Travel Love Poland Magazine – December 2020

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DECEMBER-FEBRUARY 2021 | VOL 1 | ISSUE 14 ISSN 2515-8503


through the lens

winter spirit Because of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, December is a favourite month of many people in Poland. The name of the month – grudzień – comes from the Polish word gruda, meaning frozen ground. The average temperature in December in Poland drops below zero: -0,16°C / 32°F. The average rainfall level in December in Poland is 38mm (similar level to March and April).

Magdalena Piasecka


media partner witkacy theatre in Zakopane


"Life makes most sense at the height of nonsense" Witkacy theatre is one of the most cherished theatres in Poland. It was founded in 1984 in tribute to a Zakopane legend, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz.


from the editor

Dear Readers, Lots of us can say that it has been a strange year, maybe even a bad one. Probably, for many of us, it was so on a private level, and certainly it was a difficult year for the tourism industry. By publishing our magazine, however, we hope that this difficult time will soon pass and we will be able to enjoy traveling again. For me, it was a difficult year at times; like many of you, I spent too much time at home, which just drained my energy. However, we managed to visit the Low Beskid and everything indicates that we will settle there permanently. And who knows? We might also be able to host you there. As befits the winter issue of the magazine, we encourage you to get to know and visit various parts of Poland. We show you round the most famous places, such as Gdańsk or the Tatras (in Łukasz' beautiful photographs), but we also encourage you to get to know the less known ones, such as Tylicz or Ochodzita or the Herbst Museum in Łódź. As usual, we devote a lot of space to Polish nature. This time in two articles: Magda and Łukasz take you on the Biebrza, and Włodzimierz Stachoń invites you to get to know wild birds. There must be also something about Christmas traditions. As always, Kasia Skóra will tell about many of them – but she won't be the only one. Get to know some secrets of Polish Christmas cuisine, including those described by Magdalena Tomaszewska-Bolałek. And almost at the end, we have for you a beautiful, in our opinion, photo gallery by Kamila - kept in a very festive mood. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Good New Year. artur tomasz tureczek Editor-in-Chief Travel.LovePoland

Contributors to this issue: Aga Blue, Krystian Kiwacz, Łukasz Łukasik, Magdalena Piasecka, Michał Piorun, Konrad Rogozinski, Kamila Rosińska, Magdalena Sarat, Dariusz Sirko, Katarzyna Skóra, Łukasz Sowiński, Włodzimierz Stachoń and Magdalena Tomaszewska-Bolałek (kuchniokracja / hanami). As always: our special BIG thanks to Kasia Śpiewankiewicz – graphic editor and Amber Acosta for your patience and support. Thank You. If you would like to support or cooperate with our magazine please contact us via: travel update: Poland will enter a national quarantine from Dec. 28-Jan. 17 that will include the closure of hotels (including most business trips), ski slopes and shopping malls. Please check for further updates.

TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND online magazine published by love Poland ltd Registered office address: 178 Mitcham Road, London, England, SW17 9NJ Company number 10956488 Company registered in England and Wales. British Library ISSN 2515-8503 Copyrights by love Poland ltd and/ or authors of photographs and texts as indicated. All photographs and texts are published under the exclusive permission granted to travel.lovePoland Magazine by their authors. Please do not copy or publish without authorisation. WWW.LOVEPOLAND.ORG

the team

Amber, proof reading

Kasia, technical editor


T R A V E L . L O V E P O L A N D




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Elks in Marsh Marigold. Winter Stories from Biebrza by Magdalena Sarat and Łukasz Łukasik

Wildlife by Włodzimierz Stachoń

Tylicz Winter Sports by Konrad Rogoziński 6 4

7 2

9 8

Tatra Mountains by Łukasz Sowiński

Christmas Stories Kamila Rosińska

05 10 22 28 50 56 60 84 90 94 116 118 120 122 124 126

December & Winter by Magdalena Piasecka Gdańsk Winter Time Herbst Palace Museum Mom, How Far is Poland? Book by Aga Blue Rotunda, Low Beskid by Krystian Kiwacz A Tour guide: Ochodzita by Michał Piorun Low Beskid, Christmas by Katarzyna Skóra Active in Tatra Oksza Gallery Hermitage St. brother Albert The Past: Nativity Scene from Wieliczka Christmas Eve: Hay and Plant Elements Christmas Kitchen Kutia Honeycake by M. Tomaszewska-Bolalek Visual Guide: Highlight of Ski Resorts Dariusz Sirko: book promo "Pocket History Of Poland"

photo on the front cover: Christmas Stories by Kamila Rosińska






by Magdalena Piasecka

photo: ewg3D



photo: Tomeyk

Because of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, December is a favourite month of many people in Poland. The name of the month – grudzie


– comes from the Polish

word gruda, meaning frozen ground. The average temperature in December in Poland drops below zero: -0,16°C / 32°F. The average rainfall level in December in Poland is 38 mm (similar level to March and April).

text by Magdalena Piasecka

Winter Weather in Poland

Wintertime in Poland: December – a month with the shortest day of the year in Poland, January – the coldest month in Poland, February – the least rainy month in Poland. In 2020, astronomical winter begins on December 21 with the winter solstice – is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in Poland in the whole year. On a positive note – starting from December 22, the days in Poland get longer and the nights shorter. The length of the day goes from 7 hours 42 min. on December 22 to 10 hours 50 min. at the end of February.Winter in Poland is cold and usually snowy. To stay cozy in cold weather in Poland, you will need a hat, coat, scarf, gloves, and winter boots. The lowest temperature is recorded in eastern and southern Poland. Remember that the temperature in the wintertime in Poland drops significantly at night! 06 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

The weather during the winter in Poland differs. Usually, the temperature is around freezing or a few degrees below, but it happens that the temperature drops below -20°C (-4°F). Recent years have seen an increase in average winter temperatures compared to previous years. Trends also indicate that we can start getting used to relatively warmer December in Poland and winter shifting for the period from January to March. Because of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, December is a favourite month of many people in Poland. The name of the month – grudzień – comes from the Polish word gruda, meaning frozen ground. The average temperature in December in Poland drops below zero: -0,16°C / 32°F. The average rainfall level in December in Poland is 38 mm (similar level to March and April). Sunset on December 1: 3.27 pm, December 31: 3.32 pm. January is the coldest month in Poland. The average temperature in January in Poland is -1,5°C / 30,2°F. The average rainfall level in Poland in January is 37 mm. The Polish name for January – styczeń – comes from the word stykać meaning to connect old and new year. Sunset on January 1: 3.33 pm, January 31: 4.20 pm. The average temperature in February in Poland is still below 0 (-0,3°C / 32°F). February is the least rainy month in Poland. The average rainfall level in Poland in February is 31 mm. What does the word luty – February – mean in Polish? The word luty in the old Polish language meant fierce, very cold. Sunset on February 1: 4.21 pm, February 28: 5.14 pm.


December 6th

December 21st

24th December

25th December

26th December

St. Nicholas’ Day (Mikołajki) The name Mikołajki comes from Mikołaj (Polish for Nicholas), meaning little Nicholas. Children usually receive little treats – candies or toys. One of the traditions is to hide treats in shoes. Children should clean them the night before and the next morning (on Mikołajki day) they would find inside their shoe a small surprise.

Winter The beginning of astronomical winter and the shortest day of the year.

Christmas Eve (Wigilia) Christmas Eve is not a public holiday in Poland. However, most shops and businesses are open no longer than 2 pm. Christmas Eve Dinner – kolacja wigilijna – is the most important Christmas celebration in Poland. The Christmas Eve traditions include waiting for a first star, the Christmas wafer (opłatek), 12 meat-free courses, an extra seat for an unexpected guest, hay under the tablecloth, a special midnight mass (pasterka).

Christmas Day Christmas Day is a national holiday in Poland to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a festive event and many people have the day off work and school. Banks, government offices and most private businesses are closed.

Second Day of Christmas

Official public holiday to celebrate the second Day of Christmas. Also known as St Stephen’s Day or Holy Szczepan, part of the Christmas holidays. Churches host special services on Boxing Day, which is also a day for families to meet up and spend time together. Day activities include reenacting scenes of the Nativity in a play, as well as caroling with a crib (szopka) or star to homes.

winter timeline


December 31st-January 1st

January 1st

January 6th

January 21 & January 22

New Year’s Eve / Saint Sylvester's Day (Sylwester) New Year’s Day (Nowy Rok)

New Year’s Day (Nowy Rok)

Epiphany / The Three Wise Kings (Trzech Króli) A public holiday in Poland, stores are closed. Christian holiday commemorating the three wise kings’ visit to infant Jesus. In towns and cities, there are street parades. There is a tradition to write with chalk brought from the church above the entrance of your home: K+M+B (or C+M+B). The letters have two meanings: they represent the initials of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar; it’s also the abbreviation of the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat (May Christ bless this house).

Grandmother’s Day & Grandfather’s Day (Dzień Babci & Dzień Dziadka) People visit or call their grandparents to honor them. In kindergartens, there are usually events for grandparents.

Start of the carnival season in Poland. People usually go out to parties and balls. At midnight or even before, fireworks shows start, arranged by the city authorities but also outside of apartments, in parks, playgrounds, etc. Stores are usually open no longer than 5-6pm.

A public holiday in Poland – stores, malls, shopping centres are closed, only some smaller local convenience stores can be open (eg. Żabka). You can do basic shopping at gas stations.


February 11th

February 14th

February 16th

February 17th

Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek) The last Thursday before the Lent starts in Poland it’s a donut / pączek day. In the morning, you can notice long lines in front of bakeries and cafes all over Poland. People all day long eat pączki (donuts ) or faworki (French dough pastry served with powdered sugar) at schools, at work, at home. There are contests for the best pastry stores in the city and some families have pączek eating competition – who will eat the most donuts on Fat Thursday.

Valentine’s Day (Walentynki) It’s a relatively new celebration in Poland (not observed in Poland during communism time before 1989), becoming more and more popular. All restaurants are usually full, you need to book your table in advance;)

Last day of the carnival, Śledzik (herring night), Ostatki (last days of carnival, Shrovetide Tuesday) The last chance to party (typically with drinking and music) before the start of Lent (which doesn’t mean there are no parties during Lent in Poland, just not as many). The party / dinner is called in Polish Śledzik (little herring) – during old-fashioned Polish parties, it was a popular appetizer washed down with alcohol.

Ash Wednesday (Środa Popielcowa, Popielec) The first day of Lent. People go to churches where priests put ashes (made from palm branches blessed on the previous year Palm Sunday) on people’s foreheads saying ‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return’ (‘Z prochu powstałeś i w proch się obrócisz’). It is a tradition among the Roman Catholics in Poland to avoid meat, alcohol, sweets, and snacks on that day.


Shopping Sundays in Poland in December 2020

COVID-19 - always check for updates before travelling.

In December 2020, there are THREE shopping Sundays in Poland: December 6th, December 13th, and December 20th. On December 2nd, the Polish parliament adopted a new law introducing an additional trading Sunday on December 6th. You can learn more about Sunday trade ban in Poland in our post: shopping Sundays in Poland in 2020 and 2021. Since our readers are asking about online stores offering home deliveries we have prepared a post with the a of online stores in Poland delivering groceries to home.

Current COVID-19 regulations and restrictions in Poland Restrictions in Poland from November 28th to December 27th:

Things you can’t miss to survive !

– Hide the candy in the shoe of the person you live withIn Poland, on December 6th, St. Nicholas’ Day (Mikołajki) is celebrated. The name Mikołajki comes from Mikołaj (Polish for Nicholas), meaning little Nicholas. On the night of December 5-6th, small gifts are secretly given to children while they are sleeping. One of the traditions is to hide treats in shoes. Children should clean them the night before and the next morning (on Mikołajki day) they would find inside their shoe a small surprise. Chocolate Santas can be bought in Polish stores already at the end of November. – Prepare an extra place setting at your festive table. One of the greatest Polish Christmas traditions is to prepare an extra seat at the table. One place more than the number of people gathered is placed on the festive table (including a plate and cutlery). According to tradition, an additional seat at the Christmas Eve table is intended for an unannounced and unexpected guest. The unannounced guest has a symbolic meaning – it is someone in need, poor, lost, lonely or without family. This tradition is to remind us and oblige us to think about others, about those in need. And to help others during the holidays, but not only. In this way, we can also express the memory of our loved ones who have passed away. The empty plate can also symbolise someone from family or friends with whom we cannot meet this year… – Accept the 12-course dinner challenge! The tradition in Poland requires that the Christmas Eve dinner (on December 24th) includes twelve courses. 12 dishes may include for example bread, side dishes or desserts. Everyone who associates Polish cuisine with meat dishes will be pleasantly surprised – all dishes served on Christmas Eve must be meat-free. Typically, the dinner includes carp fish (karp), beetroot soup (barszcz czerwony), mushroom soup (zupa grzybowa) or fish soup (zupa rybna), dumplings with mushroom or cabbage filling (pierogi), cooked cabbage with mushrooms (kapusta z grzybami), herring salad, cooked vegetable salad with mayonnaise dressing (sałatka jarzynowa). Desserts are included in 12 courses: noodles with poppy seeds, honey, nuts, and dry fruits (kluski z makiem, makiełki), a dry fruit compote (kompot z suszu), poppy seeds cake (makowiec), gingerbread cookies (pierniczki), cheesecake (sernik), kutia – made with wheat or barley grain, ground poppy seeds and honey. 08 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

On December 24th (Christmas Eve, stores are usually open until 2pm), there will be NO “senior hours” (stores from 10am to 12am open only to seniors 60+) in stores. Re-opening of libraries (1 person/15m2). Events/meetings organised at home – with a maximum of 5 people/guests (the limit of 5 people does not include the host and people who live with the host). Re-opening of stores in shopping malls and furniture stores (including Ikea) from November 28th. There is a limit of people in shops and shopping malls – a maximum of 1 person/15 m2. The exception are playrooms in shopping centres which remain closed. Schools are closed (remote learning) until December 22nd (from December 23rd until January 3rd there is a holiday break – no online classes). This applies to all primary school grades (grades 1-8; children 7+) and high schools. The date of the winter school break in Poland has been changed. Usually, the winter break (ferie zimowe) times differ for each Polish province/voivodship each year. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has decided that in 2021, winter break throughout Poland will be in the same 2-week period: January 4-17, 2021. This means that the children will be at home until January 17th, 2021 (either with online classes or as part of the Christmas and winter break). Kindergartens and nurseries remain open. Travel by international trains outside the EU's external borders is suspended (rail traffic within the European Union’'s internal borders remains unchanged). Restaurants, bars, pubs closed. They can only sell take-away meals. Hotels are closed (hotels available only to guests on a business trip). Night clubs and discos closed. Cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, cultural centres are closed. Swimming pools, aqua parks, gyms are closed. Amusement parks and recreational parks are closed. Beauty, hairdressing and tattoo parlors remain open in accordance with sanitary rules. From 8am to 4pm (Monday to Friday, on school days), children up to 16 years of age are not allowed to be outside alone without an adult. This rule does not apply on weekends and when the child goes to school or comes home from school. Public transportation: 50% of the seats or 30% of the total number of seating and standing places. The limit of people in shops. 1 person/15 m2. It is forbidden to organise weddings, funeral banquets, first communion receptions. The limit of people in churches: 1 person/15m2. Sporting events without an audience. Trade fairs, congresses and conferences can be organised online. Shopping hours for seniors. From 10am to 12am, from Monday to Friday, the stores (grocery stores, drug stores, pharmacies) will be open only to seniors 60+. They apply to post offices as well. “Hours for seniors” do not apply to clothing stores, household appliances stores, furniture stores etc.

photo: fotolupa

photo: emicristea

photo: martin-dm

On photos:

page 5: Kraków page 6: Kraków page 9: top: Wrocław Old Town, photo: B. Budzo, in the middle: food market in Kraków, bottom left: Warszawa Old Town, bottom right: Market Kraków)


photo: Patryk Kosmider , Getty Images

photos: 1. Previous page: The Neptune Fountain, Old Town Centre 2. Mariacka Street

Gdańsk always something heartwarming



Even in the winter time Gdańsk is dotted with popular sites instantly identified with the city. The symbolic silhouettes certainly include e.g. the massive brick bulk of St Mary’'s Basilica towering over the city, the rich Renaissance facades of the houses around the Long Market and the statue of Neptune there reigning over what is acclaimed one of the most beautiful market places in Europe. The symbols also certainly include the Medieval Crane dozing off stooped on the Motława bank. This thousand-year old city on the Baltic coast has been the hometown of Hevelius, Fahrenheit, Schopenhauer, Grass, and Wałęsa. Above all, however, it ranks high on the list of top tourist attractions. Gdańsk stuns visitors with the multitude of its listed sites of residential, sacral, military, and port functions, its heritage of one hundred centuries of fascinating culture and turbulent history, and its uncommon air of a location where history and modern times merge in perfect harmony to create an unmatched cityscape. Let's go for a walk.

The Długa Street and the Długi Targ Street

The Długa and Długi Targ Streets which are also known as Trakt Królewski (the Royal Route) rank among the most beautiful streets in Gdańsk. The wealthiest Gdańsk patricians used to live there and almost every tenement house has its own interesting history to tell. The oldest preserved houses date back to the Middle Ages, but most of the buildings were erected in modern times. Tenement houses on Długa Street are typical Gdańsk houses with narrow facades topped with gables or attics, richly decorated with coats of arms, allegoric figures and silhouettes of ancient heroes. The most important secular buildings - the Hall of the Main City and the Artus Court are located on Długi Targ Street. The Neptune Fountain

The Neptune Fountain has stood in front of the Artus Court since 1633 and is a symbol of Gdańsk. It was built on the initiative of the Mayor of Gdańsk, Bartłomiej Schachmann. The model was prepared by Peter Husen and Johann Rogge, and it was cast in 1615 in Augsburg. The design of the whole fountain was prepared by Abraham van den Blocke. The ornamented grill surrounding the fountain dates back to 1634. In the years 1757-1761 Johann Karl Stender redecorated the basin and the base of the fountain in the Rococo style, by adding a large array of sea creatures. According to one of the Gdańsk legends it was Neptune himself who contributed to the creation of the famous Gdańsk liqueur called Goldwasser. He got angry at people throwing golden coins into the fountain and hit the water with his trident so hard that the gold fell to pieces, forming small golden flakes which now shine in the herbal liqueur. Main Town Hall

Built for over a century in the Middle Ages, the original Gothic town hall, after a fire in the mid sixteenth century, was rebuilt in Renaissance style. It was coped with a natural size statue of King Zygmunt August. The full, lavish interior in the style of Dutch mannerism: The Great Council Chamber, the Small Council Hall called the Winter Hall as well as the Great Hall of Court called the White Hall testify to the power of Gdańsk at that time and its role in Europe. The characteristic sundial located in one of the corners calls to mind the relentless passage of time with the Latin maxim “The shadows are our days”. This is the most impressive secular building in sixteenth century Gdańsk enriched with a wonderful chime.

