and contains 472 million cubic meters of water, making it Poland's largest artificial lake.

It is the best known tourist attraction of the region, with waterside villages like Solina, Myczkowce and Polańczyk catering to watersports enthusiasts. The lake's great depth, water clarity, and mountainous scenery makes it a very popular destination for boaters. Because of these qualities the lake has been nicknamed the "Bieszczady Sea".

Starting in the 1970s the Wojewódzkie Przedsiębiorstwo Turystyczne (State Tourism Enterprise) "Bieszczady" purchased a number of vessels for the lake and established the lake's White Fleet. The fleet's main ships offer cruises on the lake.

 

Ustrzyki Dolne is a town in south-eastern Poland, close to the border with Ukraine, with 9,383 inhabitants (02.06.2009).

Situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship (since 1999), it is the capital of Bieszczady County.

In existence since the 15th century, it received its city charter around 1727. In 1772 it became part of the Habsburg Monarchy where it remained until 1918 when it became part of independent Poland. It grew after 1872 when a railway connection to Przemyśl and Sanok was built, and the exploitation of local oil fields began. Temporarily in the USSR after 1944, it became part of Poland in 1951 following a minor border readjustment.

 

 

3. To see and visit during 2017 Yachting and Sightseeing – Masurian Lake District and Malbork Castle (from Wikipedia):

 

Wolf's Lair is the standard English name for Wolfsschanze, Adolf Hitler's first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters, one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) or FHQs located in various parts of Europe. The complex, which was built for Operation Barbarossa, the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, was located in the Masurian woods, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg, now Kętrzyn in Poland.

The original bunker system was constructed by Organisation Todt, but the later planned enlargement was never finished; the expansion work was stopped only a few days before the Soviet advance to Angerburg (now Węgorzewo), only 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away.

Hitler first arrived at the Wolf's Lair late on the night of 23 June 1941, and departed for the last time on 20 November 1944. Overall, he spent over 800 days there during that 3½-year period.

The complex was blown up and abandoned on 25 January 1945, but many of the bunkers were so thick that their damaged walls and ceilings remain. The remains are located in Poland at the hamlet of Gierłoż (German: Forst Görlitz) near Kętrzyn.

 

Miniature Park of Warmia and Mazury – Mazurolandia – is a park of attractions located in Gierłoż near Kętrzyn in Masurian Lake District amidst meadows and dense forests. You can take advantage of interesting attractions, spend time with your family and friends and learn the history of Warmia and Mazury, the history of World War II and the Middle Ages.

One of Mazurolandia attractions is Miniature Park of Warmia and Mazury showing the unique monuments of the region in miniature. Thus in one day you can visit the most interesting sites in the huge territory of Warmia and Mazury. It is complemented by a photo exhibition with historical sites and unique archival photographs of Kaliningrad - the former capital of East Prussia. Museum presents the culture of the region in the form of life-sized nineteenth-century cottages: Warmia and Mazury.

Mazurolandia is a place hiding many more secrets and surprises. Within the park there are remains of a vegetable garden conservatory of Adolf Hitler's Headquarters. Therefore Military Park had been set up, showing the unique exhibits from World War II, the German military from the years 1939-45 and a faithfully restored unique model of the Wolf's Lair covering 40 square meters. In addition, there is a military shooting range with replicas of historical weapons and fitting room of historical costumes of World War II.

You can visit Knights’ Settlement to know more of the Middle Ages. Visitors will have the opportunity to try on knights’ armors, chainmail, shield or two-handed and weighing more than 25 kg "Podbipięta’s sword", shooting a bow or a crossbow. From the fortified tower you can enjoy all the attractions of Mazurolandia.

Mazurolandia is unique place in Masurian Lake District where kids can play at will in Amusement Park on devices straight from the fairgrounds, including the power line, a pool with balls, a trampoline, bungee, inflatable slides, etc.

 

Mikołajki is a town in Mrągowo County in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in north-eastern Poland with 3,849 inhabitants. The village Zełwągi belongs to Mikołajki. The town is located near Śniardwy, the largest lake of the Masurian Lake District.

Mikołajki is an old Masurian church town first documented in 1444. The settlement grew during the 18th century, receiving its town privileges as Nikolaiken in 1726. Because of its location on Śniardwy, the fishery of Nikolaiken ensured continued prosperity; the whitefish of the region were especially popular throughout East Prussia.

Until 1945 the town was part of Landkreis Sensburg within East Prussia in the Kingdom of Prussia. During World War II Nikolaiken was one of the few East Prussian towns not destroyed from the fighting, and it became part of Poland as Mikołajki after war's end. The German-speaking population was evacuated and expelled by Polish and Soviet soldiers.

The town was a growing tourist center before the war, and is now one of the largest tourist sights in Masuria. The ice sailing in winter is an especially popular attraction.

 

Śniardwy is a lake in the Masurian Lake District of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland. It is the largest lake in Poland with an area of 113.8 square kilometres (43.9 sq mi). It is 22.1 kilometres (13.7 mi) long and 13.4 kilometres (8.3 mi) wide. The maximum depth is 23 metres (75 feet). There are eight islands on the Śniardwy lake.

Śniardwy was formed by retreating ice sheet and draining floodwaters occurring as the result of ice calving ahead of the receding glacier. Among the eight islands are: Szeroki Ostrów, Czarci Ostrów, Wyspa Pajęcza, Wyspa Kaczor and others. Surrounding settlements include Popielno, Głodowo, Niedźwiedzi Róg, Okartowo, Nowe Guty, Zdęgowo and Łuknajno.

Among the many inlets, two are named as separate lakes: Warnołty and Seksty. Śniardwy connects with the following lakes: Tuchlin, Łuknajno, Jezioro Mikołajskie, Roś, Białoławki and Tyrkło. It is surrounded by the system of canals known as Kanały mazurskie, with numerous sluices. Together, they form the Polish Masurian Lake District.

 

The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is the largest castle in the world by surface area, and the largest brick building in Europe. It was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg (Mary's Castle). The town which grew around it was also named Marienburg.

The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress and, on its completion in 1406, was the world's largest brick castle. UNESCO designated the "Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork" and the Malbork Castle Museum as the World Heritage Site in December 1997. It is one of two World Heritage Sites in the region with origins in the Teutonic Order. The other is the "Medieval Town of Toruń", founded in 1231 as the site of the castle Thorn (Toruń).

 

Giżycko is a town in northeastern Poland with 29,796 inhabitants (2004). It is situated between Lake Mamry and Lake Niegocin, and has been within the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999, having previously been in the Suwałki Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the seat of Giżycko County.

The first known settlements in the area of Giżycko date back Roman times and are connected to Amber road in vicinity of which Giżycko was located. A defensive grod was known to exist in the area, and in IX century was recorded as being ruled by king known as Izegup or Jesegup.

In 1008 Bolesław I Chrobry sent an expedition to christianize the Old Prussians; according to the legend the missionary Bruno of Querfurt was killed by Sudovians near Lake Niegocin in 1009, and a memorial the Bruno – cross was erected near Gizycko in 1910.

The Teutonic Knights built a castle in Prussia named Lötzen (Lec in Polish) in 1340, located at the isthmus between two lakes in Masuria. Lötzen was administered within the Komturei of Balga. The settlement near the castle received town privileges, with a coat of arms and seal, in 1612 while part of the Duchy of Prussia.

Lötzen became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 and was made part of the province of East Prussia in 1773. In 1709/10 the plague claimed 800 victims, only 119 inhabitants survived. In the 19th century, a Lutheran church designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel was erected in the centre of the town. Lötzen became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany.

1844–1848 the “Feste Boyen“, a fortress named after the Prussian war-minister Hermann von Boyen, was built on a small landtongue between lake Mamry (Mauersee) and lake Niegocin (Löwentinsee). This fortress is one of the largest and best conditioned fortresses of the 19th century. In 1942–1945 it was the headquarter of the German military intelligence service (Fremde Heere Ost) under Reinhard Gehlen.

As a result of the treaty of Versailles on 11 July 1920 the East Prussian plebiscite was organized under the control of the League of nations, which resulted 99,97% of votes to remain in Germany (29,378 total) and 0,03% for Poland (9 total). At the time, both German and Polish governments believed that the outcome of the plebiscite was decided by the ongoing Polish-Bolshevik War which threatened the existence of the newly formed Polish state itself. As a result, even many Poles of the region voted for Germany out of fear that if the area was allocated to Poland it would fall under Soviet rule.

In the 1930s Lötzen was the garrison of several military units of the Wehrmacht as a Sub-area Headquarter of Wehrkreis I, which was headquartered at Königsberg. Staff-, maintenance- and guardtroops of Hitler's headquarter Wolfsschanze and the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH, army highcommand) were also based in or nearby Lötzen. The OKH was based at the Mauerwald area, ca. 10 km north of Gizycko, an undestroyed bunker system.

