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Roztocze



Roztocze (Ukrainian: Розточчя, Roztochia) is a range of hills in east-central Poland and western Ukraine which rises from the Lublin Upland and extends southeastward through Solska Wilderness and across the border into Ukrainian Podolia.

Low and rolling, the range is approximately 180 km long and 14 km wide. Its highest peak within Poland is Wielki Dział at 390 meters.

In Poland Roztocze lies in the Lublin and Podkarpackie voivodships.

The Polish portion of the range makes up the Roztocze National Park.



 

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Roztocze National Park



Roztocze National Park (Polish: Roztoczański Park Narodowy) is a National Park located in eastern Poland, in Lublin Voivodeship. It protects the most valuable natural areas of the middle part of the Roztocze range.

Its current size is 84.83 km2 (32.75 sq mi), of which forests occupy 81.02 km². The Park has its headquarters in Zwierzyniec.

Among mammals living in the Park are: red deer, roe deer, boar, red fox, grey wolf and eurasian badger. In 1979 European beaver was reintroduced and now colonies of the mammal thrive in the Wieprz valley. In 1982 Polish ponies were brought here. Also, there have been registered around 190 species of birds, including eagles, storks and woodpeckers. Reptiles are represented by lizards, the common european adder and grass snakes as well as endangered European pond terrapin. Also insect fauna is interesting, with more than 2000 species.

Tourists have a choice of five walking trails as well as a bicycle trail. The area of the Park and adjacent lands witnessed numerous battles during the Polish January Uprising and both World Wars. Tragic reminiscences of these times are numerous cemeteries in Zwierzyniec and other locations.



 

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Mazovian landscapes

Mazovia or Masovia (Polish: Mazowsze) is a geographical, historical and cultural region in east-central Poland. It is also a voivodeship (an administrative region) in Poland.

Its historic capital is Płock, which was the medieval residence of first Dukes of Masovia. Different capitals of individual former duchies of Mazovia also include Czersk and later Warsaw.

Mazovia is a low-lying region. To the north is the Mazovian Lowland; to the east, the South Podlasian Lowland; and to the south, the Iłża Foreland. The Mazovia region is spread over the Masovian Plain on both sides of the Vistula river and its confluence with the Narew.



 

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Płock - historic capital of Mazovia



Płock is a city in central Poland, on the Vistula river.

It has around 126,000 inhabitants.

In years: 1079 - 1138 Płock was capital of Poland. The city performed this function in times Polish monarchs: Władysław I Herman and Bolesław III Krzywousty.

Formerly, in the period of the rule of the first monarchs of Piast State, like also before Baptism of Poland in 966, in the 10th century Płock as the capital castle were one of monarchal seats, among others of prince Mieszko I and of king Bolesław I Chrobry, which on the Płock Tumskie Hill over the Vistula River raised one's palatium.

Płock is also a historical capital of Mazovia (region of Poland), being oldest town this region (town rights in 1237), former residence of Mazovian princes and the oldest in Mazovia legislated seat of the diocese in 1075 with the Cathedral in Płock built in the first half of the 12th century in which the royal chapel is situated together with the sarcophagus of Polish monarchs.



 

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Płock Cathedral

One of five oldest cathedrals in the country, an example of Romanesque architecture.

The bishopric in Płock was founded about 1075. The first definite reference to the cathedral is in 1102, when Władysław I Herman was buried there. The present Romanesque cathedral was built after 1129 by prince Bolesław III and Bishop Aleksander of Malonne. This was a rebuilding following a fire and took from 1136 until 1144. It was consecrated in 1144 as the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The original bronze doors of the Romanesque cathedral (now in Velikiy Novgorod) have figurative bas-reliefs depicting the verses of the so-called "Roman Confession of Faith", and the figure of Alexander of Malonne, bishop of Płock. The doors were made in the Magdeburg workshop about 1150. In the cathedral there is now a bronze replica of the doors, made in the 1980s.

In the Royal Chapel on the north side of the cathedral is a marble sarcophagus forming the tomb of two Polish rulers, Władysław I Herman and his son Bolesław III Wrymouth.





 

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Toruń - Copernicus birthplace



Toruń is an ancient city in northern Poland, on the Vistula River. Its population is more than 205,934 as of June 2009. Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland.

In 1997 the medieval part of the city was designated a UNESCO's World Heritage Site.

In 1280, the city joined the mercantile Hanseatic League, and thus became an important medieval trade centre.

The medieval old town of Toruń is the birthplace of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

His father was a merchant from Kraków and his mother was the daughter of a wealthy Toruń merchant.

Copernicus' epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), published just before his death in 1543, is often regarded as the starting point of modern astronomy and the defining epiphany that began the scientific revolution.

Among the great polymaths of the Renaissance, Copernicus was a mathematician, astronomer, physician, quadrilingual polyglot, classical scholar, translator, artist, Catholic cleric, jurist, governor, military leader, diplomat and economist. Among his many responsibilities, astronomy figured as little more than an avocation—yet it was in that field that he made his mark upon the world.





