Poland: holidays, national customs, climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|May 1||Labor Day|
|May 03||Constitution of 1791|
|May June||Corpus Christi|
|15th of August||Assumption Day|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
|November 02||All Souls|
|November 11||Regaining independence on November 11, 1918|
|24th of December||Christmas|
Source: Countryaah – Poland Holidays
May 3 (constitution of 1791) and November 11 (regaining independence).
Most of the holidays are religious, such as Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, All Saints’ Day, Assumption, Christmas etc.
Holidays: Jan 1st – New Year, May 1st – Labor Day.
|Date||kind of event|
|Holy Week (from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday)||Passion play in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska|
|May||International Book Fair in WarsawInternational Festival of Orthodox Church Music in Trinity Cathedral in Hajnowka|
|May to September, every Sunday||Chopin concerts in Warsaw’s Lazienki Park|
|June||International Theater Festival “Malta” in Poznan|
|June to August||International Organ MusicFestival in Oliwa Cathedral (Oliva) The Festival of Jewish Culture in Krakow (July)
Knight tournaments in Gniew (Mewe), Ogrodzieniec and Bytow (Bütow)
|August||International Street Theater Festival in KrakowInternational Mountain Folklore Festival in Zakopane|
|September||International Festival “Wratislavia Cantans” in WroclawArchaeological Festival in Biskupin
Festival “Warsaw Autumn”
- BathingBathing in the Baltic Sea is largely harmless, apart from the beaches that are close to larger cities. Most of the lakes are suitable for swimming. Signs showing a crossed-out swimmer must be observed.
- Fishing A fishinglicense is required, which is generally valid for 7 days for all released waters. It can be purchased from local anglers’ clubs. The amount of the fees is determined by the respective local association. You can find out the exact amount at the tourist office.
- CanoeingMany Polish waters offer great opportunities for canoeing. Canoes can be rented privately or at rental stations. Many travel agencies also organize canoe tours.
- CyclingGerman and Polish travel agencies offer bike tours through Masuria, Silesia, etc. and provide bicycles for a fee. Cyclists can obtain information on this from the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC).
- Horse ridingMasuria and many areas in northern Poland are popular areas for horse riders. Many stud farms provide accommodation and food. A brochure is available from the Polish Tourist Office listing the country’s main equestrian centers.
- SailingThe Masurian and Pomeranian Lakes offer good opportunities for inland sailing. Boats can be hired on site. The marinas on the Baltic Sea are very popular. From here turns to all destinations in the Baltic Sea are possible. Information can be obtained from the Polish Sailing Association in Warsaw.
- SkiingZakopane in the High Tratra is considered the “winter capital” of Poland. The place is about 90 km south of Krakow near Slovakia. Karpacz and Szklarska Poreba are very popular in the Giant Mountains, at the foot of the Schneekoppe. Szczyrk in the Silesian Beskids is also popular.
- HikingIn the Sudetes and Carpathians you can hike on well signposted routes. Many already know the excellent ridge trails of the Giant Mountains and the High Tatras, but only a few know the »Forest Carpathians« with its heart, the Bieszczady National Park. There, over 300 km of marked paths open up an impressive landscape. Even inexperienced hikers can climb the up to 1,400 m high mountain ranges. The villages of Ustrzyki Górne and Wetlina on the edge of the national park are the starting points.
The Polish labeling of toilets is completely different from the western one: a circle means “women” and a triangle means “men”.
Poles are very imaginative when it comes to forming pet names. For each first name there are several diminutive forms that are also used in adults. A Zofia (Sophie) can be with Zosia, Zośka, Zosienka, Zochna or Zocha, a Maria with Marysia, Maryśka, Marysienka, Marychna, Mania, Mańka, Maniusia, Maja, Majka, Marusia or with related first names such as Maryla, Maryna, Marianna, Mariola to be addressed. In former Poland, the first name Maria was not given because of the special veneration that was shown to the Mother of God. This was the reason for the emergence of numerous sound-related diminutions.
The tradition of the Poles is particularly evident during church celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day. Pilgrimages to religious pilgrimage sites are also very popular. There are Polish customs that are not known in Germany, for example on Easter Monday people splash themselves with water and call it “smigus dyngus”.