The town was occupied by the Soviet Union's Red Army in 1945 during World War II and placed under Polish administration after the war ended. The German-speaking populace who had not evacuated during the war were subsequently expelled westward. The town was renamed Giżycko in 1946 in honor of the Masurian folklorist Gustaw Gizewiusz, a 19th century Evangelical-Lutheran pastor in southern East Prussia, who had greatly supported Polish language and Polish culture.

 

Sztynort is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Węgorzewo, within Węgorzewo County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland, close to the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. It lies approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) south-west of Węgorzewo and 87 km (54 mi) north-east of the regional capital Olsztyn.

Before 1945, the area was part of the German province of East Prussia. The Palace was the property of the Lehndorff family since 1420 (by other sources since 1565) until the expulsion of Germans from Poland after the border changes of 1945. The current palace was built by Marie Eleonore von Lehndorff née von Dönhoff after an older building had been destroyed by Polish Tatars in the Second Northern War in 1656.

German Foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop used the palace throughout his sojourns at the nearby Wolfsschanze between 1941 and 1944. The last proprietor of the estate, Heinrich Count von Lehndorff, was executed by the Nazis for his participation in the plot against Hitler that failed with the faulty assassination attempt on July 20, 1944, at the nearby Wolfsschanze wartime military headquarters of the Nazi regime.

After 1945, the palace was occupied for several years by the Red Army. An agricultural cooperative moved in in 1950. In 2009, it could still be viewed only from the outside, the interior, neglected for more than half a century, having become badly degraded.

In November 2009, the ownership of the palace was transferred to the "German-Polish Foundation for Cultural Maintenance and Historic Preservation", the reconstruction of the remains will be started soon.

The village has a population of 170.

 

Mamerki is a settlement in the administrative district of Gmina Węgorzewo, within Węgorzewo County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland, close to the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.

Before 1945, the area was part of Germany (East Prussia).

German Land Forces Command (OKH) headquarters of World War II – complex of best preserved undamaged German bunkers in Poland (30 bunkers including a giant – bunker – the walls and ceiling of 7 m – 23 feet – thick).

 

Mamry is a lake in the Masurian Lake District of Poland's Warmia-Mazury Province. It is the second largest lake in Poland, with an area of 104 km.² Maximum depth is 44 m, average is 11 m.

It actually comprises six connected lakes: Mamry, Kirsajty, Kisajno, Dargin, Święcajty and Dobskie. Mamry features 33 islands, totalling 213 hectares, some of which are ornithological reserves.

Lake Mamry is a popular tourist destination. It is connected to the Pregolya and the Baltic Sea by the disused Masurian Canal. The largest town on the lake is Giżycko.

 

Węgorzewo is a tourist town in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland, not far from the border with Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast. It is the seat of Węgorzewo County. Lake Mamry (called Mauersee until 1945) is close to the town.

The town's names in different languages are derived from local names for European eels, which used to live in the area in great numbers. The German name Angerburg is derived from the Old Prussian word for eel, Anger, which the German Teutonic Knights appropriated after conquering the Old Prussians. The Polish name Węgorzewo (and the older Węgobork) is derived from Węgorz, while the local Lithuanian names Ungura and Unguris comes from Ungurys. A Lithuanian variation is Angerburgas.

Foundation

The town was first mentioned in a 1335 chronicle as Angirburg, or "eel castle", a settlement of the Teutonic Knights with a block house, a palisade, and a watchtower. A 1341 document reported that the Teutonic Order had bestowed land on the river Angerapp (Angrapa) upon twelve Old Prussians for their loyal service. The Grand Duke of Lithuania, Kęstutis, destroyed the castle in 1365, although the order rebuilt the castle out of stone thirty years later. The completion of the stone castle Angerburg allowed the Teutonic Knights to increase development of the surrounding countryside.

The land around the Angerburg castle began to be settled by the end of the 15th century. As it was primarily farmland, the Mauersee (Lake Mamry) was blocked up to allow the construction of a watermill. Ca. 1510 a locality known as Neudorf ("new village") or Gerothwol had developed near the Angerburg. After the foundation of the Duchy of Prussia in 1525, the Angerburg became the seat of a district head. Albert, Duke of Prussia, granted the settlement town privileges and determined that it should be called Angerburg like the nearby castle. A large part of the town was destroyed by a fire in 1608, including a wooden church and the 20-year-old town hall.

Being situated in the ethnographic region known as Lithuania Minor, Angerburg had a German majority with sizable minorities of Masurians and Lietuvninks. The Lietuvnink minority diminished after the 16th and 17th centuries. The town suffered from the Swedish-Polish Wars, attacks by Polish Tatars, and plague epidemics, the last outbreak of which occurred in 1710 and claimed 1,111 victims.

Kingdom of Prussia

Angerburg became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 and was named a garrison town of the Prussian Army in 1718. A harbor was built on the Angerapp, allowing an aqueduct to be built in 1740 as well as an expansion of the garrison to include ten barracks. Angerburg had approximately 1,800 inhabitants at this time. Its inhabitants suffered from warfare, however, as Angerburg was occupied by Russian troops during the Seven Years' War. During the Napoleonic Wars, typhus was brought by Russian troops and the town was plundered by French and Polish troops.

Angerburg was included in the Prussian province of East Prussia in 1773 and became the district seat of Landkreis Angerburg in 1818. The town became part of the German Empire upon the Prussian-led unification of Germany in 1871. A teaching seminary and a deaf-mute school were opened in 1820, and the town's population increased to over 3,500. The canalization of the Angerapp and the expansion of the harbor in 1856 allowed business to expand, and the garrison left the town in 1858. The district court and the office of the public prosecutor moved from Angerburg to Lyck after the Kreistag, or district parliament, hindered the connection of the town to developing road network and railways. Angerburg was first connected to the railroad network in 1898, allowing it to develop into a trade center. The town became especially known for its Behindertenanstalt Bethesda, an institute for those with mental retardation.

World Wars

Angerburg became a garrison town again after the outbreak of World War I (1914–18), when it had a population of 5,800 inhabitants. The German-Russian military cemetery Jägerhöhe was located nearby. The war did not impact the town greatly, and Angerburg grew through new housing developments afterwards. Angerburg also began to develop through tourism after the opening of the Angerapp to regular navigation. At the beginning of the Third Reich, the town had a population of 7,700 which profited from a local cavalry regiment. Through incorporation of neighboring communities, Angerburg expanded to include 10,922 inhabitants in 1939.

Like the rest of East Prussia, Angerburg was initially only indirectly affected by World War II (1939–45), such as casualties of war and supply shortages. This situation changed as the eastern front grew near during the winter of 1944-45. Unlike the neighboring town of Goldap to the east, Angerburg was not involved in fighting, but was given up by the Wehrmacht as the Soviet Red Army advanced. After the Red Army reached Elbing and cut off East Prussia from the rest of Germany, the citizens of Angerburg were forced to evacuate the province by traveling across the Vistula Lagoon or to Pillau. The Red Army reached Angerburg on January 25, 1945 and destroyed much of the town; only a few buildings remained of the old town center.

Poland

According to the post-war Potsdam Conference, Angerburg was placed under Polish administration and renamed Węgorzewo. The remaining German-speaking population was expelled westward and replaced with Poles who either came from central Poland or were themselves expelled from the Polish Eastern Borderlands (Kresy), especially Wilno and Grodno. Some Lemko also came from the Beskids.

Węgorzewo initially suffered economically after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Revolutions of 1989, but has become a popular tourist site in the Masurian Lake District. The town is famous for the music festivals which take place in summertime, including a rock festival, a sailors' song festival, and a poetic song festival.

 

The Wild Animals Park Kadzidlowo is in the area of the Pisz Forest. The aim of the Park is to help the vistors to get to know the local species. The Park is located in forest meadows and this allows the animals to live in conditions similar to the their natural habitats. Due to the large area of the Kadzidlowo Park, sightseeing only takes place in the presence of guides who talk about each animal, their biology, habits and the need to protect them. This mainly applies to the rare endangared species such as lynx, wolf, eagle owl, black grouse, woodgrouse or hazel grouse.

In the Kadzidlowo Park, there is work done to protect and reintroduce the species which are endangered or on the brink of extinction such as galliformes and lowland lynx. The patron of the Kadzidlowo Park is a famous naturalist and patriot Benedykt Dybowski who, when sent into exile to Siberia, studied the nature of this part of the world. Therefore, there is also a group of animals from Siberia and the Far East in Kadzidlowo.