Today, the Main Town Hall is famous for its replica of a set of 37 wonderful concert bells. Gdańsk is the only city in Poland boasting the possession of chimes, not just one, but two (the second is located on the tower of St. Catherine’s Church. Entrance to the observation gallery lets you enjoy a beautiful view of the city with music ringing from the bells every hour. The Golden House

It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Gdańsk. It was erected in 1609 by the Jan Speyman, the Mayor of the city and at the same time a wealthy merchant and an openminded patron of the arts, and his wife, Judyta (from the Bahra family). The construction was based on a design prepared by Abraham van den Blocke, who was also responsible for a part of the sculptural decorations which were completed in 1618. The house is famous for its richlydecorated façade. The legend goes that from time to time the corridors of the house are frequented by a luminous creature. It is a ghost of the beautiful Judyta Speymann whispering “Act justly, fear no one”. The Golden Gate

Built in the years 1612-1614 according to a design drafted by Abraham van den Blocke, in the Renaissance style. Stone sculptures adorning the attic date back to 1648 and they were carved by Piotr Ringering. They present an allegory of citizen’s virtues: Prudence, Justice, Piety and Harmony. The building adjacent to the Golden Gate is the Manor of the St. George’s Guild, erected by J. Glotau in the years 14871494, in the late-Gothic style. The Crane

The Crane over the Motlawa River is the most characteristic and unmistaken symbol of Gdańsk. Back in the Middle Ages it was the largest port crane in Europe handling cargo and putting up ship masts. It also served as an uncommon city gate. The reconstructed driving mechanism inside, still in working condition, is an immense wooden wheel originally propelled by men literally walking in it. Today the majestic Crane, a fine specimen of the historic port facilities, sets an excellent background for the rich collection of the National Maritime Museum. 11 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


Sprinklers bring cool on hot days

photo: Patryk Kosmider , Getty Images


1. the Green Gate, Old town 2. Old town 3. Mariacka Street


photo: Patryk Kosmider, Getty Images

St. Mary's Basilica

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the largest brick church in the world, went through several stages of development over the period from 1343 to 1502. Its interior displays many exquisite pieces of Medieval and Baroque art, including the stone Pieta from about 1410, a copy of the Last Judgement by Hans Memling, the original canvas dating back to 1472, the astronomical clock built by Hans Düringer between 1464 and 1470 and the main altar put up between 1510 and 1517. The church is 105 m long, including the tower battlements, and the vaults soar 29m above floor level. The solid main tower is 77.6m high and it is crowned with a viewing gallery which enables visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. In order to get there it is necessary to climb almost 400 steps! St. Mary's Street

It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful streets of Gdańsk. It leads from the St Mary's church to the Long Embankment with the Medieval St Mary's Gate. The street is an exquisite example of historic Gdansk urban planning with terraced entrances and narrow, richly decorated facades of houses which once belonged to affluent merchants and goldsmiths. The picturesque scenery of the place has always inspired writers and painters. The Royal Chapel

It was founded on the initiative of King Jan III Sobieski to serve as a temporary place of worship for the Catholics of St Mary's parish church, which at that time was held by Protestants. It is a masterpiece created by Barthel Ranisch, erected between 1678-1681, according to the design of the royal architect, Tylman of Gameren. The Baroque sculptures on the facade were carved by Andreas Schlüter. The Hall of the Old City

Erected in the period from 1587 to 1595 by Anthony van Obbergen. The building displays the classic features of high quality Mannerist Flemish architecture. The interiors feature 17th century allegorical wall paintings by Adolf Boy, and allegoric ceiling paintings painted by the disciples of the Herman Han's school. The Grand Mill

Built around mid-14th century on the Radunia canal, it was the largest Teutonic investment in Gdańsk. The structure

combined three functions: that of a flour mill, a granary, and a bakery. It was equipped with 18 overshot water-wheels, each 5 m in diameter, which represented a great technical achievement for that time. St. Catherine’s Church

It is the oldest parish church of the Old Town, erected between 1227-1239. First founded by the princes of Gdańsk Pomerania, it was substantially expanded in the 14th century. Until 1944 the church used to daze visitors with its internal decor brimming with Gothic, Mannerist, and Baroque treasures. Unfortunately it was destroyed in 1945. This historic building is now fully restored. Once inside, take a look at the paintings by Anton Möller and Izaak van den Blocke. A tombstone of the famous astronomer, Jan Hevelius, dating back to 1659, can also be found here. The 76-metre high church tower supports a fine carillon. The tower of the Church hosts the Museum of Tower Clocks. The Oliwa Cathedral

This Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Bernard's Church was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th century. Reconstructed in 1350 after a great fire, it reemerged in the Gothic style and has remained almost unaltered ever since. The Gothic interior was extremely damaged in the 1577 fire and was replaced with the Baroque fixtures we can admire today. Structurally, the cathedral is a triple-aisle, vaulted basilica built on the plan of the Latin cross. The Oliwa Cathedral is 107m long, which makes it the longest church in Poland. Its splendid decorative gems include the Rococo organ, dating from the period between 1763 and 1788. The organ was manufactured by Jan Wulf and Frydryk Rudolf Dalitz and when built, the instrument was considered the largest in Europe. Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers

Three majestic crosses with anchors – symbols of hope – have been erected to commemorate the bloody victims of the workers' strikes in December 1970. The demand relative to erecting this monument at the shipyard’s gates was one of the most important postulates of the shipyard workers who went on strike in August 1980. The crosses are 42 m high and weigh 140 tons. All official delegations visiting Gdańsk lay flowers at the foot of this monument. 13 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


Sprinklers bring cool on hot days

photo: Anton Aleksenko, Getty

photo: Michal collection , Getty Images


1. The Crane 2. Seaside 3. Motława river embankment


photo: Anton Aleksenko, Getty

Gdańsk New Port Lighthouse

A lighthouse in New Port is one of the most beautiful lighthouses of Baltic Sea. It was commissioned in 1894, and it showed the entrance to Gdańsk port till 1984. In its interiors, beautifully kept historical optic devices and exhibition “Gdańsk lighthouses within years”. Also the view from its tower to Gdańsk Port, Westerplatte and the whole Gdańsk Bay, Gdynia and Hel, is very attractive. 27 meters lighthouse in New Port was built as a famous lighthouse erected in 1871 in Cleveland (USA). It was used for three purposes: as a lighthouse, tower of port pilots and basis of time sphere, removed in 1929. The last was an unusual instrument. Its rise and fall at noon, enabled precise setting of marine chronometers, necessary for a precise navigation, for the captains of ships being on roads. The lighthouse is open for the visitors from May to September. You will get more information at:

Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre

Monumental Painting Collection in Gdansk Zaspa – 54 murals

The Last Judgement

The modern, multifunctional building designed by the Venetian architect Renato Rizzi is the new pride of Gdańsk. The stage can be transformed in Elizabethan, central or Italian and the retractable roof, thanks to which performances can be held in daylight, offers immense possibilities for staging. The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre provides impresario activities, presenting outstanding performances from Poland and around the world as well as conducts extensive educational activities. It is also an interesting place on the tourist route: unique attractions for visitors are not only the retractable roof, modern stage machinery or the mysterious alleys inside the theatre, but also the walking trail surrounding the theatre’s walls and the museum in the basement.

Zaspa is one the largest residential areas in Poland. Built in the 1970s, the neighbourhood was to be the quintessence of the modernist vision of a perfect housing estate. The first murals were created in Zaspa thanks to Rafał Roskowiński, who organised in 1997 the international festival of murals commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Gdańsk. The idea of creating a collection of murals in Zaspa returned in 2009 in the context of Gdansk bidding for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2016 and the organisation of the Monumental Art festival curated by Piotr Szwabe aka Pisz. The collection today comprises 54 big-scale murals and 10 vestibules. The motifs vary: famous people, history, big themes like love, freedom, or crisis. That is the oldest and the biggest collection of murals in Poland.

The Archangel Michael weighing good and evil, the saved ascending to heaven on crystal stairs, devils throwing sinners into the fires of hell. The bothersome vision of judgement day by the brush of the great Dutch artist was obtained accidentally, captured as the spoils of war by Gdańsk's famous privateer Paweł Benecke. Hans Memling's triptych “The Last Judgement” is the most valuable exhibit of the National Museum in Gdańsk and his only work in Polish collections. The painting, considered to be Memling’'s crowning point (his authorship was not determined until the mid nineteenth century!), is of an impressive size (height 242cm, width 360cm), with technical perfection and artistic beauty, and its dramatic fate intrigues both with its message and its rich symbolism, understandable only to insiders. You can admire a copy of the work at St. Mary's Basilica, where the original was first donated to the church.

European Solidarity Centre

Polish Baltic Philharmonic

The European Solidarity Centre is important institution on the freedom trail in a new, experimental form: it is not only a museum dedicated to the history of Solidarity and anticommunist opposition in Poland and Europe, but also a centre of dialog in the modern world; a meeting place for people who are close to the values of liberty and democracy. The heart of ESC is a grand exhibition arranged which narrative allows everyone to find their own meaning and emotions. The ESC is also a library, reading room, archives and an education and creative workshops for young people.

The Polish Baltic Frédéric Chopin Philharmonic is the largest music institution in the northern Poland, visited not only by local music-lovers but also by people from all over Poland and all over the world. This is a place for the ones who desire to enjoy the art of the highest quality. There are organised symphonic concerts, recitals, and chamber music soirées performed by the most prominent Polish musicians as well as worldwide-known artists. Awarded in Polish and international contests and polls, as one of the Europe's „must see” locations. 15 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Motława river embankment visit: photo: Anton Aleksenko, Getty

Motława river embankment visit: photo: Badahos, Getty

Motława river embankment visit: photo: macniak, Getty

Herbst Palace Museum BRA NCH




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Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

Herbst Palace Museum photos Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski / text source:

The pearl of the palaces of Lódź, impressive interiors of a mansion that reflect the life of a wealthy family of factory owners, and currently the Museum of Art in Lódź and one of the few systems in Europe that makes it possible for the blind to visit the museum – this is how Herbst Palace Museum could be described in a nutshell.

Herbst Palace is not just a historic house but also an institution, which collects old paintings, sculptures, graphics, and products of artistic craft and makes them available to the public. Placing the Old Masters Gallery in a 19th-century residence enables grasping the multilayer perspectives connected with cultural heritage of the 19th century. By organising thematic exhibitions, which present various fields of creative involvement and through its discourse-based programme, the Museum highlights social history themes and places Old Masters art in a broader context of everyday culture. The Herbst is a place inextricably connected with the histories of the Herbst and Scheibler families counted among the richest and most influential Polish families of the industrial era of the second half of the 19th century.

After two years of modernization works the palace will be reopened for public. The interior design and the new arrangement was created based on conservation documentation and on the previously unknown archive photographs. Owing to the new sources of information the interiors are now closer to their original appearance dating back to the times when the Herbst family lived there.In the 1970s, when the Herbs family house was taken over by Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź with the aim of creating an exhibition of interiors, the lack of equipment and sufficient documentation resulted in designing the palace interiors based on limited amount of information. Current research has led to gaining significantly wider knowledge of the matter. As a result of the renovation the palace interiors have gained new radiance and come closer to their original appearance. Details have been recreated, the exhibited furniture has been restored, new wallpaper patters have been introduced to resemble the original ones. The exhibition includes lavish representative salons and private rooms of the owners and the new arrangements allows visitors to feel the mood of the eras past. 23 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

Collection of Old Polish Masters


The collection includes a series of famous works of Polish painters, in particular from the 19th and the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, including several paintings considered the masterpieces of Polish painting, e.g., Portrait of the Artist’s Mother by Henryk Rodakowski, Napoleon on a Horse by Piotr Michałowski, Sleeping Mietek by Stanisław Wyspiański, and also one of the earliest history paintings by Jan Matejko Sobieski in Częstochowa. The collection provides a representative overview of the Polish painting starting from the Sarmatism (Sarmatian portrait 17th–18th centuries by, e.g. Józef Faworski) and Stanislaus Augustus era (artworks by Marcello Bacciarelli, Jan Piotr Norblin) through the mainstream of 19th-century arts (e.g., paintings by Wojciech Gerson, Witold Pruszkowski, Józef Chełmoński, Aleksander Gierymski, Leon Wyczółkowski) until the period of Młoda Polska (Young Poland) (paintings by, e.g., Olga Boznańska, Stanisław Wyspiański, Józef Mehoffer, Jacek Malczewski, and a sculpture by Ksawery Dunikowski). Valuable part of the collection includes the paintings by the so called Polish artists in Munich, inter alia, Maksymilian Gierymski, Józef Brandt, Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, and Jan Rosen. The collection also presents the artworks of the artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries connected with the emergence of artistic community in industrial Łódź, also Jewish artists (e.g. paintings by Leon and Samuel Hirszenberg, Maurycy Trębacz, Leopold Pilichowski, sculptures by Henryk Glicenstein); the group includes a precious acquisition of a painting by Witold Wołczaski, nowadays a little known painter, who ran one of the first artistic schools in Łódź. Beginnings of the collection date back to the period 1930–39. It all started with a family collection of Kazimierz Bartoszewicz, Kraków historian and publicist donated to the city over the years 1928–30. The donation included, inter alia, artworks by Jan Piotr Norblin, Artur Grottger, Aleksander Kotsis, Witold Pruszkowski, Józef Chełmoński, Jacek Malczewski, and Vlastimil Hofman. The core of the initial collection was supplemented with a a few works from the former City Museum and City Art Gallery, from the collection of Łódź Municipality; the works of, e.g., Michał Elwiro Andriolli, Kazimierz Sichulski, Aleksander Lesser, Juliusz Kossak, Maurycy Trębacz, and Natan Spiegel, added on to the collection were purchased by the Municipality.

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

Another valuable contribution to the pre-war collection of Polish painting was the gift of the Łódź industrial tycoon, Karol Eisert, who donated the following paintings: Alchemist Sędziwój and King Sigismundus III by Jan Matejko, Intermezzo by Jacek Malczewski, and a Wounded Cuirassier and a Girl by Wojciech Kossak. The list of donors includes also other names of Łódź industrialists, such as, e.g., Stanisław Silberstein, Jakub Brat-Kon or the heirs to Henryk Grohman. Collection of the newly established museum was also expanding as a result of subsequent acquisitions. Among the most precious purchases of the pre-war period we can mention two portraits by Olga Boznańska, the famous Portrait of the Artist’'s Mother by Henryk Rodakowski, and the Self-Portrait by Piotr Michałowski. After the war the collection was constantly expanded with donations and purchases but also as a result of many transfers. Currently, it is composed of more than 700 artworks, out of which almost 450 are oil paintings. Major sets of works are graphics by Jan Piotr Norblin (84 works) and the paintings by Marian Wawrzeniecki (28 oil works and gouaches). Latest acquisitions include Adolf Herstein painting, considered lost, Landscape with Peasants/Prayer, 1900 – purchased in 2007.

The Herbsts. Unfinished Stories

Newly discovered archive materials used to prepare the exhibition allowed us to tell the history of two generations of the Herbst family, which exerted significant impact upon the development of Łódź. The exhibition in Herbst Palace Museum unconventionally leads us through the history of palace owners set against the background of the history of Łódź at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries. The title „Unfinished Stories” makes references to both family links with the city broken by historic events and to still continued studies on the history of industrial Łódź. The flourishing of the Łódź industry turned a small settlement into one of the most powerful industrial cities in Europe. Such a dynamic development enabled some families, the Herbsts included, accumulate huge fortune within a relatively short time. The Herbsts were not only active by taking care of their business and amassing wealth. Both Edward and Matylda engaged themselves in public and charity activities. They supported new hospitals, donated significant amounts for the construction of churches of various religions and were involved into the life of the city. 25 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

MAMO, JAK DALEKO JEST POLSKA? MOM, HOW FAR IS POLAND? Written and illustrated by: Aga Blue

About A bilingual book for kids who live away from their homeland. Beautiful illustrations, short comic book dialogues, and everyday situations used as a starting point in teaching important values such as family and patriotism. ‘Bartek lives abroad and sometimes misses Poland... He doesn't know what kilometres are, but loves to eat pierogies. How far is Poland and can you measure that distance in pierogies? Bartek thinks Poland is far, but his mom says it's actually really close…’ Available on Amazon worldwide. A charming book about love for your country with a captivating story that will interest children learning Polish as well as English.-A. Gradzka, a pediatrician, mom of Ania, Tomek and Ola.

a book for children


Hardcover: 36 pages Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.25 x 11.02 inches Publisher: Aga Blue (November 15, 2020) Language: English & Polish Reading level: 3 - 7 years


winter wildlife Biebrza book available at:, Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, Świat Książki. Please note: the book has been published in Polish only.

ELKS IN MARSH MARIGOLDS. WHAT IS BIEBRZA SILENT ABOUT. story and photography by: Magdalena Sarat and Łukasz Łukasik

How it Started - the begining. We wrote a book on nature photography. "Elks in marsh marigolds. What is Biebrza silent about?" This could actually be the beginning and end of this text because the title speaks for itself. But the matter is not as simple as it seems, for one reason only. For us, nature photography is not only a way of spending free time, it is our philosophy and our whole life. "Fotoczaty" is a team of two people from opposite ends of Poland: Silesia and Podlasie. How did it happen that we met? The reason was a passion for photography. For many years we have both been fascinated by nature photography, mainly mammals and birds, although we do not despise the beautiful landscape. We both used to track our dream shots, often in the same places. So it was only a matter of time when we ran into each other. Actually, it happened in the Biebrza swamps. Since then, we have been creating a photographic couple privately and professionally. We visited probably the majority of the most interesting corners of the country in search of adventures. Today we laugh that the book began to write itself, from our first meeting, although we didn't have such an idea then. Each of our photographic challenges involved many hours of preparation. Lugging heavy and uncomfortable equipment, sitting in lookout points for hours. Waiting for the dream shots. We often came home with nothing or gaining only additional bruises or scratches. We got entangled in bushes, stumbled over sedges, or poured water out of our wellingtons. We fought an uneven battle with the alarm clock and swore ‘never again’. But, whenever there was a chance to go out into the field, we did all of this over and over again. In the meantime, we wrote about our adventures in various nature newspapers. We described the species we photographed and introduced the readers to their behaviour and habits. Finally, a sizeable library developed out of it. The idea emerged to write a real book, but not just any book. We wanted the one that will encourage readers to learn about our nature, arouse their interest, expand their knowledge, and make them smile. One that will show how much we love our nature and how much it is needed. Two more years have passed since the idea for the book appeared. There were lots of photography trips, workshops, and just a lack of time to write. In fact, we even forgot about it for a while, and new materials were accumulating on computer disks. It was only the pandemic that stopped us.

We spent this not-so-good time in the Biebrza swamps, hidden in the complete wilderness or in front of the computer, writing down everything that happened to us during our photo sessions. Since we do not like to sit only in front of the computer, our second "child", Siubaya, was created just by coincidence (also related to nature, but this time with handicrafts). This year we have combined two passions – photography and handicrafts. See for yourself how it went! A Real Cunning Fox A fairy tale about Foxy Loxy has already been written. All my life I have believed in the literary fiction of this cunning, until suddenly, the clash with reality happened. Spring was supposed to be feathery, as every year. A man would traditionally chase feathers that come down at a specific time and place. Species that are predictable with their behaviour would be the first choice. Later on, those quite unpredictable, and finally the pipe dream category. The first successes and euphoric states would therefore gently turn into a phase of disorientation and frustration. The end result, in the form of an emotional breakdown, would traditionally close the spring season and gently lead us into summer laziness. A known pattern, unchanging, and not causing cognitive anxiety. After such a prelude, there are always some interesting photo shots on the memory card and motivation for the next year in mind.


