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Żuławy Wiślane - little Holland in Poland :)



Żuławy Wiślane is the alluvial delta area of the Vistula, in large part reclaimed artificially by means of *****, pumps, channels (over 17000 km of total length) and extensive drainage system. It is a forestless agricultural plain of ca 1000 square km, which falls from a base situated near Biała Góra where Vistula branches, from a height of just over 10 m., a.s.l.
to -1.8 m. b.s.l., in the north and particularly north-east (lowest point in the country), forming a depression (28% of the area).

Farming features wheat, oats, colza, corn, white beets, cabbage and stock-breeding.

"Centuries of human activities are visible in the thousands of kilometers of canals and drainage ditches, a dense drainage network, the banking up of the rivers, pumping stations and the formation of a system of polders. In effect, the natural environment underwent such transformation that it would be difficult to find any fragments, which remain unchanged."





 

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Żuławy Wiślane - Mennonites houses

The Vistula Delta in Northern Poland, once part of Polish province Royal Prussia, is the ancestral home of perhaps half of all Mennonites with European roots. Originally they came to this region because Poland offered toleration at a time when much of Europe was persecuting Mennonites. Gradually many Mennonite communities and churches were established in the region.

As early as 1530, Dutch-North German Mennonites migrated to the Vistula Delta.

At the end of the 18th century, because of Prussian military policies, many Mennonites moved to Russia, but many stayed until the end of World War II, when they were forced to flee. Distinctive farms, buildings and churches tell the rich story of a people who lived here for more than four centuries.



 

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Tatra National Park



Tatra National Park (Polish: Tatrzański Park Narodowy; abbr. TPN) is a Polish National Park located in the Tatra mountains in southern Poland, bordering Slovakia.

It was created in 1954 on an area of 215.56 km², but it is currently slightly smaller, at 211.64 km2 (81.71 sq mi).

The Park has its headquarters in the town of Zakopane. There is also a similar national park on the Slovakian side of the border, called Tatranský národný park.

The first calls for protection of the Tatras came at the end of the 19th century. In 1925 the first efforts to create a national park, in cooperation with Slovakia, took place. Formally the park was created in 1937, on an area that belonged to the state forests authority. In 1947, a separate administrative unit, Tatra Park, was created. And in 1954, by decision of the Polish Government, Tatra National Park was created. In 1992, the Polish and Slovakian national parks in the Tatras were jointly designated a transboundary biosphere reserve by UNESCO under its Man and the Biosphere programme.

The Tatra Mountains, Tatras or Tatra (Tatry either in Polish and in Slovak, Tátra in Hungarian), are a mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland, and are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains.

The National Park covers the only Alpine mountain range in Poland. The highest peak in Poland, Rysy (2,499 m AMSL), is located here. The Polish Tatra range, which is a part of the Carpathian Mountains, is divided into two parts: High Tatras (Tatry Wysokie) and Western Tatras (Tatry Zachodnie). The landscape consists of sharp-edged peaks and hollows with numerous rock formations. There are around 650 caves, of which the cave system Wielka Sniezna is the longest (18 km) and the deepest (maximum depth 814 m). Six caves of the system are open to public.

There are several streams and around 30 mountain lakes called staw (pond). These water bodies are an important part of the High Tatra landscape. The largest lakes are: Morskie Oko with an area of 349,000 m² and maximum depth of 50.8 m, and Wielki Staw Polski with an area of 344,000 m² and maximum depth of 79.3 m. Longest streams reach 20 km. Waterfalls, such as Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza are popular with tourists. The highest waterfall is Wielka Siklawa at 70 m.

The National Park contains several endemic species and many endangered and protected ones. Animals include: Tatra chamois and marmot, both protected since the mid-19th century, brown bear, Eurasian lynx, wolf, otter, eagle, and falcon.

Tatra National Park is visited by more than 3 million tourists every year, which makes it the most visited national park in Poland.


Świnica - Świnica (Polish) or Svinica (Slovak) is a mountain in the main crest of the High Tatras, on the Polish-Slovak border. The main peak is at 2,301 m AMSL.


Five Polish Ponds Valley
 

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Tatra National Park - Orla Perć (Eagle's Path)

Orla Perć (English Eagle's Path) is a tourist path in the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland.

It is considered the most difficult and dangerous public path in the entire Tatras and is therefore a suitable destination only for experienced tourists and climbers.