 

 

Dear Tourists,

Here are only examples of the finest Polish tourist attractions. You are welcome to take advantage of the list. Destination Poland will be happy to tailor your stay in Poland to your needs and find other accompanying services, eg. hotels, restaurants, art galleries, transport, etc. Go to How we work and Your benefits to see how it works.

All the information about UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage places in Poland come from www.unesco.org

 

  1. POLISH TOURIST ATTRACTIONS – UNIQUE ON EUROPEAN SCALE

 

NORTHERN POLAND

 

Słowiński Park Narodowy (Slowinski National Park)

is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Situated along the southern Baltic coast between Leba and Rowy, this biosphere reserve focuses on the protection of coastal aeolian processes and mobile sand dunes which are among the most active and extensive around the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea activity and other geo-morphological processes lead to the creation of sand-bars, separating lakes from the sea. The mobile dunes can reach a height of over 30 meters above sea level. The Slowinski wetlands are of high importance in the Baltic Sea region as a breeding and stopover area for many bird species. It was designated as Ramsar site in 1995. The biosphere reserve comprises a series of vegetation zones created by natural succession, going from the coastline towards the mainland. The system includes pioneer and initial sand communities, as well as coastal coniferous forests with crowberry.

The name of the biosphere reserve derives from the group of Kashubian tribe (Slowincy), who once lived in this remote area. An open-air museum, located in Kluki village, is designated to present the culture of this ethnic group. The biosphere reserve is a popular tourist destination and also offers environmental education to the visitors, for instance with interpretative nature paths.

Afrika Korps soldiers were trained here.

 

Grunwald (Grunwald – the battlefield)

Place of one of the largest battles in Medieval Europe fought on July 15, 1410 – Teutonic Knights – about 21 thousand equestrian knights (among them about 230 friars), 6 thousand infantry and gunners, 5 thousand servants, the Polish – Lithuanian Army – about 29 thousand soldiers, two out of three were Polish knights.

The battle reconstruction takes place every year in mid – July. This unique historical spectacle involves 2 thousand Polish knights, and also those coming from Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and even the USA. The reconstruction is watched by more than 100 thousand viewers.

In 2012 the battle reconstruction starts on July 14 at 4 PM.

 

Malbork (lat. Mariaeburgum, Mariae castrum, Marianopolis, ger. Marienburg)

Castle of the Teutonic Order is in UNESCO World Heritage List

This 13th-century fortified monastery belonging to the Teutonic Order was substantially enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the seat of the Grand Master moved here from Venice. A particularly fine example of a medieval brick castle, it later fell into decay, but was meticulously restored in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the conservation techniques now accepted as standard were evolved here. Following severe damage in the Second World War it was once again restored, using the detailed documentation prepared by earlier conservators.

Malbork Castle is the largest brick castle of Medieval Europe.

 

Toruń (Torun, lat. Thorunia, Torunium, ger. Thorn)

Medieval Town is in UNESCO World Heritage List

Torun owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries (among them the house of Copernicus) are striking evidence of Torun's importance.

The birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer, the man who “stopped the Sun, moved the Earth”.

Copernicus House Museum (Muzeum Dom Mikolaja Kopernika) – collections in astronomy and the Scientist’s Laboratory, the exhibition “Nicolaus Copernicus – Life and Work”.

One of the oldest restaurants in Poland (open since 1489) – Pod Modrym Fartuchem (Under deep blue apron) – guests: the kings of Poland, the Emperor Napoleon.

Prussian fortress – one of few fortification complexes in Europe built to protect a bridge – about 200 military facilities – the fortress tourist trail, marked in black colour, is 44 km long (27,3 miles long).

 

Lidzbark Warmiński (Lidzbark Warminski, ger. Heilsberg)

Place of Copernicus’ epochal discovery – between 1507 and 1509 Copernicus wrote in his Commentariolus (“Little Commentary”): Earth is moved in a sphere around the Sun, causing the apparent annual migration of the Sun; the Earth has more than one motion.

The Castle Library – in 1749 so called Heilsberg manuscript of Deeds of the Princes of the Poles by Gallus Anonymus was discovered here (Cronicae et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum, written in 1112 – 1116).

 

Olsztyn (lat. Holsten, ger. Allenstein)

Castle – place of residence of Nicolas Copernicus – over the entrance to Copernicus’ living room there is his own hand made astronomical table.

 

Frombork (lat. Castrum Dominae Nostrae, ger. Frauenburg)

Place of residence and death of Nicholaus Copernicus, place of his astronomical observations and writing De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres).

Copernicus’ tower – built before 1400, was owned by Copernicus in the years 1504 – 1543 and used as his dwelling.

Former Warmia bishops’ palace – Copernicus Museum inside – exhibits reconstructed astronomical instruments.

Old Cathedral belfry – planetarium and observation deck at the height of 70 m above sea level.

The Crane Mountain – astronomical observatory.

Hospital of the Holy Ghost – department of medicine’s history – exhibition “The history of medicine”.

One of the first European waterworks (1571 – 72), Water Tower – wonder of technology of those days.

 

Ciechocinek

Health – resort – locomotor system, rheumatic, orthopedic – traumatic, feminine, respiratory, nervous and circulatory system diseases.

Europe’s largest wooden graduation towers, built to evaporate water from brine – length 1741 m – 5712 feet – it takes 1.5 hours to get around.

Field Archangel Michael Orthodox Church – the only Ural monument in our part of Europe, built at the end of XIX century by carpenters from distant Ural.

 

Golub – Dobrzyń (Golub – Dobrzyn)

Teutonic castle, the most famous knight tournament place in Poland, gathering the flower of European chivalry for many years.

Every year in July International Grand Knight Tournaments have taken place here since 1976.

 

Kanał Elbląski (Elblaski Canal, ger. Oberländischer Kanal)

Unique in the world, water canal with two locks and five slipways (altitude difference – 100 m – 329 feet).

The longest navigable water canal in Poland – 84 km – 52,2 miles.

Elblaski Canal – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Kwidzyn (lat. Quedin/Insula Sanctae Mariae, ger. Marienwerder)

Teutonic castle – the largest toilet facilities in Medieval Europe, combined with the main body of the castle with the world’s longest gallery. Unfortunately not in use, today the exhibition of everyday objects of ancient Pomezania inhabitants’ culture.

In May 2007 graves of Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order were found in cathedral walls. That is a discovery on a global scale as nothing like this has been found before. These are the remains of: Werner von Orseln, Ludolf König von Wattzau and Henryk von Plauen.

 

Grudziądz (Grudziadz, lat. Graudentum, Graudentium, ger. Graudenz)

Fortress – place of Napoleon’s first defeat – in fact the defeat of Polish troops fighting for Napoleon.

City on the European Route of Brick Gothic.

 

Bory Tucholskie (Tuchola Forest)

is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

In June 2010 the Tuchola Forest area was designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. The core area of the Biosphere Reserve consists of Tuchola Forest National Park and of 25 nature reserves lying within the buffer zone. The buffer zone consists of Tuchola, Wda, Wdzydze and Zaborski Landscape Parks. There is also a transit zone which includes the town of Tuchola and surrounding districts. The core area of the Reserve covers 78.81 square km (30.43 sq mi), and the three zones together cover 3,195 square km (1,234 sq mi).

 

Gdańsk (Gdansk, lat. Dantiscum, Dantis, Gedanum, ger. Danzig)

Symbolic place of World War II outbreak – Battle of Westerplatte.

Symbolic place of the Fall of Communism – Lech Walesa.

The biggest brick castle in the world - the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church - may accomodate up to 25 thousand people.

The longest block of flats in Europe - 11 floors, 860 m (2821 feet) long.

Central Marine Museum - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Sopot (ger. Zoppot)

The longest pier in Europe - 511.5 m (1678 feet) long.

 

 

According to The World Geography (www.theworldgeography.com) Poland has 2 out of 15 Incredible Spits on Earth.

 

Vistula Spit

The Vistula Spit is a phenomenal sandy peninsula formed by sands deposited by sea currents and the Vistula River. That embankment spreads out from Gdańsk to Baltiysk in the Russian Federation.

The Vistula Spit is located at the north-eastern coast of the Bay of Gdańsk, it separates the Vistula Lagoon from open waters of the Bay, while from the side Zulawy it is separated with a system of channels. It is a geographical land, spreading for the length of 60km (37mi), as far as to Sobieszewska Island; its width spreads from 600m (1,970ft) to 2km (1.25mi).

The border between Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave of Russia, bisects it, politically dividing the spit in half between the two countries.

The westernmost point of Russia is located on the Vistula Spit. The Polish part contains a number of tourist resorts, incorporated administratively as the town of Krynica Morska.