The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. Pure cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. Spring, summer and autumn are certainly ideal travel times to visit Poland. But winter also has its charm in Poland. Skiers who do not want to go alpine will get their money’s worth in Poland. And extensive hikes or walks through the vast Polish forests offer an almost unique experience.
The following table shows a range of climate data for Poland. It should be noted, however, that the climatic conditions in different regions of the country can differ considerably from one another and thus also from the values shown. The climate on the Baltic Sea differs considerably from that in the high altitudes of the Tatras or the Giant Mountains. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 25 °C to reach maximum values of 35 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
|January||14-16||at 0||-05 to -07|
|February||13-15||at 0||-05 to -07|
|March||10-12||04-06||0 to -02|
|December||13-15||at 0||-03 to -05|
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that PL stands for the nation of Poland as a two-letter acronym.
Cities worth seeing in Poland
City of Breslau on the German-Czech border has an eventful history. After the Second World War there was a mixture of Slavic, Ukrainian and German citizens.
The city has its lively center around the beautiful Gothic town hall on the market square. Also worth seeing are the salt market, the cathedral island or the old town houses on Plac Solny.Breslau on the German-Czech border has an eventful history. After the Second World War there was a mixture of Slavic, Ukrainian and German citizens.
The salt market, the cathedral island or the old town houses on Plac Solny are worth seeing. The town hall, the symbol of the city, is an example of Gothic architecture. The market square, in the middle of which is the town hall, is the second largest market square in Poland and is surrounded by houses of all styles since the Renaissance.
The most beautiful buildings include the House of the Golden Sun and the House of the Seven Electors, painted in 1672. Other architectural gems are the “Golden Dog” from 1713 and the Phoenix Department Store from 1904.
The small town of Bolesławiec is known and loved in Germany – and beyond – especially because of its famous ceramics. It should be mentioned that the baroque poet Martin Opitz von Boberfeld (1597 in Bunzlau to 1639 in Gdansk) was born here. Bunzlau has around 40,000 residents and, as it is only a few kilometers from the A4 motorway, it is easy to reach by car. The city is just 45 km northeast of Görlitz as the crow flies.
The city is located in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship.
Ceramic lovers should not miss the ceramic museum (Muzeum Ceramiki).
A symbol of the Polish resistance during World War II is the Polish Post Office on Obronców Polskiej. On September 1, 1939, the employees of the Polish Post in the free city of Danzig defendedthe building against the attacking German soldiers. Overall, the unequal fight lasted about 14 hours. A detailed description of the city of Gdansk is available here >>> at Goruma.
The port city is still very young and did not emerge until the 1920s when Poland needed a port. During the Second World War it was occupied by the Germans and served, among other things, as a military base. At the end of the war the place became one of the most important evacuation ports. The “Wilhelm Gustloff” with numerous German refugees on board also ran from here. The ship was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine and sank in the icy waters of the Baltic Sea. It tore over 9,000 people to their deaths. Gdynia was badly damaged in the war, but quickly rebuilt. Today it forms the “Tricity” economic region together with Gdansk and Sopot.
Krakow is the third largest city in Poland. It is located in the south of the country on the Vistula in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, just under 300 km from Warsaw. After Warsaw, it is the second largest Polish science and cultural center in Poland, a university town and the seat of the archbishop. Krakow can look back on a very long history. For a long time it was the capital of Poland, seat of kings and coronation city. It was declared a bishopric as early as 1000. In 1925 the diocese was elevated to the status of the Archdiocese of Krakow, which still exists today. Probably the best known Archbishop of Kraków was Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II, who took up the post of bishop in 1958. A detailed description of the city of Krakow can be found here >>> at Goruma.
Poznan is located in the western center of Poland. The town hall is particularly worth seeing in the rebuilt inner cityat the Altmarkt, with musical mechanism in the tower clock. Sights are also the restored royal castle and the old town houses. The town hall was originally a two-storey building in the brick Gothic style, which was extensively rebuilt around 1550 by Giovanni Battista Quadro from Lugano. Since then, the town hall has been one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Poland. Its facade with the crowning attic makes an almost austere impression. Every day at lunchtime, two goats appear on the platform of the clock and bump their heads twelve times. The classicist Hauptwache adjoins the north side of the town hall. To the left of the town hall are the so-called shopkeepers’ houses with their characteristic arcades. Around the old market there are restored town houses in a wide variety of architectural styles.here >>> at Goruma.
