Page 1

MARCH – MAY 2018  |   VOL 1   |   ISSUE 3      ISSN 2515-8503

travel.lovePoland

through the lens

Go East FORGOTTEN LAND

When I photograph the inhabitants of Podlasie, they do not pretend anything, they are real, photographed in their everyday surroundings. Jerzy Rajecki PODLASKIE KLIMATY


LOVEPOLAND.ORG

media partner witkacy theatre in Zakopane www.witkacy.pl

"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.


VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3

from the editor

Dear Readers, Welcome to the spring edition of the magazine. As in previous editions, we show you Poland through beautiful photographs, hoping to encourage you to search on your own and visit our country. The motto of this number is 'Go East'. Eastern Poland is definitely less known and popular among tourists, probably due to the further distance from the most popular tourist centres. However, it has much to offer, especially for those who seek peace, silence and communing with nature. We devoted two important texts to the East. The first of them, ‘Magic of Podlasie’, is a conversation with Jerzy Rajecki, an enthusiast and a real institution when it comes to photographs and documentation of this region. Another article is 'Holy Mount Grabarka' with an excellent text by Alicja Marciniak-Nowak.   For me personally, as for an editor of the magazine, the conversation with Franciszek Kupczyk and his photographs of monks from the Camaldolese Assembly are of particular importance. Beautiful, in-depth thoughts on the nature of our life, combined with the mystical photography of monks. Do not skip the conversation with Janusz Wańczyk who passionately talks about his favourite Sądecczyzna.   In the short introduction it is impossible to mention everything but I hope that the beauty of the Tatra nature shown by Przemysław Piegza and the 'storks' by Paweł Pluciński will win your hearts.   Get to know some Polish traditions connected with Easter and especially those related to the Easter basket. And finally – look at ‘Idyllic Poland’ – a book by Mikołaj Gospodarek. Have a nice time with Travel.LovePoland.  artur tomasz tureczek Editor-in-Chief Travel.LovePoland

Contributors to this Issue: Alicja Marciniak-Nowak, Rosie Conheady, Mikołaj Gospodarek, Franciszek Kupczyk, Przemysław Piegza, Paweł Pluciński, Jerzy Rajecki, Janusz Wańczyk.    Our special thanks to Rosie Conheady for the original illustration - see more of her work at: www.rosieconheady.co.uk and Kasia Śpiewankiewicz - graphic editor @britanniaweb.co.uk for the support. Thank You.  If you would like to support or cooperate with our magazine please contact us via: info@lovepoland.org

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 

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

M A G A Z I N E

VOL 1. ISSUE 3  MARCH – MAY 2018

CONTENTS Malbork: The Castle of the Teutonic Order 0 5

Warszawa – The Phoenix City 1 2

the Holy Mount of Grabarka 3 2

Magic of Podlasie Jerzy Rajecki 6 8

Ora at Labora Franciszek Kupczyk 8 8

30 38 50 62 80 102 110 114

Zwierzyniec - Church on the water Idyllic Poland  – Mikołaj Gospodarek Nature – Paweł Pluciński Crocuses in Tatra – Przemysław Piegza Beskid Sądecki – Janusz Wańczyk Easter Celebration Lipnica Murowana Culture: Cricoteka

photo on the front cover:  Stork by Paweł Pluciński


M A L B O R K

The Castle of the Teutonic Order

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MALBORK

1914, lovePoland archive

1914, lovePoland archive

1914, lovePoland archive

THE CASTLE OF THE TEUTONIC ORDER

The castle was originally built by the Teutonic Knights, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg (Mary's Castle). The town which grew around it was also named Marienburg. In 1466, both castle and town became part of Royal Prussia. It served as one of the several Polish royal residences, interrupted by several years of Swedish occupation, and fulfilling this function until Prussia claimed the castle as a result of the First Partition of Poland in 1772. Heavily damaged after World War II, the castle was renovated under the auspices of modern-day Poland in the second half of the 20th century and most recently in 2016. Nowadays, the castle hosts exhibitions and serves as a museum. The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress and, on its completion in 1406, was the world's largest brick castle. UNESCO designated the "Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork"  a World Heritage Site in December 1997. It is one of two World Heritage Sites in the region with origins in the Teutonic Order. The other is the "Medieval Town of Toruń", founded in 1231 as the site of the castle Thorn.    Malbork Castle is also one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments (Pomnik historii), as designated on 16 September 1994. Its listing is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland.


The castle was built by the Teutonic Order after the conquest

The Order's administrative centre was moved to Marienburg

of Old Prussia. Its main purpose was to strengthen their own

from Elbing (now Elbląg).

control of the area following the Order's 1274 suppression

The Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Siegfried von

of the Great Prussian Uprising of the Baltic tribes.

Feuchtwangen, who arrived in Marienburg from Venice,

No contemporary documents survive relating to its construction,

undertook the next phase of the fortress' construction. In 1309,

so instead the castle's phases have been worked out through

in the wake of the papal persecution of the Knights Templar and

the study of architecture and the Order's administrative records

the Teutonic takeover of Danzig, Feuchtwangen relocated his

and later histories. The work lasted until around 1300, under the

headquarters to the Prussian part of the Order's monastic state.

auspices of Commander Heinrich von Wilnowe. The castle is

He chose the site of Marienburg conveniently located on the

located on the southeastern bank of the river Nogat. It was

Nogat in the Vistula Delta. The favourable position of the castle

named Marienburg after Mary, patron saint of the religious

on the river Nogat allowed easy access by barges and trading

Order. The Order had been created in Acre (present-day Israel).

ships arriving from the Vistula and the Baltic Sea.

When this last stronghold of the Crusades fell to Muslim Arabs,

In the summer of 1410, the castle was besieged following the

the Order moved its headquarters to Venice before arriving in

Order's defeat by the armies of Władysław II Jagiełło and

Prussia.Malbork became more important in the aftermath

Vytautas the Great (Witold) at the Battle of Grunwald. Heinrich

of the Teutonic Knights' conquest of Gdańsk (Danzig) and

von Plauen successfully led the defence in the Siege of

Pomerania in 1308.

Marienburg (1410), during which the city outside was razed.

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WHAT TO SEE

the collection The Malbork collection houses over 650 military items, gathered into groups covering defensive and offensive armaments, horse riding gear and others, which include shooting utensils such as powder boxes, ammunition pouches, projectiles and moulds for casting balls. These are relics dated at between the late Middle Ages to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, originating mostly from European workshops. There is however a set of oriental armaments, the tradition of which dates back to the Steinbrecht period. Among the most valuable armament relics in the Malbork collection are a medieval sallet-type helmet from the second half of the 15th century, parts of maximilian armour with a bellows-visored sallet from the first half of the 16th century, as well as a longsword dated at 1340-1400, with a cross-decorated hilt. The jewels in the handheld-firearms collection, among several tens of such relics, are masterpieces of the gunsmithing art: two cieszynka hunting guns, a matchlock pistol with the Vasa coat of arms, and that of the Polish Commonwealth (The White Eagle and The Chase), made by Nurmberg masters in around 1600, as well as a pair of Spanish pistols from the workshop of royal court gunsmith, Jose Cano from Madrid – pre-1750. The Collections / The Sculpture Collection The sculpture collection of the Castle Museum includes individual pieces as well as altars medieval, baroque altars, and those from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the most part, they constitute remnants of the furnishing of the castle church, which was subjected to numerous changes over the centuries. Not much, however, has survived from the original gothic fittings – during the Jesuit period they were replaced by baroque ones, and so, the partially-presented main altar, comes from precisely this time.

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The Collections / The Historic Documentation The historic documentation collection was created in 1970 thanks to the inclusion into the museum inventory of over 500 architectural drawings from the prewar archive collection of the Board for the Rebuilding of Malbork Castle. The collection also includes the documentation from the restoration work carried out on Malbork castle in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century, mostly from the time when this enterprise was led by Conrad Steinrecht. The accumulated documents comprise inventory drawings and designs of both view of the outer castle, its interior and its sculptures, paintings and fittings. Detailed designs that continue to help conservators in their painstaking process of reviving the castle’s former glory, and scientists to describe the history of Malbork's restoration, can also be found here. The Collections / The Etchings Room The beginnings of the Etchings Room go back to the 1960s, when the structure of the newly-created Castle Museum was becoming clear. Included among the over 1000 items of the collection, we can find etchings, drawings and graphic plates created over a period of five centuries. The Collections / The Architectural Details Collection The creation of the collection of details began during the early scientific restoration of Malbork castle. This enterprise was initiated by Conrad Steinbrecht, who embarked upon conservatory and research work at the Malbork castle complex in 1882. From his research trips, he would eagerly bring back to Malbork castle any and all architectural details which he was able to obtain without doing greater damage to other monuments. As early as the early 20th century, this collection became so well known, that details originating in China, including the Great Wall, found their way to the Malbork collection. ...and much more. source: © www.zamek.malbork.pl


Diego Delso CC BY-SA 3.0

GOOD TO KNOW...

When is the best time to visit? ....any time! But from time to time the Museum is the scene of particularly spectacular events.

Starościńska 1, 82-200 Malbork, Poland www.zamek.malbork.pl

If you're looking up how to visit Malbork Castle, you're most likely already in Gdansk. Despite the 60km distance, Malbork is very easy to get to from here and there's no need to spend extra money on an organized tour when you can save your pretty pennies and plan the day yourself. 09 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


Warsaw


Warsaw the Phoenix City Warsaw is an unusual city. Not only because it is the capital of Poland, the place where the political life of our country takes place and the seat of state authorities. It is also not because it is the largest city in Poland, the centre of Poland's economic life or one of the most important urban and industrial centres in the country. These are only dry facts that probably will not convince anyone to come to Warsaw. So why is it worth visiting? Warsaw is a dynamically developing city, robust and vibrant. During the eight centuries of its existence, it passed through subsequent stages of development from a small fishing village, through the capital of the Masovian Duchy, to the capital of Poland, becoming the most important city on the map of our country. Warsaw was repeatedly conquered,  burnt and plundered, each time rising from the ashes,  even bigger and stronger than before. When, after the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, it was estimated that the capital was ruined in almost 85%, few people believed in the possible return of the city to its former glory. On the rubble of pre-war Warsaw, a new city was rebuilt, and although much of the old building was replaced with architecture of social realism, the historical buildings of the Old and New Town, as well as the monuments along the Royal Route were almost completely reconstructed. Today, we can admire the beautiful interiors of the Royal Castle, walk through the extraordinary Old Town or relax from the hustle and bustle of the city in the Royal Łazienki Park.   Currently in Warsaw there are almost 1500 registered monuments, hundreds of memorial sites, dozens of museums, including the world's first Poster Museum, an interactive Warsaw Uprising Museum and the only Museum of Hunting and Horseriding in Europe. Warsaw is also the largest centre of theatre life in Poland, the tradition of  which dates back to the beginnings of its capital status. This is where the National Theatre was born and the Opera and National Philharmonic is located here. Next to them, there are also alternative theatres, puppets, revues and musical theatres, including the Roma Musical Theatre staging the most famous world musicals, such as: Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Grease. Here, there is also the only Jewish Theatre in Poland, which stages excellent plays both in Polish and Yiddish.There is a story written in every street, every corner of this city. It was here that the crown general Sejm was gathering and the free elections of Polish rulers took place. In Warsaw, Polish democracy was born and our constitution, the first in Europe, was adopted.