This specific tourist region has been formed by dunes, for years unnaturally afforested with mixed trees. Three nature reserves were created here, i.e. the Bird Paradise (“Ptasi Raj”), also called the Seagull Bayou (“Mewia Łacha”), the Fisherman’s Place (“Kąty Rybackie”) and the Oaks of the Vistula Spit (“Buki Mierzei Wiślanej”).

It is worth visiting fishing resorts - Piaski, Jantar or Mikoszewo, as well as the place of very favorable climatic conditions caused by iodine in the air, high insolation and air humidity - that is Krynica Morska, which attracts many tourist as the warmest region of the Coast during the summer.

 

Hel Peninsula

Hel Peninsula is a 35-km-long (22mi) sand bar peninsula in northern Poland separating the Bay of Puck from the open Baltic Sea. It is located in Puck County of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.

The width of the peninsula varies from approximately 300 m (1,000ft) near Jurata, through 100 m (330ft) in the most narrow part to over 3 km (1.85mi) at the tip.

Since the peninsula was formed entirely of sand, it is frequently turned into an island by winter storms. Until the 17th century the peninsula was a chain of islands that formed a strip of land only during the summer.

A road and a railroad run along the peninsula from the mainland to the town located at the furthest point, Hela popular tourist destination. Other towns, ports, and tourist resorts are Jurata, Jastarnia, Kuźnica, Chałupy, and Władysławowo.

 

NORTH – EASTERN POLAND

 

Białystok (Bialystok)

Wygoda quarter – the Wisdom of God Orthodox Church - replica (scale 1:3) of the famous former Orthodox patriarchal basilica Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Hagia Sophia means the Wisdom of God).

 

Supraśl (Suprasl)

Monastery – the largest manuscript manufacturing centre in East Christian Europe (the process can be seen in The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco).

 

Suchowola

Geographical center of Europe.

 

Pentowo

European Stork Village – two tall viewpoint towers from which to pry into storks’ everyday life.

The village on cycle Podlaski Stork Route which crosses three national parks and is 206 km – 128 miles – long.

 

Reszel (ger. Rößel)

Castle – place where the Prussians imprisoned Barbara Zdunek, the last European witch to be burned at the stake in 1811 (the last death sentence for witchcraft in Europe).

City in ICOMOS historic cities list (International Council on Monuments and Sites) – original layout of narrow medieval streets in the city center, the XIX century town hall, Baroque buildings, Gothic parish church, the XIV century castle of Warmia Chapter.

City belongs to Cittàslow.

 

Mamerki (ger. Mauerwald)

German Land Forces Command (OKH) headquarters of World War II – complex of best preserved undamaged German bunkers in Poland (30 bunkers including a giant – bunker – the walls and ceiling of 7 m – 23 feet – thick).

 

Gierłoż (Gierloz, ger. Görlitz)

Wolf’s Lair – Wolfschanze – Hitler’s headquarters, one of eight – there was a railway station, airport, power station, direct phone connection with Berlin, belt of land mines around and artillery positions. The walls were more than 8 m – 26 feet – thick.

Place of unsuccessful bomb outrage in order to kill Hitler – by Claus von Stauffenberg.

 

Tykocin (lat. Tykocien)

The second largest Jewish community in Poland before World War II.

Preserved urban structure, characteristic for Jewish towns.

The Baroque Tykocin Synagogue built 1642 – Museum of Jewish Culture.

Talmudic House – Museum of Jewish Culture and Jewish cuisine restaurant.

 

Mazury (ger. Masuren)

Masurian Lake District – region in north – eastern Poland, covering over 2,000 lakes. Mazury wins in Europe in the last edition of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

 

Jezioro Łuknajno (Jezioro Luknajno, Luknajno Lake)

is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Luknajno Lake Biosphere Reserve is located 5 km east of the town of Mikolajki in the Masurian Lakes region in north-east Poland. This shallow freshwater lake of glacial origin is surrounded by marshes and meadows and is connected with nearby Sniardwy Lake by a channel. Already in 1937, Luknajno Lake was put under protection due to its large number of occurring mute swans (Cygnus olor). In 1977, it was designated as Ramsar site, being a wetland of international importance. Waterfowls on passage include Netta rufina, Aythya nyroca and Fulica atra. Breeding waterfowls include Podiceps cristatus, Botaurus stellaris and Porzana porzana. The site also provides an important feeding area for several raptors, including the threatened Haliaeetus albicilla.

Faunistic and ecological studies are carried out in and surrounding the biosphere reserve, for instance on population dynamics and landscape changes. At the field station of the University of Warsaw, located at the lakeshore, students learn about the lake ecosystem and conferences take place here. Luknajno Lake Biosphere Reserve is also a popular destination for tourists and is especially known among ornithologists.

 

Kanał Augustowski (Kanal Augustowski, Augustowski Canal)

is a Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

WESTERN POLAND

 

Gniezno (lat. Gnesna, ger. Gnesen)

First capital of Poland, place of the coronation of the first Polish king in 1025.

Museum of the Origins of the Polish State (Muzeum Poczatkow Panstwa Polskiego).

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral – greatest Roman bronze monument, unique in the world – Gniezno Doors, dated about 1175.

 

Poznań (Poznan, lat. Posnania, ger. Posen)

Town Hall – one of the most beautiful secular Renaissance buildings in Central Europe, inside – Museum of the History of Poznan (Muzeum Historii Miasta Poznania).

Town Hall tower – fighting goats at noon daily, bugle call on Sundays and holidays, in the summer – daily.

Old Market – Museum of Musical Instruments – widely recognized as one of the most interesting in Europe (e.g. Andrea Amati’s violin).

Poznan International Fair – the largest and the oldest exhibition center in Poland, the largest organizer of trade fairs in Central – Eastern Europe – has worked since 1921, 11 thousand exhibitors and 450 thousand visitors annually.

 

Park Mużakowski (Park Muzakowski, ger. Park von Muskau, Muskauer Park, Fürst – Pückler – Park)

is in UNESCO World Heritage List

A landscaped park of 559.9 ha astride the Neisse River and the border between Poland and Germany, it was created by Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau from 1815 to 1844. Blending seamlessly with the surrounding farmed landscape, the park pioneered new approaches to landscape design and influenced the development of landscape architecture in Europe and America. Designed as a ‘painting with plants’, it did not seek to evoke classical landscapes, paradise, or some lost perfection, instead using local plants to enhance the inherent qualities of the existing landscape. This integrated landscape extends into the town of Muskau with green passages that formed urban parks framing areas for development. The town thus became a design component in a utopian landscape. The site also features a reconstructed castle, bridges and an arboretum.

 

Szreniawa

National Museum of Agriculture and Agriculture-Food Culture - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List

 

CENTRAL POLAND

 

Biskupin (Biskupin – archaelogical site)

One of the most important XX century archaeological sites in Central Europe – a life – size model of an Iron Age fortified settlement dating back 2,700 years ago – now open air Museum and Archaeological Reserve.

Biskupin is the winner of the cultural Nobel Prize – Europa Nostra Award 2006 – European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage.

 

Warszawa (Warsaw)

Historic Centre is in UNESCO World Heritage List

During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw's historic centre was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.

Warsaw Uprising was the longest and the bloodiest independence uprising in German – occupied Europe – lasted for 63 days (Aug. 1 – Oct. 3 1944) and is commemorated in Warsaw Uprising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego).

Places of Frederic Chopin:

-   5 Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street – Czapski – Krasinski Palace – Chopin’s parents rented a flat in the southern wing – a small museum there – the Chopin Family Drawing – Room.

-   69 Nowy Swiat Street – Zamoyski Palace – in 1863 the Russian army threw Chopin’s piano out of the window from there.

-   the Church of the Holy Cross – the burial place of Chopin’s heart – the left pillar of the nave.

-   Okolnik 1 – Ostrogski Palace – the Fryderyk Chopin Society, Chopin Museum. The Society organizes the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competitions.

-   Royal Lazienki (Lazienki = Bathrooms) – the monument of Chopin (the only art nouveau monument in Warsaw) – here summer concerts of Chopin’s music.

Museum of Technology in Warsaw – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

Museum of Railway in Warsaw – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Kampinoski Park Narodowy (Kampinos National Park near Warsaw)

is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Located in the European lowlands in the north-east of Warsaw and parallel to the valley of the Wisla River, this biosphere reserve is characterized by a high diversity of lowland habitats with dune belts separated by swamp areas and a mixture of forest types (bog-alder forest, ash-alder flood plain forest, pine-oak mixed forest and low oak-lime-hornbeam forest). The abundance of natural habitats allowed the successful reintroduction of elk (Alces alces) in 1951 and European beaver (Castor fiber) in 1980. A reintroduction project of lynx (Lynx lynx) started in 1992. The core area of the biosphere reserve includes the strictly preserved areas within the administrative boundaries of the Kampinos National Park.