As it often happens in nature, you should never, ever take anything for granted. The first thing to break out of the pattern were the feathers. The feather friends came as they wanted, which was completely different from what I expected. Then the fatal idea came to my mind to get on with fur. If I had suspected how it would end, I would have been sitting in the swamp waiting for the birds as long as possible.Topic number one: elks in marsh marigolds. That is easy. Elks- there were some. Marigolds- there were some as well. You need to know that the rhizomes and leaves of these plants are a real delicacy for the four-legged inhabitants of swamps, which they consume in delight, wading among the spring backwaters. The only obstacle was the fact that despite all my struggles, I could not meet them in the same place and at the same time. As a result, the marsh fawn faded and elk moms hid in inaccessible swamps to give birth to the next generation of weirdos in peace. I will cover the subject of the teddy bear expedition with a veil of silence, saying quietly that I could not go on it... grrr. The only thing left for me to do was to bravely fight with the foxies, which was the thing I had a huge appetite for. After less than an hour of searching, we found a beautiful burrow in a flowery meadow. We didn't even have to wonder if it was inhabited. Right at its entrance, two red balls were playing delightfully. There was nothing else to do but wait for the afternoon light and start shooting. The redheads were still so small that they should not be afraid of our discreet presence. In front of the burrow, single feathers and remains of bones littered around clearly indicated that the toddlers were feasting on the prey brought by their mother. Over time, this mess will become bigger and bigger. This is what distinguishes a fox from a badger, which is exceptionally clean and regularly tidies the area around its apartment. After an almost perfect order around the burrow of extreme littering, you can probably guess who its owner was. Emotionally, we completely ignored the first sign that it would not be easy. The second one gave us a bit of food for thought, but was quickly muffled by the vision of wonderfully lit foxes playing on a small hill among flowers. The third was lurking behind our backs to finally finish us off, but more on this later.The afternoon lookout session ended in a total bust. The little foxies scuttled into the burrow. And although we hypnotised the entrance with all our power, no one dared to show up again. Maybe if an ant, a mosquito, or a black fly tingled me, I would somehow move. But there was nothing. I froze motionlessly. Breathless, probably, and certainly totally thoughtless. Nothing! We gathered our cameras and with the tails between our legs, swearing like sailors, we decided to return at dawn. At four-thirty the alarm clock ruthlessly roared to the whole house I'll Go Barefoot (that's the title of a pretty popular folk song). I only managed to tell it that it must be crazy, as it's still too cold to go barefoot anywhere. So, I got up. On the way between the bed and our Honda, I managed to put my shoes on, and off we went for National Geographic-worthy photos. 32 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

A few minutes after five, I sat down at the set-up camera, with my teeth chattering rhythmically. After an hour I was able to chatter the whole gamut, after another thirty minutes I mastered half the anthem. Still nothing in front of the camera! When the first rays of the sun finally began to heat us gently, something quivered. A nose appeared in the hole, then an eye, and then the red ball moved towards us with a decisive step. One and a half meters in front of the lens, the redhead stopped and placed a good-sized poo. Then, by the same route, only a little faster he returned to the burrow. It's simply fantastic – I already have the Wildlife Photographer of the Year in my pocket. Winner in the wildlife category of ‘Fox Toilet’. Or actually ‘A Fox in the Toilet’. The subtle dawn passed like a golden dream and on the memory card. It is a shame to talk about.At half-past seven we were disturbed by a slight movement. The little ones, surprisingly, decided to tilt their heads out of the ground. One by one they stuck their noses towards us, pricked their ears, and after a while, they ran to the hill we had noticed before to play. It took a while for all six of them to take their plump bumps into the sun. As we usually do, we only rubbed our hands and threw ourselves to the cameras with the intention of filling up the cards, when the foxes, after the initial play and stretching, left our dream scene one by one. After a few moments, the little ones spread across the meadow like ants. One crawled almost like an earthworm on our legs, the other, Indiana Jones, boldly rammed the bushes. Two more jumped up after their siblings. Only the sloths were left, curled up in the sunlit hole and even their ears could not be seen. However, this did not put us off at all. After all, how long can such youngsters stay away from the safe den? They will probably be disturbed by something and will run back to its vicinity.Meanwhile, we watched as all four explorers frolic playfully in the meadow. Unfortunately, completely beyond the range of our lenses, something was clearly wrong! Delighted by the discovery of the burrow, we didn't even check where the other exits were. After all, it is always the case that the fox apartment has a number of emergency exits! From one living room, which can be up to three meters underground, these clever animals lead a whole complex of corridors and spare exits. The fox was once called cunning for a reason. It also outsmarted us and in what a style! I was entitled to an award for wool-gathering, not for my photos.I will not describe what the foxes did in the vicinity of the second entrance to the burrow, because it makes my blood boil. Let me just mention that immediately after this revealing thought, we started crawling to the frisky kids. Did this work? Well, I was successful right after I almost knocked my teeth out with a tripod and blackened my eye with the camera while crawling, sweeping everything I found beneath me with a net on the way. As a result, I reached the foxes as a decent scum of all weeds. Additionally, huffing and spitting with ants and various meadow vermin. There is nothing like a quiet, relaxing rest and hobby in nature!


story and photography by: Magdalena Sarat and Łukasz Łukasik

story and photography by: Magdalena Sarat and Łukasz Łukasik

Elks in marsh marigolds. What is Biebrza silent about.

China Moses fot. Sylvain Norget


China Moses fot. Sylvain Norget


story and photography by: Magdalena Sarat and Łukasz Łukasik

In the past few years, there were different issues with winter. In the mountains, one can say, there is winter almost every year, however, in other areas – different things happen.

Włodzimierz Stachoń


Włodzimierz Stachoń - lives and works in Gromnik (Tarnów county). For almost 25 years, he has been involved in nature photography and journalism. Over 5,000 photographs of his authorship have been published in over 20 national magazines (nature, forest, fishing, hunting, sightseeing and others). The next thousand photos can be found on the pages of six albums showing the beauty of nature in south-eastern Poland. More about the author's creative work on on the profile of Karpaty – Magiczna Kraina.

In the mountains, one can say that there is winter almost every year, however, in other areas different things happen. Regardless of the intensity of the phenomena typical of the winter season, there comes a time in nature (approximately from November to March) when animals compete more intensively with one another for food, since at that time there is much less of it than in other times of the year. Food competition intensifies with the advent of snow and frost. Attracting numerous amateurs, the food found then is the cause of arguments and often spectacular skirmishes, which are probably the easiest to be observed among some birds of prey. Perhaps the behaviour of common buzzards would be the best example of this type of winter habit. These birds not only look for live prey in winter, but also eagerly eat carrion, which they can locate surprisingly quickly in their vicinity. Since such a discovery is usually announced to all and sundry with a characteristic exhortation,

other winged competitors appear soon after the food is found. This is when spectacular fights most often occur. They are not dangerous for the birds, but delay the satisfaction of their appetites. The moments when common buzzards fight is not time wasted in nature. They create occasions for other birds to catch a bite of nutritious food – on these cold winter days it can save their lives. With a bit of luck, less common species can also be observed near the carrion. Sometimes an easy prey will attract the majestic white-tailed eagle or a trained eye will spot a newcomer from the north, a rough-legged buzzard, flying among common buzzards. Yet other times, a Northern goshawk, which usually leads a secret life under the cover of the forest, will sit in front of the camera lens. For a nature photographer stuck in the frost in the hideout, these are the moments that allow you to forget about the inconvenience and freezing cold. They are inseparable companions of winter photos taken from hideouts.

From year to year, it is becoming increasingly less common to admire birds in truly winter scenery. 41 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

photos: Włodzimierz Stachoń

Top photo: A winged patrol in the river valley: the arrival of the white-tailed eagle causes panic among wintering waterbirds. Middle left: A buzzard repels the attack of an incoming competitor. Middle right: A feature typical for buzzards is a large variation in colour. This time an individual with very bright plumage appeared in front of the lens. Bottom left: Wings, claws, and beaks go into action when the game is about nutritious bites Bottom right: A characteristic feature of a rough-legged buzzard are feathered legs, clearly visible in the birds taking off to fly.

WINTER BIRDS Most of the birds that decide to migrate leave our country between September and November. However, for some of them, Poland is the final destination. Although we will not see swallows and storks for a few winter months, other species occupy their place. Some of them can be observed even in the cities, especially in parks and gardens where they often look for food. To see a little more special species, however, you have to go to more secluded places where nature dominates over urbanised life. During the winter you can observe birds at feeders, to which you can lure over 20 species, including such rarities as the hawfinch, bullfinch, brambling. At this time, we are also visited by the birds which cannot be seen at any other time of the year, as waxwings or bramblings. Winter is also a great time to photograph birds of prey. White-tailed eagles, buzzards.

On photo: Long hours spent in the hideout result in new photo shots of various species in different sceneries. One morning, during a snowstorm, a common buzzard appears in front of the lens. Another time in the same place, I photograph a much less common visitor from the north, a roughlegged buzzard.

photos: Włodzimierz Stachoń


An argument about a favourite lookout point in the forest clearing photos: Włodzimierz Stachoń

No holds barred when the game is about survival. photos: Włodzimierz Stachoń

Winter fights look spectacular, but the birds don't hurt themselves too much. photos: Włodzimierz Stachoń


Rotunda Hill, Regietow 38-315, lesser Poland Rotunda

This war cemetery contains 54 war graves: 42 Austro-Hungarian and 12 Russian soldiers who fell in March 1915. Lesser Poland, low Beskid

War Cemetery No. 51 at Rotunda is a historic cemetery from the First World War. The necropolis, one of the most beautiful in the Low Beskids, is located on the top of Rotunda (between Regetówka and Zdynia valleys). The facility was established by the Austrian authorities in the years 1915-1918, in the region of Galicia. Among all the military cemeteries from World War I, located in the Low Beskids, the one in Rotunda certainly deserves special attention. It results from the extraordinary beauty of the necropolis, its location, history, and the atmosphere of mystery and uniqueness that surrounds the monument.


Open: all year long, open air, free entry Duration of the visit: about 30 minutes Trekking or sport shoes recommended. Access to the site is not easy, as there's at least 1:30 hour walk on from west (Regietów) side or less steep but much longer walk from east (Zdynia) side.

Reaching the cemetery is not easy and finding it may take a long time. The monument is hidden among trees, thick grasses and shrubs. Perhaps, it is the whole aura and surroundings that make the necropolis even more intriguing – and thus it makes a huge impression on tourists. The necropolis was designed by Duszan Jurkovic and it is the most impressive and most interesting of the group of 31 necropolises created by this architect, in the so-called Żmigród district.

photos: M. Ciszewski,

At the war cemetery No. 51 at Rotunda, 42 soldiers of Austro-Hungarian origin were buried. They belonged to: 1st Imperial Tyrolean Rifle Regiment, 36th Infantry Regiment of Mlada Boleslav, 59th "Rainer" Infantry Regiment, 1st and 25th Landwehra Infantry Regiments. There were also 12 soldiers of Russian origin buried there, serving in 193rd Swijażaski Infantry Regiment. Originally, the cemetery was built on a circular plan and was surrounded by a stone rampart wall. A wooden gate in the form of a shingle roof on poles led to the necropolis from the east. In the centre of the cemetery, there were five tall wooden towers covered with shingles. At the top of each of them there was a huge wooden cross, additionally covered with semicircular canopies, which were attached to the arms of the cross. The roofs of the towers were "slender shingled, broken at the base, with small shed eaves at 2/3 of the height." The tower that stood in the middle was 16 meters high. Four lower towers surrounded it, "arranged in a square with diagonals coaxial with the central tower". There were 20 tombstones around, as well as 4 mass graves. On the graves, there were simple, wooden beam crosses, "one and two-armed, with the upper arm covered with a small board roof". In addition, at the intersection of the arms of the crosses, there were wooden shields, rectangular in shape and with truncated lower corners. In 1980, the war cemetery No. 51 at Rotunda was the first among the Beskid necropolises to be entered into the national register of monuments. Unfortunately, it does not go hand in hand with the "appropriate" condition of the cemetery, where no thorough works have been carried out, and even the simplest protection has not been provided. It should be emphasized that originally the monument was visible from a considerable distance, because the top of the mountain was not forested.

Currently, the top of Rotunda – and therefore also the cemetery, is surrounded by numerous trees and shrubs. Cleaning works in the necropolis were organised for several times and they mainly involved the removal of unnecessary vegetation, and cleaning up trees and shrubs. The stone wall surrounding the historic area was also cleaned. Thanks to these works, the outline of the graves as well as the remains of several crosses were revealed. Only the skeletons of the structures have remained of the wooden towers till now. Additionally, one of the towers was completely destroyed. It is important that the inscription stone with a forged Maltese cross is in good condition. There is an inscription on the board in German written by Hans Hauptmann. „Klagt nicht daß unser Grab der Sturm umheult Auf dieser einsam menschenfern Höhe, Hier sind dem Ruf der Ewigkeit wir näher, Und früher wirft allmorgendlich die Sonne Ihr Purpurbahrtuch leuchtend über uns.” The translation of the inscription is as follows:

Do not cry that we lay here, so far away from people, and the storms have taken their toll on us more than once - after all, the sun wakes us up here earlier every morning and covers us sooner with the purple of its glory.

In 2004, thanks to the efforts of the Social Committee for the Reconstruction of the War Cemetery at Rotunda, as well as the financial support of the Austrian Red Cross, 24 new tombstone crosses, plaques with the names of the murder victims, and an architectural project for the reconstruction of the cemetery were made. 51 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

...after all, the sun wakes us up here earlier every morning and covers us sooner with the purple of its glory. photos: Krystian Kiwacz


by Michał Piorun


facebook: BY A TOUR QUIDE

OCHODZITA Ochodzita is a unique mountain. Due to the wide panorama to the four sides of the world, tourists consider it one of the most beautiful summits in the whole Beskids. It is famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. It is recommended for the amateurs of mountain hiking, as it is not hard to reach its summit. Let's go on a trip to Ochodzita!

There are many legends about it. One says that there is the beginning and the end of the world on the summit of Ochodzita. The local highlanders say that at the foot of the mountain, there used to run a trade route towards Hungary. It was followed by wealthy merchants, exposed to attacks and thefts by Beskid robbers. The raiders took a liking to Ochodzita and made their hide-out there, from which they observed the area. Merchants, trying to avoid a shameful place, very often chose a longer but safer path, giving this place a wide berth. So the original name of the mountain is probably "Obchodzita" (meaning let's go around"), but is now referred to as Ochodzita. It is a very characteristic, domed, and forestless peak in the main Carpathian ridge of the Silesian Beskids, rising to a height of 895 meters above sea level. It is made of the thick-bedded Krosno sandstone resistant to weathering. Thanks to them, Ochodzita towers over the area. Its forestless slopes are used for agriculture. The lower parts serve as arable fields and hay meadows, and higher as pastures. Ochodzita is interesting from a hydrological point of view. Its peak runs through the European Watershed, separating the Baltic Sea catchment (the Bystra flows into the Soła River,

Michał Piorun – a geographer, tourist and tour guide, traveller, author of numerous travel guide books around the Świętokrzyskie region. For several years he has been dealing with landscape photography. Winner of many photo competitions, author of photo exhibitions. Involved in tourism. Co-founder of Włoszczowa Informal Hiking Tourism Club „Łajza”. Vice President of the Foundation Education for Development Centre. Volunteer of the Świętokrzyski National Park.

the Soła River into the Vistula, and the Olza drains its waters to the Oder River) from the Black Sea catchment (Czadeczka flows into Czernianka, the Czernianka into the Kisuc, and the Kisuc into the Vah and Danube). The local highlanders say that rainwater flows from the roofs of houses partly into the Baltic Sea and partly into the Black Sea. It is also one of the few mountains in Poland from which the streams flow into the catchments of three great European rivers the Vistula, the Oder, and the Danube. Ochodzita is famous for its breathtaking panorama. In the cloudless aura, you can see the Tatra Mountains and the Lesser Fatra. in the distance to the west, the top of Łysa Góra protrudes with its characteristic mast. At the foot of Ochodzita, there is the village of Koniaków, then Istebna and Jaworzynka. Together they are called the Tri-Village. Further on, Młoda Góra mountain rises steeply to the valley of the Olza River, then Kiczory and the characteristic Wielka Czantoria Mountain. To the right, you can see Równica, and a little closer, the Kubalonka Pass. The northern horizon is closed by the longitudinal embankment of Barania Góra, while in a shorter distance you can notice Tynioki and Koczy Zamek.


In the north-east, below, there is the Żywiec Valley, closed by the range of Beskid Mały (one can distinguish, among others, the highest peak of the Andrychów Beskid- Łamana Skała). To the east and south-east, there is the Żywiec Beskid range with Romanka, Lipowski Wierch, and the dominant Pilsko, occluding Babia Góra. To the right of Pilsko, there is the border ridge of the Żywiec Beskid. Above the deep depression of the Glinka (Ujsolska) Pass and in favourable weather conditions, the panorama is completed by the soaring wall of the Tatra Mountains. Closer, you can see Mańcuł, covered with forests. To the right of it, there is Rycerzowa with its two summits and behind it, spreading Rachowiec. Velka Raca rises to the south. The horizon is closed by the Lesser Fatra with the

dedicated to John Paul II. The ceremonial opening took place on August 11, 2010, during the Second World Congress of Polish Highlanders in Koniaków. The commemorative plaque is a gift from the highlanders to Pope John Paul II on the 10th anniversary of the World Congress of Polish Highlanders, which took place in Koniaków in 2000. It was consecrated by priest Damian Suszka, the chaplain of the Department of Silesian Highlanders from Koniaków. It is worth sitting on a nearby bench to enjoy the panorama. In the neighbourhood there is a statue of John Paul II, built in 2018 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the election of the Polish Pope. Next, there is a cross. The Chapel of Our Lady of Beskids Queen of the Mountains is hidden in the trees. The initiator of its

highest peaks – Rozsutec, Stoh, and Veľký Kriváň. On the northern slope of Ochodzita, in the 1950s, as a result of heavy rainfall, a great landslide emerged. Its dimensions, considering the Beskid conditions, were impressive - 150 meters wide and 450 meters long. Traces of it can be seen in the field to this day. A stay at the top of Ochodzita should not be limited only to the views. It is worth spending a few quarters of time to take a closer look at the attractions nearby. On June 28, 1990, at the top of Ochodzita, a 34-meter-high RTV transmitter was built. Just below the peak there is a small chapel, the work of Ludwik Kubaszczyk, a folk artist from Koniaków. A bit further, a T-bar lift. On the southern slope there is a beautifully carved Wallachian gate, which is a point on the Wallachian Culture Trail. Next to it, there is an obelisk with a commemorative plaque

construction was Fr. Romuald Waldera. In May 1972 it was completed by Jan Waszut and Józef Legierski. The figure of the Mother of God was made by a local artist, Jan Krężelok. In 2000, the chapel was extended and solemnly consecrated. A short walk around Ochodzita should end at the very top with a short rest on a bench, admiring the panorama. Ochodzita is easily accessible to every tourist. You can get to its top dome by provincial road No. 943 from the villages of Laliki, Koniaków and Istebna. It is best to leave the car near the Ochodzita Inn. Further on, there is a convenient road lined with concrete slabs. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete this part of the way. However, this is not the end of Ochodzita tourist attractions. It is worth mentioning that many films were made in the shadow of


the mountain. In Tri-Village, the scenes of the last episode of Czterej Pancerni (Four Tank-Men and a Dog), a famous TV series from 1969, were filmed. In the landscapes of Rajcza, a village situated nearby, a fabular movie "Nauka latania" (Flying lessons) was recorded, while in Ujsoły in 1983 they filmed "Żeniac". Also in Ujsoły, as well as in Sopotnia Mała, Rycerka Dolna and Rajcza, in 1984 the film "Sprawa się rypła" (Things go sideways), was made. The aforementioned Rajcza reappeared in the frames of the document about Fr. Józef Tischner from 2012, entitled "Jego oczami" (In his eyes). However, the most beautiful Beskid landscapes of Istebna with Ochodzita are presented in the comedy "Oh, Karol 2". In the film, you can also admire a little church

in Stecówka. In addition, some scenes were also recorded on the road and in the tunnel in Laliki. Being in Ochodzita, it is worth spending several dozen minutes to visit the neighbouring peak called Koczy Zamek. It is situated only 1.5 km eastwards, above the road from Koniaków to Laliki. The origin of the name of this mountain is interesting and it is told in one of the legends. It mentions a Hungarian count named Kocsi, who left his homeland because his father tried to match him up with a not-so-pretty, albeit rich maiden. Wandering around the Beskids, the young man met and fell in love with a beautiful highlander girl, native to Koniaków. He married her and built a small castle. The news reached his father who, out of rage, decided to kidnap and murder his daughter-in-law.