Outstanding artists, writers, poets, and scientists have been associated with the city. Fryderyk Chopin used to live here; It was also in Warsaw where Maria Skłodowska-Curie was born. Stanisław Moniuszko created his music here, Bolesław Prus, Maria Dąbrowska or Ryszard Kapuściński used to live and write here as well. Finally, it was in Warsaw that the famous masses, gathering thousands of followers, were celebrated by the blessed priest Jerzy Popiełuszko.   There is something for everyone in this city. Numerous art galleries encourage connoisseurs of art to learn about their collections. Over 30 different cinemas wait for fans of the silver screen (including themed and 3D), in which they will be able watch not only the latest productions from Poland and from around the world, but also historical films and archival productions. A feast for real moviegoers are, however, numerous film festivals taking place regularly in Warsaw, including: the Sputnik Russian Film Festival, the Warsaw International Film Festival or the ‘Watch Docs’ Festival.   Children can discover Warsaw following the legends and stories, play in numerous modern playgrounds, see the city from the observation deck on the 30th floor of the Palace of Culture and Science or experience an extraordinary adventure at the Copernicus Science Centre, where touching exhibits is not only not banned but even recommended!   Many festivals, concerts and competitions, organized in Warsaw throughout the year, await those who love music. There will be something for both classic music fans and fans of jazz, Hip-Hop or even sacred and organ music. The most important music events are: Warsaw International Jazz Festival ‘Jazz Jamboree’ International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition International Festival of Sacred Music, International Festival of Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn" Chopin Concerts – free concerts, performed by the most outstanding pianists from around the world, taking place from May to September in the Royal Łazienki Park at the Chopin monument. 13 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


Numerous attractions await fans of active relaxation. Sports clubs, bowling alleys, swimming pools, paintball and climbing walls are just a few of them. Water sports enthusiasts can go on regattas or windsurfing at the Zegrze Reservoir, rent a canoe or a water bike on the Kamionkowskie Lake or take a boat in Wilanów. For those who prefer strong impressions there remain airplane flights, parachuting or bungee jumping. Cyclists have numerous bicycle paths and a growing number of bicycle rentals. On two wheels, you can not only visit the most beautiful places in Warsaw, but also go to the Kabacki Forest or the Kampinos Forest. For skiers and snowboarders, the Yearly Ski Resort Szczęśliwice is open. In winter, as far as there is snow, you can even rent cross-country skis at the Kabacki Forest. However, especially pleased will be those who like walking, fans of jogging and Nordic walking. Warsaw is, in fact, a very green city. Parks, gardens and squares make up ¼ of the city's area, which puts our capital at the forefront of the greenest European cities. The Royal Łazienki Park, Park in Wilanów, Saxon Garden, Krasiński Garden, Morskie Oko Park and Edward Rydz-Śmigły Park invite all those interested in meetings with history. The beauty of nature may be best enjoyed in botanical gardens of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Powsin or the gardens of the University of Warsaw, next to the Łazienki Park. For a very long walk, it is worth going to Bielany or outside Warsaw, to the Kampinos National Park. Families with children can go to the Warsaw ZOO, where a pleasant walk can be combined with exploring the world of wild animals. Specially for children, the "Fairy ZOO" was prepared, where animals can be petted and fed. After the walk, the little ones can play in the safe, modern playground. However, if you are not interested in history, you do not like sightseeing and you come to Warsaw for shopping or to experience some unforgettable events, you won't certainly be disappointed. There are dozens of galleries and shopping centres awaiting you, including the most popular ones: Złote Tarasy and Arkadia, both located in convenient locations. If you like luxury, take a walk to Nowy Świat. Hundreds of nightclubs, cafés, pubs and vodka bars wait for partygoers – from the posh ones, visited by celebrities, through alternative clubs, lounge bars to student clubs, karaoke bars and beer gardens. Come, get to know the story enchanted in Warsaw, experience its unique atmosphere and experience an amazing adventure you will never forget.


Wilanów Palace

Warsaw uprising

Wilanów Palace was built for king John III Sobieski in the last photos Wojtek Kaczówka quarter of the 17th century and later was enlarged by other owners. It represents the characteristic type of baroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture is original, a merger of European art with distinctively Polish building traditions. Upon its elevations and in the palace interiors ancient symbols glorify the Sobieski family, especially the military triumphs of the king. In the year 1805 the owner Stanisław Kostka Potocki made a museum in a part of the palace, one of the first public museums in Poland. A most notable example of the collections is Potocki's equestrian portrait. Besides European and Oriental art, the central part of the palace displayed a commemoration of king John III Sobieski and the national past. The architecture of the palace is a unique example of different building traditions – reminiscent of Polish aristocratic mansions with side towers, the Italian suburban villa and French palaces. 

The Warsaw Rising Museum was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The Museum is a tribute of Warsaw’s residents to those who fought and died for independent Poland and its free capital. The exhibition depicts fighting and everyday life during the Rising, keeping occupation terror in the background. With the total area of more than 3000m2, 800 exhibition items, approximately 1500 photographs, films and sound recordings, history of the days preceding the Rising is told. Visitors are guided through the subsequent stages of the Rising until the time when the Insurgents left Warsaw. Their further fate is also portrayed. The second part of the permanent exhibition, opened in May of 2006 in Hall B, presents the story of Allied airdrops. Its highlight is a replica of a Liberator B-24J bomber. Much of the exhibition has been devoted to the Germans and their allies, showing their actions in Warsaw as documented in official texts from the time of the Rising. 

more at: www.wilanow-palac.pl   

more at: www.1944.pl 15 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


WARSAW – CITY WITH A HISTORY, PRESIDENTIAL PALACE

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WARSAW – CITY WITH A HISTORY, THE OLD TOWN

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WARSAW – CITY WITH A HISTORY, KRAKOWSKIE PRZEDMIEŚCIE STREET

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WARSAW – CITY WITH A HISTORY

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Fot. Mariusz Cieszewski / www.poland.pl

the Old Town life The Warsaw Old Town is the oldest part of the capital city. It is bounded

ż

by the Wybrze e Gda

ńskie, along

with the bank of Vistula river, Grodzka, Mostowa and Podwale Streets. It is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Warsaw. Praga is a district of Warsaw, Poland. It is located on the east bank of the river Vistula. First mentioned in 1432, until 1791 it formed a separate town with its own city charter. The historical Praga was a small settlement located at the eastern bank of the Vistula river, directly opposite the towns of Old Warsaw and Mariensztat, both being parts of Warsaw now.

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TOP 6 IN WARSZAWA 01

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Walking the streets of the Old Town and New Town allows you to rest from the bustle of central city life. Atmospheric alleys, squares, and cosy cafés create a unique sense of history, and in the summer, the Old and New Town Squares become stages for musical and theatrical performances and open-air galleries.

Trakt Królewski (Royal Route) is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of the city. It starts on the edge of the old town and stretches through Krakowskie Przedmieście street (check out the University of Warsaw’'s campus, Church of St Anne, Nicolaus Copernicus’  monument, and the Polish Academy of Sciences), then Nowy Świat street. It ends at the famous Royal Łazienki Park. 

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03 Royal residences They are associated with eminent Polish rulers and momentous historical events. Appreciated by those who seek for a rest in the bosom of nature they also provide a space for major artistic events in Warsaw cultural calendar. visit: Royal castle, Lazienki, Wilanow Palace.

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Warsaw’'s Royal Castle. It was 06 a residence of the Polish royalty between the 16th and 18th centuries. The castle was completely destroyed by the German army during World War II and, because of the Communist regime, it was only reconstructed in the 1980s, but it blends into the old town’ s atmosphere very well. The interiors host a collection of portraits of the Polish kings and a collection of 23 18th-century paintings of Warsaw.

Warsaw Rising Museum ‘We wanted to be free – and to owe this freedom to ourselves". Opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, the museum pays tribute to all those who fought and died for their country’s independence. Housed in a former tramway power station.

Walk alongside the Vistula River. Recently, the Vistula River bank has become a trendy meeting place with a cultural addition to it. The new beach pavilion and café space Plażowa hosts a cycle of concerts called "Miejskie granie" (urban playing) performed by Poland’ s best young musicians. These concerts are free. Plażowa also provides an outdoor theater and cinema. 

Warsaw/ Warszawa Warsaw is the sprawling capital of Poland. It's widely varied architecture reflects the city's long, turbulent history, from Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers. The city's Old Town was restored after heavy damage during WWII. It's heart is Market Square, with pastel buildings and open-air cafes. The Monument of the Warsaw Mermaid at its center is the city’ s symbol. Once described as Paris of the East, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. The German invasion in 1939, the massacre of the Jewish population and deportations to concentration camps led to the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 and to the major and devastating Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944. Warsaw gained the new title of Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after the severe damage it suffered in World War II, which left over 85% of its buildings in ruins. Warsaw is one of Europe’ s most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the “Business-friendly” category and 8th in “Human capital and life style”. It was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

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Panorama of Warsaw at night – view of the Barbican and Old Town The barbican was erected in 1540 in place of an older gate to protect Nowomiejska Street. The barbican had the form of a three-level semicircular bastion manned by fusiliers. It was 14 meters wide and 15 meters high from the bottom of the moat, which surrounded the city walls, and extended 30 meters from the external walls.

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WARSAW – CITY WITH A HISTORY

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The Mermaid of Warsaw

There are various legends about the Warsaw mermaid. The main one used in the City's literature and by tour guides says that the mermaid was swimming in the river when she stopped on a riverbank near the Old Town to rest. Liking it, she decided to stay. Local fishermen noticed that something was creating waves, tangling nets, and releasing their fish. They planned to trap the offender, but fell in love with her upon hearing her singing. Later, a rich merchant trapped the mermaid and imprisoned her. Hearing her cries, the fishermen rescued her, and ever since, the mermaid, armed with a sword and a shield, has been ready to help protect the city and its residents.   Sometimes this legend is expanded to say that the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen is the Warsaw mermaid's sister and they went their separate ways from the Baltic Sea. Another legend states that she assisted a prince when he got lost hunting and he founded the city in her honour. The Old Town Market Place. The sculpture in Warsaw's Old Town Square was designed by Varsovian sculptor Konstanty Hegel.

The Mermaid is a symbol of Warsaw, represented on the city's coat of arms and well as in a number of statues and other imagery. Exactly when the mermaid was added to Warsaw's coat of arms is not known but it was already in place in 1390 with a shape very different from today's. It presented the animal with a bird's legs and a torso covered with dragon scales. On the seal of 1459, it already had feminine characteristics, the torso of a bird, human hands, the tail of a fish and bird legs with claws. The first presentation of the traditional mermaid dates from 1622. The adoption of such a coat of arms was thought to be a medieval fashion, which recommended the adoption of the symbols of the newly established town's mythology. O arms M A Dwas I C probably | 2 4 derived The presentation of the coatNof directly from the 2nd century book Physiologus.

Originally (1855-1928) and now (since 2000) it stands in the marketplace. At other times, it was moved to different places in Warsaw. In 2008, the original sculpture made of bronzed zinc was taken from the market for maintenance work. The sculpture was in a very poor condition due to mechanical damage and numerous acts of vandalism. The repaired original was transferred to the Museum of Warsaw, and replaced with a copy of made by the Jacek Guzera foundry in Dąbrowie near Kielce. Powiśle This statue, made of gunmetal, was erected in April 1939 in Powiśle near the Vistula river. The sculpture is by Ludwika Nitschowa and posed by poet Krystyna Krahelska. In autumn of 2006, a silver plaque of the Virtuti Militari was added to the monument for General Sikorski who was awarded it in recognition of his defense of Warsaw in September 1939.

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WARSAW – CITY WITH A HISTORY

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the Legend of the Warsaw Mermaid A long time ago there lived a powerful King Baltyk who ruled his kingdom from an amber palace, located at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. King Baltyk had a beloved daughter who helped him rule his underwater kingdom. This beautiful maiden was a mermaid, a “syrena” in Polish. Syrena had long blond hair, blue eyes, and from the waist down was covered with silvery scales to her tail. The bottom of the sea was her world, and it was the only world she knew. One day she narrowly escaped being caught in some fish nets by swimming to shore. When she lifted her head from the waters, she saw the vista of a strange new world. “Where am I?” she asked the river Wisla, whose waters empty into the Baltic Sea. “In Poland,” answered the river, “and if you want to find out more about this land, swim upstream with me.” Being a good swimmer, Syrena managed to do this. She saw things she never knew before: forest lands, and animals, and birds. Finally she came to the plains of Mazowsze in the very heart of Poland. The people here had cleared the forest, built homes for themselves, and lived from fishing and hunting. Syrena fell in love with the brave Mazovian tribe and decided to stay with them. In the evenings she sang her nostalgic, haunting melodies for them.

One day, a big hunt was held for the Mazovian prince. Chasing a reindeer, the prince got lost in the forest. He also lost his golden arrow with which he was hunting. Searching for it he came to the banks of the Vistula River. There, in amazement, he saw a white arm extending from the water holding his arrow. He became enchanted with Syrena, the beautiful half fish, half woman creature. She smiled at him and, handing him the arrow, pointed in the direction he was to take. He soon came to a clearing in the forest where stood a small cottage, the home of the fisherman Warsz, his wife, and their twin sons. Mrs. Warszowa gave him a good supper and asked him to stay overnight as a guest. The next morning she refused any payment from him for her kindness. The prince was moved by their hospitality and their way of life. “If you like,” said the fisherman Warsz, “we would be honored to have you come back and stay with us.” And that is what the prince did. He returned with his people and together they cleared more land and built a small settlement, called “Warszowa,” which means “the village of Mr. Warsz.” Later it was changed to Warszawa, and in 1596 it became the capital of Poland.

drawing on the next page by:

NO A DY IC ROSIE CONHE AMD

|

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see more of her works at: www.rosieconheady.co.uk

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ZWIERZYNIEC CHURCH ON THE WATER BY TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Church of St. John of Nepomuk in Zwierzyniec commonly called "on the island" or "on the water" is one of the most characteristic monuments of Zwierzyniec and of the whole Roztocze. Due to its picturesque location, it is also the most photographed object of the region. The wife of the 3rd entailer Jan "Sobiepan" Zamoyski (the future wife of Jan III Sobieski – Marysieńka) ordered the construction of a pond in Zwierzyniec, with an island and a gazebo (a theatre) on the water. A hundred years later, in 1741-1747, the 7th entailer, Tomasz Antoni Zamoyski and his wife Teresa Michowska founded a baroque church on the island for the entailer's recovery and as a votive offering for the birth of the long-awaited son - Klemens. Then, two rooms were added to the temple: sacristy and school. 