Agriculture and tourism are the main economic activities in the area. About 500,000 to 1,000,000 tourists visit the biosphere reserve each year to walk, ride and ski (1998). The core area and buffer zone are important for environmental education, given the large number of visitors from Warsaw and Lodz.

350 km (217.5 miles) of walking trails and over 200 km (124 miles) of cycling routes.

 

Łódź (Lodz)

The city was built in the 20s of the XIX century and was called “Polish Manchester” – the same origin and industrial, spatial, population development. The power built on the textile industry.

Childhood City of Arthur Rubinstein, the world famous pianist – The Artur Rubinstein Lodz Philharmonic Hall, The Artur Rubinstein Music Gallery in Lodz City Museum.

Na Zdrowiu Park – German director Volker Schlöndorff was shooting the Ogre scenes here.

One of the longest pedestrian zones/malls in Europe (more than 4 km – 2.5 miles long).

Poland’s largest aquapark.

The world’s largest graffiti – over 900 square meters, 9687 square feet.

The longest fountain in Europe - 250 m (820 feet) long.

Central Textiles Museum in Lodz – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List

 

Nowa Słupia (Nowa Slupia)

Dymarki Swietokrzyskie (Holy Cross Dymarki) – an outdoor archaeological festival (in August annually) where a 2 thousand – year – old iron smelting method can be observed.

From the second century BC to the third century AD there was a great metallurgical centre here – 6 thousand iron – smelting positions with 400 thousand ancient furnaces/ovens. Weapons were produced here – most of the weaponry of the Roman legionaries came from here.

Museum of Ancient Metallurgy (Muzeum Starozytnego Hutnictwa).

 

Krzemionki Opatowskie

Flint mine (2900 – 2500 BC), the reconstruction of Neolithic settlement – about 1.5 ha. Visitors can imagine how people of the Stone Age and Early Bronze Age organized the space they inhabited.

Archaeological Museum and Reserve „Krzemionki” in Krzemionki Opatowskie near Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Maleniec

The oldest still running industrial plant in the world (since 1784). Presentations in the summer.

Complex of Steel Mill and Nail Factory in Maleniec – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Sielpia Wielka

Muzeum Zaglebia Staropolskiego (Museum of Old Poland Industrial Area) – a pig iron water wheel of a diameter of 9 m (29,5 feet) – the largest such machinery in Europe – in use in the summer and early autumn.

Unique English machine tools of first decades of XIX century.

 

Wąchock (Wachock)

Cistercian abbey (1179), unique on world scale.

 

Starachowice

The Nature and Technology Museum, The Jan Pazdur Ecomuseum – the building, which is more majestic than the most stately castle, exhibits: ironworks from 1841, Great Furnace from 1899 with the only preserved complete crude iron smelting processing line in Europe as well as one of the largest steam machinery in the world of vertical system of the pistons.

Paleontological collection – spoors of dinosaurs living 250 million years ago, dinosaur reconstruction.

Archeopark – material and spiritual culture of the people living at the time.

Exhibition of the cars produced in Starachowice.

Former Board of Directors building – Roman legionary sword, made in the Roman Empire, belonging to a praetorian.

 

Żelazowa Wola (Zelazowa Wola)

Manor House – Park and Birthplace of Frederic Chopin Museum (Park i Dom Urodzenia Fryderyka Chopina) – Chopin’s music concerts take place here – in the summer: from first Sunday in May till the last one before October 17, in winter: inside the Manor House.

 

Brochów (Brochow)

Saint Roch Church – here Chopin’s parents got married and Frederic Chopin was baptized. The church is unusual because is fortified – has got three towers, a wall and a moat.

 

Pułtusk (Pultusk)

One of the longest markets in Europe. In 1806 a very bloody battle of Pultusk between the armies of Napoleon and the Russians took place here, which was commemorated in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. On January 30, 1868 a meteorite fell here, the largest specimens of which are located in London’s British Museum.

 

Modlin

Fortress – conceived by Napoleon, built between 1806 – 12. Napoleon’s Redoubt – the only building in the world designed personally by Napoleon.

Two – storied barracks built by the Russians in 1864 – 75 are 2300 m long (7545 feet long) and are considered the longest military facility in Europe.

 

Radom

Air Show – event held every two years at Radom Sadkow airport – presentations of military aircraft (static and dynamic), presentations of companies in the aviation industry.

Shows last for 2 days in the last weekend in August – the next one will take place on August 24 and 25, 2013.

 

Żyrardów (Zyrardow)

Industrial Settlement - Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List

 

EASTERN POLAND

 

Nałęczów (Naleczow)

Health – resort – cardiac diseases only.

 

Zamość (Zamosc, lat. Zamoscia)

Old City is in UNESCO World Heritage List

Zamosc was founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoysky on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea. Modelled on Italian theories of the 'ideal city' (cità ideale) and built by the architect Bernando Morando, a native of Padua, Zamosc is a perfect example of a late-16th-century Renaissance town. It has retained its original layout and fortifications and a large number of buildings that combine Italian and central European architectural traditions.

The construction of the city began in 1579, based on the anthropomorphic concept: the head – the Zamoyski Palace, the spine – Grodzka Street, crossing the Great Market (the torso), arms – cross streets, internal organs of the city – Salt Square and Water Square, feet and fists to defend the city – the bastions. The city later developed by Jews, Armenians, Germans, English and Scots.

 

Białowieża (Bialowieza)

Bialowieza Forest is in UNESCO World Heritage List

Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, this immense forest range, consisting of evergreens and broad-leaved trees, is home to some remarkable animal life, including rare mammals such as the wolf, the lynx and the otter, as well as some 300 European Bison, a species which has been reintroduced into the park.

Bialowieza Forest is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Straddling the border between Poland and Belarus, this forest complex is situated in the transition between the boreal and temperate zone and represents the last remaining primary deciduous and mixed forest in the European lowland. It contains several tree species at the limit of their distribution: Norway spruce (Picea abies) reaches its southern limits of its northern range and the sessile oak (Quercus patraea) is here at its northeastern limit. It is composed of a mosaic of diverse forest communities, principally oak-lime-hornbeam and pine-spruce-oak.

Bialowieza was maintained as a royal hunting reserve until the 19th century. Though periodically subjected to high herbivore stocking rates, it escaped wide-scale felling and now represents primeval woodland. Following the establishment of the National Park in Bialowieza’in 1932 and its restoration in 1947, it was designated as biosphere reserve in 1977. The area is also designated as a transboundary World Heritage site and lies adjacent to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Biosphere Reserve in Belarus.

Some 96,000 tourists annually come to Bialowieza to visit the forest, the nature museum or the European bison (Bison bonasus) show enclosure (1997).

 

Polesie Zachodnie (West Polesie)

is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

West Polesie Biosphere Reserve is situated about 40 km north-east of Lublin adjacent to Ukraine’s Shatskiy Biosphere Reserve. It comprises a vast open lowland landscape with a mosaic of swamps, moors, lakes, rivers and forests which have a high biodiversity and include patches of extensive economical use areas.

The whole area is a melting pot of inhabitants of different cultures, nationalities and religions. Villages in this rural area show many examples of traditional wooden architecture and still maintain a cultural and folklore life. 41,600 people live in the biosphere reserve (1999). Main economic activities in the area are agriculture, sustainable forestry, fisheries, ecotourism and weekend recreational activities. It is hoped that the biosphere reserve concept will help to create opportunities to develop this sparsely populated area which is currently under big social and economic change. However, at the same time, local communities are interested that economic development is balanced with the conservation objectives of the biosphere reserve.

The longer-term aim is to merge West Polesie and Ukraine’s Shatskiy Biosphere Reserve to a single one.

 

SOUTH – WESTERN POLAND

 

Wałbrzych (Walbrzych, ger. Waldenburg)

Ksiaz Castle (ger. Fürstenstein) – the third largest (after Malbork and Wawel) castle in Poland, one of few in Europe that combines elements of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism.

Guests: Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President John Adams and others.

Owners: among them Henry IV Hochberg and his wife Daisy, considered the most beautiful princess in Europe, of English origin. Their sons fought against the Nazis in World War II.

 

Karpacz (ger. Krummhübel)

Wang church of the XII century, one of 24 Viking temples that survived to our times and the only one outside the Scandinavian Peninsula. Moved in 1842 from the town of Vang in Norway.

 

Śnieżka (Sniezka, ger. Schneekoppe)

Queen of the Karkonosze Mountains – the highest mountain in the Sudetes (1602 m above sea level – 5256 feet asl, altitude difference – 1202 m – 3944 feet) – annually: 122 snowy days, 176 days with snow coverage, 296 foggy days, 3 days without wind.