The path is marked with red signs. Since it was established, more than one hundred people have lost their lives on the route, the most frequent cause being slips and trips on the snowy surface and the slippery granite.

Total walking time (summer, depending on trails conditions) varies between 6 and 8 hours. The highest point is Kozi Wierch at 2291 m amsl.

The path is exposed, leading mostly along the mountain ridge. Numerous aids for tourists are provided at the most steep and vertical stretches, including ladders, stepladders, chains and metal steps. The most frequent ground constitutes mainly granite slab, rough rubble and uneven surface. The path is linked to other routes; there are altogether eight junctions with other paths, leading to mountain shelters and chalets. The stretch from Zawrat pass - Kozi Wierch is one-way only. Falling stones and avalanches are possible along the route.

The path was conceived in 1901, the brainchild of Franciszek Henryk Nowicki, Polish poet and mountain guide.



 

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Polish folk - 'Górale' (Highlanders) from Zakopane and Podhale



In many areas of Polish Mountains people wear regional costumes on a daily basis.

Podhale is one of a few regions in Poland where folk costumes are used commonly. It is partly due to a rich tradition of this region, partly to attract tourists. All horse cabmen wear traditional folk costumes. Here wearing a folk costume help with the business since the business rely mainly on tourists.

Mountaineers called in Polish górale, are well-known not only for their regional pride but also for their patriotism. Gorale allegedly saved a life of a Polish king Jan Casimir when he was escaping Swedish deluge invasion in XVII century.

Mountaineers called in Polish górale, are well-known not only for their regional pride but also for their patriotism and even anti-communism. Górale (highlanders) allegedly saved a life of a Polish king Jan Casimir when he was escaping Swedish deluge invasion in XVII century.

Before tourism industry was developed – many regions, especially in the highest mountains were very poor, since the climate here is too harsh for agriculture. Many mountaineers were just shepherds, since sheep were the only animals which survived this climate well. So the percentage of people who decide to emigrate to America was especially high among mountaineers at the turn of XIX and XX centuries.

Polish emigration. In a long run it helped this region to develop better since people who emigrated abroad were helping their family which remained in the mountains.

Folk costumes differ a bit from region to region since some of the villages in the mountains were so isolated from the other.

The most commonly known is a costume from Podhale. The most popular among tourists parts of the goral' costume are characteristic folk shoes – so called kierpce and a cane called ciupaga.

Mountaineers are very proud of their roots and old traditions. Some last names are characteristic only for certain regions. For instance last names – Bachleda or Gasienica are specific for Zakopane – a biggest town in Podhale region.



 

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Zakopane Style architecture

Zakopane Style architecture is a mode inspired by the regional art of Poland’s highland region known as Podhale. Drawing on the motifs and traditions in the buildings of the Carpathian Mountains, this synthesis was created by Stanisław Witkiewicz and is now considered to be one of the core traditions of the Góral people.

As the Podhale region developed into a tourist area in the mid 19th century, the population of Zakopane began to rise.

Stanislaw Witkiewicz, an art critic, architect, painter, novelist and journalist, was chosen to design a villa for Zygmunt Gnatowski. In his plans, Witkiewicz decided against using these foreign building styles and instead chose to utilize the local traditions used by the native Górals of Podhale. Drawing on the Vernacular architecture of the Carpathians, Witkiewicz used as a model the modest but richly decorated homes in Góral villages such as Chochołów which he further enriched by incorporating select elements of Art Nouveau style, thus giving birth to the "Zakopane Style".

Witkiewicz designed a number of original buildings in Zakopane, including the "Dom pod Jedlami" in the Koziniec district, the chapel in the Jaszczurowka district, Villa "Oksza" on Zamojski Street, the building of the Tatra Museum, the chapel of St. John the Baptist in the parish Church of the Holy Family on Krupówki Street, and the Korniłowicz family chapel in the Bystre district.

The Zakopane style dominated architecture in the Podhale region for many years. Although the cutoff date for buildings designed in the Zakopane Style of Architecture is usually held to be 1914, many new pensions, villas and highlander homes are built according to the architectural model devised by Witkiewicz to the present day.

The Zakopane style also gained popularity beyond the Polish highlands. In the Warsaw area, attempts were made to adapt the style to brick construction.