TOURIST INFO CENTRE

Zwierzyniec Cultural Centre Słowackiego 2, tel. 84 687 26 60 e-mail: zorki@poczta.o2.pl Education Centre RPN Plażowa 3 , Zwierzyniec tel. 84 687 20 66, rpnmuzeum@pro.onet.pl

The location of the church on one of the islands was to resemble the martyrdom of St. John of Nepomuk, who, at the behest of Czech King Wenceslaus IV, died in the waters of the Vltava, unwilling to reveal the secret of confession. Until today, the figures of him are to protect against floods and diseases. According to the stories told, the church was located on the site of the old theatre "on the water", but more and more often it is suggested that there was only a gazebo and a so-called “relax house on the water”.   A brick and stone church, one-nave, baroque, was probably built by the builder Jan Columbani according to the design of architect Andrzej Bem. On the façade there is a cartouche with the Zamoyski family coats of arms "Jelita" (three crossed spears) and the Michowski family "Rawicz" (a lady on the bear). Inside, a polychrome by Łukasz Smuglewicz. In the oak main altar there is a painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa, and on the bolt – a painting of St. John of Nepomuk. There are also two chapels with altars: on the right side of the Mother of God, and on the left – the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the music choir there are 4-voice organs made in 1905 by Biernacki Company. On the wooden belfry in front of the church there is one bell.   Every year at the end of May, during an indulgence in honour of St. John of Nepomuk, a spectacular procession on boats takes place around the church on the water. It is a unique attraction for the residents of Zwierzyniec, but also for tourists visiting the town located on the Wieprz River.

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the Holy Mount of Grabarka written by Alicja Marciniak-Nowak Jagiellonian University, Cracow

Fot. Mariusz Cieszewski Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland


GRABARKA  written by Alicja Marciniak Originally published in full: Peregrinus Cracoviensis Magazine no.4, 1996 "The Holy Mount of Grabarka"  Chief editor: Prof. Antoni Jackowski Publisher: Instytut Geografii i Gospodarki Przestrzennej UJ

The mountains have been a great mystery for centuries. On the one hand, they fascinate and attract, on the other, they cause anxiety and arouse fear. Already early man saw that the clouds bringing life-giving rain first appear around the mountain peaks, and thunders and lightings are born in their vicinity. The mountains were for man a part of the sacred nature and constituted the sacred area, sacrum. The symbolic and religious valuations of the mountains are innumerable. (...) It is worth noting that the holy mountain did not always correspond to the mountain in the geographical sense. Often even a small hill or a plateau in the neighbouring area, especially in plains, was defined and functioned in the minds of people as a mountain. It is enough to mention Jasna Góra (Luminous Mount), Borecka Mount (Borek Stary) or Górka Klasztorna. This also applies to the Holy Mountain Grabarka (170m above sea level). It is located in the Bialystok Province, on the Drohiczyn Upland, 2km south-east of the village of the same name, between two historic cities: Mielnik and Drohiczyn. (...) The Sanctuary includes the Orthodox church of the Transfiguration, the monastery dedicated to Saints Marta and Maria (1947) along with the winter church dedicated to the Our Lady of Help and Protection (1956) and the cemetery. It plays a significant role in the life of the Orthodox population and for centuries has been functioning in their consciousness as a sacred place.   Holy Mount Grabarka is the heart of the Orthodox Church in Poland and for its followers its significance is similar to the importance of Czestochowa for Catholics. The date and circumstances of the sanctuary establishment are not exactly known. As the tradition says, there are two different legends on the subject. One is connected with the cult of the miraculous Spas Izbavnik icon, which, in fear of Tatar invasion, was to be transported from Mielnik (XII/XIII century) and kept on Grabarka. There are, however, no historical sources confirming this hypothesis, nevertheless the first Orthodox Church in Grabarka has just received the name of the Transfiguration (Spas Izbavnik’'s) and the feast of Spas is until today the main indulgence celebrated in the sanctuary.


The second legend dates the beginning of the centre only for the eighteenth century and refers to the cholera epidemic that broke out in Siemiatycze in 1710. At that time, an old man there had a dream in which he saw that he could find the rescue by taking a cross to the top of the hill near the village of Grabarka. The old man told the dream to the priest of the Siemiatycze parish (the Uniate Church) – Fr. Paweł Smoleński, who accepted the story as God's clue and took the people to the hill. Among those who drank the water from the hill, the mortality rate ceased and all patients recovered. The people saved from death and grateful to God built a temple there as a thanksgiving gift for the favours received. It is difficult to separate the truth from the legend. The fact is, however, that at the beginning of the 18th century, a wave of epidemics passed through the vicinity of Grabarka, it is also a fact that the oldest penitential crosses erected at the top of the mountain bear inscriptions referring to health and disease. The first Orthodox Church in Grabarka was probably built shortly after 1710, but no information about it was preserved. The first document mentioning the chapel at Grabarka dates back to 1789, from the files of the visitation of the Drohiczyn deanery carried out by Fr. A. Duchnowski, concerning a newly built chapel. The chapel is described as belonging to the village of Moszczona. (...) In the 18th century, Holy Mount Grabarka was already a well-known cult centre, to which, especially on the Transfiguration Day, devotees of the Eastern rite, were bringing votive crosses of various sizes, which were consecrated and staked around the temple. The cross is a religious symbol, a sign of worship. The roadside cross is a trace of human tragedy, a symbol of the suffering and martyrdom of the nation, a sign of ancient custom, a memory of dramatic moments. Crosses were erected in various places, mainly along roads leading to the village, at the end of the village, at cemeteries or at churches. It was supposed to protect the inhabitants against evil forces, against illness and death. The cross is also an expression of gratitude for curing out of recovery from illness or deliverance from unhappiness. In the Eastern Church, the cross has three crossbars. (...)    The history of Holy Mountain Grabarka and the church located there is very much connected with the cross. In Grabarka, cross became something really special. Holy Mount is often called the mountain of „Six Thousand Crosses" or "Hill of Penitents". According to local traditions, the size of the crosses depended on the size of the suffering and illness of the person who placed it there. The cross should be made of the whole felled tree and its choice could not be random either. It was not allowed to be made, for example, from an aspen, because on this tree, according to tradition, Judas hung himself. Many crosses are tied with colourful ribbons to symbolise the loincloth that Maria put of Jesus, hanging on the cross.

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After 1839, or in other words after the incorporation of the Uniate Church into the Orthodox Church, the Grabarka chapel gradually fell into disrepair. Orthodoxy was not yet strong enough in this area, and the Uniate population, not reconciled with the liquidation of the union, moved to the other side of the Bug. It was only in the years 1884-1895 that a thorough renovation and extension of the temple in Grabarka was carried out. Both the first and the Second World War did not cause devastation of the church. This happened only in 1990, when as a result of arson from 12 to 13 July, the historic temple was burnt. A rich collection of icons burned down – including icon of the Holy Trinity from the 17th century, the altar of Saint Trinity from the first half of the eighteenth century, and two mantles from the eighteenth century, one of which was woven with gold and silver thread as well as liturgical books. The bells also melted. Only the Gospel from 1735 was saved, and the icon of Saint Nicholas the Thaumaturge, guarding the side door from the north. On July 17 of the same year, a decision was made in Białystok to reconstruct it. The announcement concerning the collection of funds for the reconstruction of the church has received a broad response in the community. The reconstruction of the church was a very difficult undertaking, because the entire documentation of the object has not been preserved. Only a historical description and a list of equipment were available. The exterior of the building has not changed much. Referring to the architecture of the old church, new stone walls were laid outside with wood. It is worth mentioning that the burning of the church did not lead to  weakening of the pilgrimage movement, on the contrary, it contributed to increase of this phenomenon. In the same year on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, about 60,000 pilgrims visited the Sanctuary. In comparison to the previous year, this number was twice as high (in 1989 – around 30,000).   Holy Mount Grabarka is the largest and most important Orthodox pilgrimage centre in Poland. (...) An additional factor contributing to the development of Grabarka was the establishment of the then only Polish Orthodox monastery of Saints Marta and Maria in 1947. Holy Mount Grabarka is most often visited on August 19 (August 6), for the ceremony of the Transfiguration. Pilgrims visit this place also on November 6 (October 24) – for the Feast of Our Lady of Consolation and Nursing (Joy of All Disconsolate) and January 19 (January 6) for the celebration of the blessing of water (so-called Jordan – to commemorate the Baptism of the Lord) (...) For several years, a certain pattern of the course of the "May pilgrimage" was formed. 


It begins on Friday with a supper and blessing the water at the well, followed by dinner and a poetic-musical evening prepared by the youth from the chosen centre. On Friday evening there is also a solemn setting and blessing of the votive cross, after which the ‘panichida’ is celebrated at the graves. In this way, the connection between the living world and the world of the dead is emphasized. Saturday begins with the liturgy, after which the pilgrims sit down to breakfast. Later in the day there is an opportunity to listen to papers and participate in discussion groups. The Saturday day ends with an evening mass, supper and a bonfire. The climax point is Sunday Eucharist. After the service, the pilgrims eat dinner and then get back on the road. Among the pilgrims on "May" meetings there are also representatives of the Orthodox Church from other countries, including Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, England, Greece, Finland, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and even from India and Lebanon. In 1987, the representatives of the World Council of Churches and the World Union of Christian Students took part in the "May" pilgrimage. 

Every year, there are also more and more Protestant and Catholic young people arriving here. However, the most popular is Grabarka during the celebration of the Transfiguration Day, locally called the feast of Spas or just Spas. This feast existed in the Christian calendar as early as the fourth century, and today it is considered to be among the twelve most important holidays in the Orthodox Church. During the feast of Spas, Grabarka gathered and still gathers many thousands of followers (...) Two-day celebrations begin on the eve of the holiday – on August 18. Pilgrims come to the Holy Mountain first, heading for the wonderful spring, drink water there, and wash their faces and sick places of their bodies  in a stream flowing past. They use linen wipes, sewn or bought specially for this purpose. This stream has apparently not only healing properties but also cleanses from sins. That is why the pilgrims leave their wet tissues on the bank of the stream after washing their bodies, leaving their diseases and sins with them. Many pilgrims bring crosses with them that after being blessed are hammered into the ground or nailed to the pine tree trunks. 

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Some of the pilgrims come up on their knees and before placing the cross, they walk around the church on their knees. The Spas Day begins in the evening at 18:00 with the evening mass, lasting about two hours. It is a service that ends one day and begins the other. After this mass, there is a break for a meal. Confession lasts all night. According to the tradition, at midnight, a church service at the cemetery near the church is celebrated for the deceased called ‘panichida’. At 2:00, the first morning liturgy begins. The closing ceremony of the Transfiguration is a solemn liturgy at 10:00. During this service, the fruits and ears of grain brought by the faithful are blessed.  All of these celebrations are accompanied by Orthodox singing. Holy Mount Grabarka has been accepting pilgrims since 1710 - since the epidemic and miraculous healing of pilgrims who arrived on the Holy Mountain. (...)  36 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Currently, annually approx. 60,000 pilgrims come to the Holy Mount. Comparing this with the total number of pilgrims in Polish Orthodoxy which amounts to over 100,000 people, the dominant role and high rank of the discussed centre is clearly visible. The revival of the pilgrimage movement on the Holy Mountain is observed primarily during the indulgence of Spas Izbavnik in August and during May meetings. In the last dozen years in Polish Orthodoxy there has been a clear renewal of the tradition of pilgrimages visible especially in Grabarka – from year to year, the number of arriving walking pilgrimages as well as the number of participants is growing. The place is more frequently visited by young people. Young Catholics and Protestants also often participate in "May" meetings. Perhaps the ecumenical character of these meetings in the future will make the Holy Mountain Grabarka not only a place that integrates the Orthodox community, but also the Christian community of different religions.


BOOK PROJECT SIELSKA POLSKA

MIKOŁAJ GOSPODAREK

Idyllic Poland


BEAUTY OF POLAND BOOK

Idyllic Poland BY MIKOŁAJ GOSPODAREK

„Sielska Polska” (Idyllic Poland) is a book that was supposed to be a signpost. On the pages of it, I share with the readers some places that I have visited during my journeys around the country. I have been working as a photographer since 2008. Initially, I travelled only in search of landscapes. Later, I began to appreciate the cultural richness of the regions I visited. When in 2016 I became the editor-in-chief of the Slow Road project, some extraordinary people joined this puzzle. They motivated me to collect all these materials. I realized that Poland is an extraordinary country. Despite the fact that I live permanently in Bavaria, I do not enjoy anything more than the view of the Podlasie field road, a haystack near Nowy Targ or the sound of the Baltic Sea in Łeba. I share my world with the readers. I have already visited over 200 agritourism facilities in Poland. Of these, I have chosen 17 favourite places. I added 389 more which in my opinion are the most interesting spots to visit in Poland and this way the picture of “Idyllic Poland” was created. I write, of course, about the Tatra Mountains, but I suggest walking along Ku Dziurze Gorge or making a trek to Stoły Glade.

Author Mikołaj Gospodarek was born in 1987 in Częstochowa. Photographer, journalist, traveller and free spirit. For over 10 years, he has been traveling the world with a camera in search of beautiful landscapes and interesting people. He graduated from the Faculty of Film and Photography at the College of Art and Design in Łódź. He has been living in Bavaria since 2014.