The young count lost his mind out of longing and burned down the castle on the hill. Nobody heard of him anymore. They say that in a nearby quarry, at night, you can hear the cries of a young man who weeps after losing his beloved. There used to be a sandstone quarry on the north-west slope of the Koczy Zamek hill. Currently, at the top, there is a cross and a stone dedicated to the soldiers of the Polish Army, the Home Army and the Grey Ranks, who died during World War II. A short hike around Ochodzita is just an incentive to get to know the nearby tourist attractions. It is worth visiting the capital of Polish lace, Koniaków, for a walk to the so-called Trzycatka, the border between Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Finally, climb up Barania Góra, from where the Vistula flows out. I invite you to discover this picturesque corner of the Silesian Beskids on your own. Michał Piorun, December 2020




by Katarzyna Skóra

Katarzyna lived almost all her life in the Low Beskids. She is particularly interested in everyday life in the former Lemko region. The imagination plays an important role in her life, helping to feel the atmosphere of the visited places. She is into handicrafts, and specifically crocheting. Working on various projects allows you to relax, in a sense it has become a way of life. She is also passionate about photography. She tries to capture in her frames inanimate nature, landscapes and the transience, in the broad sense of the word. Weekly photo trips have already become a tradition.

Old Lemko traditions and Christmas Customs

Living in their mountains, the Lemko community was often cut off from the world by snow or rain. Due to limited interaction with outsiders, their old rituals and customs were more easily preserved for longer and in a fuller form. The most important among all Lemko’s holidays was Christmas, called Rizdwo. It is recognized as one of the twelve great holidays. Preparations for this holiday began well before January 7th (Christmas in the Eastern rite is celebrated then, due to the use of the Julian calendar). In the period preceding this great feast, during Advent, people used to gather to spin flax together. These meetings were called weczirky. As a precursor to the holiday itself, there was a game called Łomanyk. According to the rules of this game, boys used to join the girls gathered at the flax spinning, dressed as Jews, Gypsies, bears, and rams. The youth had fun in such a way that the boys grabbed the girls lying on the floor by their legs and dragged them back and forth. A particularly important day was Christmas Eve, or Światyj Weczir. There were many traditions associated with this day and one had to be careful not to omit any. It was believed that the disregard of the prohibitions and orders would cause fate to take revenge on people or the entire household the following year. First, Lemkos used to fast on this day, just like we do. It was forbidden to eat fresh vegetables and fruit as they were believed to cause ulcers. Particular care had to be taken when lighting the fire, as blowing on the fire could cause pimples in the coming year. Some would go to the forest or to their neighbours to steal wood. It was not about stealing in the literal sense, but about bringing at least a stick hidden, so that no one would notice it on their way back home. It was also believed that borrowing money from a Jew on that special day was a guarantee of happiness.While cooking Christmas Eve dishes, women made sure that their children did not steal anything from the pots, as it was believed that wolves would snatch sheep in the summer. When the bread was put into the oven, the hostess took out a few coals and assigned the names of grains to each of them. The piece of coal with the thickest layer of ash was regarded to be a forecast of the abundance of that particular grain in the upcoming harvest season. 60 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

When it was getting dark, the whole family would go barefoot to the river or stream to wash in it, "to be as healthy and as swift as the water current". Sometimes they even went naked during such dips! Consider the fact that in the past, the winters were harsh and cold, not like today. These days, if someone decided to take such a bath that was supposed to bring health, they would most likely get sick! Then, from the cold deluge, people used to hold water in their mouths on the way back home, and after entering the house, they spit it out on the stove. All of that was to avoid suffering from a toothache during the coming year! To protect the animals’ health, they were given bread with garlic to taste in their stable.While preparing for the supper, an unthreshed oat sheaf was placed in the corner of the room. The host would spread hay on the table, then sprinkle it with oats, so that there would be a lot of money in the house. Then, a tablecloth would be put on the table prepared in this way. There had to be a few loaves of bread on the table, salt on the plate, garlic, and a pot with all kinds of grains and a candle. Under the table, the host put a scythe, an axe (so that the legs would not hurt) or other objects. The items under the table were supposed to bring good luck. For example, the flail was there to ensure abundant crops to thresh next year. Twelve dishes were then cooked for the supper. Three spoons of each dish were placed in the milk pail (dijnyczok) and later given to the cows, so that the witch would not take the milk from them. The hostess would cut a lot of bread and place it on a plate in a pyramid so that the host, sitting on the other side of the table, would not be seen through the bread slices. He would say, "May nobody see me in our crops in the fields."During Christmas Eve, the Lemokos would first eat cloves of garlic dipped in salt and then the family members drank a glass of vodka for all the present and absent ones. Next, they served cabbage, noodles (called bobalki) with poppy seeds, cabbage rolls with mushrooms, whole potatoes, potatoes with yushka (Lemko dried fruit compote), baked apples, peas, broad beans, beans, pearl barley, groats with plums, and Lemko sour soup called kiesełyca (made of oat leaven). The dishes were served with homemade oil and, of course, they were eaten from one bowl. There were also a few rules to follow. First of all, it was not allowed to sit down at the table with unpaid debts, and one could not lean on the table so that the grain would not "collapse".

The first day of Christmas, or Rizdwo, started the weather forecast for the whole year. Each subsequent day was supposed to forecast the weather for one month of the year. Interestingly, in the foothills area, the elderly still practice such weather forecasting. Every year my grandmother writes down the weather for 12 days after "Russian holidays". Does the forecast come true? Maybe in a small part, but what matters is the tradition and the willingness to continue it. On the first day of Christmas, Lemkos washed their faces with water, into which they had previously thrown small coins. This custom was to ensure wealth. There is also such a tradition in Pogórze, but this ritual is performed on Christmas Eve. In some villages, the farmer would bring a sheep or a horse into the room in memory of the adoration of the new-born Jesus by animals. Among Eastern Rite Catholics, carollers are very important on the first day of Christmas, they used to visit homes early in the morning.

The second day of Christmas was called wymitny (which may be translated as "swept") because on that day, for the first time since Christmas Eve, it was possible to sweep the floors. This was supposed to be done very early in the morning. Girls threw garbage from the floor in the least frequented place in the orchard and there, while pouring it out, they used to cry out in a special way, used by shepherds (which was called hiłkanie). The echo was believed to indicate the direction from which her future fiancé would come. It is difficult for me to say what the Lemko holidays look like now, but their Christmas tree is certainly a little more modest than ours. There must be lights, candies and nuts on it. There is no nativity scene in the church, but an icon of the Nativity of Christ. Each believer bows in front of it and kisses it as well. Such icons are also hung at homes.After the appearance of the first star, the head of the family begins a prayer and then shares prosphora with everyone, which is an unleavened kind of bread, blessed in the church, which serves as the Christmas wafer that we know. 61 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

The custom of sharing prosphora in homes has emerged recently as a result of the influence of Western culture. During the Christmas season, the faithful take part in church services. Lemko and Pogórze traditions are very similar. Hence, I have known many of them since my childhood. We also gave a little bit of every dish to the cows and we also used to have an axe under the Christmas Eve table. During the supper, it was forbidden to get up from the table or put the spoon away (because we used a spoon for each dish). We ate and we still eat from one bowl. We always have a sour soup for Christmas Eve and it has always been made on oat leaven. To make leaven for such a sour soup, we need about half a kilogram of wholemeal oat flour, which we pour over with warm, boiled water (some people add bread crust to it). We set it aside for a few days in a warm place. After about 2 days, it should start to bubble. Then, we boil about 2 liters of water with a bay leaf, allspice, and of course garlic and dried mushrooms. Then, mixed leaven is poured through a sieve into the boiling water and here it is necessary to watch it so that it does not bubble away from the pan. This is not a recipe for an original kiesełyca, but for an oat sour soup traditionally prepared in my family home. When I was a child my mother would always say, "Like Christmas Eve, like the whole year.” She used to repeat that we should be polite and not to disobey or argue if we do not want to do this throughout the coming year. This, of course, also had a purely practical advantage - peace of mind when preparing the supper. It is a pity that with time many traditions either disappear or lose their serious character, turning into something funny, a reason for jokes and mockery. As for Lemko traditions, customs and annual rites, they were cultivated until the end of World War II. On the other hand, the subsequent turmoil and displacement had an impact on the Lemko culture. Today, probably some of the aforementioned customs, especially superstitions or omens, are forgotten. Even those Lemkos who returned to their former neighbourhood no longer subscribe to these ancient practices. Seeing this, it is no surprise that our traditions disappear, although we have not encountered difficulties related to displacement or otherwise. Katarzyna Skóra


church in Nowica, photo J Kadaj

church in Berest, photoKEMSAB


church in Smolnik, photo M Jucha

TYLICZ WINTER SPORTS AND TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS Photos and cooperation: Konrad Rogoziński / Odkryj Beskid Sądecki text: Konrad Rogozinski and

Tylicz is an old country town situated 600m above the sea level and placed at the confluence of two streams Muszynka and Mochnaczka 6 km east from Krynica. Main road goes through the town and later it cross the Pass of Tylicz leading to Slovakia (to the frontier crossing Muszynka – Kurov). That route used to be an old Hungarian commercial route. In the oldest historical documents Tylicz was named differently. First as Ornamentum (ornament) or Oppidum Novum or as Ornawa - the last name is mentioned in thirteenth century document. Thanks to rapidly developing intensive exchange of goods between Poland and Hungary here at the meeting point of two streams Muszynka and Mochnaczka, the settlement slowly grew in importance. Polish king Casimir III the Great, granted the settlement with municipal rights in 1363. In the second half of the fifteenth century the town was devastated and destroyed by numerous fires and raids. It was Bishop Piotr Tylicki who renovated the town and gave it his own coat of arms and numerous privileges. He also founded parochial school and a church where he placed many precious works of art from his private collection. Grateful inhabitants changed the name of the town for Tylicz in honour of their benefactor. The bishop planned the town centre very carefully in order to avoid complete destruction in case of fire. He planned also a new Town Hall in the main market. During his time four big markets gathering were established: on 6th of January (The Epiphany day) on a day in Easter's Octave, on29th June (Peter and Paul’'s feast) and 1st November (All Saints). There were also usual weekly market days on Thursdays. 64 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND



Krakow Tylicz


Voivodeship: Lesser Poland County: Nowy Sącz County Gmina: Krynica-Zdrój nearest airport: Krakow, Balice


It starts next to the small spring situated about 2km from market place in Powroźnik direction (next to “Multi Vita” factory). There is a board with all sorts of information about the path, the map with places of all interesting objects marked by Arabic letters on it. The path is easy to follow. For anyone interested there are brochures and folder available in local libraries or at the forestry.

Tourist's trials

Tylicz - Szwarcowa - Huzary (863 m above sea level) – Pulaski’'s Mound. Total time: 2 hours for going there and 1h 40 minutes for come back. The route starts at the end of bp Tylicki’'s street. It leads onto country road in north direction, at places quite steeple up the hill. After reaching the first peak we can observe a beautiful panorama of Tylicz, Muszynka, Tylicz Pass and Lackowa mountain. We can also notice the mountains in Slovakia on the horizon. Later the route leads through the forest, at the beginning quite easy, but closer to the top of Huzary mountain it is more steeple at places. After passing the Peak of Huzary we enter the yellow track from Jakubik Mountain and it leads us down in bends to asphalt road and the Pułaski's Mound next to it. From this place we can go to the centre of the Krynica or follow the yellow signs to the Parkowa Mountain.

photo: Konrad Rogozińksi

Mineral waters – highly carbonated waters with high calcium were known here several hundred years before but not until they were investigated and described by L. Zejszner, their full potency was realized. In the 90 s of twentieth century A special mine area ”Tylicz” was created here and “Multico” company obtained a concession to exploit local mineral water in world wide scale. All sources and wells of local mineral waters as well as symptoms of exhalation of CO2 concentrates in the area on the left bank of Muszynka, Bradowiec and Syhowny streams. Only one source is permanently adapted to wider usage. It is the well on left riverbanks of Muszynka, down below historic Greek Catholic church in the park. It is the source already mentioned of highly carbonated mineral water with high calcium and iron content very much valued by inhabitants. There are several more temporarily adjusted for tourist (for example two sources can be found on the educational path “Na Rakowsku”). Educational path of nature ”Na Rakowsku” It is one of the first initiative of the whole program which aims to protect and use better the specific microclimate of forest around Krynica. The local government and the management of the forest want to protect it’'s unique environment as well as use it more productively and create high standard conditions for tourists who would like to see the forest in it's natural beauty. Another aim is to promote ecology. The path leads through southern side of “Bradowiec” mountain to it's peak.

Cross-country skiing trails: In Tylicz, on the grounds of ‘Huts in the Forest’ Tourist Settlement there are two trails: 2.5 km and 4 km long. They are dedicated to beginners and intermediate skiers. It is worth mentioning that the trails are regularly groomed with a trace. There is a car park for cars and coaches, a modern rental of cross country skis (Rossignol) and a cross country skiing service.


Tylicz – Szalone – Bradowiec – Rakowskie – Powroźnik – total time 3 hours. The track goes across the peaks which surround the town from the west. It starts in the Krynica Centre or at the Parkowa Mountain. It goes mostly trough the forest and peaks about 800m high. Near Bradowiec where the woods aren’t so thick we can admire the view with Greek Catholic church and numerous ski lifts near Tylicz. The track ends in Powroźnik at the bus station. Muszynka- Kamienny Horb (827m) – Wojkowa – total time 3 hours. The track starts in the village south – east from Tylicz. At first it leads up the hill across the pastures then through the woods which are the historic reserve “The Trenches of Confederates of Bar” then along the Poland border. On the way there are several places where you can observe beautiful panorama of the Slovak Mountains. The route ends in Wojkowa village, 8 km away from Krynica.



Greek Catholic church of SS Kosmas and Damian situated next to the road to Muszynka. It was built between 1738-1744 and renovated in 1780, 1938 and 1982. It's wooden of framework construction, timbered. The tower is partly covered with wooden tiles and partly with sheet metal. Market Square in quadrangular shape with perpendicular streets – is a reminder of former Tylicz glory – all the market gatherings were held here and in the Town hall the Criminal Court used to preside (nowadays a Rural House of Culture stands here). Not long ago you could still observe eaves of houses in the form of arcades characteristic for this type of architecture, but unfortunately they do not exist here any more. From centuries the surface of the market square was paved with so-called “cobblestones”. In the park near the church stands small brick shrine from 1808. The church of SS. Peter and Paul founded by Bp. Piotr Tylicki and built in 1612. Entirely wooden and boarded, with sheet metal roof. It consist of one narrow nave and presbytery in triangular shape, next to which the vestry is attached. The tower was attached in 1936 over the old vestibule.

photo:Konrad Rogozinksi

Muszynka is a former Lemko village, situated at an altitude of 650 meters above the valley of the same name, located just 2 miles from the Tylicz Pass. It was established in 1356, by King Casimir III, the Great. In XIV and XV centuries it played a very important role due to it's location at the busy trade route because it was situated on the way to Hungary. After WWII 70% of Lemkos were moved by force to The Soviet Union. In the middle of the village stands Greek Catholic church of old under the name of St. John, the Evangelist. It is wooden, built in Orthodox style in 1689, roof covered with metal sheet. Inside in one of the altars there is a picture of St. Barbara which was brought here from the Confederates’ Camp. Iconostasis is connected with side doors and dates from eighteenth century. Until 1947 the church was a Lemko’'s parochial church, but nowadays it is a filial church of Catholic parish in Tylicz.

The historic reserve “The Trenches of Confederates of Bar” requires also some attention. It memorise the presence of the troops of Kazimierz Pułaski here in the end of eighteenth c. which resulted in Partition of Poland and lack of independence. The Confederates fought in those woods against enemy's armies and lost. The yellow trail leads to the top of Jawor, past the obelisk commemorating the Confederates and further leads through high Berest to Wojkowa. The red track goes along the Poland’s frontier starting at the Tylicz Pass and leading in direction of Dzielec and Laskowa peaks.

Tylicz - always good but in winter time the best! Tylicz is a place located in the south of the Beskid Sądecki. In summer – the richness of forests, walking trails and natural mineral water springs. In winter – ski stations and a plethora of cross country skiing trails in the vicinity. Tylicz is an excellent starting point to do this sport - professional equipment rentals, service stations and regularly maintained trails attract more and more cross country skiers.


photo:Konrad Rogozinksi Tourist Settlement "Huts in the Forest’" (Domki w Lesie) Tourist Settlement is located 6km from the center of Krynica-Zdrój, in a picturesque valley in Tylicz, in the Poprad Landscape Park protection zone. The huts are surrounded with trees and the vicinity of cross country skiing trails and a high standard are the main values of the Settlement. On the grounds of the Settlement, there are two trails: 2.5km and 4km long. You will find out more about them on the next page. There is also the only in the region cross country skiing school and you will find necessary equipment, also for the youngest ones, in a nearby rental. You will find essential details at


photo: Konrad Rogoziński

photo: Konrad Rogoziński

Tatra Mountains by Šukasz Sowiński To discover natural beauty of Poland at its finest, you should head to Tatra National Park. Tatra mountains are the most beautiful Polish mountain range, visited by thousands of tourists each year.


We invite you to get to know the Polish Tatra Mountains in the photography of Łukasz Sowiński. You have already known his photos from Orava, not only the landscape ones, but also those related to Polish and Orava traditions. This time, Łukasz will take you to the Tatra Mountains.

However, Tatra Mountains differ from the Alps for sure in respect of their lengthiness. At similar peak heights (circa 2300 metres) the mountain range is very short and narrow. The length of Tatra Mountains as the crow flies amounts to 53 kilometres, whereas the length along the main ridge on almost entire length both along the tourist route as well as the border between Poland and Slovakia, 80 kilometres. The width of the Tatra Mountains is "up to" 30 km. On the territory of Slovakia and Polish Podhale there are many places, from which it is possible to admire their full splendour with no difficulty. The impression of fairy-tale character of the scenery and the vastness of the mountains is enhanced by the peculiar geological landscape construction. Both on the southern and on the northern side there are large tectonic valleys, with gentle 1000 meter hills behind them. Tatra Mountains seen from Podhale and lighted up by the morning sun actually constitutes the most beloved theme for Polish landscape photographers.

On the shores of streams, on the outlet of big Tatra valleys, there are both deciduous riparian-type forests as well as beach wood forests with a dash of pine tree. They quickly give place to spruce and fir forests, transforming into a strip of dwarf mountain pine, alternating with rowanberry and lofty Swiss stone pines, subsequently turning into mountain pastures or large meadows used to pasture the sheep and in winter serving as an excellent ski area. There are no glaciers in Tatra Mountains. On the height where there is actually cold enough during the whole year the slopes are to steep, so that they could hold any larger amounts of snow. The remaining of the ice age is a group of 200 unusually picturesque mountain lakes. Chochołowska Valley – with crocuses. Because the whole area of the mountains is protected by Poland and Slovakia in national parks it is not possible to cross ridge on other way than on foot or in winter on ski. However, It is possible to round Tatra Mountains on a bicycle. This trip is about 230 km long and due to stunning views belongs among the most beautiful in Europe. Tatra Mountains have been the most popular destination of wanders for more than 150 years.

