Archive for the ‘Poland’ Category

Gdynia

Gdynia is a city located on the Bay of Gdansk, situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Together with Gdansk and Sopot, Gdynia forms a conurbation called Tricity. Gdynia received city rights in 1926. The impulse for the city’s development was the construction of the port, which was created in order to provide access to the sea routes. Rapid influx of people and dynamic development of the port resulted in transforming the fishing village into the city. The touristic heart of the city is the Kosciuszko Square and the Nowowiejski Boulevard, where you can take a walk and admire the Gulf of Gdansk. The busy and modern part of the city is separated by a lively Swietojanska Street, where are located the most popular restaurants, cafes and shops. It is the street, which in 30s of the 20th century was just an ordinary path, but today is one of the most valued trade streets in Poland. Gdynia’s architecture includes the Archangel’s Church built in the 13th century – the oldest building in the city, as well as the 17th century neo-Gothic manor house situated on Folwarczna Street. Gdynia is often considered as the sailing capital of Poland, the owners of yachts and boats have great conditions to sail. But the coastline and surrounding hills attract not only the sailors, but also the nature lovers. The Kamienna Mountain is a vantage point from where can be admired the amazing panorama of the port of Gdansk, Kosciuszko Square and even the Hel Peninsula. According to experts, the most wonderful beaches and views can be found in Orlowo, which is the southern district of Gdynia. The beach is dominated by a huge steep cliff, which can be a perfect location for taking a romantic photos. Gdynia is the host of the Heineken Open’er Festival, one of the biggest present music festivals in Poland. This happening welcomes many foreign artists every year.
Gdynia among its inhabitants is called “the city made from dreams and sea”. It is made from the dreams of people, who a small seaside fishing village turned into an operationally working port, which has the meaning not only in the Baltic Sea.

Gdansk

Gdansk is one of the oldest Polish cities, with over a thousand years of history. It is a magical city that delights every newcomer. Gdansk is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the port city situated on the Baltic Coast. It is a cultural, scientific and economic center and communication junction of northern Poland. Together with Gdynia and Sopot, Gdansk forms a conurbation and metropolitan area known as the Tricity. Together they have a population of over 740.000.
Archeological research indicate that since the 7th century in the area of present Gdansk a fishing settlement had existed. Gdansk as the city was first noted in the literature in the 10th century.
The city has many notable monuments and attractions. The Main Town Hall is a gothic-renaissance building and one of the finest monuments of this kind in Poland. It was built in stages from 1379 to 1492. In one corner of the building there is a sundial from 1589 with a Latin sentence. Dluga Street is the most representative street of the city. In the past, it was the street were the richest inhabitants of Gdansk lived. What is more, most tourist attractions are located along or near Dluga Street (Long Market). We can find here the Neptun’s Fountain, which is the symbol of the city and a masterpiece created by a Dutch architect – Abraham van den Blocke. There is also a renaissance Golden Gate, made in the style of Roman triumphal arches. Another meaningful landmark is the National Museum, which contains a number of significant artworks, for example Memling’s Last Judgement.
A big attraction for children is the ZOO – located on beautiful hills, it has a surface over 100ha of land. In the ZOO live hundreds of species of animals. The main ttraction there is a modern glass house for chimpanzees.
Gdansk is visited every year by millions of tourists. It combines the cultural traditions of many nations. The city is often called the “crown of the Trinity” and is considered as the capital of Pomerania. Appreciate the beauty of Gdansk with all of its interesting monuments and landmarks.