SEE MORE AT:

www.gospodarek.pl

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photo: Mikołaj Gospodarek Sielska Polska Mutico, 2017 hardcover, pages: 168 Format: 22.5 x 26.0 cm ISBN: 978-83-7763-408-0

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The Yew Hill

At the crossroads in Tutka-Tartak, it can be felt that everything finishes slowly here. Suwałki Region, enveloped from all the sides with the state borders, seems not to bother. The spaces stretching here to the horizon are second to none. Here you can see a real Polish village. Traveling around this area for years I see that this beautiful "end of the world" does not bend under the pressure of change. Here, the pace of life is still somehow slower. Among these wonderful landscapes, on the slopes of one of numerous post-glacial hills, there is hidden an unusual habitat – The Yew Hill. This place has matured to its present shape over the years. The three guest houses are filled with extraordinary stories.  “House of misty mornings „or" House of long evenings” these are the names that life gave to them. The view from the hill is captivating. I tried to read something lazily stretched out on a deck chair, but after an hour I realized that I only read Suwałki landscapes. This place is a source of good energy. Delicious food set the bar for further understanding of „Polish cuisine” high. You can truly miss Pawel's bread – every gourmand will be convinced about that after just a few bites. I do not know a second place like that – when being still there you start to think about the next time when you will be able to spend there some time. Although The Yew Hill is not on the way, for many people it becomes a dream destination. Local wild life, peace and quiet – this is what fascinates me the most in this area.

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photo: Mikołaj Gospodarek Sielska Polska Mutico, 2017 hardcover, pages: 168 Format: 22.5 x 26.0 cm ISBN: 978-83-7763-408-0

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Podlasie I got fascinated by Podlasie for the first time in 1999. The huge open spaces, silence and the smell of soil that you cannot smell anywhere else in the world have stayed in my memory for years. There is a touch of primeval, natural beauty in this smell. And soon you are able to see in your mind’'s eyes different, fast-moving pictures from novels whose authors appreciated the beauty of landscapes. A trip along Biebrza is an amazing adventure. In spring, huge flood waters fill the region of Podlasie. There are thousands of birds hovering in the sky. When only the frosts go into oblivion, the swamps get filled with frog's croaking. It was here that for the first time in my life I could not sleep because of loud nature sounds around. When the waters of Biebrza fall down, in Brzostów you can admire cows crossing the river. That’'s an extraordinary spectacle. Podlasie is a region showing a beautiful multicultural symbiosis. Here, you can meet Polish Tatars and a smiling Orthodox pop with his family next to the church. In the picturesque and peaceful Tykocin you can learn about the centuries-old history of Jews living in these areas. It was in this region where walking along the streets of Białystok, Ludwig Zamenhof, at all costs, wanted to combine different nations with one language – Esperanto. This north-eastern corner of Poland can easily make one fall in love with it forever.  Extremely friendly people who can be found here are the best showcase of Podlasie.  When visiting this area, you can feel nostalgia – in many parts of the world such pictures have already disappeared.  In Podlasie they last calmly, lazily wrapped with the waters of Biebrza and Narew rivers…

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Iphoto: Mikołaj Gospodarek Sielska Polska Mutico, 2017 hardcover, pages: 168 Format: 22.5 x 26.0 cm ISBN: 978-83-7763-408-0

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Korolowa Chata In Polish tradition, one can often hear stories about the „holidays spent at grandmother’s, on the country”. Entire generations tell stories about the adventures and the time of extraordinary freedom. Ever since the emergence of the cities, the trip to the countryside was treated as a moment of rest. Korolowa Chata, somewhere in the fields of Podlasie is a place which allows everyone today to write beautiful, own memories from the holidays like at grandma's. Although she is not there, many details make us think that she has gone somewhere just for a while. You can feel really special here. It is the beating heart of the Podlasie countryside. Leaving a small settlement, the road leads through fields. A small habitat can be seen from a distance. Those people, years ago, must have been led by enormous courage that made them leave the compact development of the village. Today, thanks to their unprecedented fantasy, unusual at that time, you can enjoy undisturbed silence amid the waving fields of grain. This house does not pretend anything, it is not an imitation. It is here that the current owner – Sławek, used to spend his unusual vacation with his grandmother. Thanks to his memories from experience in this place he was able to reproduce faithfully a piece of past. Together with Urszula – his wife – they care primarily about preserving the climate of a rural cottage house.   The most beautiful nooks of Podlasie can be found in the area: Białowieża Forest, Narew National Park  and the holy Mountain of Grabarka. All these places are so far away that the traffic prevailing in them is in Korolowa Chata unnoticeable, and on the other hand they can be destinations for short trips in search of the beauty of nature and the extraordinary culture of these areas. Returning to the hut after a day full of events is a great joy.  You appreciate here the peace and quiet, the taste of tea, drunk in the evening on the porch – as it is truly unique. You can also not move from the place – just do huge shopping for the whole week and indulge in unhurried savouring the moment... In both options Korolowa Chata is a good choice.

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photo: Mikołaj Gospodarek Sielska Polska Mutico, 2017 hardcover, pages: 168 Format: 22.5 x 26.0 cm ISBN: 978-83-7763-408-0

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Lublin region

The Lublin region is a land of contrasts. It is a huge area rich in unique pearls of architecture and unusual natural monuments. It is in the Roztocze fields that you can feel like in Tuscany in Italy. Wandering the loess ravines, you can admire the beauty of nature, which coexists with people. In the region there are also beautiful forests and two national parks – Polesie and Roztoka National Parks. Solska Wilderness and Janów Forests are equally beautiful. Probably, in Poland there is no other such diverse and interesting region. Architecture enthusiasts will be delighted with Lublin or Zamość.  Magic town of Kazimierz Dolny has become a mecca for art lovers. At the other extreme, there is the whole beauty of nature. Tiny villages along Bug in the vicinity of Neple, small settlements lost in the forests.  Outside larger cities, tourism has its own rules here. A large number of hiking and cycling routes make it easier to explore these areas. Due to the large distance you can also taste Roztocze from behind the steering wheel of the car. The roads winding among the fields, leading from one village to the other, will appeal to all those who appreciate the beauty of the landscape. Being in the Lublin region you must try honey from local apiaries. In the picturesque village of Gorajec Zagroble, you must have visit “Pszczeli Dworek” ("Beekeeping Manor"), but not only for honey. Here you can meet people who devoted their hearts to the bees. In this inconspicuous village, the classic edition of the Roztocze world can be seen in a nutshell. Strolling through the fields to the nearby hills you can admire the most beautiful landscapes of the Lublin region.

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s

Iphoto: Mikołaj Gospodarek Sielska Polska Mutico, 2017 hardcover, pages: 168 Format: 22.5 x 26.0 cm ISBN: 978-83-7763-408-0

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Sobibór Settlement

Sobibór Settlement is a place that beautifully tells about fulfilled dreams. You can see here at every step the huge determination with which Ewa, the owner and originator, takes care of every detail. The interiors are filled with warmth and wonderful homely atmosphere. This piece of land got a second life. In the quiet village of Sobibór, at first sight nothing seems to happen. Visitors appreciate the peace and bliss that reign here all around. This plot, beautifully descending towards the meadows and fields, has served people for years. It was a classic farm there. When Eve saw a ruined house and a neglected barn for the first time, she felt that this place had to be saved. Today, in this large space you can stay in one of two spacious houses, ideal for the whole family or a larger group of friends. There are also cosy apartments prepared for couples or singles. You can also fulfil childhood dreams and live in houses in tree branches with a beautiful view of the nearby meadows. In the central part of the plot there is a dining room with a unique atmosphere where delicious homemade food is served. The kitchen is supported by two vegetable gardens and the rest of products come from the nearby, proven local suppliers. You can feel it after the first spoon of soup, or after the first bite of cauliflower.   Sobibór Settlement is the perfect place for a family vacation. The area has many interesting and little-known attractions to offer. The magic of nature in the Polesie National Park will captivate everyone. Those, who are sensations-seeking, will find something for themselves wandering around the unique in the whole Europe monumental Mine of Chalk in Chełm. You can walk around Włodawa, take a look at the Bug River in Neple or visit the Orthodox monastery in Jabłeczna. All these beautiful places can be reached by picturesque and unfrequented roads.

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NATURE WITH PAWEŁ PLUCIŃSKI check for more photos of Paweł o n Facebook:  P aweł Pluciński

TLP: In this article, we are going to the world of Polish nature, captured by the eye and the camera of Paweł Pluciński. Paweł, tell me something about yourself, what do you do and how did your adventure with photography begin? P-P: I live in the village of Borki near Koło in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. Every day, I work in an energy plant. I have been into photography since May 2014. I devote most of my free time to my passion. I am mainly interested in nature photography, macro photography and landscapes. Ever since I remember, I always liked to take a shoot here and there, but it has become my passion since 2014 when I bought my first reflex camera. The beginnings were not easy, I remember how my photos were criticised on photographic portals – that there was too much noise, that it was out of focus or of poor quality. However, I got it all my own way and this criticism did not discourage me – on the contrary, it gave me even more willingness to improve my photos. TLP: Why have you decided to take photographs of nature? P-P: I photograph nature because it has always fascinated me; I think it is one of the most difficult fields of photography. In nature, you cannot predict anything. The weather is not entirely predictable, you will never know whether you will meet a deer or a crane that day, or maybe the swallowtail butterfly will fly on the meadow. This photograph makes you to sacrifice a lot and because I'm a sleepy-head in nature, it's not so easy to take photos early in the morning, especially when it's 4 or 5 in the morning. The terrain itself also poses challenges. Forest, water, insects, temperature, and humidity, I sometimes got stuck in a car on wetland, luckily so far it ended only on fear. TLP: Do you think that communing with nature teaches humility and patience and gives a sense of satisfaction? P-P: It surely teaches us humility and patience, I often come back from the expeditions not entirely happy because I could not take a good photo or the animals did not show up at all.

TLP: And what is the role  of knowledge and experience? Does it enable closer contact and a feeling of a real bond with nature? P-P: Certainly, experience and knowledge are more useful to me in macro photography and when it comes to animal photographs, reflex is often useful here. Taking a good photo is very often accidental because you just found yourself in the right place and at the right moment. TLP: Are you a patient person? A type of a nature photographer who wants to photograph a very skittish animal and can sit for a few days in the lookout shelter? P-P: Unfortunately, so far I do not have the possibility to shoot from the lookout shelter as I do not have one; I hope that it will be possible in the future. Most of my photos are taken from my sneaking or hiding stands, often from the car. I remember when I was hunting for herons, it lasted a long time, I approached it a few dozen times, but every time I was near, it flew away. Herons are very shy birds, vigilant, but patience usually pays off. However, the day came that I was able to photograph them – both white and a grey one. TLP: What gives you joy when photographing animals? P-P: The fact that I can meet, see a white stork walking in the meadow, herons hunting for fish or singing cranes and other species of birds and animals, often rare ones, such as a black stork. TLP: Is Polish nature interesting? What do you like or value the most in it? P-P: For me, the nature in Poland is very beautiful because I am very connected to our familiar landscape. It is so beautiful that I do not need to look for anything outside Poland. It's ours. TLP: When is the best time to take photos when it comes to the seasons of the year? P-P: Certainly spring but other seasons are also cool, now I often go to watch cranes as most of them did not fly away. I try to take the picture in the morning or in the evening, maybe 2 hours before sunset. TLP: Taking photos is like storytelling. What is your story? P-P: For me, photography is like... hmm... there was a movie  called ‘A never-ending story’  and  it is just like that - and let it last forever ;-) 51 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


photos by Paweł Pluciński

Check for more photos of

Paweł on Facebook: Paweł Pluciński enjoy

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White stork in Poland

There is no spring and no Poland without this magnificent bird. Some people say that most Storks are Polish. Poland is a stork paradise. Each year in spring, ca. 25 percent of the total population of these birds fly to Poland, which makes us the world's top country in this respect and provides grounds for the claim that every fourth white stork is a Pole. Poles love storks. In many places those birds are encouraged to build their nests with special frames on house roofs or on poles near farms. People in the country still believe that a stork nest brings luck, protects the house against fires or against being struck by lightning. In 2004, over 52,000 stork nests were reported in Poland.

Storks can be encountered from April to August practically all over Poland. There is, however, one special place where these birds prefer to stay. It is Żywkowo, a small village half a kilometre away from the Polish-Russian border, called the stork capital. It is inhabited by ca. 120 storks, almost four times as many as people, and each house hosts several nests.The Polish Society for the Protection of Birds has located its field station in the village. Comfortable bird watching, taking photographs and learning about the life and habits of storks is enabled by a viewing tower. Poland is also inhabited by black storks. They locate their nests in forests, in tall tree branches, and in the mountains – on the rocks.

source: www.poland.pl 

Paweł Pluciński A short biography: Paweł Pluciński, a photographer of nature... Competitions: 1st place in the competition of the Internet portal "The world looks different from close up" 2017 3rd place in the 11th edition of the Photo Festival competition (1st place in the macro category and sunrise / sunset category), 3rd place in the competition "Holiday souvenir" in the category of Nature, competition organized by the Masovian Museum in Płock 1st place in the competition "Storks”, in the category „Storks in action” 1st place in the competition „Koło - beautiful City” and „Four seasons of the year” organized by KKF FAKT Koło Distinction in the international competitions Fotoferia International Exhibition 2015 and 2016; distinction in the Fine Art Photography Awards competition in the Fine Art category 3rd place in the amateur category of Natura / Macro in the International Photographer of the Year 2017 – IPOTY Qualifying photos for post-competition exhibition in FOTO-EKO and Flying Wonders of Nature contests.