Stettin – located in West Pomerania on the Oder – is a big city in the country. There are many sights in the city, including the castle, the old town hall, the Rossmarkt, the Paradeplatz and Königsplatz, as well as many churches and museums. The decorative government building from 1912 is a brick building built in the Low German Renaissance, which is surmounted by a 72 meter high, richly decorated tower. Even today the house is still used for government functions.
Świebodzin (Schwiebus), statue of the King of Christ
Świebodzin (Schwiebus) is a district town in the Lubusz Voivodeship and has about 21,000 residents. The city is located approx. 70 m from the border with Germany on Europastraße 30.
On November 7, 2010, the highest statue of Christ in the world was erected here on a specially built 16.5 m high hill with a height of 36 m. The statue, called the Christ the King Statue, weighs a total of 440 tons and is around 24 m wide with outstretched arms. The head, which weighs 15 tons, is adorned with a 3 m high gold-plated crown. The statue is reminiscent of the statue in Rio de Janeiro. The statue was designed by the Polish sculptor Mirosław Kazimierz Patecki.
The King’s Feast takes place on the last Sunday before the 1st Advent and was founded on December 11, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. introduced.
The local church administration and city leaders hope that the statue will create a new Catholic pilgrimage site and tourist attraction in the city.
Czestochowa near Krakow is the most famous pilgrimage destination in Poland. The Black Madonna of Czestochowa is the most important national relic in the whole country
The town with its residents is located. Until the German invasion during World War II, around half of the city’s residents were of Jewish faith.
Almost all of the town’s Jews were murdered, and several thousand were even shot publicly in the town’s market square. The remains of the old synagogue are now a reminder of these atrocities.
The Museum of the History and Morals of Sinti and Roma is also interesting and well worth seeing.
Almost 60 km south of Krakow is the birthplace of the former Pope John Paul II. The small town was founded in the first half of the 14th century, but only gained greater fame after Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope on October 16, 1978. Since then, Wadowice has been a place of pilgrimage. The Church of the Apparition of the Virgin is particularly worth seeing. Karol Wojtyła was baptized in the baroque church. His former parents’ house is under renovation and is opposite the museum and the tourist information office
One of the special sights of the Polish capital is the 235-meter-high Palace of Culture, a gift from the Soviet Union from the Stalin era. The building houses numerous institutions, exhibition and congress rooms, cinemas, theaters and restaurants. One has a unique view of the city from the viewing platform on the 30th floor. There are more than 130,000 students studying at Warsaw universities and this number is growing steadily. The number of students gives Warsaw first place in the country before Krakowand Wroclaw. Warsaw University is not only the largest Polish university, but also the largest institution of higher education in Poland. Warsaw also offers a gigantic number of museums. A detailed description of the Polish capital is available here >>> at Goruma.
Zakopane is a winter sports destination popular not only with Poles. The town with around 27,000 residents is located around 90 km south of Kraukau in the “High Tatras” in the voivodeship: “Lesser Poland”. The border with Slovakia is very close. The place can be easily reached from Krakow via a partially four-lane road. In Zakopane the Nordic World Ski Championships of 1929, 1939 and 1962 and the Biathlon World Championships of 1969 took place. The place has the following three ski jumps, which were built in 1950: Średnia Krokiew, Mała Krokiew, Maleńka Krokiew.
The place lies at an altitude between around 730 m and 1,000 m and is thus the highest place in Poland. The Rysy (Meeraugspitze) is located near the Polish-Slovakian border. The highest peak of the three-peaked mountain is in Slovakia and reaches a height of 2,503 m. The north-west peak is the highest mountain in Poland with a height of 2,499.6 m.
The exclusive seaside resort of Sopot is located approx. 12 km north of Gdansk on the Baltic Sea. Sopot has Europe’s longest wooden pier with a length of 645 m. It was started in 1827 by a member of Napoleon’s army and has been restored over time.