Visibility on favorable conditions – more than 200 km (124 miles).

Belongs to the Crown of Europe, as it is also the highest mountain in the Czech Republic.

In the XVIII century it was the most frequently visited mountain in Europe, among the guests – Wolfgang Goethe, the Prussian king Frederick III and his wife, U.S. President John Quincy Adams.

 

Wrocław (Wroclaw, lat. Wratislavia, Budorgis, ger. Breslau)

Centennial Hall is in UNESCO World Heritage List

The Centennial Hall, a landmark in the history of reinforced concrete architecture, was erected in 1911-1913 by the architect Max Berg as a multi-purpose recreational building, situated in the Exhibition Grounds. In form it is a symmetrical quatrefoil with a vast circular central space that can seat some 6,000 persons. The 23m-high dome is topped with a lantern in steel and glass. The Centennial Hall is a pioneering work of modern engineering and architecture, which exhibits an important interchange of influences in the early 20th century, becoming a key reference in the later development of reinforced concrete structures.

The name derives from the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.

Museum of Postal Service and Telecommunication in Wroclaw – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List – inside: mail coach from the beginning of XIX century, accommodating up to 26 people. Means of transport in Chopin’s times.

Central Water Route Junction upon the Odra River in Wroclaw – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List.

The possibility of viewing the city from White Fleet ships, floating down the river Oder.

The oldest ZOO in Poland and having the largest number of species.

Piwnica Swidnicka (Swidnicka Cellar, ger. Schweidnitzer Keller) – the oldest medieval restaurant in Wroclaw (XIV century). Guests – Frederic Chopin, Wolfgang Goethe.

Wroclaw was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2016.

 

Kłodzko (Klodzko, lat. Glacium, Glacensis urbs, Glocium, ger. Glatz)

The bridge of Veit Stoss (built around 1280 – 1390) – a smaller copy of the Charles Bridge in Prague.

400 precious monuments in the city, the underground tourist route in the fortress – exhibition of torture tools.

 

Duszniki – Zdrój (Duszniki – Zdroj, ger. Bad Reinerz)

Baroque paper mill, that looks exactly like shortly after it was built in 1605 – now houses Museum of Paper, the only one in Poland and one of five in Europe, presenting handmade paper manufacturing process.

Health – resort – cardiovascular and gastrological diseases.

Chopin festival – annually in early August.

Museum of Paper in Duszniki – Zdroj – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Lądek – Zdrój (Ladek – Zdroj, ger. Landeck)

Health – resort – rheumatic, orthopedic and neurological diseases.

Guests: King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, German poet Wolfgang Goethe, Russian writer Ivan Turgenev, U.S. President John Quincy Adams.

Popular tourist resort, being the starting point of marked walking trails and cycling routes (for mountain bikes over 150 km – 93 miles), among them the international cycling route through the territory of the Czech Republic.

 

Kletno (ger. Klessengrund)

Bear Cave (Jaskinia Niedzwiedzia) – the largest cave in the Sudetes – 3 levels of corridors with a total length of 3,500 meters (11,483 feet), paleontological and geological collections.

 

Jawor, Świdnica (ger. Jauer, Swidnica, ger. Schweidnitz)

Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica are in UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, were built in the former Silesia in the mid-17th century, amid the religious strife that followed the Peace of Westphalia. Constrained by the physical and political conditions, the Churches of Peace bear testimony to the quest for religious freedom and are a rare expression of Lutheran ideology in an idiom generally associated with the Catholic Church.

 

Karkonosze (Karkonosze Mountains)

are a UNESCO biosphere reserve

The Krkonose/Karkonosze Mountains are part of the Sudetes in north-east Bohemia, a mountain system shared by the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. The area is known for its high biodiversity in four altitudinal vegetation belts, from submontane to alpine. The mountains constitute a kind of ecological island of arctic and alpine ecosystems whose counterparts are found in the Alps, north and north-west Scandinavia and even in the British Isles.

On the Czech side of the biosphere reserve, there are numerous mountain meadows, a dense network of chalets, and a significant sports and tourism infrastructure. The Polish part of the biosphere reserve is much smaller, very steep, with little similar infrastructure, and is covered mostly by forests that are, on both sides of the mountains, heavily impacted by air pollution. The Krkonose/Karkonosze Mountains are a popular tourist destination for hikers and skiers with about 6-8 million on the Czech side and 2,5-3 million on the other (2002).

 

Legnica (ger. Liegnitz, lat. Lignitium)

Museum of Copper - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List

 

Złoty Stok (Zloty Stok, ger. Reichenstein)

Gold Mine – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List

 

SOUTHERN POLAND

 

Częstochowa (Czestochowa)

Monastery at Jasna Gora (lat. Mons Clara) – religious, social and cultural phenomenon. Its secret lies in the image of the Madonna and Child, known as the Black Madonna – the most common pilgrimage destination in Poland (from Warsaw since 1711) – over 3 million pilgrims from 80 countries of the world annually, 150 thousand of them come on foot.

 

Oświęcim (Oswiecim, ger. Auschwitz)

German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz Birkenau is in UNESCO World Heritage List

The fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest in the Third Reich. According to historical investigations, 1.5 million people, among them a great number of Jews (about 1 million), were systematically starved, tortured and murdered in this camp, the symbol of humanity's cruelty to its fellow human beings in the 20th century.

Auschwitz – Birkenau – place of mass murder and the fall of the Jewish civilization, place of torment to the people of 28 nations conquered by the Nazis.

 

Ogrodzieniec

Ruins of the castle – “the most beautiful ruins of the world” (A. Dygasinski).

The ruins are located on a 164 – km – long (102 miles) Eagles’ Nests Trail (Szlak Orlich Gniazd) – together 12 castles (ruined or restored).

 

Błędów – Klucze (Bledow – Klucze)

Bledowska Desert – the only natural desert in Europe (Afrika Korps troops were trained here).

 

Kraków (Cracow)

Cracow’s Historic Centre is in UNESCO World Heritage List

The historic centre of Cracow, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. The 13th-century merchants' town has Europe's largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with their magnificent interiors. Further evidence of the town's fascinating history is provided by the remnants of the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in the southern part of town, Jagiellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried.

Kazimierz – the largest Jewish community before World War II.

Wawel Cathedral – from here in 1978 Cardinal Karol Wojtyla set out on his journey to attend the conclave in Rome, where he was elected Pope John Paul II.

Wawel Castle – one of the most beautiful Renaissance castles in Europe. Originally a Romanesque castle, rebuilt into a Gothic fortress, which burned down in 1499. Then refurbished into a currently existing splendid Renaissance palace under Florentine influence – sophisticated courtyard with arcades and columns.

Paintings – Lucas Cranach, Hans von Kulmbach, Francesco Solimena, Simone Martini.

Exhibitions“The East in Wawel’s collection” – one of Europe’s largest collections of Turkish and Persian tents captured during the Battle of Vienna (1683), fabulous Oriental carpets and Chinese dishes, Oriental weapons, including the sword of the Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa – the commander of Turkish troops during the Battle of Vienna.

“The Vault” – Szczerbiec – the coronation sword of Polish kings.

“The Armory” – swords, spears, bows, crossbows, guns, rifles, cannons.

Wawel chakra -  one of seven chakras of the world (located in the west wing of the Royal Palace, under the Romanesque crypt of St. Gereon). Other chakras – New Delhi, Mecca, Delphi, Jerusalem, Rome, Vysehrad.

Museum of Urban Engineering in Cracow - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

The Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park is in UNESCO World Heritage List

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a breathtaking cultural landscape of great spiritual significance. Its natural setting – in which a series of symbolic places of worship relating to the Passion of Jesus Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary was laid out at the beginning of the 17th century – has remained virtually unchanged. It is still today a place of pilgrimage.

Polish Jerusalem – the only Calvary in the world in UNESCO list.

 

Wadowice

The birthplace of Pope John Paul II, Holy Father John Paul II Family Home Museum (7 Koscielna Street), 800 thousand visitors annually.

 

Zakopane

Witkacy’s hometown (Witkacy  = Stanislaw Witkiewicz – Son), named by art critics of all around the world as genie multiple de Pologne (Polish multiplied genius).

The winter capital of Poland – Ski Jumping World Cup is held on Wielka Krokiew (name of the ski jump) every year.

From any point of the town the highest Polish mountains – The Tatras – can be seen in all their glory (the highest peak – Rysy 2499 m above sea level – 8199 feet asl).