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GALLERY NATURE OF POLAND GREAT EGRET BY PAWEŁ PLUCIŃSKI

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GALLERY NATURE OF POLAND BY PAWEŁ PLUCIŃSKI

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GALLERY NATURE OF POLAND BLACK WOODPECKER BY PAWEŁ PLUCIŃSKI

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GALLERY NATURE OF POLAND GREY HERON BY PAWEŁ PLUCIŃSKI

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Logotype of the Polish History Museum, by Piotr Młodożeniec

The idea source: www.kopernik.org.pl/en

"The Copernicus Science Centre" is a huge space where we discover learning mechanisms and cognitive processes in children and adults. By using our exhibits, every day over a thousand visitors show us how differently one can learn and discover the surrounding world. That is why in 2016 we have been granted the status of a research entity". 60 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

Sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists from the Research Department continue to analyse ways in which visitors move around the exhibitions, use the exhibits and participate in workshops. This way we are able to find out what role a science centre can play in the development and learning of people of different ages and educational backgrounds. Such knowledge helps us create new exhibits, learning aids, educational kits as well as specific programmes and activities we organise. Interdisciplinary research projects that we perform in cooperation with various academic institutions allow us to develop new research areas in Poland, such as learning sciences and visitor studies. We hope that our efforts will contribute to a change of learning culture in Poland.


vision and info People shape the world through critical and creative thinking...

We inspire people to observe, experiment, ask questions and seek answers.

Ticket to the CSC is bought for a particular hour, but there is no time limit for the visit. You can enter the Centre 30 minutes before the hour for which the ticket was purchased, and no later than 60 minutes after it. The average visit duration is 3 hours. In the CSC you will find a cloakroom and Bistro Wiem. The exhibition space at Copernicus has been divided into two floors, where you will find 6 thematic exhibitions with 400 interactive exhibits, two theatres: Robotic Theatre and High Voltage Theatre and Thinkatorium. You will also find some temporary exhibitions.   There are no visiting paths or traditional guides in our Centre, but we have plenty of Explainers (who wear red t-shirts) always ready to help and answer all your questions. Remember that due to introduction of e-tickets with QR codes, you can enter the Copernicus Science Centre only once during one visit – once you exit, re-entering the Centre in not possible.      Apart from the exhibitions, you can visit the Heavens of Copernicus planetarium. Its wide offer of films and shows provides something interesting for children and adults of all ages. All films in the planetarium can be watched in English. To receive your English language version, you can rent a relevant headset in the ticket office before the screening provided you show your ID with a photograph. Most of the screenings are divided into two parts: * Live Sky Show presented in Polish only, * Film in the Polish or English language version.   Holders of combined tickets (bought in one transaction) to the Copernicus exhibitions and to the Planetarium are entitled to enter twice (go to the Planetarium and come back to the exhibitions). The Planetarium is for children aged 3 and over.   The Copernicus Rooftop Garden (open May – October) looks like riverside landscape. It is a great place for an open-air biology lesson as it is home to many plant species adapted to growing in harsh conditions. Art teachers can also take their students here and enjoy a great view of the Vistula River, riverside boulevards, the Old Town and the modern National Stadium silhouette. 61 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


photos by Przemysław Piegza

When and where to see crocuses in Tatra Mountains?

Spring is just around the corner. The Tatra Mountains look beautiful in spring. There is still snow on the peaks while in the valleys the vegetation comes to life. Spring in the Tatra Mountains is the shortest of all seasons of the year. Along with the lengthening day, tourists eagerly await the sun, heat, greenery and of course crocuses the blooming in the Tatra valleys. While the snow begins to melt in the valleys, there is more and more space between the lobes and you can already see the tightly closed heads of crocuses. Crocuses have already bloomed in the Chochołowska Valley – as one of the first flowers announcing spring. 62 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


photos by Przemysław Piegza

Crocuses are small flowers growing in the clusters of thousands which create in the mountain landscape purple carpets. The plant is under strict protection and it should be remembered that it is forbidden to enter the area where they grow and it is surely not allowed to pick them. Spis crocus Crocus scepusiensis which is also called Spis saffron or in highlander dialect ‘a violet’ grows only in the Western Carpathians and the Tatra Mountains are it main habitat. Wandering in the Tatras in spring, it can be noticed that the violet flowers most often grow where the sheep grazed in the summer. The relationship between sheep and crocus is apt here as the sheep plucking vegetation help these purple flowers to spread. In addition, sheep fertilize the soil with their excrements, creating a good substrate for plants, so without the sheep there would be no crocuses. Currently, between 1,000 and 2,000 sheep are grazed in the Tatra mountain pastures from the middle of May till September. It is worth remembering that the effect of sheep grazing is not only the famous oscypek – smoked ewe's milk cheese made in the Tatra Mountains, but also well-kept halls and eye-catching crocuses that we can admire during spring in the Tatras. 63 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


photos by Przemysław Piegza

What is the best place to see crocuses? The most popular place where we can see crocuses is of course the Chochołowska Valley. Unfortunately, thousands of people know about it. So if you want to choose the Chochołowska Glade as most of the trip, I suggest going there on a weekday and preferably early in the morning. However, the Chochołowska Valley is not the only place where crocuses bloom. In the Tatras, they can be seen also on the Kalatówki, Małołącka Glade, Lejowa Valley, Rusinowa Glade and in a few other places. Most often these will not be as beautiful carpets as in the Chochołowska Valley, but peace and quiet are valuable as well.  In addition to the Tatras, crocuses can also be expected in the Gorce Mountains or in the Karkonosze Mountains.    In the Gorce Mountains, more often than in the Tatras, we can find, for example, crocuses in white. The places that can be visited in the Gorce Mountains in order to see crocuses include Hala Długa near the summit of Turbacz, the surroundings of the mountain shelter on Stare Wierchy, Jaworzyna Kamienicka, Świnkówka or the Turbacz Glade. In the Karkonosze Mountains, blooming crocuses should be seen on the Crocus Meadow in Jagniątkowo, on the meadows at the foothill of Chojnik, where the crocus sanctuary is located.  64 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


an interview

TATRA MOUNTAINS SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER with PRZEMYSŁAW PIEGZA by Kasia Spiewankiewicz Photographs by PRZEMYSŁAW PIEGZA

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

TLP: Your photos are mostly connected somehow with the Tatra Mountains. Why such a topic? Is it because you were born there and that is where you come from? P-P: That’ s right; these are mostly mountain landscapes, but not only. It is just this type of photography I am keen on the most. In my collection however I have also a big number of portraits of women and children. As far as mountain landscapes are concerned, these photos are related to my passion – I have been taking them for over 20 years on the occasion of my trekking, climbing, ski-tours, ski-alpinism. These passions are intertwined – if I go to the mountains, I take a camera with me.  TLP: We follow your profile and what we hit on the occasion are wedding sessions, beautiful outdoor photos that look like they have been taken at significant heights… P-P: I have a lot of unpublished photographs lying in a drawer. Different places, different shots – it engages me very much, a lot of emotions – you know – it is a special day. For me it is easier as I have been almost at every summit in the Tatras, I know these areas as my own pocket. 65 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. TATRA MOUNTAINS. PRZEMYSŁAW PIEGZA Knowledge, experience and skills allow me to find places where no one has ever taken wedding photos. Interestingly, each wedding session took place in a different place – there are no two identical sessions in two the same places. Those who choose me as a photographer who will capture their special day, know that I made such a session, for example at the top of Łomnica, and I will not take another one there. They must choose a different peak. Such a session lasts about 12 hours – I can say it is a sensation – there is no one in Poland – at least I do not know other person who would perform such sessions regularly. These sessions are very important to me – I always try to do my best, at 120%. TLP: What are you looking for when photographing the Tatra Mountains? Many parts of the Tatra Mountains are characterized by the lack of a strong and expressive composition. What do you think? P-P: For me, let's say, it is totally rubbish. I heard many opinions like this: there is nothing to photograph in the Tatras, the same places. What else can you photograph on Kasprowy? Everything has already been said… In my opinion, such comments are caused by the lack of creativity and the lack of sense of artism in relation to what we do. Trying to imagine this, let's take such a trip to the mountains - 100 people have cameras – 99 people take pictures of the same view and only one captures an element and show it differently – others cannot believe it – they will say: hey, we were there and did not see it! TLP: Tatras in the spring seem not very interesting. Yes summer or autumn or winter are beautiful... but spring? Do you have your favourite places that will delight you in the spring as well? P-P: Another thing I do not agree with. It must be said by people who do not live here or have never been in the Tatras in spring. For me, every season has its advantages. But categorising – for me the ugliest season is probably the summer… because there is no contrast in the mountains. The walls merge, they are dark. There is little grass – rocks, you know, everywhere. It is boring in summer. The most beautiful seasons are spring and autumn because there are many contrasts. In spring, there is still snow high in the mountains, while a bit lower – lots of green grass. It is very alpine and a large field for shooting. You can take beautiful pictures, unique. The same applies to autumn – when there is a full range of colours. At the bottom, colorful trees, meadows and snow peaks at the top. It makes a huge impression. Of course – winter is also beautiful but a little cliché like summer – it is in one colour. Therefore, you need to look for sunrises, sunsets, mists or large close-ups. 66  TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND

TLP: Do you think that mountain photography can be practiced somehow“ by the way”...? P-P: In my opinion, it is more like “by the way”. Those who photograph landscapes from time to time – as a rule, they take them from the same places – this applies to your previous question, that these photos are clichéd. A person who does not climb, who does not walk in the mountains, does not cultivate mountaineering, does not stay in these inaccessible parts of the Tatra Mountains – will take pictures from the same places known to everyone. Hence the opinion later that the mountains are boring in this or that time of the year. Here you need some dedication and enthusiasm to go higher and see what others cannot see. As you said – here you need patience and training and enthusiasm to go to inaccessible areas. TLP: Is there such a thing as good weather for shooting in the mountains? Do you prefer blue sky or rather extreme conditions? Rain, storm or fog?  P-P: As for the weather for shooting in the Tatras – any kind is good. You can squeeze something out of everything, even from the fog; some small details – for example people in the fog – build this amazing impression. With rain it is the same, also with sunrises and sunsets. Every season and every time of a day is unique for photography. Of course, you have to adapt to these conditions and they sometimes require sacrifice. To take good pictures in the fog – you have to go higher, you have to be in these mountains and find your own detail. Most people will shrug and say: how should I take pictures in the fog? It is better to wait for the sun...  But I feel that it is often the case that when you go in bad weather you can expect the best effects. The weather changes from minute to minute. The wind blows, reveals the peaks, beautifully lit, and your picture may be breathtaking. It is worth spending some time waiting for these moments. TLP: Would you like people, after watching your photos, feel like going there, seeing, feeling the atmosphere that you have immortalised in the picture? Or maybe you would prefer the Tatras to remain less available?   P-P: This is a very neutral question. I take pictures for myself, I like doing it and I like to capture the beauty on them and if you are delighted with them, it's great. I don’t feel that there should be fewer tourists in the Tatra Mountains. For me it will be a huge distinction if someone on the basis of my photos decides to come here. Mountains are not for the chosen ones – everyone has the right to come, see, climb and look at everything from above. Even better  if someone decides to come in the bad weather and find all the beautiful things that I see. TLP: Thank you Przemek for a chat. 


my tatra mountains

THERE IS SOMETHING GREAT IN BRAVING THE UNKNOWN Przemysław Piegza Photography www.facebook.com/PrzemyslawPiegzaFotografia email: p-piegza@o2.pl    phone: +48 793 186 802 67  TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


MAGIC OF PODLASIE "The spirit of a photographer had always been sleeping in me, and at some point just woke up with a loud bang�


MAGIC OF PODLASIE BY JERZY RAJECKI

MAGIC OF PODLASIE BY JERZY RAJECKI Together with Jerzy Rajecki, administrator and creator of Podlaskie Klimaty profile and an inhabitant of Podlasie, we would like to invite you for a trip around Podlasie.  For us, Podlasie is a land of contrasts, multiplicity, it is silence, peace. And what does Podlasie mean for you – its inhabitant and photographer at the same time? This is my beloved land where I was born, where I grew up in diversity, multiculturalism, mutual tolerance and natural acceptance for different religions, languages and cultures. Peace and quiet and even some metaphysical melancholy are inscribed in the landscape of Podlasie and this is a great advantage nowadays. Everyone who comes here says that the time seems to slow down. We would like to ask you about for the things that make Podlasie unique for us, that is... its inhabitants. It seems that the photographs of Podlasie inhabitants presented on your Podlaskie Klimaty profile as well as those shared in other places are the things to which the audience is the most responsive. Is it a sentiment to what seems to have gone away or maybe some truth contained in their faces? or maybe something else?  When I photograph the inhabitants of Podlasie, they do not pretend anything, they are real, photographed in their everyday surroundings, and they talk to me like to their "pal" who knows their everyday life, culture, customs, language, who can understand them. In such usual circumstances my photographs are created – in the fields, in houses, in courtyards, streets, roads. The Podlasie province is probably the one where the changes are the smallest and least visible – however, it is changing, slowly but inevitably. It seems to me that people looking at my photographs see their recent past, which they treat with great sentiment, as they see themselves in the countryside with their grandparents and their parents. Most of us have had contact with the province and the village and consider the time spent there as very valuable, quiet, family, even idyllic. The world is changing, we do not know whether for the better, but what is real, it’'s the value of our modest everyday life, work of ordinary people and beautiful landscapes which I try to show in photographs. 