Slowinski National Park

Slowinski National Park is situated on the Baltic coast. Placed between towns of Leba and Rowy, it was established in 1967. The park is one of the 23 national parks in Poland and one of the 2 seaside parks. It was formed to preserve the natural beauty of numerous lakes, swamps, bogs, meadows, forests and especially moving dunes, which are unique and the biggest in Europe. The name of the park originated from the Slovincians – people who used to live in this inaccessible area, where today Slowinski National Park is situated. The importance and value of the park is confirmed by placing it in many international networks of protected areas. In the past, the area of the park was a Baltic Sea bay, but due to activity of the sea, sand dunes were created and are slowly moving, as the wind and waves are continually carrying the sand. The characteristic symbol of the park is a seagull. Slowinski National Park is abundant in different species of fauna and flora, which make it a completely natural place, full of greenery. In the park about 250 species of birds live.
As for the tourist attractions – there are around 140 km of walking tourist routes, which make the park being considered as friendly for walkers and tourists. Contact with nature and breathing unpolluted fresh air are another benefits worth taking advantage of.

Malbork

Malbork is a town in northern Poland, situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Malbork was founded in the 13th century by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. The town is located on the Nogat River – the leg of the Vistula River. The Knights of the Teutonic Order originally named the town Marienburg (in German), which was the name coming from the saint patron of the town – the Virgin Mary. Malbork is especially well known for its huge red brick castle. The Malbork Castle is the largest gothic castle in Europe and one of the most important examples of medieval architecture in Poland. This valuable monument is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1997. The gothic fortress firstly became the seat of the Teutonic Order. After the battle of Grunwald in 1410, Polish and Lithuanian army besieged the castle and started gradually destroying the Knights of the Teutonic Order. In the 15th century Malbork with its gothic castle were annexed to Poland. Unfortunately, in the 18th century, it was again taken by Prussia. Times of the Second World War were hard for the Malbork Castle. During the war, the castle became the seat of the Nazis and a war camp. In the 1945 it was released by the Red Army, after a long and bloody fight. As a result, the Malbork Castle was half destroyed. After the war, the castle has been mostly reconstructed, although some of the parts of the castle are still in ruins. In the castle there is a museum, which enables visitors to get to know the history of this Gothic brick castle complex. It is undoubtedly one of the finest monuments in Poland.
Although the Malbork Castle is the most popular monument of Malbork, there are also other landmarks worth seeing, like old medieval churches – the church of the Mother of God of the Incessant Help or another one – St. John Baptist Church. One of the interesting sights is the Old Town Hall, which was the medieval seat of the town authorities.

Ksiaz castle

Ksiaz is located in Poland’s Lower Silesia region, within the administrative borders of Walbrzych. It is famous for The Ksiaz Castle situated on a rock cliff by the side of the Pelcznica River and surrounded by the forest. The Ksiaz Castle is Poland’s third largest castle. It was built in the 13th  century. Today, after many changes the castle has about 400 chambers, over 200 fireplaces and is characterized by many different styles. The biggest and richest room is the 18th century ballroom- Maximilian Hall. The Baroque interior, splendid mirrors, antique mantelpieces offer a magnificent view. An ideal place to relax are lovely terraced gardens, located on the hills around the castle. The Ksiaz Castle also houses an art gallery, restaurants and three hotels. Its hugness, variety of architectural styles and picturesque setting will fascinate even the most demanding visitors.

Swidnica

Swidnica is a city in southwestern Poland, in Lower Silesia Voivodeship. The most important monument of Swidnica is a Chuch of Peace. It was one of the three places in Silesia where Protestantism was permitted after the Thirty Years’ War. Churches of Peace had to be built outside the city walls and made of wood with no nails or constructed of other materials like sand or clay in less than a year. In 2001 the Church of Peace in Swidnica was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another very interesting town building is a Gothic 14th century Cathedral. It is the largest church in Lower Silesia. The nave is 71 m long and 25 m high. The tower beside the church is the highest in Silesia (103 m high). The Town Hall, historic statues and nearby beautiful houses in the center of Swidnica attracts tourists attention.