Examples include Czeslaw Domaniewski’s design for a series of train stations and the design for a townhouse located at 30 Chmielna Street in the center of Warsaw. In 1900, the young Krakow-based architect Franciszek Mączynski won an international architectural competition organized by the Paris-based magazine "Moniteur des Architectes" with a design of a villa in the Zakopane style. There was also the Chata built for author Stefan Żeromski in Nałęczów, a series of villas in Wisła as well as in Konstancin and Anin and a brick tenement by Jan Starowicz dubbed "Beneath the Góral" in Łódź, as well as the train station in Saldutiškis, Lithuania.

Additionally, the Góral diaspora has incorporated the norms and designs of the Zakopane Style of Architecture into homes, chapels and community buildings that serve their community, such as the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America in Chicago, or the chapel on the grounds of the Polish National Alliance's Youth Camp in Yorkville.

Zakopane

Zakopane
 

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Śmiełów palace - Adam Mickiewicz Museum



The palace, erected at the end of the 18th century as the seat of Andrzej Gorzenski, a Poznan magistrate, was built by Stanislaw Zawadzki and is a remarkable example of Polish architecture of the Classicist period.

Shaped like a horseshoe, the building has a jutting colonnade portico, so-called porch, and very characteristic annexes with slanting roofs, patterned on Chinese pagodas.

Ca. 1880 Franciszek and Antoni Smuglewicz decorated the interior with murals, while stucco decorations were made by Michal Ceptowski. Apart from the palace, Zawadzki designed also the outbuildings; the granary and the stable have been preserved until today.

The complex is surrounded by a landscape park offering a magnificent view of the surroundings; the park, just like the palace, assumed its present form at the close of the 18th century. The first owner of Smielow, Andrzej Gorzenski, was a free mason and as a result we can encounter numerous elements indicating his membership in a Masonic lodge, e.g. a free masonry altar in the staircase.

Adam Mickiewicz (December 24, 1798 – November 26, 1855) was a Polish poet, publisher and political writer of the Romantic period. One of the primary representatives of the Polish Romanticism era, a national poet of Poland, he is seen as one of Poland's Three Bards and the greatest poet in all of Polish literature. He is also considered one of the greatest Slavic language and European poets.

Mickiewicz has been compared both at home and in Western Europe to Byron and Goethe.

He is known primarily as the author of the poetic novel Dziady and national epic Pan Tadeusz, which is considered the last great epic of Polish-Lithuanian noble culture. Mickiewicz's other influential works include Konrad Wallenrod and Grażyna. All served as inspiration during regional uprisings and as foundations for the concept of Poland as "the Christ of Nations."

Mickiewicz was active in the struggle to achieve independence for his homeland, then part of the Russian Empire. Having spent five years in internal exile in central Russia for political activities, he left the Empire in 1829 and spent the rest of his life in emigration, like many of his compatriots. He settled first in Rome, later in Paris, where he became professor of Slavic literature at the Collège de France. He died, probably of cholera, at Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire, where he had gone to help organize Polish forces to fight against Russia in the Crimean War. His remains were later moved to Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, Poland.

The great Polish Romantic bard visited Śmiełów at the invitation of Hieronim Gorzeński (the then owner of the Palace) in August 1831.

The poet was trying to cross the border from Greater Poland (occupied by Prussia) to the Polish Kingdom (occupied by Russia), at that time in the midst of an insurgence. The stay in Greater Poland region was an important moment of Mickiewicz’s biography as a poet.

The ground floor of the Palace features and exhibit dedicated to Mickiewicz. Here one can see manuscripts, personal artefacts, and first editions of his works.

The exhibit on the first floor, composed of Biedermeier furniture and paintings made from the 17th till the 19th c., recreates an air of a mansion of landed gentry.

The palace windows overlook the hills of Szwajcaria Żerkowska. The adjacent park is full of truly romantic nooks, such as Zosia’s herbal garden (depicted in "Pan Tadeusz"). The “Mickiewicz oak” is commemorated here with a “tree monument” – a bench with the poet’s maxim spoken in this place.







 

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Adam Mickiewicz statue in Warsaw



Adam Mickiewicz statue in Kraków

 

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Tatra National Park - Orla Perć (Eagle's Path)

Orla Perć (English Eagle's Path) is a tourist path in the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland.

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Thank you for posting the info and pics of stunning Tatra Mountains, DocentX.

I'd be happy to chip into this thread with a few more photos from the Tatra area. :)
 
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