Not less than in people, we are also interested in the architecture of Podlasie in which you can fall in love. It seems that Podlasie is a living, open-air museum where time just stopped... What do you think about the uniqueness of this architecture? For centuries, wood has been used here as a generally available building material, because we have here old forests and seemingly inexhaustible wood resources. This is a great material, giving a unique, warm atmosphere of homes. They were not very large, according to the resources of their inhabitants, but functional and what is important, they have perfectly fit into the local landscape. With time, for the ornamentation and distinction from neighbors, these houses were inventively decorated. It began on a larger scale after the First World War. There were already tools and patterns available, not rarely brought from quite a distance as a result of local people's exodus during the First World War. What was seen in the east in the architecture of the eastern provinces of Russia, after returning home, the population tried to reproduce at home. Hence, for over 100 years we can admire the wonderful, decorated with different patterns shutters, wind braces, corners of houses. There are entire villages between Hajnówka and Bielsko, but also in other areas of Podlasie where this unique architecture has been admired by tourists and visitors. Although Podlasie is depopulating and getting old, where it is possible, these houses are cared for and renovated. Unfortunately, many of them fall into irreversible ruin. Apparently, the most beautiful in terms of architecture is the area or the trail called the Land of Open Shutters... what makes it so unique and unrepeatable? It is its beautiful wooden architecture: houses, churches, chapels, but also people. Very hospitable, for centuries living here, just "local". They have their own language, a dialect they use on a daily basis, a huge wealth of culture and customs, because here and for many centuries Belarusians and Ukrainians have lived together, describing themselves as "locals". Everyone who will see the wooden churches in Puchły, Trześcianka, Odrynki, Narew, houses in Kaniuki, Ciełuszaki, Pawły, Plutycze, near Bielsko and Hajnówka, will be delighted with the beauty of this trail. Around there are forests, rivers, silent and villages full of stork nests. This is the uniqueness and specialty of the Land of Open Shutters. 69 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


The village of Wojszki is famous for its beauty. Do you have such places of your own, that you often come back to and which you like to photograph? I like to come back to the Podlasie rivers: Narew, Biebrza and Bug. They are beautiful at any time of the year, wild, unregulated, changing their beds, flooding over large spaces. I also like to come back and photograph villages near Hajnówka, which I know from childhood, to familiar places and people there.

It all creates unique atmosphere. As they say in Podlasie, these temples and places (because they are also in the open air) are "prayed", sanctified, you can feel here human humility, deep prayer and faith. It is enough to see how zealously the Orthodox pray at the Holy Mountain of Grabarka, to have a deep respect for the faith and the pilgrims coming there. This vivid faith, tradition and religion certainly influence me and do not allow me to put down the camera in important religious ceremonies, but also when I see a picturesque landscape with the church.

In this issue of the magazine we have posted a large text devoted to Mount Grabarka, the most valuable place for Orthodox believers in Poland. the local churches, very colorful, neat and decorative are even more delightful. All still alive and used, because Orthodoxy in Podlasie blooms... Do these colours, vivid colours and tradition have an influence on you as a photographer?

Podlasie is the place of many religions and cultures. In addition to the followers of the Orthodox Church, we also meet Tatars / Muslims, we have traces of Jewish culture, eg the Great Synagogue in Tykocin... How is it to live in the region, probably subjected to the biggest number of cultural factors in Poland? Do residents participate in joint events, willingly talk to each other, share?

Surely they do. We have over 200 beautiful, colorful, active churches in Podlasie. When you enter their interior, you get stunned with the splendor of paintings, iconostasis, beautiful icons, smells of wood, incense, and smoke of candles.

We have had a religious and cultural crucible here for centuries. For a long time people of many religions, languages and cultures lived, worked, celebrated next to one another and together at the same time. There are many religiously mixed families.

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I come from a family where there were 2, maybe even 3, 4 religions. Catholics, Orthodox, Evangelicals, Muslims, Judaism believers had to live together. Aside from the few incidents over so many years, one can say that this peculiar ecumenism has survived. If one of the Orthodox family members gets married in the Catholic church and vice versa, everyone agrees to participate together in this ceremony. The same is true for baptisms ceremonies, funerals, and even indulgences and local feasts. For the inhabitants of Podlasie there is no problem of the religion, as they say here: "it's enough to be a man". The keeper of the mosque in Kruszyniany Dzhemil Gembicki married a Catholic, so as it can be seen here, it is also no problem. And what is the Podlasie cuisine in this regard? It must be quite unique, having all the different influences in mind? What do you like the most about it? I cannot say much here because I have been on a diet for a few years. But in our cuisine I like the most (although now because of the diet I cannot really eat them) kołduny or pyzy (different kind of dumplings), Korycinski cheese, homely dried sausage, and a home brew the long tradition of which survived in the backwoods of Bialowieza and Knyszyn Forests. It is said that Podlasie is a bit forgotten, perhaps neglected part of Poland. Is this opinion justified? Or maybe it is just the opposite?

This opinion is true if we consider and compare the infrastructure of Podlasie and the rest of Poland. The backlog is slowly reduced in this respect, but it will probably take several years for Podlasie to have a level of development, similar to for example Greater Poland. Sometimes I think that maybe it's better that they did not asphalt, concrete and pollute the environment like in other parts of Poland, thus we have locally healthy organic food, clean air and wonderfully preserved nature. This is our wealth and it is necessary to maintain and respect it as long as possible. What is the reason of the phenomenon that Podlasie is so perfectly photographed, and probably apart from Krakow and the Tatra Mountains, all the best photographs, when it comes to the regions of Poland, come from Podlasie? I think this is the unique atmosphere of Podlasie, which has been preserved here – beautiful, wooden architecture, old, and often cobblestone or gravel roads. Small population is also an asset, because you can see the landscapes not contaminated by civilization reaching the horizon there. In the Biebrza National Park and its buffer zone of over 20, 30 km, there are no buildings, there are simply no people, there is nothing but uncontaminated wildlife inhabited by elks, wolves, deer and other wild animals and this is also a paradise for birds. 71 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


MAGIC OF PODLASIE BY JERZY RAJECKI @ PODLASKIE KLIMATY

Rajecki Jerzy – 52 years old, a resident of Białystok, born in Hajnówka. I became interested in photography going with my colleagues to so-called Borderlands – to Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia. In 2009, I started photographing Podlasie and I have been still doing, wishing to record what passes away and what is permanently inscribed in the Podlasie cultural and sight landscape.

PRINTS AND DIGITAL FILES OF 

Podlaskie Klimaty available CONTACT: WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PODLASKIEKLIMATY OR CONTACT THE EDITOR OF TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND MAGAZINE

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MAGIC OF PODLASIE BY JERZY RAJECKI

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quiet life This is my beloved land where I was born, where I grew up in diversity, multiculturalism, mutual tolerance and natural acceptance for different religions, languages and cultures. Peace and quiet and even some metaphysical melancholy are inscribed in the landscape of Podlasie and this is a great advantage nowadays. Everyone who comes here says that the time seems to slow down. JERZY RAJECKI 

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MAGIC OF PODLASIE BY JERZY RAJECKI

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Beskid Sądecki After the summer madness and autumn splendour it is the time of calm and rest. A walk along the deserted trails gives you the opportunity to experience pure nature." Janusz Wańczyk "Sądecczyzna close and far away"


JANUSZ WAŃCZYK SHOWS US AROUND THE BESKID SĄDECKI ALL PHOTOS AND GUIDE BY JANUSZ WAŃCZYK

Janusz, Beskid Sądecki is probably one of your favourite photographic themes, presented more often than the famous Tatra Mountains or located in its vicinity the range of Pieniny. Where does this passion for this region of Poland come from?

Yes, Beskid Sądecki dominates my photographs. It is natural as Nowy Sącz; the "capital" of this region is my hometown. I joined the mountain trail in my childhood and early youth, during school trips, organised rallies and holiday trips. Then, love to mountain landscapes started to grow in me. My fists cameras are regarded to be the classics of those days. There was a Soviet camera Fied 2, a few models of Smiena 8 and Zenit and finally Olympus IS 1000. Currently, I use two Pentax reflex cameras: K1 and K3. It seems that Beskid Sądecki is relatively little known in comparison to other Polish Mountains, is it also much less popular? Do you agree with this opinion and what can be the reason of that? According to you, also as a photographer, is this secondary role of Beskid Sądecki justified? And if you don’t think it is – then why? Beskid Sądecki is maybe less popular but thanks to it, it is more intimate. There are no crowds in the high season like in the Tatras or in the Pieniny. Here you can truly relax admiring the sights and peculiarities of nature. For the photographer of the landscape or nature, the emotions  accompanying the observation are equally important as the place itself. In the picture we want to capture and show an interesting view in a beautiful light. Sądecczyzna (which is a Polish name for the region of Beskid Sądecki) also gives such opportunities. Where are you most likely going with your camera in the Beskid Sądecki? where would you recommend to go? I have my favourite places, which I often visit at different times of the day and year. There are very forested areas on the trails, especially appreciated during the summer heat as well as extensive glades and lookout towers. My favourite outdoor spots are the clearing of Obidza in the Radziejowa range, Mały and Wielki Rogacz, then the Przełyba Pass and the Przehyba Glade. My favourite trails include also a route 

from Łącko to Dzwonkówka, seldom visited by tourists, with a lookout tower on Mt Koziarz. In the Jaworzyna Krynicka Range, my favourites are a glade above Mt Wierchomla with a view of the Tatras and a charming hostel. The route from Rytro to the Łabowska Glade is also worth recommending; along the way there is a nice hostel on Cyrla and then my favourite Jaworzyna Kokuszańska and Zadnie Góry. I would recommend "photographic" places like the snail-shaped lookout platform in Wola Krogulecka, the Połom nad Rytrem hill with two windmills and a magnificent view of the Poprad Valley. I often visit Piwowarówka, Jarzębaki and Niemcowa which are very scenic hamlets of Piwniczna. Many of our readers do not come from Poland and a trip to our country is a really serious journey to them. Is the tourist base in this area well developed, or there is still a bit more to be done? There is no problem with accommodation in the Beskid Sądecki. In addition to typical hotels for wealthier clients, there is a whole bunch of private guesthouses for every budget. There are also shelters on the following trails: Jaworzyna Krynicka, the Łabowska Glade , Cyrla, mountain shelter over Wierchomla in the Jaworzyna Range, on Przehyba, near Bereśnica, and on Obidza in the Radziejowa Range. There is an opinion that the significant afforestation of hills and ridges of Beskid Sądecki causes that in terms of viewing qualities; it gives way even to the neighbouring Pieniny. What do you think about it? True, Beskid Sądecki is mostly wooded. However, there are scenic glades on the trails and beyond. In the top places there are lookout towers. For many tourists, afforestation is an advantage especially when hiking on hot summer days. People keen on photographing landscapes will certainly find a place for their passion. Returning to Pieniny, the main range of Pieniny is also mostly wooded. The beautiful views are from the Three Crowns, Mt Czertezik and Mt Sokolica. More scenic and photographic are the Small Pieniny with my favourite summits of Wysoki Wierch an Wysoka as well as the Homole Gorge. I recommend a walk through the Biała Woda reserve in Jaworki to the Rozdziela Pass. This is a border between the Beskid Sądecki and Małe Pieniny.