Czestochowa

Czestochowa is a city located in the heart of southern Poland in Silesian Voivodeship. It is known as the spiritual capital of Poland. The main place to visit in Czestochowa is the Monastery of Jasna Gora, which is home to the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary “Black Madonna”. A lot of people come to this icon to worship. They believe that the icon has healing power. Czestochowa is visited by 3-4 mln pilgrims every year. Lovers of history can enjoy the churches, monasteries, museums. An interesting industrial monuments of Czestochowa are: The Museum of Matches and The Railway History Museum. They are the part of Industrial Monuments Route. Moreover, there is a beautiful Town Hall in the Old Town Market Square. Walking along the Holy Virgin Mary Avenue you can feel the exceptional, spiritual atmosphere of the city.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw is a city situated in southwestern Poland. It is the capital of the Lower Silesia Voivodeship. As a city on the Odra River Wroclaw has 12 islands and over 100 bridges. It is one of the oldest and largest cities in Poland. Wroclaw is a University city full of life, cultural events and museums. There are many interesting historical buildings like Market Square with the 14th -15th century Gothic Town Hall, the famous Leopoldin Hall at the University, Ossolineum Institute, Gothic Cathedral of St. John and many other churches, monasteries and convents on the Cathedral Island called Ostrow Tumski (the oldest part of Wroclaw). A particular attraction is the Battle of Raclawice Panorama- the famous painting by Jan Styka and Wojciech Kossak, depicting the victorious battle of the Polish rebelliants against the Russian army in 1794. There is also the Centennial Hall listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. It was constructed by the modernist architect Max Berg in 1911-1913 as a multi-purpose recreational building. Wroclaw boasts Poland’s largest and most famous zoo, botanical garden and Japanese garden. Everyone can find here something for himself.

Karkonosze National Park

The Karkonosze Mountains are the highest part of the Sudety mountain range. Large areas of the mountains are preserved as the Karkonosze National Park. The Park also includes two separate enclaves: Szklarka Waterfall and Chojnik Mountain with a castle. It is situated in southwestern Poland, along the border with the Czech Republic. The Karkonosze National Park was created in 1959. The most interesting features of the landscape are postglacial kettles with vertical walls, peat bogs, tarns, boulder fields and numerous single rocks. The highest peak of Karkonosze and the Sudety mountain range is Sniezka (1603 m above sea level), with a meteorological observatory on the top. Its slopes are covered with boulder field. In the Park there are over 1,300 different species of plants. Many of them are rare or endangered. In Karkonosze live several thousand species of animals: mammals: 60 species, amphibians: 6 species, reptiles: 6 species, vertebrates: over 320 species, invertebrates: about 15,000 species. The Park’s attraction are mouflons and red deers. Near the Park border, there is the Kamienczyk waterfall (27 m high)- the highest waterfall in the Polish part of Karkonosze. The Karkonosze National Park has a very good tourist infrastructure: mountain hostels, well-marked trails, bicycle routes, trails for skiing and possibility of crossing the Czech Republic border at tourist trails. Karpacz and Szklarska Poreba are the main tourist centres of the Karkonosze Mountains.

Rospuda

Rospuda is a river in the north-eastern part of Poland. Its length is 102km and the basin area reaches 900km2. Due to its intact nature with peat bogs and diverse fauna and flora, Rospuda Valley is an area of protected landscape and part of the European Ecological Networks Nature 2000. You can find there rare species of dragonflies, butterflies, many types of birds and mammals such as otters or beavers. There are 19 kinds of orchids in the area such as Musk Orchid which is under strict protection. That is why it is planned to make a nature reserve there.
The landscape around river and its characteristics are diverse. Firstly, the river flows through some narrow lakes, around overgrown hills. The current of Rospuda is fast. The second part of the river is still rich in plants around, riverbanks are high. After, the landscape changes completely. Rospuda starts to flow through Augustow Primeval Forest, there are lot of peat bogs with reeds around. The current of the river starts to be slower and slower. Afterwards, water continue to flow as a river called Netta – a tributary of Biebrza. The scenic beauty and peace around the area are perfect for people who want to relax. If you are a fan of water sports, you can try canoeing or white water rafting. Around the river there are many farm houses which can provide you a place to sleep and tasty home-made breakfast.