The small village about 3 km west of Krakow, was incorporated into the city at the beginning of the 20th century, but has still retained its original charm. There are some attractions here. There is a church and a monastery of the Premonstratensian women in the place. The church was built in the 12th century, but was rebuilt between the end of the 16th century and the middle of the 17th century. The monastery in the immediate vicinity is one of the largest in Poland. Just a few hundred meters away there is also the Church of the Redeemer from the 12th century, which despite repeated renovations still has Romanesque features, and the Chapel of St. of the 19th century and on which some famous Polish artists are buried. About one kilometer west of the cemetery is the Kościuszko Hill, which was raised around 1820. At the foot of the hill you can see a neo-Gothic chapel from the mid-19th century and fortifications from the same period.
Auschwitz Jewish Center (Centrum Żydowskie w Oświęcimiu) in Oświęcim
The Jewish center opened in 2000. It has set itself the goal of documenting the rich Jewish life of Oświęcim (Auschwitz) as it was before the German National Socialists invaded. A place of prayer and reflection should also be created for all visitors. In addition to the exhibition on the city’s history (= Jewish culture and education center), the center also includes the reconstruction of a Jewish-Orthodox synagogue (= Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot synagogue) and the Klieger-Haus historical museum.
Archaeological Museum in Krakow
The museum is located in a former monastery from the beginning of the 17th century in Krakow. In addition to national treasures, it also houses Egyptian mummies.
Former monastery in Gdansk
The first buildings in the monastery complex were built in the 13th century. However, the buildings still preserved today are about a century younger. The diocesan museum is housed in one part of the monastery and contains sacred objects from the Gdańsk diocese.
Former Warsaw ghetto
The ghetto in Warsaw was founded in 1940 at the time of National Socialism. It was mainly inhabited by Jews who had to live there in increasingly poor conditions. From March 1942 the first mass deportations to the Treblinka concentration camp took place. In April 1943 a ghetto uprising took place, which was brutally suppressed by the National Socialists. The ghetto was then completely destroyed and the remaining Jews were deported to Treblinka. To commemorate the uprising, the Street of Remembrance was laid out in the area of the former ghetto. 16 granite blocks have been located here since 1988, commemorating the 450,000 Jews who perished in Warsaw.
Plac Wolnica 1
Opening times: Mon 10 am-6pm, Wed-Sun 10 am-3pm.
The museum is housed in the former town hall of the Kazimierz district, a beautiful 15th century building that has been rebuilt several times throughout its history. It shows, among other things, traditional folk art from Poland.
Frédéric Chopin Museum in Warsaw
The museum is housed in the Ostrogski Palace. The museum displays documents and objects of the famous Polish composer. Chopin concerts are held regularly in the palace’s concert hall. The museum was extensively renovated for the Chopin year 2010.
Historical Museum Krakow in Krakow
In various buildings of the city of Krakow the museum shows an extensive exhibition on the history of the city.
The opening times and exhibitions of the individual museum buildings can be found on the website.
Klieger House Historical Museum in Oświęcim
Right next to the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue is the Klieger House. Its name goes back to the Jewish Klieger family, who lived in the house for several generations. In 2000 Shimshon Klieger, the last living Jewish citizen of Oświęcim, died here. The Klieger siblings then handed the house over to the Auschwitz Jewish Center. In addition to the restoration of the building, there are plans to preserve exhibits from the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam for the Klieger House Museum. With their help, the visitor should then be brought closer to the Jewish culture.
Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw
The institute was completed in 1936 and restored after it was destroyed in World War II. In addition to an archive, it houses documentation on no longer existing Jewish buildings. The museum shows exhibits and documents from Jewish ghettos and concentration camps, as well as works by Jewish artists.
Museum of Applied Arts in Poznan
The museum is housed in the Przemysław Castle, which was originally built in the 13th century. However, the current building is a reconstruction. The exhibition shows decorative, religious and everyday objects from the Middle Ages to the present day.
This museum is located in the immediate vicinity of the Schindler factory. The museum was officially opened on May 19, 2011. On the opening day, thousands of people – including the President of Poland – Bronisław Komorowski visited the exhibition.
The museum exhibits contemporary art. The museum was designed by Claudio Nardi Architetto. A new building was erected at the side of “Schindler’s factory” – including six existing buildings. A total of around 10,000² exhibition space is available.
Tel: 0048 – (0) 12 – 263 40 00
National Museum in Gdansk
The museum is housed in a Gothic Franciscan monastery from the 15th century, which was rebuilt between 1867 and 1872 for the museum. It shows in an extensive exhibition art from East Pomerania, as well as furniture and other objects from this area.