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DESTINATION: BESKID SĄDECKI BY JANUSZ WAŃCZYK

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Within the Beskid Sądecki, there are several well-known tourist and health resorts. The most popular centre is Krynica, located at the foot of Jaworzyna. Does it deserve a recommendation, and if so – then why? Krynica is definitely worth recommending. It is referred to as the "Pearl of Polish Spas", it owes its name to excellent healing waters. It has beautiful, charming architecture with many historic buildings. In winter, you can ski from the slopes of Jaworzyna, Słotwiny, on Góra Parkowa. International ice hockey tournaments take place here. During the summer Krynica is filled with operetta music from the Jan Kiepura Festival, which is performed by artists known from national and foreign scenes. The oldest Spa Orchestra works and gives concerts there. In September, the Economic Forum takes place here attended by presidents and prime ministers of many countries. For hiking enthusiasts, there are many hiking trails in the area. In a short distance from Krynica, there is another resort – Muszyna. This place is currently experiencing a real renaissance. Many tourist attractions such as the Sensory Gardens, the Biblical Gardens, the Magical Gardens were created here. In the nearby Szczawnik there is the Two Valleys Ski Resort. One should mention the Szczawnica spa resort lying at the foot of the Radziejowa Range of the Beskid Sądecki. This place, although less popular than Krynica, is more intimate and worth recommending. The villages worth visiting in the Poprad Valley include:  old Stary Sącz, Rytro, Piwniczna or Żegiestów. We will find here numerous "pearls" of sacral architecture: wooden churches, Lemko orthodox temples and roadside chapels. „Sądecczyzna close and faraway "- 4 seasons. Each season has its own advantages for cultivating tourism and photographic passion. I will quote fragments of the description of the seasons from the album of my authorship. "Sądecczyzna close and far away" „Spring wakes up with the yellow colour of coltsfoot and marigolds in the humid places near the roaring streams. White snowdrops fight bravely with the remains of snow plains. In the green woods the carpets of anemones whiten cheerfully and the sweet smell of violets fills the air. The Gorce meadows light up crocus lanterns in violet. Fluffy willow "kitties" will quickly turn into emerald leaves. The forest silence is nicely interrupted by the sounds of nature. Above the flowers there are lots of humming insects bustling about; you can hear the knocking of the woodpecker, the cuckoo also occasionally makes some sounds. On the petals of asphodels, morning butterflies drink pearly dew. Nature charms with colour and sound, you can forget about everything and admire it with delight. Over time, yellow colour will dominate the Beskid meadows, fields and bales. This is the time of a dandelion, commonly known here as “may”. 

It's also the time of evening religious signings. Roadside, village chapels, usually empty, at this time of the year gather around singing groups of people. „There is a voice heard in the mountains" – the May song spreads with the smell of lilacs and jasmine. Fruit trees bloom abundantly in the orchards and barbed blackthorn whitens on mountain trails. Summer on Sądecczyzna comes earlier than on the calendar. It enters on hot May days with dangerous blue sky and a bang of lightning. On the Beskid fields, grains of cereals gilded with evening light wave and the stacks of hay practice military drill. After the harvest, they will be joined by grain mounds creating geometric fantasies. Drops of dew shine on a pearl thread, millions of rainbow circles light up. Wind plays some melodies on wheat sheaves. Only dandelion parachutes flying in the air remind about bygone spring.   Summer passes away and already in September some autumn accents appear. The colour of the beech forest will change with time from initial orange into innumerable shades of copper purple with  birch leaflets flashing in the wind. Only spruces and fluffy pines in their old tradition invariably remain in emeralds. They remember summer with piles of carved pegs abandoned in the meadows. Amber fields of grasses wave melodiously, evoking the sunny gleams. Glittering threads of Indian summer fly to the sky. Sheep nibble on the October grass in the Jarzębackie meadows. On November mornings, hoarfrost often visits mountain glades, cold  sugar paints twigs and playful clumps of grasses in white. The white "comb" of the Tatra peaks in a frame of gold-plated larches looks great against the blue sky from the glades above Wierchomla. This colourful autumn idyll is suddenly interrupted by a cold night. The trees lose their colourful face, their arms will soon be covered  with a white cape. The Sącz region has recently been treated nicely by winter. Even the Christmas period used to be snowless. White fluff likes to appear around the New Year. However, already in November and December, on high-mountain glades, the morning frost turns night fumes into silvery hoarfrost. Common clumps of grass in the morning light change into fantastic fairy-tale ghosts. The old, lofty larches on the Obidza Glade glisten in frosty furs. Distant Tatra peaks in festive white robes look proudly.  Christmas is near and even the nearby Pieniny spruces from  the Rozdziela Pass go with a carol in a secret parade towards their brothers in Radziejowa. „Silent night, holy night" can be heard at Makowice and Zadnie Góry and it is repeated later by the echo at Mogielnica. It is only January and the cold February that exactly cover the Beskids with snow. In winter, nature slows down.  83 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


DESTINATION: BESKID SĄDECKI BY JANUSZ WAŃCZYK

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DESTINATION: BESKID SĄDECKI BY JANUSZ WANCZYK

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ora et labora text and photography Franciszek Kupczyk "Inaccessibility, shrouded in the mystery of faith and the mystical contact of man with the personal God, creates in the other man an open desire for knowledge. Maybe this is the source of this interest and favour. In addition, the photos have an undeniable documentary value. They show a world that is not available to us every day. A world of silence, prayer and work that joins together to make the whole. Happiness is not measured by the measure of wealth. There are and will always be needs for values longed-for by every human soul. These, in turn, we can draw from the hermits in their over 1,000-year presence in the Church".

an interview and reflections


ora et labora Franciszek Kupczyk The Hermitage of the Five Martyrs was founded in 1663, suppressed in 1819, and reopened in 1937 and 1945 respectively. It was perhaps built on the site where the first Polish saints were killed in 1003. The five were hermits, two of them direct disciples of Saint Romuald. In 1941 the hermitage was suppressed by the Nazis; three hermits died in concentration camps. It is presently the novitiate house for Poland. EREMO CINQUE MARTIRI PUSTELNIA OO. KAMEDUŁÓW (BIENISZEW) BIENISZEW 62-530 KAZIMIERZ BISKUPI POLAND

Franciszek Kupczyk was born in 1957. A graduate of The College of Social and Media Culture in Toruń, the faculty of journalism with the specialty of media culture. His photographic activity is related to Konin. He was an active member of the Konin Photo Club, a photojournalist of local and regional press: Wielkopolskie Zagłębie, Gazeta Konińska, Gazeta Kolska and Przegląd Koniński. He also cooperated with Gazeta Poznańska and Głos Wielkopolski. Currently, he is an independent photographer. He mainly deals with documentary and reportage photography. Inspired by a man, his place in the space of culture, he creatively penetrates social and religious motifs, capturing manifestations of life in many of its aspects. He is a laureate of many awards and the author of a number of exhibitions, among which his epic story about the life of Camaldolese monks entitled ORA et LABORA has gained popularity in the world of photography and the recognition of critics. He is the author of an album entitled ‘Camaldolese monks in the service of God and people’. The list of prices and distinctions he has been honoured with includes: Great Caryatid granted by the Centre of Culture and Arts in Konin - Institution of Culture of Greater Poland Local Government for creative attitude expressed in the field of photography and for showing the world through the prism of own sensitivity; Konin President's award for achievements in the field of photography; Salmon statuette granted by the Mayor of Kazimierz Biskupi Commune in the Culture Man category. He has also won many awards and distinctions in photo contests. He is an active participant in open air photographic workshops. Contact: studio@kupczyk.com.pl, www.kupczyk.com.pl, www.facebook.com/kupczyk.fotografia 89 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


A R O B A L

A R O

ora et labora BY FRANCISZEK KUPCZYK

Watching your work as a photographer, one may get an impression that you are fascinated or inspired by the man and his environment; is this an accurate observation? In my photographs, the man is important for two reasons: firstly, he is the subject of them-embedded in the space of light, and secondly - he is the recipient of them. The picture is not an end in itself but a means and a tool for the goal. For me photography is a method of document recording. Many of your works are embedded in a certain reality, reality of the world inaccessible to an average viewer. Do you think that your message or sometimes documentation will be understandable to the viewer, or perhaps for you it is important to capture the moment stopped in time without having to communicate with the viewer / recipient?

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For me, it is important that the message is characterised by honesty and simplicity, and that it is visually attractive, enriched with such means of expression that are reserved for the language of photography. The rest is the imagination of the viewer. The interpretation of the image and the ability to reflect depend on the viewer’s  emotional sensitivity and his views.  Is it possible to say about your work that you penetrate the social motives to a large extent creatively, perpetuating the manifestations of life in many of its aspects? Each social group thanks to shared culture and religion has its own identity. It is the source of wealth of mutual relations. For a photographer it is a mine of topics. By perpetuating all manifestations of life, I try to show interactions between people.  


The project Ora at Labora, presenting the life of the monks from the Camaldolese Hermitage in Bieniszew often deviates from a standard look at a similar topic when you show life, energy and, of course, concentration. Have you planned such an approach to the topic even during the preparation for the session or is it rather the result of a spontaneous encounter with the theme / people? The project Ora at Labora had its beginning in July 2003, when Markuz Publishing asked me to take photos of the hermits to the album "Camaldolese in the service of God and People" in celebration of the Millennium (1000th anniversary) of the death of the 5 Martyr Brothers who during the reigns of Bolesław I the Brave suffered a martyr's death here. The album was to be ready in September of the same year. So I had little time to prepare. How did I approach the topic? I was aware that this is not a "self-done" theme that not every mortal is given the opportunity to enter the monastery walls for more than a month and to look at monks in their daily lives. So I prepared myself primarily mentally - with humility and empathy. Substantive preparation was also important to me, familiarising myself with publications about them, especially with the monastic rule. Besides, I would like to point out that these were times of analogue photography. The technical preparation was still in play: equipment, diaphragms, negatives, filters, lighting, etc... What was your photographer’s work with the monks like? Regarding the fact that they do not have much contact with the outside surrounding world, in all manifestations of its modernity? When I slammed the monastery door behind me, the first thing that struck me was the ceaseless, mysterious silence, which at first I found difficult to get used to. In spite of this, I felt an extraordinary harmony and peace in my heart. This amazing mood of balance was interrupted only occasionally by the bell, which for the hermit is a determinant of the rhythm of the rules of monastic discipline, and at the same time, organizes life in the hermitage. Another reflection… I had an impression that I moved back to the Middle Ages. How could you explain the lack of radio, television and no music? The only thing revealing that the truth is different was 

electricity, central heating and in a modern way equipped kitchen. The furnishing of a cell or a hermit chamber for a Camaldolese monk consists of: a table, a chair, a bookcase, a bed, a wardrobe and a kneeler. There are no curtains, rugs, tablecloths, soft armchairs and other appliances that make home more beautiful and life more comfortable. I lived in such a cottage for over a month and a half. For the first week I focused on observing their conventual life. I met with them in prayer, I accompanied them at work, but instead of a camera I used a pencil and a notebook, in which I carefully wrote down my observations about the threads of their existence during particular times of the day: what to pay attention to, what the light is like then, etc. I was aware that despite the consent of the prior, I am still an intruder in this place.   My attitude of the withdrawn observer resulted in the fact that one morning one of the monks called to me: – Brother Francis (they turned to me this way) – There is a nice light in the temple. Maybe we would take pictures!? And it was a breakthrough moment, later on I accompanied them everywhere with my camera. During the whole stay, I made over 1000 shots of diapositives and negatives.   The most difficult for me was to combine my own technical skills, their spirituality and the metaphysical climate of this place. It is worth remembering that the rule of the Camaldolese order is based on several pillars. One of them is Lectio Divina, meaning reading and contemplating the Word of God, which leads to an intimate meeting with the Creator in one’s heart. The monk lives on this Word because It has the power to change him. For the first time, monks meet with the Word in their cells at 3:45, then at 5:30 there is a common morning mass and eucharist. In total, during the day, they meet in the church for prayer 7 times. Throughout the entire period of my stay there, it was puzzling for me how, in the age of the Internet and mobile phones, one can cut himself off from the world of consumption,  and with full consciousness devote himself to the life of a hermit, prayer and work? I looked at them with genuine respect and admiration, but I could not forget why I was there.

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Brother John during his favourite occupation in the monastery's apiary. ORA ET LABORA BY FRANCISZEK KUPCZYK

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Brother Bolesław at work

 In the first picture in a carpentry workshop, while in the second photo – working on a handmade rosary. Camaldolese rosaries are made from the fruit of the plant called azalea which is grown in the garden. In the background there are the pictures of women who were announced saints. Someone may ask why exactly holy women? There is no unambiguous answer here. Two Brother's sisters are nuns as well, also Camaldolese, and lead a hermit life.  According to the Camaldolese rule, the work of a hermit is also a form of prayer. All activities are designed to subject the body to the law of human work and to maintain the fitness of spirit. Living in the rhythm of work and prayer (with the primacy of the latter), they become freer and thus more open to God and people. Over time, the division between work and prayer may even blur, because both are still intertwined. Praying, they work while working – pray. ORA ET LABORA BY FRANCISZEK KUPCZYK

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Brother Jan, having seized the rope of the monastery bell, calls the monks for prayer. The bell organises life in the hermitage and it is the guardian of the monastic rule. It is heard for the first time at 3:45, announcing a wake-up call. The picture is even more meaningful due to the fact that it was the last time the bell was started by a monk. Since then, the bell has been controlled by an electronic clock. ORA ET LABORA BY FRANCISZEK KUPCZYK


The Camaldolese hermitage is penitent and contemplative In nature. Hermits conduct a very strict, ascetic lifestyle. They struggle with the monotony of life, silence, fasting, lack of entertainment, and above all, with themselves. To emphasise the strictness of their customs, the hermits wear long beards and have short hair. Picture is one of the photojournalism depicting tonsure, or Camaldolese haircut. The monks gather in one of the utility rooms located at the laundry.  