Both in Polish and Slovak part the chain of tourist shelters and ski slopes is well developed. For skiers the most important thing is the recently modernised cable-car railway from Zakopane to Kasprowy Wierch as well as ski lifts complexes located in Goryczkowa Valley and Gąsienicowa Hala. They facilitate to do the ski slope on the highest world level. Even though mountain rescue system in Tatra Mountains is very well organised, still every year there are many lethal accidents. Due to the protection of nature and numerous threats resulting from the difficult territory, walking is restricted exclusively to the routes designated by the administrative organs of respective National Parks. It needs to bear in mind, that routes in Slovak part of Tatra Mountains are closed for winter. One glance on the map of Tatra Mountains is enough to tell, that the names of the valleys on both sides of the main ridge of the Tatra Mountains sound almost the same. Despite the fact, that Tatra Mountains have been divided with a political border "since forever", people dwelling Poland, as well as the historical "Upper Hungary" have always been close and related. Until the present day highlanders from Slovakia use similar dialect and usually deal with very similar branches and sectors of economy. Regional, characteristic dairy products from Tatra Mountains are smoked sheep milk cheese "oscypek" – made in the Tatra Mountains and "bunc", and the handicraft products are sheep's fur and hand-made shoes called "kierpce" i.e. shoes with pointed toes traditionally worn by Polish highlanders and vests. 73 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

We hope that you decide to go to Poland and spend your free time in the Tatra Mountains – and of course you would like to enjoy the snow and space. It is possible that your goal is not only to exercise in the fresh air, but you would also like to explore wildlife. On skis, snowshoes or just on foot (we write about it in the next article). There are many possibilities – the choice is yours. You will not be alone. Think: three million tourists each year and only a hundred of chamois. In the Tatra National Park, each animal has many more opportunities to meet a human being than a man to meet an animal. In order to observe animals without frightening them, you need to remember some rules and precautions. First, you need to know the laws that govern mountains in winter. It is difficult for people to imagine how much effort it costs animals to live in the mountains all year round and what dangers await them. The difficult life of mountain animals is worthy of our respect. By following a simple code, you can enjoy your stay in the mountains without harming the local nature. Winter tourism and wild animals

After the tour you will return to a warm apartment. Chamois and black grouse will stay in the mountains, trying to survive the next cold winter. Their survival depends largely on one thing: saving energy. Snow covers the daily food of the animals. Both herbivores and predators find it hard to find anything to eat. So animals have to rely on the fat stored under the skin. Food is scarce and the energy requirement is enormous - it is difficult to navigate in deep snow, and the low temperatures and wind make the necessity to maintain a constant body temperature really energy-consuming. So even the slightest move comes at a cost. Unnecessary energy consumption, for example as a result of flight due to accidental scare, can lead to the death of the animal from disease and exhaustion. The animals, weakened by unnecessary escapes, also become easy prey for predators.To save energy, the black grouse often hide from wind and frost in a snow igloo. If you get too close, you can disturb them and make them take off. It will cost them to deplete their life reserves. One short flight may seem harmless, but the total effort of frequent scare can be fatal.A chamois, escaping through the snow, uses many times more energy than when it was calmly nibbling on frozen lichens and dry grass a few minutes earlier. Tomorrow, it may run out of this lost energy.The man who scared the chamois, did not intend to harm them, he only wanted to take a nice picture ...


Winter tourism and safety

The life of animals and plants in the mountains is difficult. But of course, the laws that govern the mountains in winter also apply to us. So we also have to think about our own safety.In winter, the blue sky and beautiful sun can easily make us forget that: The temperature quickly drops by 10-15°C – after sunset, when we enter the shade or when the wind breaks and the spring thaw suddenly turns into a winter blizzard. The weather can change rapidly in both summer and winter. Therefore, take the appropriate equipment and clothing with you in anticipation of changing conditions. Also, consider taking a thermos flask with a warm drink and enough food to replenish the calories lost during exercise and needed to keep your body warm.Avalanche risk must be taken seriously. Don't be fooled by the friendly landscape and wary even if the road looks safe.In winter, the days are short and dusk falls quickly. This is a very important factor when planning a trip. Don't wait with going back home for the sun to set. There are many guides where you can find more detailed information on mountain safety. Remember to check the weather forecast and the current avalanche report before the trip. If in doubt, seek help from a qualified guide. Its task is to help you discover the mountains safely.

The Tourist Information Point is located at the Jana Pawła II roundabout (the so-called ‘Kuźnickie rondo’) in Zakopane. The point provide all useful tourist information, every day from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm. You can also contact the Point by phone: 18 20 23 300 or by e-mail: Feel free to contact Tourist Information Point before you set off on the trail. The tourist announcement on our website is constantly updated.

above: Towards the Low Tatras below: Towards Kopa Koindracka t

Tatra mountains Łukasz Sowiński


above: Krivan (Krywań) in the abyss below: Bielskie and High Tatrasxt


Tatra mountains Łukasz Sowiński

above: Western Tatras when the sky broke below: Krywan in a powdery sprinkle

Tatra mountains Łukasz Sowiński


Near Kasprowy Wierch – waves

Łukasz Sowiński

High Tatras, "unreachable"

Šukasz Sowiński

view from Kasprowy Wierch

Šukasz Sowiński

winter escape

active in tatra Kraków Tatra Mountains


Zakopane and Tatra mountains: something for everyone! One in Poland, we encourage you to visit Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains. Recreation can be both active and calm, as well as full of good food and entertainment. There is something for everyone! In recent years, increasing numbers of tourists have decided to explore the Tatra trails on skis. Ski touring, which can be described as a combination of traditional cross-country and downhill skiing, is extremely popular. For people who love skiing, the Tatra Mountains are a very attractive place to spend their free time. The dense network of hiking trails and ski lifts enables everyone to choose what suits them best. Natural snow cover, long, interesting slopes, and unique views make the ski runs there excellent. Due to those factors, a large number of winter visitors to the park are skiers, mainly skiing in the area of Kasprowy Wierch summit.

Winter in the Tatra Mountains is all about skiing!

It is not that simple in the areas located above the upper forest border. These routes are not maintained, nor additionally marked or secured. Therefore, during the period of snow cover, the use of trails located above the upper forest border requires precise knowledge of their course. The issue of the winter marking of the Tatra Mountains is not new. The great ski lover Józef Oppenheim writes in his 1936 ski guidebook: "Szlaki narciarskie Tatr Polskich" all winter marking are only indicative, showing the highest direction, but cannot be strictly taken as in summer. Marking in the field, where insolation, wind, and the variety of precipitation can create unpredictably variable conditions every day, must be treated by the skier as a signpost of the direction – never as a route that must be slavishly followed. This issue was discussed many times. Ultimately, a rule was adopted not to mark the trails above the upper edge of the forest. Remember that in Oppenheim's time, few people took up tourism in winter, so it was easier to educate this group. Today, it is already known that placing poles anywhere in the Tatra Mountains will cause a string of tourists to follow the exact trail marked by them, and that can be fatal. Ski routes, when they are made available, are marked with orange signposts and pictograms.

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

Ski tourism in the Tatra National Park can be practiced on tourist routes and ski trails. A dense network of ski trails is located in the upper part of the Bystra Valley, more precisely in the Goryczkowa and Kondratowa Valleys. The next trail is the former ski slope leading from the Gąsienicowa Glade to Kuźnice. Yet another one is located in the Chochołowska Valley. There are summer markings on hiking trails, which are often invisible in winter. On forest trails, the signs can be partially visible and their course can be easily guessed.

Ski Trail Markings


Cross-Country Ski Trails in Zakopane and the Surrounding Area Cross-country trail at the Krupowa Plain, in the very center of Zakopane: This trail is in the vicinity of Krupówki and has numerous twists that make up about 5km of an easy route, ideal for beginners.Biały Potok (White Stream): This is a picturesque, 5km cross-country trail (not always open) that is a bit difficult, due to a few quite steep descents (beginners can unbuckle their skis before the descent and go down on foot next to the marked trail). The route begins and ends at ul. Piłsudskiego just below the entrance to the Wielka Krokiew ski jump.Ski- running route of the Central Sports Centre: This trail is marked out in the area of the sports stadium and under the jumps, along Bronka Czecha street. It is the perfect training for more advanced runners. Note: Using the route is payable and priority should be given to training athletes. It is best to ask the caretakers of the facility in advance what times training takes place on the route and come for a run when the athletes are not there.Cross-country trail in Kościelisko: Kościelisko Chotarz is THE BEST, well-prepared trail. It is 10km long, very varied, and has a beautiful view of Giewont. The trail was created by a group of ski enthusiasts from Kościelisko. Well done! Crosscountry trail on Siwa Polana: This trail is a picturesque route marked out around the mouth of the Chochołowska Valley, at the glade called Siwa Polana (photo in the header) and on the White Stream (Biały Potok) Clearing. Unfortunately, it was not prepared last season, but if there is enough snow, you can go for a cross-country walk to the Chochołowska Valley and go up as far as the shelter. There are cross-country trails at the ski centres Kotelnica in Białka Tatrzańska and in Jurgów. Practical Rules and Recommendations Ski tourism can only be practiced when the snow cover protects the vegetation and soil from the effects of skiing. The principle of right-of-way for pedestrians applies on hiking trails open to ski tourism. On the ski and hiking trails available for ski tourism, the right of ascent traffic applies. Above the upper edge of the forest, ski tourism may deviate from the course of summer trails, but only when walking along the trail would endanger safety, mainly due to the risk of avalanches. Some of the ski trails are unidirectional and one must move in a certain direction. The applicable regulations prohibit ascending the slope, which is to be used only for the descent. Moving in the opposite direction poses a danger to both the descender and the person climbing up the slope. You must use skis while on a ski trail. 86 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Tourist paths: Myślenickie Turnie, Kasprowy Wierch, and the Gąsienicowa Valley (Dolina Sucha Stawiańska) Liliowe are accessible only to the ascent because they are located near ski runs, which can be easily used for skiing down. It should also be remembered that from December 1st to May 15th, the following sections of routes are closed to tourists, and therefore also to skiing: Pass of Przełęcz w Grzybowcu- Wyżnia Kondracka Tomanowa Valley – Chuda Przełączka Pass The Valley of Five – Polish Ponds – Świstówka Roztocka – Morskie Oko Right-hand traffic applies on tourist routes. This is especially true for the valleys where there is a lot of tourist traffic. Before going to the Tatra Mountains in winter, you should always check the current level of avalanche risk and read the recommendations for hiking for a given level of risk. You should also check the TPN tourist information. Wandering on the Tatra trails in winter requires appropriate knowledge, the use of equipment and accessories that enable movement in such conditions, as well as the ability to assess the risk of an avalanche in the field. You can also always use the services of an authorised guide. During the operation of the chairlift in the Goryczkowa Valley, access to the lower station of the chairlift is made available for pedestrians and skiers on the section between Gonciska – Wyżnia Goryczkowa Plain. During the operation of the chairlift in Dolina Gąsienicowa, the winter variant of the tourist trail is available for pedestrians and ski tourers on the section between the lower station of the chairlift in the Sucha Stawiańska Valley (the Gąsienicowy Cauldron) and Sucha Przełęcz.

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /



Ascending the Ski Run Due to the great popularity among ski-tourists of Kasprowy Wierch, the ski trail from the Niżnia Goryczkowa Plain to the top of Kasprowy Wierch is marked when the ski slope in the Goryczkowa Valley is available. While ascending, follow the edge of the route, along with the orange direction signs. It is not allowed to ascend using the central part of the trail. During the period of non-availability of the ski slope in the Goryczkowa Valley for downhill skiing, ski tourism can be practiced within the ski slope in the Goryczkowa Valley, provided that there is snow cover protecting the vegetation and soil against the impact of skiing. The use of this area requires thorough knowledge of its boundaries, as the area is not marked. Note: Skiing is not allowed in all areas!

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

The trails and areas available for ski tourism constitute a very dense communication network and there is no need to designate more. The inaccessible areas of the park constitute a refuge for fauna, for which winter is a particularly difficult period.


Other Activities Walk: Palenica Białczańska to the Shelter at Morskie Oko This activity is for complete novices and is aimed primarily at beginners in mountain trekking. I must admit that we followed this trail, but in the summer. In winter, Morskie Oko itself did not encourage me to visit. The trail starts from Palenica Białczańskie, where you can get to by your own means of transport or by bus from the center of Zakopane (one-way ticket costs about PLN 10 per person). In winter, there are fewer buses, so it is worth hitting the trail as early as possible and remember that around 4.00 pm it is already dark (and cold!). From Palenica, you take the red trail. It will take you 2 to 2.5 hours to reach the shelter. The trail runs for 9km along a boring, asphalt, winding road covered in the winter with a thick layer of snow (slightly uphill). With heavy ice, non-slip pads/crampons will be useful. On the way, we pass boards informing us about the avalanche danger in a section of about 2km. We should neither stop in these places nor take a trip on days with a high risk of avalanche. The return trip in winter should not take more than 4-5 hours.

Walk: Chochołowska Valley to the Shelter in the Chochołowska Glade The green trail to the shelter on the Chochołowska Glade (Polana Chochołowska) begins its run from Siwa Polana. We get there using our car or by taking a bus from the center of Zakopane. The Chochołowska Glade itself is an extremely beautiful place. The peaks of the western Tatras rise above it. Wołowiec looks particularly impressive. We are about a good 2 hours walk away from Polana Chochołowska along the green trail, which leads us successively through the Huciska Glade, Dudowa Valley, Starorobociańska Valley, and Trzydniówka Glade, reaching finally the Chochołowska Glade. Until the Huciska Glade, the trail leads us along a boring asphalt road. Then we walk along a flat gravel path, and then up a stone "sidewalk".In terms of time, the trail is almost identical to the trip to Morskie Oko from Palenica. In winter conditions it will take you from 4 to 5 hours. Walk: Strążyska Clearing and Siklawica Waterfall You can start the trip near Wielka Krokiew, at Cafe Roma, where the entrance to the Strążyska Valley is located. A leisurely walk from Wielka Krokiew takes 30 minutes to reach Droga pod Reglami. There is also a small parking lot for cars. The Strążyska Valley is one of the most popular valleys near Zakopane, situated between the valleys of Dolina ku Dziurze and Dolina za Bramką. It leads to the walls of Giewont massif. The trail goes along a flat and wide road to the Strążyska Clearing, which, according to the signpost, takes 40 minutes. After a few minutes, we reach the first bridge over the stream called Strążyski Potok. There, you can hear the soothing noise which will accompany us at the bottom of the valley. In the Strążyska Clearing, there are some chalets, a buffet for tourists, and benches. Those willing can continue along the yellow trail that will take them to the Siklawica Waterfall in about 15 minutes. The yellow trail leads slightly uphill over large stones. They can be extremely slippery in winter, so we advise you to be careful and use additional protection under your shoes. Siklawica, a 23-meter waterfall, descends at an 80-degree angle (13 meters high lower wall and 10 meters high upper wall). The name of the waterfall is derived from Siklawa in the Valley of Five Polish Ponds. Walk: Kościeliska Valley, Smreczyński Pond, and the Shelter at the Ornak Glade (Hala Ornak) Another winter suggestion is a walk along the Kościeliska Valley to the Smreczyński Pond (the only one in the western Tatras) and on the way back, a stop at the shelter at the Ornak Glade. We start the trip in Kiry, where again you can get to by your own means of transport or using a bus, going from the center of Zakopane. The trail is almost 13.5 km long and the estimated time of its passage without breaks is only 4 hours. Remember to

add the obligatory relaxation time by the pond and a stay at the shelter in Hala Ornak. The Kościeliska Valley, 8km long and 34 square km in area, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the whole Tatras. Walk: White Stream Valley Another suggestion is a walk through the White Valley along the yellow trail, which begins not far from Wielka Krokiew and the Strążyska Valley. As I mentioned earlier, both trips can be connected to make a loop, visiting Sarnia Rock. The valley is characterised by dolomite walls and numerous rock gates, which gives it a unique mysterious character. Going through the subalpine forest valleys is the shortest distance to Zakopane. The trail continues along the White Stream and its relaxing, humming sounds. The trip is not long, as it takes about 2 hours. An alternative is to extend the hike to Kalatówki and the Kondratowa Glade on the way back to Kuźnice (or return along the same route). This is an option for an approximately 5 hour walk with beautiful views.

relax after hiking

Zakopane offers a lot of opportunities to relax for visitors. We recommend to try: Sleigh Rides Horse-drawn sleigh rides and evening sleigh rides in Zakopane with torches, often ended with a bonfire with sausages, are a very popular winter attraction in every mountain town. Zakopane, unfortunately, does not have a prepared route on which a horse sleigh could move freely without disturbing cars or even pedestrians. The organisers of sleigh rides and the cab drivers face a dilemma every year. That is whether to enter the pavement, where there is usually a lot of snow, by breaking the regulations or whether to tire the horses and sheer the pleasure of passengers while riding down the normally snowfree street. We recommend the Kościeliska Valley and the Chochołowska Valley for sleigh rides in Zakopane. Dog Sled Rides For several years, dog sled rides have been very popular among tourists visiting Zakopane in the winter. Both adults and children enjoy this attraction. We recommend husky sled rides to entire families spending their time in the Tatra Mountains. Dog sledding is the best winter attraction for groups. Aquaparks and Therms Thermal baths and water parks in Zakopane are really important places during trips for a reason. They are amazing attractions for children who love to swim and parents who want to amuse their toddlers.




art gallery

THE GALLERY OF 20TH CENTURY ART AT OKSZA VILLA the newest branch of the Tatra Museum Zakopane, Zamoyskiego 25 Str.


History of Oksza villa text source:


„Artists and Art in Zakopane”

Oksza villa (earlier named Korwinówka) was designed in autumn 1894 for the wealthy government mining official Wincenty Kossakowski and his wife Bronisława who came from the Silesian town of Sosnowiec. It was the third house to be designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz in the Zakopane Style. In the Spring of 1895, a group of skilled Highlander carpenters, led by Wojciech Roj and Jan Obrochta, began the villa’s construction and completed it the following year, while some of the furniture and woodwork was done by Kazimierz Sieczka. In 1899, the villa was purchased by Count Marcin Kęszycki, an aristocratic friend of the Witkiewicz family, and he renamed the villa Oksza, after his family's coat of arms. After Kęszycki's sudden death in January 1900, his widow, Countess Kęszycka, lived there for many years before selling the house some time during or immediately before the First World War. As Witkiewicz wrote in 1911: „(...) Oksza, which at first was owned by the Kossakowskis and then by the Kęszyckis, was built based on a pre-prepared architectural plan. A nearly symmetrical layout led to a symmetrical exterior shape. (…) Oksza is the least complicated of Zakopane's houses. The applied decorative and architectural motifs had been tested in previously built houses, with the addition of covered passageways around the eastern wall and a gallery connected to a two-storey outhouse in the yard.” In the interwar period, the villa housed a sanatorium and later a school boarding house. During the Second World War, the Nazis moved the house-keeping school for girls there from nearby Kuźnice. After the war, Oksza reverted to a sanatorium for children at risk from tuberculosis until 1965 when it became state property of the Krakow Region. It became a guesthouse. All these changes resulted in modifications and renovations which altered Oksza’'s appearance and interior. At present, Oksza villa is owned by the Tatra Museum. In 2010, this precious example of architecture by Stanislaw Witkiewicz was restored and adapted to house the Gallery of 20th Century Art. The historical building has had its original shape restored and the visitor can see in its interiors many interesting details and ornamentation in the Zakopane Style, for example the ceilings with decorative beams, the richly decorated door frames and the carved window frames. The Gallery of 20th Century Art at Oksza villa was officially opened on May 14, 2011, with the exhibition “Zakopane – the Hub of the Universe. Art at the Foot of Giewont in the Years 1880-1939”.