Museum in Schindler`s factory (factory)
In 1939 Schindler had taken over the Aryanized factory of a former Jewish owner. He had enamel goods manufactured here and later expanded the factory into an ammunition factory.
Oskar Schindler (1908-1974) succeeded in protecting around 1,200 Jews – including 270 Jews from Kraków’s Gehetto – who worked for him as forced laborers, as armaments important workers from the Nazi extermination camps.
The factory is located at ul. Lipowa 4 (ul. = Street).
National Museum in Warsaw
The museum was founded in 1862. The building in which it is located today was built in the modernist style between 1926 and 1938. It houses, among other things, early Christian frescoes from the 8th-13th centuries. Century, a collection of medieval altars and works of art from Botticelli to Cranach to Watteau. There are also various temporary exhibitions.
New Abbots’ Palace in Gdansk
The palace was built in the 15th century and expanded in the 18th century. Today there is a branch of the National Museum here. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wed a. Sun 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The palace was built in the 15th century and expanded in the 18th century. Today there is a branch of the National Museum here.
National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe)
The National Museum of Cracow houses collections of 20th century Polish art, as well as handicrafts and items from the Polish army. It has a number of branches in Krakow – including the Stast’s oldest museum, the Czartoryski Museum. The museum was founded in 1879 by a decision of the city council. In 1934 the construction of a new museum building began, although the first exhibition rooms could not be used until 1970. The final completion took place shortly after the fall of the Wall in 1990.
May 3, Allee 1
Tel. 0048 – (0) 12 – 29 55 637
Email: [email protected]
The branches of the museum:
- Episcopal Palace of Erasmus CiołekKanonicza St. 17
tel. (+48 12) 424 93 85
e-mail: [email protected]
- Gallery of Polish Art of the 19th Century in the Cloth HallHauptmarkt 1-3
tel. (+48 12) 424 46 03
e-mail: [email protected]
- Jan Matejko Houseat 41 Floriańska Street
tel. (+48 12) 422 59 26
e-mail: [email protected]
- Stanisław Wyspiański Museum in Szołayski House11 Szczepańska Street
tel. (+48 12) 292 81 83 (do 85)
e-mail: [email protected]
- Józef Mehoffer HouseKrupnicza St. 26
tel. (+48 12) 37 08 180
e-mail: [email protected]
- Karol Szymanowski Museum in Atma VillaKasprusie St. 19, Zakopane
tel. (+48 18) 201 34 21
e-mail: [email protected]
- Hutten-Czapski MuseumPiłsudskiego St. 12
tel. (+48 12) 62 57 310
e-mail: [email protected]
- Czartoryski Museum (see above for details)Pijarska St. 9
tel. (+48 12) 42 25 566
e-mail: [email protected]
- Czartoryski LibraryŚw. Marka Str. 17
tel. (+48 12) 42 21 172
e-mail: [email protected]
Rasłavice Panorama in Wroclaw
The panorama painting in the Słowackiego Park, not far from the National Museum, is a Polish national shrine that attracts vast numbers of Poles every day.
The heroic victory of the Poles over the Russians in 1794 is depicted inside the “socialist” building.
The entrance fee is quite high and you should expect to have to stand in line.
Auschwitz State Museum – Birkenau in Oświęcim
This museum was established in 1947 on the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp and consists of two integral parts: the former main camp in Oświęcim (concentration camp Auschwitz I – main camp) and the former camp in Brzezinka (concentration camp Auschwitz II – Birkenau).
Visitors can look at both warehouse complexes and exhibitions that are housed in several blocks. Guided tours are compulsory for groups. These are also available to individual visitors and are offered in Polish, English, German, French, Russian, Hungarian and Italian.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
Comprehensive information on the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp and today’s memorial is available here >>>
Important churches and synagogues
Arch-Cathedral in Warsaw
In the Arch-Cathedral in Warsaw, the history of which goes back to the 14th century, the Polish kings were crowned and the constitution of May 3, 1791 was adopted. The Mazovian dukes, bishops, deserving Poles and the last Polish king, Stanislaus II August, rest in their crypts.