Portrait of brother Zbigniew. Picture in so-called medium close-up is filled with a silhouette of a praying monk. The strong point of this frame is the look of hermit's eyes, which is also punctum of this photograph. The viewer focuses on the eyes’ look, resembling total trust and devotion to God. The background of the pictures consists of varied lights and values of gray. They create the aura of mysticism and build depth, which is enhanced by the clearly outlined silhouette of Christ, "entering" the frame in the upper right corner.


Daily breviary prayer in the chapter house

  Monks immersed in prayer. These two photographs have many common features. The first of these presents three Camaldolese brothers: Jan, Jakub and Zbigniew. They say the daily breviary prayer in the chapter-house. The environment surrounding the monks consists of the raw interior of the chapter-house (stone floor, cross, image of Madonna). Sun rays shed light through the window, which do not illuminate  but  make an impression to enlighten the monks. Thanks to this, one feels the aura of mysticism and exalted prayer. To illustrate the whole scene, a full plan was used. The picture is composed in such a way that the monks standing in the left part of the shot constitute the so-called strong point of the frame, and the sun's rays coming diagonally make the composition more dynamic. In addition, the photo creates an atmosphere of seriousness, stimulates the viewer to reflect, allows you to calm down. ORA ET LABORA BY FRANCISZEK KUPCZYK

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Photo illustrates a Camaldolese monk coming out of the catacombs. There is some symbolism in this: the monk is moving from darkness to light...

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Happiness is not measured by the measure of wealth. There are and will always be needs for values longed-for by every human soul. White and black, light and shadow, good and evil, which reflect attitudes: the concentration of monks in prayer, humility, their constant internal struggle... 99 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


Funeral of Brother Leonard, who died at the age of 93, after spending 72 years of his life in the monastery. He was the oldest Camaldolese in Poland. Brother Leonard, according to the rule of the order, passed away in solitude. After applying the holy oils, all other brothers left his cell. In the last earthly journey, the monk was accompanied by confreres, clergy, the closest family and crowds of the fellow believers. During the farewell ceremony, the gates of the Camaldolese monastery in Bieniszew were open to everyone.


The words of the Camaldolese call 'memento mori' mean literally “remember about death�. In this context, the death and burial of every monk living in Christian spirituality is not an end, but appears as a natural stage in life. It is primarily about death as a moment of encounter with God and the passage to eternity. This meeting is to recall the memory of the fragility and volatility of human life. It is also meant to encourage people to live in such a way that they are not afraid of their eternal life at the last moment.


EASTER a guide to the Polish Easter basket

PALM & CRAFT COMPETITION IN LIPNICA MUROWANA


EASTER IN POLAND IT IS THE OLDEST AND THE MOST IMPORTANT CHRISTIAN FEAST IN POLAND, CELEBRATING THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. IT IS A MOVABLE FEAST. EASTER IS CELEBRATED ON THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE FIRST FULL MOON IN SPRING.

Polish traditions associated with the period of Lent and

Drowning Judas

Easter are so strongly associated with religious traditions

On Holy Wednesday, a shouting procession of rural youth

that it is difficult to see the distinction between religious

pulls through the whole village a straw-stuffed doll that is

regulations and the traditions of Polish secular life. Lent

supposed to represent Judas. There is a lot of laughter and

brings to mind all the traditions that have been nurtured by

singing at the same time. After they drag the puppet out

the piety of our ancestors. Nowhere else these habits are

of the village, it is thrown into the water and stones are

experienced so strongly and they are nowhere as poignant

thrown at it until it sinks down, to the bottom.

as Poland. This 40-day preparation period is supposed to cause some changes, some serious thoughts.

Funeral of ‘żur” (sour rye soup) and herring

Easter is in a week. The most important holiday of the year.

In the past, in Poland, fasting was observed very eagerly,

There are days of hectic preparations: cleaning, scrubbing,

giving up not only meat and vegetable fats, but even dairy

cleaning, airing. Especially in Polish villages, pre-Easter

and sugar. The Lenten diet consisted mostly of sour rye

cleaning grows to the role of almost a sacred ritual. Men are

soup and herring. No wonder that at the end of Lent, most

not needed at homes right now; they may even bother

often on Good Friday, everyone had already enough of this

women, so they are usually sent out to work in the field.

meal and so-called funeral of sour soup and herring was

Sunday of the Resurrection – beginning with a traditional

organized. Amid exclamations of joy, with singing and

resurrection mass, during which there is sometimes a scene

keeping the old Polish ceremonial, abominable meals were

with women and an angel at an empty grave played.

taken away from houses, thrown into the pit dug out outside

The church bells toll joyfully, bearing the message that

the village, and buried, which was a form of refusal to

Christ has resurrected!

consume this food for the whole year. In some regions, for example in Krakow, the rural population buried also

Although resurrection rites were standardized in the 16th

a pot with ashes, which was a symbol of ending the time

century, there is still a big difference between the

of sadness and penance, and the arrival of the time of joy.

countryside and the city. In the countryside, the sound of the bells and the resounding song „A happy day has come "

Crushing eggs:

as well as the inhabitants dressed in regional costumes

On Easter Sunday, young people in Polish villages set off for

make the ceremony more vivid and lively.

the traditional "egg-crushing". Each player holds an Easter

After resurrection, everyone goes to their homes for Easter

egg and taps it with his neighbour. The one whose Easter

breakfast, which includes delicacies from „blessed food

egg breaks first is eliminated from the game and has to give

basket". Just like on Christmas Eve we shared the

his damaged egg to the winner. Eventually, the winner is the

Christmas wafer, now we share an Easter egg , blessed with

player whose egg had particularly hard shell and who

other types of food, wishing one another health, prosperity

obtained the biggest amount of Easter eggs, which he can

and mutual forgiveness.

give later to the girls.


EASTER BASKET ŚWIĘCONKA Święconka, meaning "the blessing of the Easter baskets," is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions on Holy Saturday.

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Easter Basket The tradition of food blessing at Easter, which has early-medieval roots in Christian society, possibly originated from a pagan ritual. The tradition is said to date from the 7th century in its basic form, the more modern form containing bread and eggs (symbols of resurrection and Christ) are said to date from the 12th century.

Baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are

The Blessing of the Food is, however, a festive

brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday.

occasion. The three-part blessing prayers specifically

The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen

address the various contents of the baskets, with

or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood

special prayers for the meats, eggs, cakes and

(bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen. Poles take

breads. The priest or deacon then sprinkles the

special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful

individual baskets with holy water.

basket with crisp linens, occasionally embroidered

More traditional Polish churches use a straw brush

for the occasion, and boxwood and ribbon woven

for aspersing the water; others use the more modern

through the handle. Observing the creativity of other

metal holy water sprinkling wand. In some parishes,

parishioners is one of the special joys of the event.

the baskets are lined up on long tables; in others, parishioners process to the front of the altar

While in some older or rural communities, the priest

carrying their baskets, as if in a Communion line.

visits the home to bless the foods, the vast majority

Older generations of Polish Americans, descended

of Poles and Polish Americans visit the church on

from early 19th century immigrants, tend to bless

Holy Saturday, praying at the Tomb of the Lord (the

whole meal quantities, often brought to church halls

fourteenth and final Station of the Cross).

or cafeterias in large hampers and picnic baskets.

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Easter basket

Sol (Salt) – A necessary element in our physical life. Symbolic of prosperity and justice and to remind us that people are the flavor of the earth. Ser (Cheese) – very rare – Symbolic of the moderation Christians should have at all times. Candle – Represents Christ as the Light of the World. Colorful Ribbons and Sprigs of Greenery – are attached to the basket as signs of joy and new life in the season of spring and in celebration of the Resurrection. Linen Cover – drawn over the top of the basket which is ready for the priest's visit to the home or the trip to church where it is joined with the baskets of others to await the blessing. The food is then set aside and enjoyed on Easter Sunday. Maslo (Butter) – This dairy product is often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny) or a cross. This reminds us of the good will of Christ that we should have towards all things. Babka (Easter Cake) – A round or long loaf topped with a cross or a fish, symbolic of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.  Chrzan (Horseradish) – Symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in our minds. Jajka (Eggs) and Pisanki (decorated with symbols of Easter – Indicates new life and Christ's Resurrection from the tomb.  Kielbasa (Sausage) – A sausage product, symbolic of God's favor and generosity. Szynka (Ham) – Symbolic of great joy and abundance. The lamb reminds Christians that Christ is the "Lamb of God." 107 TRAVEL.LOVEPOLAND


SCULPTURE “JESUS CHRIST SITTING ON THE PALM SUNDAY DONKEY”

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Author unknown Date of production after 1500 Dimensions height: total: 224 cm figure of Christ: 146 cm Axle spacing 133-138 cm Museum The National Museum in Kraków, The Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace Material wood, iron

the sculpture coming from the parish church of St. Sigismund in Szydłowiec, constitutes an extraordinary dramatic exhibit used during processions of going to church on Palm Sunday as to a symbol of Jerusalem. Christ, in a firmly upright position, is raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing. Digitalisation:  RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project, public domain


PALM & CRAFT COMPETITION IN LIPNICA MUROWANA Since 1958 Lipnica Murowana has organised a Palm Festival and contest to determine the most beautiful and tallest palms, which have become symbolic of Easter in Catholic Poland.

In 2018, the famous Easter palm contest in Lipnica

Lipnica Murowana is picturesquely surrounded by

Murowana will take place on March 25 – of course

peaceful hills of the Wiśnickie Foothills (from the

on Palm Sunday. It will be the 60th jubilee edition

north) and the Beskid Wyspowy (from the south).

of this event, the official name of which is "Józef

A lot of narrow asphalt roads, rarely used by cars,

Piotrowski Contest of Lipnica Easter Palms and

pass through these hills (pictured here). It is

Handicraft".

therefore an ideal place for cycling trips, especially since there are many interesting monuments in the

Palms are rated in different categories and in terms

area (mainly wooden churches). It is also good to

of different criteria, while the most exciting of

walk on such roads, for example with a pram, and in

course is the competition for the highest of them –

winter, in some places there are excellent conditions

record-breakers exceed 30 meters! Of course, all

for sledding (the snow is tamped, but cars are rarely

palms are the works of local residents who craft

seen here). In the summer, there is a lot of greenery

them according to traditional customs.

here, you can hear soft sound of water of Uszwica

The place of the contest is traditionally the Market

river and its smaller tributaries while nd everything

Square in Lipnica Murowana, which is teeming with

is filled with peace and quiet.

life on that day due to numerous accompanying

Lipnica Murowana is about 50 km from Cracow so

events: folklore concerts, the Easter market or the

road connections with the rest of the country are

opportunity to visit the monuments of Lipnica.

quite good (A-4, DK 1, DK 7).

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Lipnica Murowana

THE EASTER PALMS AND FOLK HANDICRAFT COMPETITION IN LIPNICA MUROWANA  www.poland.gov.pl fot. Mariusz Cieszewski

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Easter eggs and Easter Palms:Symbols of Easter photos: Polish National Archives NAC

Krakow, Main Square, 1931

Palm Sunday, Myślenice, 1935

Easter egg, 1925, origin: Kut, Hutsuls


Easter breakfast table photos lovePoland


O F

T H E C E N T R E F O R T H E D O C U M E N T A T I O N T H E A R T O F T A D E U S Z K A N T O R C R I C O T E K A

I SHALL NEVER RETURN HERE Cricoteka, the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor was founded by the artist Tadeusz Kantor as early as in 1980; originally named the Centre of the Cricot 2 Theatre, it was first located at 5 Kanonicza Street (now the seat of the Centre’s archives). For almost ten years, the institution has been the cornerstone of Kantor's savant-garde theatre, as well as a ‘living archive’ of his theatrical creation. The unique collection of Kantor's works is the basis of the activities of the Centre. The collection comprises several hundred objects and costumes from the Cricot 2 Theatre, Kantor’'s theoretical papers, drawings and design works, video records, and photographic documentation as well as thousands of reviews, journals and books. This enormous output – accumulated as the result of the extensive peregrinations of Tadeusz Kantor and his actors – has been subject to continuous development and academic research.

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M A R I U S Z

C I S Z E W S K I


O F

T H E C E N T R E F O R T H E D O C U M E N T A T I O N T H E A R T O F T A D E U S Z K A N T O R C R I C O T E K A

IMPOSSIBLE IS REAL The new home of Cricoteka opened in 2014 – is the first art institution in Poland dedicated to an individual artist. The fundamental concerns of Cricoteka are issues such as the nature of the artist’'s output and the possible ways of presenting it in a museum. The concept behind the programme of the Centre has been inspired by the entirety of Kantor’'s work as well as the collection of archive materials and theatrical objects, viewed from the perspective of contemporary art discourse and new methodology. The programme will cover such phenomena and topics as performatics, re-performance, appropriation art, retrospection and memory, archive and anthropology of collection, and interdisciplinary as well as experimental puppet theatre. The Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor Cricoteka 2-4 Nadwiślańska Street, 30-527 Kraków, tel. (+48 12) 442 77 70 Gallery-Studio of Tadeusz Kantor 7/5 Sienna Street, 31-041 Kraków Building, Bookshop and Crico café: Tuesday-Sunday: 11am-7pm, Monday: closed

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