The Tatra Mountains are a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The Tatra Mountains are the highest mountains in the long Carpathian range that stretches from Slovakia into Romania, via Poland, Ukraine and Hungary. The territory of the biosphere reserve covers two national parks on each side of the political boundary between Poland and Slovakia. Within this transboundary biosphere reserve, a variety of natural features are represented, such as karst topography in dolomites and limestone, canyons and waterfalls, a dwarf pine belt, alpine meadows, lakes and rocky peaks.

On the Polish side, tourism plays a major economic role with over 3 million visitors per year. The larger Slovak part of the biosphere reserve is also very frequented by visitors – 3-4 million per year. Main employment is provided in the tourism sector, but also in forest management. The Tatras Chamois Rescue Project was set up in order to stabilize the endangered chamois population, supported by monitoring, research and education activities. With the creation of the transboundary biosphere reserve it is hoped that tourism development will be balanced with the maintenance of the Tatra ecosystem.

 

Krynica – Zdrój (Krynica – Zdroj)

The town where the most famous Polish primitivist painter – Nikifor – lived (1959 Amsterdam art exhibition – with works by Vincent Van Gogh and Marc Chagall).

Nikifor’s Museum.

Health – resort – digestive, urinary, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Therapeutic water Zuber – the strongest therapeutic water in Europe.

 

 

Pieniński Park Narodowy (Pieninski National Park)

Rafting down one of Europe’s loveliest mountain gorges – Sromowce Wyzne – Szczawnica – Kroscienko.

 

Szczyrk, Wisła, Żywiec, Oświęcim, Maków Podhalański (Szczyrk, ger. Schirk, Wisla, ger. Weichsel, Zywiec, ger. Saybusch, Oswiecim, ger. Auschwitz, Makow Podhalanski)

Hosts (since 1964) of one of the biggest folk events in Europe – Beskid Culture Week (Tydzien Kultury Beskidzkiej) – 9 days in late July and early August, about 100 bands from Poland and worldwide.

 

Koniaków (Koniakow)

For over 200 years famous for laces and crochets. Lace tablecloths have been already sent to HM The Queen of the United Kingdom and The Queen of Belgium, U.S. President and Pope John Paul II.

Lace Museum – subtle tablecloth, made with surgical suture, was being performed for Queen Elizabeth II, unfortunately – unfinished, due to the death of the author, crochet wedding dress, crochet underwear.

 

Istebna

Memorial Chamber of Jerzy (George) Kukuczka at Wilcze. Kukuczka climbed all the highest mountains in the world, was one of the best climbers in the world.

 

Ustroń (Ustron)

The first steam plow in Europe was constructed here. Museum of Metallurgy and Forging (Muzeum Hutnictwa i Kuznictwa) – the history of iron smelting, heritage park with forging devices.

 

Wieliczka

Wieliczka Salt Mine is in UNESCO World Heritage List

This deposit of rock salt in Wieliczka-Bochnia has been mined since the 13th century. Spread over nine levels, it has 300 km of galleries with works of art, altars, and statues sculpted in the salt, making a fascinating pilgrimage into the past of a major industrial undertaking.

The only mining site in the world functioning continuously since the Middle Ages to the present – the tourist route is about 3 km long (1.9 miles) and takes about 2 hours.

St. Kinga Chapel – the world’s largest underground temple.

The sanatorium – respiratory system rehabilitations.

Museum of Zupy Krakowskie in Wieliczka – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List

Salt Mine in Wieliczka – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List

 

Małopolska (Southern Little Poland)

Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland are in UNESCO World Heritage List.

The wooden churches of southern Little Poland represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture. Built using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe since the Middle Ages, these churches were sponsored by noble families and became status symbols. They offered an alternative to the stone structures erected in urban centres.

 

Babia Góra (Babia Gora, Diablak, ger. Teufelspitze)

is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

The Babia Gora Biosphere Reserve is the second highest mountain massif in Poland and is situated in the Beskids Mountains. Its highest peak reaches 1,725 meters above sea level and forms a watershed between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea basins. Four habitats, changing with altitude, are represented in the biosphere reserve: the lower forest belt (up to 1,150 meters), the upper forest belt (up to 1,390 meters), the dwarf pine belt (up to 1,650 meters) and the alpine belt (up to 1,725 meters).

The biosphere reserve was extended as a result of the periodic review in year 2000. It now includes a state forest oriented to near-natural forest management, as well as inhabited areas.

The Babia Gora Mountain ridge was a state border until 1918 and the communities living on the different sides of the massif have developed independently, giving rise to different architecture, folklore, clothing and dialects. The main economic activities are agriculture, cattle breeding, forestry, carpentry and agro-tourism. The biosphere reserve has only 20 inhabitants, however some 56,000 visitors annually spend their holidays in the area (2001). Babiogórski National Park, which covers the core area of the biosphere reserve, has a visitor center organizing educational programmes and guided tours for both visitors and locals.

 

Zabrze (ger. Hindenburg)

Museum of Mining – Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

Heritage Park of Mining Krolowa Luiza – Historic Site in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Bielsko – Biała (Bielsko – Biala, ger. Bielitz – Biala)

Museum of Technology and Textiles - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Szczucin

Museum of Road Design - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Mysłowice (Myslowice, ger. Myslowitz)

Central Museum of Firefighting - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

SOUTH – EASTERN POLAND

 

Łańcut (Lancut)

Castle – collection of carriages and coaches – „berlinka” (name of the carriage, derived from the city of Berlin) used by Chopin to travel from Warsaw to Berlin.

Park – English – style landscape park with: Italian Garden, Rose Garden, Perennial Garden, pavilion, Orangery, Romantic Castle, riding school, stables, coach house, music school, orchid house, tennis court.

 

Leżajsk (Lezajsk)

Basilica – organ – one of the oldest and largest in Europe, built 1680 – 1693.

Unique in the world the opportunity to play the instrument simultaneously by three organists.

Every year in July and August International Organ and Chamber Music Festival takes place.

 

Przeworsk (lat. Prevorsc)

The only museum in Poland (named Pastewnik) offering catering and accommodation services in the original, historic wooden buildings from the Przeworsk and surrounding areas.

 

Przemyśl (Przemysl, lat. Praemislia)

Fortress – called Verdun of the Eastern Front, defended by 135 thousand soldiers for 173 days during World War I. The fortress was never conquered in battle. The third largest, after Antwerp and Verdun. Was besieged three times – unprecedented in the history of wars.

 

Bieszczady

“The most beautiful mountains in the world” (W. Leszczynski)

Poloniny – the meadows situated above 1100 m above sea level (3609 feet asl) – the space, the richness of flora and rocky rubbles resemble Westerns scenery.

Bieszczady Mountains – 160 km (100 miles) of horse trails.

Bieszczady belong to the East Carpathians biosphere reserveUNESCO biosphere reserve

The East Carpathians is a transboundary mountain biosphere reserve with significant value for biodiversity conservation in Central Europe. Within the biosphere reserve, four distinct vegetation types are found: beech forest (Fagetum sylvaticae), beech-fir forest (Fageto-Abietum), dwarf-shrublands with green alder (Alnetum viridis), and a belt of treeless ‘poloniny’ - subalpine meadows dominated by Prata subalpina. The mixed Carpathian forest provides suitable conditions for large mammals such as brown bear (Ursus arctos), European bison (Bison bonasus), lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolf (Canis lupus) and over 100 species of birds live in the area such as the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).

This first trilateral biosphere reserve was designated in 1998, uniting the bilateral Polish-Slovak one (designated in 1992) with the Ukrainian part. In order to support the transboundary co-operation, the Foundation for the Eastern Carpathians Biodiversity Conservation (ECBC) was established in 1995.

Population density of the different areas ranges from vast wild spaces on the Polish side to the relatively densely populated Ukrainian side with cultivated valleys, hay meadows, pastures and deciduous forests. Forestry remains the main local economic activity. Agriculture is limited to cattle raising, sheep breeding and small-scale organic farming utilizing traditional land-use patterns. Tourist services are rapidly developing, especially on the Polish side. Sustainable development projects in the biosphere reserve aim especially at the development of sustainable nature-oriented tourism (e.g. in providing training on ecotourism and management skills for local entrepreneurs).

Conservation projects have focused on the management of nature reserves, mountain meadow maintenance and protection, conservation of old monumental trees, river corridors and water ecosystem protection, lowering the impact of tourism on the core area and restoration of historical buildings. A biodiversity conservation project with positive influence on local sustainable tourism development is the reintroduction of the Hutzul horse. Planned reintroduction of the European bison and beaver to the Carpathians could again raise tourist attractiveness and facilitate development of nature-based tourist services.

 

Sanok

Historical Museum – collection of icons – the most valuable collection after that of Moscow, Kiev and Lvov (over 700 icons).