The exhibition spans nearly 60 years and two periods in Polish art – the Young Poland movement and the interwar period. The Young Poland movement initially emerged in the region from the School of Wood Crafts and the Lace-making School, and then later in the circle of Stanisław Witkiewicz and his idea of the Zakopane Style. At the same time, a small village at the foot of the Tatras became a meeting point for the elite of the Polish intelligentsia from the three parts of Poland partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Zakopane was the place of contact and of the free exchange of ideas that focused around the issues of regaining independence for Poland. The village became a spiritual and cultural capital of Poland, and was often called “the Polish Athens” or “the Polish Piedmont”. Modern artistic ideas went hand in hand with progressive social, political, scientific and even sports initiatives (alpinism and skiing). At the end of this period, Zakopane's artists organised themselves in “Sztuka Podhalańska” [Podhale Art] and “Kilim” Societies. All the Zakopane traditions, institutions and societies mentioned above continued their activities during the interwar period. In sovereign Poland (which regained independence in 1918), the avant-garde movements (Expressionism, Formism and Futurism), which aimed at creating a Polish modern national art, had a strong impact on Zakopane's artistic community. 91 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

The Zakopane colony is usually described as an artistic and literary colony, as some of the artists, such as Stanisław Witkiewicz (father) and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (son), Leon Chwistek, August Zamoyski and Rafał Malczewski, also had considerable literary achievements, which have been important for Polish culture. Art, literature and poetry were interwoven in Zakopane’s artistic (and social) life, complemented mutually and linked with other types of creative work – music (Mieczysław Karłowicz, Karol Szymanowski), artistic dance (Rita Sacchetto) and theatre (the Formist theatre of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz). Many of the displayed art works and their authors have interesting literary references and contexts.

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

In both periods, Zakopane had its own original conceptions and achievements in its quest for a national style; during the period of Tatra Young Poland, it was Stanisław Witkiewicz's Zakopane Style. In the interwar period this search for a ‘Polish’ style continued with the participation of the leading artists of the time (Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, August Zamoyski, Leon Chwistek and Rafał Malczewski) in the avantgarde movements as well as Zakopane being established as an interesting modern centre of sculpture and graphic arts, initiated by Karol Stryjeński at the School of Wood Crafts. The exhibition „Artists and Art in Zakopane” is based on the Tatra Museum's own collection, complemented by a few loans. It embraces painting, graphic arts, drawing, sculpture and photography, as well as applied arts and posters.

The display includes artworks by Leon Wyczółkowski, Wojciech Weiss, Zofia Stryjeńska, Jan Rembowski, Rafał Malczewski, Stanisław Gałek and Jan Gąsienica Szostak; psychological portraits by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz; sculptures by Konstanty Laszczka, Wojciech Brzega, Stanisław Sobczak, Jan Szczepkowski and pupils of the School of Wood Crafts; kilims and lacework, artistic woodcarving and many others exhibits.

We would like to also encourage you to visit two other branches of the Tatra Museum:

the beautiful, historic Highlander house situated at Droga do Rojów 6, which along with its interiors constitute the ideological model of the Zakopane Style, now the Museum of the Zakopane Style – Inspirations; Koliba villa, ul. Kościeliska 18, which was the first house built in the Zakopane Style, designed by Stanislaw Witkiewicz, and which now hosts the Museum of the Zakopane Style. Both these places are connected to the exhibition at Oksza villa by many threads, and only by visiting all of them can you fully grasp the main movements and issues of art in Zakopane until WW II.


Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

The exhibition presents the output of the artistic community and artists who were temporarily connected with Zakopane at a time when the village was Poland’s leading centre of artistic excellence. All of them drew inspiration from the Tatra mountains and the Tatra Highlander culture. The display is presented in the interiors of Oksza villa, designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz in 1894 in the Zakopane Style, which was restored by the Tatra Museum in 2010.


"Ecce Homo" Hermitage St. brother Albert Address: Droga Brata Alberta Str. 215, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland

SAINT BROTHER ALBERT CHMIELOWSKI The Painter Who Became an Advocate for the Poor.

Two small monasteries are located in the mountain forests in the vicinity of Kuźnice of the Albertine Sisters and the Albertine Brothers. Both were established thanks to Brother Albert – Adam Chmielowski. First, the Albertine Brothers’ Monastery (on the left side of the road and trail from Kuźnice to Kalatówki), with a wooden hermitage of St. Albert, were erected in the end of the 19th century. In 1902 the Albertine monks moved to a new building constructed nearby, and they gave the old monastery to the Albertine Sisters. Karol Wojtyła often visited the heritage, since he highly admired Adam Chmielowski’s work. Wojtyła's drama, Our God’s Brother, was based on Brother Albert’s life. As Pope John Paul II, he initially conducted Chmielowski's beatification and then canonized Brother Albert. He visited Saint Albert's Tatra hermitage for the last time in 1997.

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

True cultural connection is the Holy Grail for brands if they want to create an enduring emotional relationship with people.

In Igołomia, on the outskirts of Cracow (Poland), the noble family of Adalbert Chmielowski and Josephine Borzysławska announced on August 20, 1845, the birth of their son Adam (Brother Albert). Mr Chmielowski together with his wife, raised their children in an atmosphere of patriotic ideals, strong faith in God and a Christian love for the poor. Orphaned at an early age, Adam and his two brothers and a sister were raised by relatives who also provided them with an excellent education. At the age of eighteen, while Adam was a student at the Polytechnical Institute at Puławy, he lost his leg while taking part in the 1863 uprising. Because of the political repression following the uprising, he left Poland. In Gand (Belgium) Adam studied engineering; however, having discovered his artistic ability, he devoted his time and studies to the arts, especially painting, in Paris and Munich, Germany.In 1874 he returned to Poland as an accomplished artist. Slowly, with the desire "to dedicate his thoughts and talents to the glory of God", Adam began to paint subjects with a religious theme. One of his most famous artistic works was "Ecce Homo", the result of his recognition of God's love for man, which led Chmielowski to a spiritual metamorphose. n Cracow's public dormitories Adam saw the material and moral misery of the homeless and the derelicts, and for the love of Christ, whose countenance he recognised in their foresaken manhood, he decided to abandon his career, to live among the poor and needy and to accept a beggar's life and lifestyle.

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /

On August 25, 1887 Adam clothed himself in a grey habit and assumed a new name, Brother Albert. The following year he professed religious vows and founded the Congregation of the Brothers of the Third Order of St Francis Servants of the Poor, (Albertine Brothers). In 1891 he founded a similar Congregation of Albertine Sisters whose aim was to provide assistance to poor and needy women and children. Brother Albert organized shelters and homes for the crippled and incurables, soup kitchens for the poor, nurseries and institutions for homeless children and youth. He sent sisters to work in military hospitals and lazarets. In the shelters, the hungry received bread, the homeless found a place to live, the naked were clothed and work was available to the unemployed. A helping hand was extended to everyone, regardless of one's religion or nationality. While trying to meet the basic needs of the poor, Brother Albert with a fatherly love concerned himself with the spiritual welfare of those to whom he ministered. He instilled within them a proper respect for one's dignity and brought them to reconciliation with God. Brother Albert drew his strength to fulfil these acts of charity from his love for the Eucharist and for Jesus on the Cross. Brother Albert died on Christmas day 1916, in Cracow, in the shelter founded by him, poor among the poor. The legacy he bequeathed to his spiritual brothers and sisters was the complete gift of himself to God in the service of the poor and needy, a life of evangelical poverty according to the example of St. Francis of Assisi, unconditional trust in the Providence of God, prayer and union with God in the work of every day.

"You must be as good as bread, which for everyone rests on the table and from which everyone, if hungry, may cut himself a piece for nourishment" is the lesson Brother Albert's unselfish life teaches us.The spiritual heritage of Brother Albert was joyfully accepted by the members of his Congregations, who today continue his mission to the poor and needy in Poland as well as other countries of the world. Recognising the sanctity of Brother Albert, his contemporaries referred to him as "the greatest person of his time". Seen as the twentieth century Polish St. Francis, Brother Albert was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 22, 1983 in Cracow.In proclaiming him among the saints on November 12, 1989 in Rome, the Church presents Brother Albert to a world in need of this witness of God's mercy by one who opened himself to the needs of others, in the spirit of evangelical goodness. source:



True cultural connection is the Holy Grail for brands if they want to create an enduring emotional relationship with people.

Saint Brother Albert

Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski /



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photo: Gregor Laubsch

VISIT: Sielskie Inscenizacje Kamila Rosińska

Kamila Rosińska CHRISTMAS STORIES *published for the first time

Kamila Rosińska - mother, wife, photographer / set designer, visual artist, educator, master of arts, graduate of The Leon Schiller National Film, Television and Theater School in Łódź at the Cinematography Department with a specialisation in photography. She is an exhibition curator of a Czech art gallery. “I have had lots of awards and exhibitions, both in Poland and abroad. I am a fulfilled woman". As she claims, today's art of photography often no longer serves the mimesis function, that is, imitating reality. Instead, it is rather a mirror transforming this reality into contemporary language. The world of children's photography is a beautiful and at the same time demanding artistic space. A great responsibility rests on the creator, his or her sense of aesthetics and sensitivity. As a creator, you should always be aware of that. You should not completely subordinate the child, facing the other side of the lens, to your creative visions. Probably a very difficult postulate since in the context of children's photography, the line between subjectivity and objectification is extremely thin. “In addition to idyllic and fairy-tale children's creations, I also create more abstract, surreal pictures that are exhibited and sold in art galleries. Visual communication is very important to me”.







"ADVENTURE IN THE ATTIC" Everything that I am about to tell you really happened

On the other hand, Clementine the Mouse, as enchanted, stared

one day...

at Szczepan the Cricket, when he gently and gracefully played

...and it was like this... it was a grey, winter day, outside the

his tiny violin and listened and listened to it until she fell asleep

window you could see lazily falling snowflakes, one by one,

and dreamed that she was a tiny note, lifted by a breeze,

evenly, one on top of the other, creating a down duvet on

dancing and swirling in the air like snowflakes, shining in the

everything they sat on. Father Frost tried to get inside through

moonlight like a star.

the cracks in the windows, but at home, the dancing sparks

...since then, Theodore the Cat, together with his friend little

from the fireplace, along with the flames of the fire, made sure

Clementine Mouse, often go to the attic to listen to Cricket

that everyone was safe, warm and cosy. As always at that time

Szczepan's concert in silence and concentration, and Szczepan

of the day, and it was right after lunch, old Cat Theodore and

eagerly plays for his new friends.

Mouse Clementine were having a little game of tag, and no one

...who knows, dear children, whether you, being quiet, will not

suspected what would happen soon. Right next to the living

hear Szczepan the Cricket's concert.

room with a fireplace, there was a winding, creaky staircase that led to the attic. The Mouse Clementine, escaping from Cat Theodore, ran up the stairs with her tiny paws, until she was in the attic. There,

she saw many things, forgotten by the

members of the household, covered with a layer of dust and a spider's web. However, her greatest attention was drawn to the sight of an old piano standing right under the roof hatch. Suddenly, the Mouse heard Cat Theodore running up the stairs and, in time to hide from him, jumped on the piano's keyboard and onto the roof-window sill. Immediately, there was a beautiful sound and Clementine heard the notes from the piano whirl in the air, with grace and elegance. Surprised, Theodore stood dumbfounded and listened as well, because the sound was so soft and subtle that even the slightest rustle could disturb it. The whole event was also seen by Szczepan the Cricket who left his house, awakened by a lovely sound. The Cricket often played the violin, but no one ever heard him, because to hear a tiny cricket you have to be really quiet... but what is that?!! One of the Notes hooked her foot on Szczepan's violin and the next notes began to swirl with the sisters. They were very tiny and very soft notes, but they sounded so beautiful that all the animals were quiet to hear them better. Szczepan the Cricket was very happy to have such listeners. Cat Theodore liked this concert so much that he moved to the rhythm of the music with his fat, shaggy tail so rhythmically that he swept the dust and cobwebs from the entire attic.







"CHRISTMAS AND THE NUTCRACKER" One starry evening, when everything was bathed in

see you shining in the sky, there will not be Christmas or

moonlight and all household members were already

Christmas Eve. You are the Christmas Star, someone special!” the

sleeping well in their beds, a wooden Nutcracker jumped

Nutcracker said anxiously. “The leg will not heal so quickly and I

out of the old wardrobe in grandma's room. He had a

will not be able to jump very high on one leg,” Christmas Star

beautiful red uniform and a cap, high black boots, a white beard slightly plucked by the children, and a torn arm.

answered in a sad, soft voice. Tears flowed from her beautiful, shiny eyes that were as round as pearls.The toys sadly watched the beautiful guest who unfortunately could not stay with them.

The Nutcracker lived in a drawer of an old wardrobe all year

“What are we going to do now?” the Gingerbread Boy asked. “We

round, and only when Christmas was approaching, would he be

have to confer,” the Nutcracker replied.The Christmas

removed from the drawer. Then, he would be placed under the

decorations gathered in the corner of the room. They began to

Christmas tree next to a wicker basket full of hazelnuts

discuss, consult, and whisper among themselves. Only the soft

because no one could handle hard nuts like him. This time, the

rustling of their coats could be heard. The Nutcracker, as the

Cracker was looking forward to Christmas and decided to

oldest of the toys, assigned tasks to everyone because the only

stretch his old rotten bones. Suddenly, there was a noise in the

way they could help Christmas Star was by working together.

living room! Through the slightly open window, snow stars fell

“We have a plan, we are ready, and we will help you get back to

on the scratched floor and piled on top of one another. But,

the sky,” the Nutcracker said to Christmas Star. There was a

what was that?! There was a star that was different from the

cheerful sparkle again in the eyes of the Star. On the old

rest of the snowflakes, shining bright and much larger than the

wardrobe in the room, there was little Leopold's bow, so two

rest of them. It flickered and glowed. The Nutcracker had

Christmas tree angels with a Christmas tree chain flew into the

never seen such a miracle and such a brightness before, even

air on their tiny wings and landed on the wardrobe. The chain tied

on the most beautiful Christmas tree, and he had seen a lot of

the bow immediately, and the little angels carried them down,

Christmas trees in his cracker-nut life. “Who are you?” the

just next to Christmas Star.“Christmas Star, you will fly to the

Nutcracker asked in surprise (it should be noted that the

sky. I made an arrow from a Christmas tree twig, you only need

Nutcracker was not a curious person and never asked

to hold on tight,” the Nutcracker said, handing a small star a

unnecessary questions). “I am the Christmas star,” replied the

piece of twig finished with spruce needles.The Star did as the

frightened beauty in a soft voice.The Nutcracker could not

Nutcracker told her and the Christmas tree decorations

take his eyes off the mysterious guest. She lit the room so

stretched the slightly frightened bow of little Leopold. Using the

much that she woke up other Christmas decorations sleeping in

Christmas tree branch, they shot the Christmas Star straight into

the wardrobe. The toys immediately jumped out of their boxed

the sky. The Christmas tree bells rang softly like drums and the

houses. “Ooh, who is that?” the curious Jack-In-The-Box

little Christmas tree reindeers were kicking their feet in the

asked. “It's the Christmas Star!” the Nutcracker answered.

excitement.“We did it!!!” the toys called with one voice. The sky

“What a beauty!” the round Christmas ornament exclaimed.

seemed to shine brighter and the little Star winked at her friends

Meanwhile, Christmas Star started to become weaker and

on the ground as a sign that she arrived home. A friendship had

weaker. Everyone could see that her glow was fading. “What

arisen in their hearts, in which there is no place for fear and

happened, Christmas Star, why are you here?! You should shine

anxiety, and the little hearts of friends are full of good deeds.

in the sky! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and there will be no

“It's time to rest, my dears. It's Christmas Eve tomorrow and a

Christmas without you,” said the big, colourful Lollipop.“Oh, I

lot of work awaits us,” the Nutcracker said to his Christmas tree

need some help! I was playing tag with the other stars and

friends. They all returned to their boxes in the old wardrobe.It

tripped over Aunt Comet's tail! I fell straight into your room. I

was a magical evening, full of warmth, goodness, and love. No

injured my leg and I can't jump back into the sky,” answered

one else, apart from Christmas decorations and a little Star,

Star. “Christmas Star, you cannot stay with us! If people do not

knew about it.







"LITTLE PINE TREE" A long time ago, in a hut on the edge of the forest, the old

Who knows how much longer we would live together. When

woodcutter Joseph lived with his wife, Aniela. Their

Joseph was digging a pine tree out of the ground, she asked him

granddaughter Margaret lived with them. They were poor, but very good people, and they loved one another.

to tell her about his wife's illness, so he did it. It was already dusk, the frost was getting stronger, tired Joseph trembled

Old Angela's health was deteriorating. The old woman's lungs

with cold, but the thought of the joy of little Margaret cheered

had long been in poor condition. They could not afford the

him up. When he reached the yard of his hut, he dug a deep hole

doctor's appointment and expensive medicines, Joseph, a

right by the window and planted a pine tree there.

woodcutter, worked all days, but it didn't help, there was

"You will live here," he said to the tree.

barely enough money for food. Christmas was approaching,

- Joseph, this is the most beautiful gift I could receive this

winter was beautiful that year. The tiny windows in the

Christmas - the tree replied.

wooden hut sparkled like diamonds in the sun. Frost drew

- Please, listen carefully - the pine tree continued - every day

coniferous twigs and leaves on them. Old Aniela's condition was

open the window in Aniela's bedroom, and I promise that this

deteriorating, and Joseph was very worried about it, only the

time next year there will be no trace of your wife's illness. Old

smile on Margaret's face made the grandfather feel better.

Joseph listened to the tree, covered its roots with a lot of earth

Finally, it was Christmas Eve.

and wrapped it in a slightly perforated burlap sack so that the

- Joseph, you would have to bring a Christmas tree from the

poor plant would not get cold. At home, he told everything that

forest - old Aniela told her husband.- All right, my Angel, I will

had happened to him. Old Aniela only smiled, and little Margaret

leave tomorrow morning and bring us the most beautiful, green

ran to decorate her green friend with a beautiful, hand-made

tree that I can find in the forest - old Joseph replied.At dawn,

chain. She was glad that she would have a Christmas tree not

when old Aniela and little Margaret were still asleep, old Józef

only for Christmas, but for the whole year.

put on his shabby trench coat, tied his worn shoes with straw

Time passed, seasons changed quickly, and another winter came.

to keep his feet from getting cold, pulled a holy hat over his

As requested by Pine Tree, Aniela opened the window in her

ears and set off to the forest for a Christmas tree. The milky

bedroom every day. And surprisingly, she felt better and better.

mist was breaking from the fields into the forest, and the snow

It was Christmas Eve, white snow covered the earth. Old Joseph

was pouring down as hard as if someone in the sky was flicking

was sweeping the snow in front of the hut entrance when he

duvets, one snowflake after another. It was freezing cold that

heard the voice of the Tree.

day. The thicket of the forest did not want to let any

- Joseph, is your wife feeling better?

Christmas trees get seen. Joseph had wandering for a long

Joseph had almost forgotten what the tree had told him a year

time. It became quiet in the forest, the wind stopped. Only

ago when he spared its life.

snowflakes were gently falling down, covering trees, fields and

- Yes, my Aniela seems to have recovered. How did you do that?

roads. Between the old, large oaks, Joseph noticed a little pine

The old man asked.

tree, its needles were green and long, and it smelled so

- It wasn't me. It was you who saved both of us, Joseph. Thanks

wonderful that he didn't want to look any longer. Joseph's cold

to the fact that you did not take my life, I was able to clean the

hands could barely hold the heavy axe when he suddenly heard

air at your farm and blow some healthy, forest air into your

a voice. Joseph, Joseph, please don't cut me down. I am a living


pine tree and I don't want to die. If you spare my life, I will

- I will continue doing it for many years to come, and then my

repay you - the pine tree said. Joseph thought for a moment

children, sisters and brothers will do it - the pine said. Many

and said:

years have passed since that event, but the old hut of my

- I will not cut you down, I will not kill you, but I will take you

grandparents, Aniela and Joseph, is still standing in the pine

with me, because without you the house would be empty for

forest, and the smell of pine needles intensifies before

Christmas and my Aniela would not forgive me.

Christmas, reminding us of those who are no longer with us.

















Kamila Rosińska

"PRZYGODA NA STRYCHU" Wszystko to co Wam zaraz opowiem, zdarzyło się naprawdę...