Copernicus birthplace in Toruń (ul. Kopernika 15, left). Together with the house at no. 17 (right), it forms the Copernicus Museum
 

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Frombork - Copernicus grave



In 1510 or 1512 Copernicus moved to Frombork, a town to the northwest at the Vistula Lagoon on the Baltic Sea coast.

There, in April 1512, he participated in the election of Prince-Bishop of Warmia. It was only in early June 1512 that the chapter gave Copernicus an "external curia"—a house outside the defensive walls of the cathedral mount.

In 1514 he purchased the northwestern tower within the walls of the Frombork stronghold. He would maintain both these residences to the end of his life, despite the devastation of the chapter's buildings by a raid against Frombork carried out by the Teutonic Order in January 1520, during which Copernicus' astronomical instruments were probably destroyed.

Copernicus conducted astronomical observations in 1513–16 presumably from his external curia; and in 1522–43, from an unidentified "small tower" (turricula), using primitive instruments modeled on ancient ones—the quadrant, triquetrum, armillary sphere. At Frombork Copernicus conducted over half of his more than 60 registered astronomical observations.

Copernicus died in Frombork on 24 May 1543. Legend has it that the first printed copy of De revolutionibus was placed in his hands on the very day that he died, allowing him to take farewell of his life's work. He is reputed to have awoken from a stroke-induced coma, looked at his book, and then died peacefully.

Copernicus was reportedly buried in Frombork Cathedral, where archaeologists for over two centuries searched in vain for his remains.

In August 2005, however, a team led by Jerzy Gąssowski, head of an archaeology and anthropology institute in Pułtusk, after scanning beneath the cathedral floor, discovered what they believed to be Copernicus' remains.

The find came after a year of searching, and the discovery was announced only after further research, on November 3, 2008. Gąssowski said he was "almost 100 percent sure it is Copernicus."

The DNA from the bones found in the grave matched hair samples taken from a book owned by Copernicus which was kept at the library of the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

On 22 May 2010 Copernicus was given a second funeral. Copernicus' remains were reburied in the same spot in Frombork Cathedral where part of his skull and other bones had been found. A black granite tombstone now identifies him as the founder of the heliocentric theory and also a church canon. The tombstone bears a representation of Copernicus' model of the solar system—a golden sun encircled by six of the planets.





Copernicus funeral


New grave of Copernicus
 

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Suwałki (Suwalszczyzna) Region



Suwałki Region (Polish: Suwalszczyzna, Lithuanian: Suvalkų kraštas) is a small region around the city of Suwałki in northeastern Poland near the border with Lithuania.

The first settlers in today’s Suwalszczyzna (Suwałki region) were Yotvingians who settled here around 500BC. The Yotvingians inhabited the area from the neighbourhood of Wiżajny in the North to the Biebrza Valley in the South. The western border of their settlement was the belt of the Great Masurian Lakes District.

The Yotvingians formed a loose confederation based on family and tribal ties. The tribes were governed by councils of elders. They got united only during wars and plundering raids. It is the belligerent nature of the Yotvingians that brought eventually their destruction. Among those who fought against them were Poles, Lithuanians, and eventually, the Teutonic Knights who in 1283 delivered the final blow obliterating the Yotvingian community.

The most characteristic Yotvingian archaeological sites in Suwalszczyzna are the mounds with the remains of their fortifications. They are situated on the steep hills with flattened tops, known locally as “the castle mountains”. The most famous and picturesque site in the Suwalszczyzna region is the Castle Mountain on Lake Szurpiły, other interesting sites of this type can be found in Jegliniec, Sudawskie and Osinki. Another interesting feature are the Yotvingian burial grounds, e.g. the burial mound in Szwajcaria.

After the annihilation of the Yotvingian tribes in the 13th century, for another two centuries the area of the Suwalszczyzna remained depopulated and overgrown with forests. The process of the colonization of the forests began in the 14th century with two waves of settlers: from the East and North-East - the Lithuanian, and from South-West - the Polish Masovian settlers. Founded at that time were the manors that gave origin to the present localities of: Dowspuda, Raczki, Filipów, Przerośl, Bakałarzewo and Wiżajny.

The Suwałki Region remains a major center of the Lithuanian minority in Poland. According to the Polish census of 2002 there were 5,846 Lithuanians living in Poland, with a large part of them inhabitating Suwałki Region.

Suwałki Region has many lakes and forests, and is considered a relatively undeveloped region in Poland.

Suwałki Region climate heavily influenced by Arctic and continental winds. And it is due to the impact of the cold winds that the region ranks among the coldest areas of Poland, the neighbourhood of Wiżajny is known to be the “Polish pole of cold”.

Winters here are long and frosty (even twice longer than winters in western Poland) and summers are usually short and hot. The area features strong climactic contrasts, the most extreme temperatures recorded being +36°C and -38°C.