Gothic cathedral in
Frombork The Gothic cathedral in Frombork (today: Fromburg) – a village with around 2,500 residents in the “Warmia-Masuria” voivodeship on the Frischen Haff in former East Prussia – was built in three phases:
1329–1342 the elongated choir was built.
The three-aisled nave was built around 1355–1380.
From 1380–1388, the richly designed vestibule adjoining the west was built.
Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543), who was canon here for a while, lived and researched in a tower in the city from 1504 until his death. On May 22, 2010 he officially found his final resting place under the altar in the right aisle. In 2005, the remains of 13 graves were found in the cathedral, which, according to DNA tests, most likely contained the remains of Copernicus.
Cathedral in Wroclaw Two thirds of the St. John’s Cathedral on Cathedral Island in Wroclaw was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt after 1945. The St. John’s Cathedral was built in a wide variety of architectural styles.
Already around the year 1000 there was a previous building on the site of today’s cathedral. More followed. The current church is the fourth church building on the site. As a result of numerous renovations and extensions, the St. John’s Cathedral is also a hodgepodge of a wide variety of architectural styles. The presbytery dates from between 1242 and 1272; the Italian Giacomo Scianzi built the chapel of St. Elisabeth in the south aisle. The Elector’s Chapel was furnished by Fischer von Erlach for the Archbishop of Wroclaw in baroque style – and the cathedral only got its two pointed towers in 1991.
John’s Cathedral in Warsaw
The cathedral dates from the beginning of the 15th century. However, it was not made a cathedral until 1798. In the 19th century it was expanded with facade extensions. However, these were removed after the Second World War and the church was reconstructed in the early Gothic style. In its interior there is a Bayczka crucifix from the second half of the 15th century, which is said to have miraculous powers.
John’s Church in Gdansk
The construction of the church began in the 1370s. This took place in several stages and lasted until the second half of the 15th century. In the middle of the 16th century the church fell into the hands of the Protestants. During the Second World War the church burned down and was looted. The large high altar was retained, however, as it was relocated during the war. Even today the church is not completely rebuilt.
Jakobikirche Cathedral in Stettin
The Jakobikirche cathedral of the Catholic diocese of Stettin was built in 1187 as a very small church. In the Middle Ages it was considered the church of the Germans.
Poznan Cathedral Poznan
Cathedral was first built in 968 as a Romanesque church. A Romanesque basilica was built on the same site between 1050 and 1075, and a Gothic one between the 12th and 15th centuries. This was destroyed in 1945 and rebuilt in Gothic style between 1946 and 1956. The parish church is a baroque building from 1649 – 1711 with a monumental uniform interior and numerous works of art.
Church of St. Andrew
This fine piece of architecture is located in the closer area around Oświęcim. The late Gothic church with elements of the Baroque was built in 1558 on the remains of a previous building. The interior of the building impresses with high rococo- style side altars. The church tower dates back to 1633.
Maria Church in Wroclaw
The Maria Church is also located on the Cathedral Island in Wroclaw. It dates from the 14th century and was built for canons (canons).
Angelic Sisters Monastery Complex in Oświęcim
The first building of the monastery was built between 1893 and 1895 using neo- classical elements. Nowadays, a sacred structure that was free-standing in the 19th century is connected to a church via a corridor. The new monastery building was built in the 1950s and has the same architectural style as the old one. Between 1905 and 1910, the building that is currently used as the social welfare house was added. It was built partly in the secession style and partly in the modernist style. In the 1930s the monastery complex was expanded to include two sister houses. A picturesque garden spreads out on the west and east sides.
Marienkirche in Gdansk
The monumental church was built from 1343 to the beginning of the 16th century. From 1529 she belonged to the Protestant community. It is the largest medieval brick church in Europe. In the Second World War, the building burned down almost completely. However, since some of the interior fittings had previously been outsourced and survived the war, after the reconstruction, which was completed in 1985, old furnishings could be reintegrated into the church. The destroyed items were replaced with new ones. Inside, the high altar and the astronomical clock are worth seeing. From the 82 meter high tower of the church you have a great view over the city.