A było to tak... Był szary, zimowy dzień, za oknem widać było leniwie, spadające płatki śniegu, które układały się równo, jeden na drugim, tworząc na wszystkim na czym tylko usiadły, puchową pierzynkę. Dziadek Mróz próbował przez szczeliny w oknach, dostać się do środka lecz w domu, tańczące w kominku iskierki, wraz z płomykami ognia, dbały by wszystkim było, bezpiecznie, ciepło i przytulnie. Jak zawsze o tej godzinie, a było to tuż po obiedzie, stary Kot Teodor wraz z Myszką Klementyną bawili się razem w berka i nikt nie podejrzewał co się niebawem wydarzy. Tuż obok salonu w którym był kominek, znajdowały się kręte, skrzypiące schody, które prowadziły na strych. Myszka Klementyna, uciekając przed Kotem Teodorem, wbiegała swoimi malutkimi łapkami schodek po schodku, aż znalazła się na strychu. Zobaczyła tam wiele zapomnianych przez domowników rzeczy, które pokrywała warstwa kurzu i rozciągająca się po wszystkim pajęczyna. Jednak jej największą uwagę, przykuł widok starego fortepianu, stojącego tuż pod dachowym okienkiem. Nagle Myszka usłyszała, biegnącego po schodach Kota Teodora i by zdążyć mu się schować, wskoczyła po klawiaturze fortepianu, na parapet okienka w dachu. W jednej chwili rozległ się przepiękny dźwięk i Klementynka usłyszała, jak nutki z fortepianu wirują w powietrzu, z gracją i elegancją. Zdziwiony Teodor stał jak osłupiały i również słuchał, bo dźwięk ten był tak cichy i subtelny, że każdy najmniejszy nawet szelest mógł go zakłócić. Całe zajście widział również, Świerszcz Szczepan który wyszedł ze swojego domku, obudzony ślicznym dźwiękiem. Świerszczyk często grywał na skrzypcach, ale nigdy go nikt nie słyszał, bo żeby usłyszeć maleńkiego Świerszcza trzeba być naprawdę cichutko... ale cóż to?! Jedna z Nutek zahaczyła nóżką o skrzypeczki Świerszcza Szczepana i kolejne nutki zaczęły wirować z siostrami. Były to bardzo malutkie i cichutkie nutki, ale tak pięknie brzmiały, że wszystkie zwierzątka były cichutko, by móc je usłyszeć. Świerszcz Szczepan, bardzo się ucieszył, że ma takich słuchaczy. Kotu Teodorowi tak się ten koncert podobał, że ruszał w rytm muzyki, swoim tłuściutkim, kudłatym ogonem tak rytmicznie, że aż pozamiatał kurz i pajęczyny z całego strychu. Myszka Klementyna natomiast, jak oczarowana wpatrywała się w Świerszcza Szczepana, gdy delikatnie i wdzięcznie grał na swoich malutkich skrzypeczkach i tak słuchała i słuchała, aż zasnęła i śniło jej się, że jest malutką nutką którą unosi wietrzyk i która tańczy, i wiruje w powietrzu jak płatki śniegu, lśniąc w blasku księżyca jak gwiazda... od tego czasu Kot Teodor, wraz ze swoją przyjaciółką mała Myszką Klementynką, często chodzą na strych posłuchać w ciszy i skupieniu koncertu Świerszcza Szczepana a Świerszcz Szczepan chętnie gra dla swoich nowych przyjaciół... Kto wie drogie dzieci czy Wy będąc cicho nie usłyszycie koncertu Świerszcza Szczepana. 112 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


Kamila Rosińska

"SOSENKA" Dawno temu, w chacie na skraju lasu, mieszkał stary drwal Józef ze swoją żoną Anielą. Razem z nimi mieszkała wnuczka Małgorzatka.

Biedni to byli ludzie, ale bardzo

dobrzy i kochali się wzajemnie.

bez Ciebie na Święta byłby pusty, a moja Aniela by mi tego nie darowała. Któż to wie, ile nam dane jeszcze z sobą pożyć. Gdy Józef, wykopywał drzewko sosnowe z ziemi, to poprosiło, by opowiedział o chorobie swojej żony, co też uczynił. Zapadał

Stara Aniela podupadała na zdrowiu. Płuca staruszki od dawna

już zmierzch, mróz stawał się coraz silniejszy, zmęczony Józef

były w złym stanie. Nie stać ich było na wizytę lekarską i

drżał z zimna, ale myśl o radości małej Małgorzatki dodawała

drogie leki. Drwal Józef, całymi dniami pracował, lecz i to na

mu otuchy. Gdy dotarł na podwórze swojej chaty, tuż przy

nic się zdawało, pieniędzy wystarczało ledwie na żywność.

oknie wykopał głęboki dół i usadowił tam sosenkę.

Zbliżały się Święta Bożego Narodzenia, zima tego roku była

Zamieszkasz tutaj – powiedział do drzewka.

piękna. Maleńkie okienka w drewnianej chacie skrzyły się w

Józefie, to najpiękniejszy prezent, jaki mogłam otrzymać w te

słońcu jak diamenty. Mróz narysował na nich iglaste gałązki i

Święta – odpowiedziało drzewko. Proszę, posłuchaj uważnie –

liście. Stan Starej Anieli pogarszał się, a Józef martwił się tym

mówiło dalej sosnowe drzewko – uchylaj codziennie okno w

bardzo, tylko uśmiech na twarzy Małgorzatki poprawiał

sypialni Anieli, a obiecuje, że za rok o tej porze nie będzie śladu

dziadkowi humor.

po chorobie Twej żony. Stary Józef wysłuchał drzewka,

Nadeszła Wigilia. Józefie, trzeba by przynieść choinkę z lasu –

przysypał mu korzenie dużą ilością ziemi i zawinął jutowym,

powiedziała stara Aniela.

lekko już dziurawym workiem po mące, aby biedaczyna nie

- Dobrze Anielciu, wyruszę jutro z samego rana i przyniosę nam

zmarzła. W domu opowiedział wszystko, co mu się przytrafiło.

najpiękniejsze, zielone drzewko jakie znajdę w lesie –

Stara Aniela uśmiechnęła się pod nosem, a mała Małgorzatka

odpowiedział stary Józef.

pobiegła przystroić zieloną przyjaciółkę w piękny, ręcznie

O świcie, gdy stara Aniela z Małgorzatką jeszcze spały, stary

zrobiony łańcuch. Cieszyła się, że będzie mieć choinkę nie tylko

Józef włożył swoją nędzną kufajkę, obwiązał zniszczone buty

na Święta, ale na cały rok.

słomą, coby mu nogi nie zmarzły, naciągnął na uszy dziurawą

Czas płynął, pory roku zmieniały się szybko i nadeszła kolejna

czapę i wyruszył do lasu po choinkę. Mleczna mgła wdzierała

zima. Zgodnie z prośbą Sosnowego Drzewka, Aniela codziennie

się z pól do lasu, a śnieg sypał tak mocno, jakby ktoś w niebie

uchylała okienko w swojej sypialni. I o dziwo, czuła się coraz

pierzyny trzepał, jeden płatek śniegu za drugim. Mróz tego

lepiej. Nastał wieczór Wigilijny, biały śnieg pokrył ziemie. Stary

dnia był bardzo silny. Gęstwina lasu ani myślała drzewek

Józef zamiatał, śnieg przed wejściem do chaty, gdy usłyszał

choinkowych ukazywać. Józef wędrował już długo. W lesie

głos Drzewka. Józefie, czy Twoja żona czuje się lepiej?

zrobiło się cicho, wiatr ustał. Tylko płatki śniegu delikatnie

Józef już prawie zapomniał o tym, co powiedziało mu drzewko

opadały, przykrywając drzewa, pola i drogi.

rok temu, gdy darował mu życie. Tak, moja Anielcia jakby

Między starymi, dużymi dębami, Józef dostrzegł sosenkę,

wyzdrowiała. Jakżeś to zrobiło? – zapytał staruszek. To nie ja,

igiełki miała zielone i długie, a pachniała tak cudownie, że nie

a Ty uratowałeś nas obie Józefie. Dzięki temu, że nie odebrałeś

chciał już szukać dłużej.


Zziębnięte ręce Józefa ledwie mogły utrzymać ciężki topór,

gospodarstwie i tchnąć zdrowe, leśne powietrze do waszej

gdy nagle rozległ się głos.

chaty. Jeszcze przez wiele lat będę to robić, a później będą to

Józefie, Józefie nie ścinaj mnie proszę. Jestem żywym

robić moje dzieci, siostry i bracia –powiedziała sosenka. Od

drzewkiem sosnowym i nie chce umierać. Jeśli darujesz mi

tego zdarzenia minęło wiele lat, lecz stara chatka moich

życie, odwdzięczę Ci się – powiedziała sosenka.

dziadków, Anieli i Józefa, nadal stoi w sosnowym lesie, a zapach

Józef pomyślał chwilę i mówi:

igliwia nasila się przed Świętami, przypominając o tych, których

- Nie zetnę Cię, nie pozbawię życia, ale zabiorę ze sobą, bo dom

już z nami nie ma.









Kamila Rosińska "GWIAZDKA I DZIADEK DO ORZECHÓW” Pewnego rozgwieżdżonego wieczora, gdy wszystko było

zostać, jeśli domownicy nie zobaczą Ciebie błyszczącej na niebie,

skąpane w świetle księżyca, a domownicy już smacznie

to nie będzie Świąt i Wigilii, jesteś Gwiazdką Bożego Narodzenia,

spali w swoich łóżkach, ze starej szafy w babcinym pokoju

kimś wyjątkowym! – powiedział zatrwożony Dziadek do

wyskoczył drewniany dziadek do Orzechów.

Orzechów. Nóżka, nie wygoi się tak szybko, a na jednej nie uda mi

Miał piękny czerwony mundur i czapkę, wysokie czarne oficerki,

się podskoczyć tak wysoko – smutnym, cichym głosikiem

lekko wyskubaną przez dzieci białą brodę i naderwaną rękę.

odpowiedziała Gwiazdka Bożego Narodzenia, a z jej ślicznych

Dziadek do Orzechów mieszkał w szufladzie starej szafy przez

błyszczących oczek popłynęły, okrągłe jak perełki, łzy. Zabawki

cały rok i tylko, gdy zbliżały się Święta Bożego narodzenia,

ze smutkiem przyglądały się pięknemu gościowi, który niestety

wyjmowano go z szuflady i stawiano pod choinką tuż przy

nie mógł z nimi zostać. Co teraz zrobimy? – zapytał Piernikowy

wiklinowym koszyku pełnym laskowych orzechów, bo nikt tak jak

chłopczyk. Musimy się naradzić – odpowiedział Dziadek do

on nie radził sobie z twardymi orzechami. Tym razem Dziadek nie

Orzechów. Ozdoby choinkowe zebrały się w rogu pokoju. Zaczęły

mógł się już doczekać Świąt i postanowił rozprostować swoje

dyskutować, naradzać się i coś szeptać między sobą, słychać było

stare spróchniałe kości. Nagle w salonie rozległ się hałas, przez

jedynie delikatny szelest ich kubraczków. Dziadek do Orzechów,

lekko uchylone okienko, na obdrapaną podłogę wpadały śniegowe

jako najstarsza z zabawek, wszystkim przydzielił zadania, bo

gwiazdki i układały się jedna na drugiej.

mogli pomóc Gwiazdce tylko wspólnymi siłami. Mamy plan,

Ale… co to?! Pomiędzy drobinkami śniegu leżała gwiazdka inna od

jesteśmy gotowi i pomożemy Ci wrócić na niebo – powiedział do

reszty, lśniąca i dużo większa od pozostałych. Migotała i lśniła.

Gwiazdki Bożego Narodzenia, Dziadek do Orzechów. W oczkach

Dziadek do Orzechów nie widział nigdy wcześniej takiego cudu i

Gwiazdki znów ukazał się błysk. Na starej szafie w pokoju leżał

błysku, na najpiękniejszej nawet choince, a przecież widział sporo

łuk małego Leopolda, dwa choinkowe aniołki wraz z łańcuchem

choinek w swoim dziadkowo-orzechowym życiu. Kim jesteś? –

choinkowym wzbiły się na swych malutkich skrzydełkach w

zapytał ze zdziwieniem dziadek do orzechów, a trzeba zaznaczyć,

powietrze i wylądowały na szafie. Łańcuch w mig obwiązał łuk, a

że Dziadek do Orzechów do ciekawskich nie należał i nigdy nie


zadawał zbędnych pytań.

Narodzenia. Gwiazdko, polecisz do nieba, zrobiłem strzałę z



gałązki choinkowej tylko musisz się mocno trzymać – powiedział

cichuteńkim głosem wystraszona piękność. Dziadek do Orzechów,

Dziadek do Orzechów, podając małej gwiazdce kawałek gałązki

nie mógł oderwać wzroku od tajemniczego gościa, który

zakończony igiełkami świerku.

rozświetlał pokój tak mocno, że obudził inne ozdoby choinkowe,

Gwiazdka zrobiła tak, jak mówił Dziadek, ozdoby choinkowe

śpiące w szafie. Zabawki w mig wyskoczyły ze swoich

wspólnymi siłami naciągnęły lekko już struchlały łuk małego

pudełkowych domków.

Leopolda i na gałązce choinkowej wystrzeliły Gwiazdkę prosto w

Ooooo a któż to taki? – zapytał zaciekawiony Pajacyk. To

niebo. Dzwoneczki choinkowe z wrażenia, dzwoniły cichutko

Gwiazdka Bożego Narodzenia! – odpowiedział Dziadek do

niczym werble, a małe choinkowe reniferki przebierały nóżkami.

Orzechów. Jaka piękna! – powiedziała pękata Bombka.

Udało się!!! Zawołały wspólnie zabawki. Niebo rozbłysnęło jakby

Tymczasem, Gwiazdka Bożego Narodzenia opadała z sił i widać

jaśniej, a mała Gwiazdka mrugnęła oczkiem do swoich przyjaciół

było, że jej blask przygasa.

na ziemi, na znak, że dotarła do domu. W ich sercach zrodziła się

- Co się stało Gwiazdko, dlaczego tu jesteś?! Powinnaś błyszczeć

przyjaźń, w której nie ma miejsca na lęk i strach, a

na niebie, jutro jest Wigilia, bez Ciebie nie będzie Świąt –

serduszka przyjaciół pełne są dobrych uczynków.

powiedział duży kolorowy Lizak. Oh, potrzebuję pomocy, bawiłam

Czas odpocząć moi mili, jutro Wigilia i czeka nas wiele pracy –

się w berka z innymi gwiazdkami i potknęłam się o ogon ciotki

powiedział Dziadek do Orzechów do swoich choinkowych

Komety, no a dalej to już wiecie, spadłam i wpadłam do waszego

przyjaciół, wszyscy udali się do starej szafy do swoich pudełek

pokoiku. Skaleczyłam nóżkę i nie mogę podskoczyć by wrócić na

Był to magiczny wieczór, pełen ciepła, dobroci i miłości. Nikt inny,

niebo – odpowiedziała Gwiazdka. Gwiazdko, nie możesz z nami

poza ozdobami choinkowymi i małej gwiazdki, o nim nie wiedział…





Aniołki zniosły ich na dół tuż obok Gwiazdki Bożego






the past Nativity scene from Wieliczka Digitalisation: RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project, public domain

Author: unknown Date of production: 19th/20th century Place of creation: Wieliczka, Poland Dimensions: height in total: 136cm, base length: 115cm, base width: 46cm Museum: The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków Material: wood, metal, cardboard, tinfoil, paper, rye, stearin Object copyright: The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków

"A model of a puppet nativity scene, symmetrical, with two storeys and five towers, provided with carrying handles on its sides. The entire structure is made of wood, the base and the upper floor of boards, and the frame from strips of wood. The walls are made of cardboard; the ground floor is covered with red paper with “bricks” painted with black ink and the walls of the upper floor and towers are covered with paper cut-outs in the shape of windows and star ornaments. The floors are separated with a decoration of horizontal, multicoloured stripes with silver teeth on the sides.Side towers with eight walls reinforced at the outer edges with round, silver pillars with spiral belts with Gothic helmets in the form of slender octagonal pyramids topped with silver balls and flags, above them: red, fluttering to the centre (central), and white-blue (outer), waving outside. The central tower — set on a four-sided building, nine-sided, with the same pyramidal cupola — is topped with an eight-pointed star with a tail, which according to popular imagination represents the star of Bethlehem. In the centre of the floor, between the walls with symmetrical cut-outs in the shape of six-petal flowers, there is a niche covered with silver paper, and inside, there are colourful figures printed on paper, cut out by contours. Inside, there is a printed fragment of wall on a blue background with yellow stars, in the window, there are two cats, and against the background — a bird. In the middle there is a Nativity scene, with the baby Jesus in the manger, the Virgin Mary and Joseph leaning over him, while behind them, there is a donkey and ox, and in front of them and at their sides: bunnies and adoring figures — Three Kings, residents of Kraków, Highlanders, Miners with children. Above them, angels are carrying a scarf with the words MERRY CHRISTMAS and in the background, there is a five-pointed star with a tail. At the front, pieces of a Christmas tree chain made of silver and red aluminium foil hang under the roof like garlands. Originally, most of the figurines were located on the ground floor, set inside, against a background of crumpled grey paper imitating rock (currently there is a highlander with sheep, probably secondary figurines, pasted during maintenance, as part of the figurines from the floor). This is an earlier method of showing a stable shed in the Nativity scene as a rocky cave, and its location on the ground floor of a puppet crib. Only figurines of shepherds and sheep were on the 1st floor. There is also an entire Christmas scene under the roof made from ears of grain, supported by two round pillars, which is supposed to represent thatch in the stable in Bethlehem. This museum exhibit is an example of a carolling puppet crib unique to Poland — a portable theatre derived from the Christian tradition of Nativity, which means arranging Christmas scenes and images depicting a newborn baby Jesus in the surroundings of the Holy Family and people adoring them in churches. According to Jędrzej Kitowicz: “We have a message from the Gospel that Christ, born in a stable, who was placed in praesepio. Praesepe means manger in Latin. A farmstead under a manger is called Jasła, where the servant put the straw under the horses; whoever first invented the nativity play (...) understood that the manger and jasła are the names which mean the same as the Latin word praesepe, and therefore gave his dolls and children's epigrams, with which he expressed Nativity, the Polish name for jasełka [a nativity play]”. .../.../... description:, Elaborated by Małgorzata Oleszkiewicz (The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków) © all rights reserved


Christmas hay and plant elements in the decor related to Christmas Eve decoration of houses and tables. In the Polish tradition, straw and hay were one of the basic elements and materials associated with the traditional decor of a Christmas home, but they also had their religious significance. The hay placed under the tablecloth symbolises the poverty in which Jesus was born, and the white tablecloth refers to his garments. Hay is a symbol of modesty, but it is also supposed to bring prosperity to the household. In some parts of Poland, stalks of hay are pulled out from under the tablecloth. The person who pulls out the straight, longest stalk will be successful in the following year. The one who pulls out the broken, short stalk can expect trouble. In the old days, hay from the Christmas table was later given as feed to animals to keep them in health. The practice of putting hay under the tablecloth has been criticized by some. Opponents of this tradition consider it a superstition. The pagans offered hay as an offering to their god, Ziemiennik, who looked after the wastelands. Apart from hay, other elements of natural origin were also used. The walls of the houses were covered with straw stars and crosses, as well as the so-called "dziady", or bunches of straw. The hay and straw in the house were not only to favour the aforementioned abundant harvests, but were also a symbol of Jesus' poor birth, who was placed on hay and straw in an uncomfortable manger, replacing the cradle. In the southern part of Poland, grains of cereals, peas, poppy seeds, and lentils were thrown on the table prepared for the supper, before arranging pots and bowls with food. Without it, the harvest of plants the seeds of which were not on the tablecloth, as well as those that were ingredients of twelve dishes on Christmas Eve, i.e. cabbage, mushrooms, peas, barley and buckwheat groats, turnips, potatoes, dumplings with traditional filling, could be poor. Currently, little is remembered about these elements of the festive interior. Our ancestors, constantly taking care of the good harvest, placed various items in the room. For example, iron things, e.g. plows and scythes, were placed under the table. It was supposed to scare away pests damaging crops. The table legs were tied with chains to keep the bread in abundance. Fir, spruce and pine branches were also popular. Many things were decorated with them, such as walls, picture frames, entrance doors. They were also nailed to the gates to the barn and cowshed. In the area of Nowy Sącz and the Rzeszów Foothills, during the Christmas season, short spruces brought from the forest by the household members appeared in front of the house - for good luck and good harvest, successful plant vegetation, and at the same time for a nice, festive decoration. 118 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Another green ornament that resembles common Christmas tree but is much older is the forked tip of a spruce (or pine) tree. This type of decoration was popular in southern and south-western Poland, in such areas as Podhale, Pogórze, Cieszyn Silesia, the lands of Nowy Sącz, as well as Kraków, the vicinity of Jarosław, Rzeszów, Lublin and Sandomierz. They were hung over the Christmas Eve table. Wire hoops (e.g. from an old cutter), wrapped with green branches, or shields made of straw, decorated with fir, were attached. On them, in turn, home-made cookies, red apples, golden oat seeds, paper decorations and cutouts in the shape of discs, stars and crescents made of wafer, as well as a large, colourful "worlds" (“światy”), from wafers glued together, were hung. Depending on the cited region, this ornament had its own special name. It was believed that the decoration called "podłaźniczka" suspended from the ceiling not only looks beautiful, but also brings goodness home: it protects from bad luck and disease, provides abundance, understanding and love, and for the virgins short looking for husbands and successful marriages. After drying out, it was crushed and added to animal food and buried in the furrows of the fields to improve the harvest. Ornaments that were traditionally hung on "podłaźniczka", i.e. wafer stars and "worlds”, homemade cookies, nuts and apples, also appeared on the first Christmas trees. In the past, they were also decorated with hand-made long chains, paper baskets for hazelnuts and dried fruit, pendants, peacock eyes and angels, cut out of a colorful and shiny template.