The Suwałki region features also a greatly diversified lay of the land. From the elevation of 120m in the south of the region to ca. 300m above sea level in the north. It is a land of contrasts and unique concentration of a great variety of postglatial terrain forms.

The middle part of the Poviat is occupied by the Suwałki Landscape Park (Suwalski Park Krajobrazowy) – the oldest of its type protected landscape area in Poland, featuring moraine uplands, kames, eskers and hanging river valleys.

Natural gems are the local water reservoirs: from charming springs to the watercourses of the three emblematic rivers of the region: Rospuda, Szeszupa and Czarna Hańcza, and numerous lakes.



 

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Wigry National Park (Suwałki Region)



Wigry National Park (Polish: Wigierski Park Narodowy) is a National Park in Podlaskie Voivodeship in north-eastern Poland. It covers parts of the Masurian Lake District and Augustów Primeval Forest (Puszcza Augustowska). It is named after lake Wigry, the largest of the Park's many lakes.

The Park has 150.86 km2 (58.25 sq mi), of which 94.64 km² is forest, 29.08 km² is waters and 27.14 km² other types of land, mostly agricultural. The Park has its headquarters in the town of Suwałki.

The Park’s landscape was to a large extent shaped by a glacier which covered this region around 12,000 years ago. The glacier, while slowly receding to the North, formed valleys, many of which are filled with water in the form of lakes. Some of the shallowest lakes have in the course of time become peat-bogs. Northern part of the park is hilly, with elevation reaching 180 meters above sea level. Southern part, on the other hand, is flat and is mainly covered with a forest, which is part of the broader Puszcza Augustowska.

The Park is famous for its numerous lakes, which are of different shape, size and depth. Altogether, there are 42 of them, the biggest, Wigry, covering the area of 21.87 km² with maximum depth of 73 meters, is located in central part of the Park. Main river is the Czarna Hańcza, which crosses the Wigry lake. This river is an appreciated and popular kayaking trail.





 

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Czarnolas - Jan Kochanowski Museum



Czarnolas - the village's name roughly translates to "black forest".

Czarnolas is famous as the residence of the Polish Renaissance poet, Jan Kochanowski.

Jan Kochanowski (1530 – 1584) was a Polish Renaissance poet who established poetic patterns that would become integral to Polish literary language.

He is commonly regarded as the greatest Polish poet before Adam Mickiewicz,and the greatest Slavic poet, prior to the 19th century.

Kochanowski never ceased to write in Latin; however, his main achievement was the creation of Polish-language verse forms that made him a classic for his contemporaries and posterity.



 

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Polish 'Dwór' (manor house)

Manor houses are one of the most impressive characteristics of the Polish countryside, and give a unique insight into the country's history and culture. From the very beginnings of the Polish state, they were built by knights as defensive enclaves. Later, from the mid-17th century on, they became the country seats of landowners and took on a residential nature.

Polish manor houses are usually single-storey residences, smaller than castles and palaces, and were centres of agricultural management, aristocratic culture, national tradition and the battles for Polish nationality.

Poland had a relatively large number of such manors in comparison to other European countries. For instance, in the 18th century, the percentage of nobles in Polish society was the highest in Europe, approximately 10% of the population, compared with a European average of 2-3%.

Each landowner tried to distinguish himself with a prestigious house that would reinforce his privileges, and another class of gentry called golota - aristocrats without land, but with privileges awarded by king or parliament - followed suit.

From the beginning of the 17th century, manors began to lose their defensive function and became more residential, with one-story square constructions with corner towers giving way to one-story rectangular constructions. Walls and moats were replaced with gardens serving aesthetic and representational functions. The towers remained but were used for residential purposes. In the 18th and 19th centuries, new additions (alkiers) were added to the main building. Two alkiers are a very characteristic feature of Polish manor architecture. Up to the last decade of the 18th century, architectural expression was baroque with neoclassicism predominating later.

Nowadays, the most popular manors thought of as typically Polish are those with a two or four-column portico on the front facade. A "typical Polish manor" is a single-storey dwelling built on a hill and surrounded by a park, and possibly with a four-plane shingled roof of larch logs. It must be directed at '11:00 o'clock' and fronting onto the road - it cannot be situated with a side to the road. An aisle should lead to the manor and a small "gazon" should constitute an honour courtyard (cour d'honneur).

This type of manour house is an image familiar to every Pole. Neoclassical manors, especially brick-built manors which are sometimes copies of somewhat larger palaces, were built up to the first world war. This style of construction was then continued in the form of "manor style" up to 1939.















 

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This batch was really beautiful...thanks!
 

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Bieszczady National Park



Bieszczady National Park (Polish: Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy) 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.

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, wild boar, beavers and lynx as well as deer and Polish bison (around 100 of these live in the Bieszczady Mountains). The Park is also home to the largest Polish population of Aesculapian snakes. The Park also contains interesting bird specicies, including eagles and owls.

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.



 
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