The Museum of Folk Architecture – one of the largest in Europe, recommended by Larousse Encyclopedia.

 

Bóbrka (Bobrka)

Heritage Park of Oil Industry - Industrial Museum in World Industrial Heritage List.

 

Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine

are in UNESCO World Heritage List

Situated in the eastern fringe of eastern Europe, the transnational property numbers a selection of 16 tserkvas, churches, built of horizontal wooden logs between the 16th and 19th centuries by communities of the Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths. They represent the cultural expression of four ethnographic groups and the formal, decorative and technical characteristics they developed over time. The tserkvas bear testimony to a distinct building tradition rooted in Orthodox ecclesiastic design interwoven with elements of local tradition, and symbolic references to their communities’ cosmogony. The tserkvas are built on a tri-partite plan surmounted by open quadrilateral or octagonal domes and cupolas. They feature wooden bell towers, iconostasis screens, and interior polychrome decorations as well as churchyards, gatehouses and graveyards.

 

 

2. TOURISTS… WHERE ARE THEY?

 

I will discover tourists in the process of elimination. Now I should immediately eliminate all those people who are unfamiliar with spatial activity. Genuine tourists have desire and ability to overcome distance and move in space.

 

Apart from tourists however, among those spatially active people we will also find eg. drivers, pilots, vagrants (migrants, immigrants), athletes, scientists, etc. The circle should be narrowed down.

 

Without exaggeration it can be concluded that major differences take place in psychological and emotional spheres – so in the spheres related to the needs of going away, which then form the motives for going on a trip, where the goals of such a trip are defined and where these goals are connected with values, important for humans.

 

I want to advance a thesis that, when it comes to decide on a change of place of residence, different needs, motivations, goals and values ​​will be declared by migrants and different by athletes, drivers, pilots, scientists or tourists.

 

I know it seems strange that simple moving from one place to another has turned into a complicated matter of psychology, where you have to think about such concepts as needs, motives, goals and values. Probably for this reason lectures in tourism are available at more than one university.

 

It all starts with the need, because the need is inextricably associated with "lack of something." But the need to travel is much more complex than any biological need, without which it is impossible to live, and which we satisfy intuitively and automatically, as the need to sleep or eat.

 

People can live without tourism, and yet they sometimes feel the pressing need to travel. This is because only part of human needs are those of basic level. The rest are secondary or higher level needs related to personality, upbringing and the external environment. Travel needs also result from human interactions within community.

 

The source of all needs, including travel needs, are human body, psyche and social environment. Travel needs (to be precise – the quality of travel needs) are thus the result of how we were brought up – what requirements towards our bodies we have (whether we like to be physically active or not), if we were taught an authentic, in-depth curiosity of the world as well as respect for diversity, and if we grew up in an environment where seeing no longer than one’s nose was unimportant because important was knowledge and truth. Please note that for the first time physical activity appears as a feature that should also describe a tourist. This feature does not have to be dominant but in some circumstances it is (you will see it in the end of this article). For there are tourist disciplines where physical activity is essential and people must not treat themselves as tourists if they are physically inactive.

 

Here is how it goes:

 

1. A state of tension occurs in a tourist’s psyche – a tourist realizes the need to travel.

2. A tourist is aware there is a value that can meet this need – a journey.

3. A motive appears – a psychological factor that determines a tourist’s behaviour in this situation – a tourist plans the journey and organizes it or makes it organized.

4. A tourist reaches the goal – leaves and satisfies the need.

 

In the contemporary world however people tend to require less and less from themselves and more and more from the others. During journeys these requirements are reflected in our behaviour – we want (more and more) to behave the same way as in our everyday’s place of living. Tourism becomes a litmus test of general social phenomena, such as lack of respect for other people, for nature, aggression, laziness, gluttony, drunkenness, etc. What is surprising - at the forefront of those phenomena there are citizens of developed countries or representatives of certain social circles. Can the motivations of tourist trips have any connections with money and social positions people occupy? I will soon come back to it.

 

Regardless of the motivations of tourist trips, journey is divided into three stages:

1. imaginary journey - from the moment a tourist need appears, through the preparation stage till the moment of departure,

2. actual journey,

3. remembered journey – after coming back we give recollections, see pictures, boast of souvenirs and also make plans ...

 

Hence, genuine tourists must have a job - only on this condition they will have time and opportunity to imagine their journey, then to embark on their journey and in the end to reminisce their journey. Thus, here appear TWO VERY IMPORTANT CONCLUSIONS constituting a tourist – to be A TOURIST one may change place of residence only VOLUNTARILY and TEMPORARILY.

 

But not only place of residence is changed voluntarily and temporarily. After all tourists travel "to get something". So it is time to look at the motivations of tourist trips, in fact – at the examples of such motivations, as their number is probably infinite. Moreover people rarely have only one motive to go away, as a rule there are many of them (they are complementary).

 

So why do people travel? Examples:

- to see the Alps, to visit Paris or see how fishermen work,

- to escape from problems at work, from family problems, to leave dirty and polluted city, no matter where,

- to spend time with family, friends, in another place,

- to be with friends or to make new friends,

- to conform to stereotypes and standards obligatory in the society people belong to,

- to establish or renew contact with the beauty of nature, people’s works or culture,

- to experience the adventure or be exposed to risk,

- to work artistically,

- to work for the people in visited areas,

- to gain health,

- to take pleasure from the mere fact of traveling, etc.

 

We have approached the ideal a bit – what a genuine tourist should also change temporarily and voluntarily is his rhythm of life and style of life, what’s more – a genuine tourist should also come into personal contact with natural, cultural and social environment. Unfortunately – there are also less humane motives, but often found - conformity, elitism ...

 

There will be a bitter pill to swallow.

Spain, Italy, Greece, North Africa countries – once tourist powers, now bankrupt countries. How much have the residents of these countries been given or helped by the tourists? How far do the tourists integrate with the population of these countries? In practice every travel to those countries is organized by tour operators established in northern Europe, the countries that send the tourists! This means that about 80% of the money tourists spend go back to the countries that send those tourists! The remaining 20% go to the pockets of the residents - because they work as kitchen help, waiters, etc. Indeed, full integration. On the other hand, many European tourists may be at least disliked by their hosts – because they stay in guarded, inaccessible tourist ghettos - air-conditioned hotels with swimming pools, ordinary people have heard about only in fairy tales, especially in Africa. Full integration. And at the very end life style, means of transport, customs, habits and behavior of the tourists – how often having nothing to do with life style, means of transport, customs, habits and behavior of the residents. I bet dollars against doughnuts that this is a matter of money – too much money always depraves people and makes them have too high opinion about themselves. From time to time, to appease conscience, a spectacular action is introduced, for example – a drop of water for Africans. This is done despite the fact that this is the best way to support local crime and teach begging.

 

The evolution of tourist needs and motivations of tourist trips is very fast and should be actually called the revolution - after all, by the nineteenth century, practically no one had traveled ...

 

... just like women who had not applied any makeup in the past and still had been alive. Now almost everybody travels and almost every woman wears makeup.

 

Higher level needs, in conjunction with the development of civilization, get socialized and accessible to everyone and as such become a permanent part of what is called the culture of a society. Both the way and quality of traveling and women's makeup is now something that society cannot give up.

 

Now we are in the beginning – after all, this is society that forms tourist needs - being an external environment of prospective tourists helps create their personality and influences upon their upbringing.

 

What is then the ideal tourist?

 

Maybe…

 

A TOURIST is a person who voluntarily and temporarily changes the place of residence and comes into personal contact with natural, cultural and social environment, thus satisfying his unique and individual tourist needs and being conscious of the fact that he transmits specific cultural values which give evidence of the environment that formed his personality and contributed to his upbringing.

 

I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that too often do tourists unconsciously transmit such cultural values which show that they understand tourism only in economic dimensions - they pay and demand. Too often are tourists spoilt by tour operators and travel agencies - after all, tour operators and travel agencies are interested only in money and the only words they know are supply, demand, service, profits, tourist market and tourist product.

 

Somebody please show me a travel agency or a tour operator which tells its customers about the fact that tourism can be the way of human life, the way of exploring the world, the way of experiencing the world, the way of being with other people, the way of creativity or realization of freedom. Right. There would be no customers for such services.

 

And a genuine tourist should be able to fly from Gatwick to Cracow, to go from Cracow to the heart of the highest mountains in Poland (the Tatras) by coach and to reach one of the most famous peaks in the Tatras – Giewont (6214 feet above sea level) on foot. ON ONE DAY.

 

Regards.

 

Waldemar Leszczynski M. Inst. TT.

 

DESTINATION POLAND

www.destination-poland.eu

 

PS. On foot. That is why a tourist must be physically active J