Christmas kitchen KUTIA

kutia Kutia (sometimes called kutya) is one of the most popular dishes during Christmas, present on both Catholic and Orthodox tables. Although kutia is not prepared in every region of Poland, because its origin is typical for the eastern parts of the country and the borderlands, it is one of the most basic dishes of the Polish Christmas Eve style. The way it is prepared has changed over the decades. I remember my mother, who often prepared wheat with my help for many days – it had to be soaked thoroughly and then, after placing it in a cotton sack, carefully cleaned by hitting the sack for hours with a wooden hammer. Today, although it is easy to buy carefully cleaned wheat in a store, its taste remains largely unchanged. Simply put, kutia is a combination of wheat and poppy seeds with nuts and dried fruits, sweetened with honey. However, its significance at Christmas is considerable. In the Slavic folk tradition, the poppy was a plant that allowed people to cross the border between life and death. Kutia, i.e. the combination of wheat with the addition of honey and poppy seeds, symbolically linked the past with the future and emphasized the passing of time on Earth. In Christian legends, poppy flowers were supposed to grow in places where drops of the blood of the crucified Christ fell.

Since ancient times, honey has been considered a magical substance in which supernatural powers reside. It was believed that it protects against evil, provides joy and abundance. Consumed on Christmas Eve, it was to ensure the favour of supernatural forces, as well as prosperity and long life. Kutia is boiled in water until soft, preferably so that it solidifies together with the rest of the stock into one mass after cooking. The cooked kutia is combined with boiled, three-time-ground poppy seeds, honey, raisins and chopped walnuts. And this is the secret, because just like in the rest of the world, there are no two identical snowflakes - there aren't two identical kutia either. Each housewife prepares it in her own way, has her own secret; so the final outcomes of kutia can differ with consistency, sweetness, amount of dried fruit, thickness of chopping nuts. Gourmets say that the first choice begins with the decision which honey to use: whether the safest one, i.e. multi-flower, or, for example, buckwheat or lime.



Ingredients for approx. 1.5 litre

Rinse the kutia wheat, pour water over it and leave it to soak overnight. Pour hot milk over the poppy seeds (a little more milk than to cover). Cover the pot with poppy seeds and milk with a plate and let it cool. The next day, drain the wheat, pour fresh water and cook until tender. (It takes approx. 30 minutes or longer depending on the grains. After cooking, wheat should be tender but not overcooked. Drain and cool. Drain the poppy seeds in a sieve lined with muslin or a cloth and squeeze well. If it is not ground, grind it at least twice in a meat grinder using a fine mesh strainer. (The ground poppy seeds are ready, after pressing, for further preparation). Chop the nuts. Add honey to the poppy seeds and mix. Add chopped nuts, almonds, raisins, chopped orange zest and diced figs. Finally, stir in the wheat. If necessary, add more honey to taste. Chill kutia in the refrigerator before serving.

150g of poppy seeds (can be ground) ½ cup of wheat for kutia (without husks) ½ cup of honey (or more if you like) 130g of nuts, preferably mixed (= 1 cup) 60g peeled, chopped almonds (= ½ cup) 60g raisins (½ cup) 50g of candied orange peel 4 dried figs milk for blanching poppy seeds (approx. 500ml)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Magdalena Tomaszewska-Bolałek




scholar, head of Food Studies at the SWPS University, author of the following








Culinary Traditions of Korea, Polish Culinary Paths, Culinary Traditions of Finland, Deserownik and The Polish Table. Recipient of many Gourmand World









Chinese Diamond Cuisine Award and Magellan Award. She researches the history of cuisines, anthropology of food, culinary diplomacy and tourism. She conducts meetings gives lectures, cooking classes and writes the blog Kuchniokracja. She promoted Polish culinary culture in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Moldova and on Jersey Island.

CONTACT: The table is not only a piece of furniture. It is also often the centre of a culinary universe around which people sit to talk, laugh and enjoy food. It’s a magical place where tradition meets the present day. We often don’t










photo: Marta Pańczyk

favourite dishes and ingredients, yet flavours, smells and stories have a long-lasting









culinary culture is a wonderful adventure. I invite you to sit at the table – the Polish table.

The Polish Table – Mesa polaca –

POLSIH TABLE by Magdalena Tomaszewska-Bolałek

Honeycake Layered with Jam / Miodownik przekładany konfiturą dough 320-350 g / 11-12 oz. all-purpose flour 50 g / 1.8 oz. sugar 1 flat tsp of baking powder 1 big egg 100 g / 3.5 oz. butter 80 gr / 2.8 oz. liquid linden honey Pour the flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Add the egg, butter and honey. Knead the dough and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. When it's cooled down, divide it in 3 parts. Using a knife, cut three 9x21cm rectangles. Put the rectangles onto a tin lined with paper and bake for around 18-23 minutes at 180°C / 350°F. When baked, cut the rim, to get nice, even rectangles. filling 600 g / 21 oz. cherries or plums 70-90 g / 2.5-3 oz. sugar 20 ml / 1.5 tablespoons liquid honey 40-50 g / 1.5-1.8 oz. butter fresh thyme Pit the fruit and cut them in half. Melt the butter in a pan and braise the plums. When they are soft, add sugar and honey, and braise on a low heat, until you get a pretty solid jam. Put one cooled down cake top in a baking mould. Spread a layer of fruit on top. Then cover it with another layer of cake, and then another layer of fruit. Put the third layer of cake on top. Cool the cake down in the fridge for 5-6 hours. Just before serving, cut into pieces, 2-3 cm / 0.8-1.2 in thick. They can be sprinkled with additional honey or fruit syrup, and decorated with fresh herbs.


photo: Magdalena Tomaszewska-Bolałek

visual guide

Highlight of Ski resorts in Poland

guide by: lovePoland

In Poland , you can look forward to around 500 kilometres of slopes: the ski resorts are served by approximately 700 ski lifts. Located in the heart of Europe, Poland is home to impressive mountain ranges, from the Table Mountains to the High Tatras and the Carpathian's range. With much more affordable ski resorts than Austria or Switzerland, Poland is a perfect destination for you if you want to avoid high prices and large crowds, so check out where to ski for a perfect winter holiday.

1. Szczyrk Mountain Resort, Silesia (Województwo śląskie) This is one of the biggest and most popular winter sports centres in Poland. It is covered with snow from December through to April. There are 14km of routes to choose from – starting with the FIS championship route, the famous ‘Bieńkula’ and ‘Golgota’, ending with trails for children and beginners. Over 30 lifts including a chair lift on Skrzynka guarantee quick transport to the starting line. Szczyrk also knows how to entertain its guests, ‘après ski’ . The skiing area of Szczyrk welcomes you and your family warmly to spend your winter-holiday on and around its slopes. Being one of the larger ski areas of Poland the skiing resorts offer you numerous well groomed and prepared slopes.The overall skiing area may be divided into four parts. Put into descending order in terms of the total length of the slopes they are Skrzycyne, Bila, Czyrna-Solisko and Ski Salmopol. Szczyrk will be of special interest to all snowboarders, as it is provides great, curvy descents as well as a number of different jumps. 2. Białka Tatrzańska, Kotelnica/Kaniówka/Bania, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie) It is a 17th century village in the south of Poland close to the Slovak border which operated a small ski hill with a couple of drag lifts in the 20th century but rapidly expanded in to one of the largest and most popular in Poland during the first decades of the 21st century and now has very impressive uplift linking up three former smaller centres Kotelnica, Kaniówka and Bania. Of slope facilities include a modern spa. The Polish ski resort of Białka Tatrzańska is in the Polish Tatras at an altitude of 680m, with 17km of marked runs. Białka Tatrzańska is one of the larger Ski Resorts in Poland and has direct access to 17km of downhill skiing, served by a total of 2 ski lifts.The skiing is at relatively low altitude, so snow cover can be variable. 3. Szymoszkowa, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie), Zakopane. The ski resort Szymoszkowa is located in Zakopane. For skiing and snowboarding, there are 4 km of slopes available. 2 lifts transport the guests. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 865 and 1126m. beginners: B - blue marked slope of 400m /60m elevation difference with a four-person chair lift. intermediates: A - red/blue marked slope of 1.500m /280m elevation difference with a six-person chair lift. Ski school: yes, English speaking ski and snowboard instructors, ski and snowboard courses for children and adults. Lighting: Yes. High season slopes are open until 9pm


4. Kasprowy Wierch – Zakopane, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie) Zakopane Being the most popular skiing mountain in Poland, with a height of 1.987 m ASL, Kasprowy Wierch is located almost in the centre of the Tatra mountain range and thus has excellent conditions to admire the Tatras as well as to practise winter sports.Two ski runs start from the top of Kasprowy Wierch.The first one, leading to the Hala Gąsienicowa pasture, meets the FIS requirements, and the skiers may use a four-person chairlift with a capacity of 2400 persons/hour.The second one leads to the Hala Goryczkowa pasture. It is possible to ski down to Kuźnice from both the Hala Gąsienicowa and Hala Goryczkowa pastures. Kasprowy Wierch / Polskie Koleje Linowe S.A.Kuźnice 14, PL-34-500 Zakopane 5. Zieleniec, Lower Silesia (Województwo dolnośląskie) Zieleniec Ski Arena is the capital of alpine skiing in the Kłodzko region. This is mainly due to 23 kilometres of beautifully situated and picturesque ski slopes, varying in length and, in particular, in the level of proficiency. The more demanding skiers and snowboarders will love it – the longest trail in Zieleniec is 2800 meters long; there is also a black trail called “Na krechę” (Straight down the slope), but also families who want to try skiing, or just spend their free time in a nice and active way in the open air will find something for themselves. It is also worth mentioning that most of the ski trails in Zieleniec Ski Arena (22 trails to be precise!) have artificial lighting, so that you can ski on our slopes until 21:00. 6. Szklarska Poręba – Szrenica, Lower Silesia (Województwo dolnośląskie) Ski Arena Szrenica offers 12 km of trails with a snowmaking system covering nearly 100% of the area intended for downhill skiing. Trails of varying levels of difficulty will give a lot of satisfaction to both experienced and beginner skiers. Capacity of cable cars and ski lifts is 10,000 people per hour. 7. Śnieżka – Karpacz, Lower Silesia (Województwo dolnośląskie) The ski resort Śnieżka – Karpacz is located in Lower Silesian Voivodeship. For skiing and snowboarding, there are 5.8 km of slopes available. 6 lifts transport the guests. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 820 and 1,350 m. 8. Czarna Góra – Sienna, Lower Silesia (Województwo dolnośląskie) Black Mountain is a modern ski resort built in 1996 and located in the town of Sienna. Through good planning wide slopes and the ski areas, the construction of a suitable and efficient system of lifts and snowmaking system developed Black Mountain is now a leader in the Sudetenland, and even in Poland. Web: 9. Biały Jar – Karpacz, Lower Silesia (Województwo dolnośląskie) The ski resort Biały Jar in Karpacz offers three downhill runs with a total of 2.5 km of slopes. All three slopes (two red, one blue) start at the top station of the 6-seater chair lift, which is equipped with bubbles and heated seats. For beginners and children there is also a magic carpet in the area of the top station.In the main season until the end of February, the lift runs until 9 pm. In the evening hours the slopes are illuminated for night skiing.Not far from Biały Jar, the Karpacz ski resort offers other downhill skiing opportunities.

Wrocław 6. Szklarska Poręba

9. Biały Jar – Karpacz 7. Śnieżka – Karpacz

8. Czarna Góra – Sienna

5. Zieleniec

created by lovePoland *Accurate: November 2020. We did try to make it as accurate as possible but always check for a possible changes. update: Poland will enter a national quarantine from Dec. 28-Jan. 17 that will include the closure of hotels (including most business trips), ski slopes and shopping malls. Please check for further updates.


14. PilskoKorbielów 10. Beskid Sport Arena (Szczyrk)

12. Śnieżnica – Kasina Wielka

13. Jaworzyna Krynicka

1. Szczyrk 3. Szymoszkowa 4. Kasprowy Wierch

10. Beskid Sport Arena (Szczyrk), Silesia (Województwo śląskie) The Beskid Sport Arena near Szczyrk offers four downhill runs with a total of 3.2 km of slopes. Beginners practice their first turns on piste no. 4. After that, the blue run no. 1 takes you back down to the valley. If you are already confident on your skis, try the red piste no. 2 or the black piste no. 3, which runs below the chair lift. The 6-seater chair lift is equipped with weather protection hoods. 11. Słotwiny Arena, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie) For skiing and snowboarding, there are 2.2 km of slopes available. 3 lifts transport the guests. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 697 and 861 m. All slopes are regularly groomed, are equipped with a snowmaking system and are illuminated in the evening. There is also a restaurant for your physical wellbeing. There is also a hotel right next to the ski lift, so that skiing fun can begin right on your doorstep! There are 10 slopes in total. Słotwiny Arena - Krynica-Zdrój. Słotwińska 51A Str, 33-380 Krynica-Zdrój 12. Śnieżnica – Kasina Wielka, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie) For skiing and snowboarding, there are 2.9 km of slopes available. 2 lifts transport the guests. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 610 and 902 m. Season: 19.12.2020 - 28.03.2021, Operation: 09.00 - 22.00

15. Ski station Park Magura

11. Słotwiny 2. Białka Arena Tatrzańska, Kotelnica/ Kaniówka/Bania,

13. Jaworzyna Krynicka, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie) In Jaworzyna Krynicka there are perfect conditions for practicing winter sports: downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding. The snow cover stays here for at least 4 and often even 5 months a year. On the slopes of Jaworzyna Krynicka, there are 8 ski runs with a total length of over 8.3 km, four of which have FIS approvals. There are plans to mark out more ski slopes.Skiers in the winter season, apart from a 6-seater gondola lift and two 4-seater chairlifts, also have five T-bar lifts. The ski runs have varying degrees of difficulty. On route 6 there is a large snow park and a 400m slalom track with time measurement. 14. Pilsko – Korbielów, Silesia (Województwo śląskie) For skiing and snowboarding, there are 8 km of slopes available. 11 lifts transport the guests. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 750 and 1,557m. Current season: 2020-12-12 - 2021-04-05. General season: early December - early April. Opening times: 09.00 - 16.00 15. Ski station Park Magura, Lesser Poland (Województwo małopolskie) Small but cute. For skiing and snowboarding, there are 1.4 km of slopes available. 1 lift transports the guests. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 553 and 813m. Opening times: 09.00 - 20.00. Location: Małastów 27, 38-307 Sękowa






Dariusz Sirko (born 1992) is a graduate of international relations at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw and the Graduate School for Social Research certified by Lancaster University at the Polish Academy of Sciences. contact:

POCKET HISTORY OF POLAND began as a course on Polish history and culture that Dariusz Sirko, then 25, gave in Madeira Island, Portugal, while participating in the European Voluntary Service in 2017. The avid interest that the presentation kindled in the course’s international audience inspired Sirko to expand and deepen it into this book. The informal, youthful, conversational tone of the presentation has carried over into the book. It is one of the qualities that distinguishes it from other readily available histories of Poland, in printed form or online, from Wikipedia to bulkier library tomes. The book’s light and friendly banter could be deceiving at first. But as one goes through the its 150 plus pages, the book unrolls as a serious work at heart, brimming over with oversize personalities, events, conflicts, images, analyses, and themes. Even as the author closely worked with history experts based in Warsaw and London, he has managed to carry over a voice of youthful serendipity in the book. As the work unfolds, the reader could find Sirko connecting the subject at hand to anecdotes about his friends or references to pop culture, providing a fresh and contemporary accent to events and passions of a long-distant past.


A ribald Bette Middler joke pops up in a section on the centuries-old complicated and often devastating relationship between Poland and Germany; Facebook is invoked in the story of the 18th century King Stanislas and the revolutionary hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko; there is an anecdote about the author’s friends who, following tradition and hoping for luck in love, rub the tail of the mermaid statue in Warsaw celebrating the founding myth of the city that tells of the marriage between the fisherman Warsz and the mermaid Sawa. Meant not only for history enthusiasts but also for tourists, POCKET HISTORY OF POLAND would enhance and enrich any visit to this part of the globe – literary, virtual or in-person. Would you like to know why the Polish coat of arms features a white bird and a sunset-red background? Or why Poland has often been referred to as the beating heart of Europe? Or how the country has fared postCommunism or post-EU accession? The continuing relevance of these and many other themes and stories animate a multi-dimensional book filled with outsize-personalities, some of them globally redefining, like Copernicus, Chopin, Walesa, John Paul II, and Marie Curie. Even those already steeped in Polish history could find new perspectives in the book, in the way it revivifies or embellishes narratives of, say, the Piast or Jagiellonian medieval dynasties (with their fair share of heroes, libertines, and saints) with the occasional wry comment that could only come from someone who has grown in the internet age. Those who have little acquaintance with Polish history and culture will experience a stimulating and enriching dive not only into the book's core focus but the history of Central/Eastern Europe as well. From the time in the late 1400s that the country became the largest in Europe to 1795 when it completely vanished from the map to the subsequent world wars, Poland’s territory with its shifting borders has always been a major prize in the various liaisons, intrigues, concords and discords in this corner of Europe that has had an outsize impact on the world's history. The book thus unavoidably deals with thematic insights on Germany, Austria, Russia, and other powers that have at some point ruled, partitioned, or absorbed the Poles throughout their dramatic history. Yet throughout their tribulations, the Polish people kept faith in their common heritage of language, culture and stories. This is one of the running threads that keep POCKET HISTORY OF POLAND from turning into a confusing and unwieldy mélange and makes it a lucid narrative of the region. POCKET HISTORY OF POLAND reaches deep into the past to illuminate the personal and the present, the white bird from the ruins.

Get your copy: The book is available in most bookstores in Poland and online platforms, also in digital form.

II edition