St. Mary’s Church (Kościół Mariacki)
The construction of the church began in the first half of the 13th century. However, it has been expanded and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The main nave and side aisles date from the late 14th century, the north tower was built in the 15th century. Inside there are some valuable art treasures, such as the high altar or the ciborium, a vessel from 1552, which is intended for the storage of hosts. In the interior of the church there are also murals by J. Matejko and the colored stained glass windows from the 14th century. The church is now considered one of the most beautiful parish churches in Poland
The world-famous three-winged high altar comes from the late Gothic sculptor and carver Veith Stoss, who moved his residence from Nuremberg to Krakow there in 1477. After 12 years of work, he completed the work in 1489. With a height of 13 m and a width of 11 m, the altar is the largest medieval altar in Europe.
The Hejnal sounds every hour from the 81 m higher church tower. A Hejnal is understood to be a Polish signal of triumph or cultural heritage, which is usually heard with a trumpet or a carillon from a tower.
Behind the basilica is the small Marienplatz with the Church of St. Barbara, which was a parish cemetery until the 19th century.
Peter and Paul Church (Kościół św. Św. Piotra i Pawła)
The construction of the church, modeled on the church of Il Gesù in Rome, began in 1596. It was more or less completed after some structural difficulties in the course of the 17th century. Inside, the high altar from the first half of the 18th century and the organ gallery are particularly worth seeing.
St. Elisabeth Church in Wroclaw
The St. Elisabeth Church in Wroclaw is a Gothic basilica and dates from the 14th century.
Wawel Cathedral in Krakow
The Wawel Cathedral is the episcopal church of Krakow and at the same time the most important national memorial in Poland, because for centuries the Polish kings were crowned there and also buried after death between the 14th and 18th centuries.
For example, the Elector of Saxony and the Polish King “August the Strong” were buried here. The Wawel Cathedral also houses the tombs of Polish national heroes such as Wladislaw Sikorki, Josef Pilsudski, Adam Mickiewicz and Tadeusz Kosciuszko. The relics of “St. Stanislaus”, who was Bishop of Cracow in the 11th century and who is venerated as a great Polish saint after his canonization, are also located here.
On April 18, 2010, President Lech Kaczynsky, who died in a plane crash on April 10, 2010, and his wife Maria were also buried here. Karol Wojtyla – who later became Pope John Paul II – read his first mass as a priest in the cathedral and later became archbishop and cardinal here.
The free-standing Stanislaus Altar, the royal tombs and the chapels, the most famous of which is the Sigismund Chapel, created by Italian builders, are worth seeing. It is considered the pearl of Italian Renaissance architecture. Also worth mentioning is the Sigismund Tower with the famous 11-ton Sigismund bell. If you touch the bell’s mallet with your left hand, your wish will, according to legend, come true later!
Remains of the synagogue in Tarnow
Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue in Oświęcim
“Community for the Study of Jewish Law” means the name of this synagogue, which is used as a Jewish-Orthodox place of assembly and prayer. Although the Jewish church from 1928 does not have its own congregation and no rabbi, the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue is the only remaining Jewish sacred building in Oświęcim. It is noticeable that the synagogue in its current form dates back to before the Second World War. Only the fact that the synagogue could not be recognized as such saved it from destruction. Nowadays it is used to a certain extent by Jewish guests for sacred purposes.
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
UAM was founded on May 7, 1919 as the third state university in Poland. It is currently attended by more than 49,000 students.
Library – Aula Leopoldiana in Breslau
The university takes up a not inconsiderable part of the old town. Inside the main building is the library, the Aula Leopoldiana from the 17th century, which is one of the most impressive baroque rooms in Poland. The University of Wroclaw was built by the Jesuits on the banks of the Oder. The auditorium is one of the most impressive baroque rooms in Poland. It was built at the end of the 17th century based on a design by Chistoph Tausch.
Oświęcim University of Applied Sciences
The more humanistic Oświęcim University of Applied Sciences was founded on June 3, 2005. It is currently still in the process of being set up, but is already training around 800 students. In addition to their normal studies, the students also take advantage of a kind of distance learning course. At the moment, the three faculties Philology, Political Science and Administrative Sciences can be studied at the University of Applied Sciences.
A memorial plaque in the entrance area of the University of Applied Sciences commemorates the first prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp. These were first housed in what is now the university building. The memorial plaque was made by the German Pope Benedict XVI. inaugurated in May 2006. At that time the head of the Roman Catholic Church was in Oświęcim on the occasion of a visit to Poland.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski Music Academy in Poznan
This music academy, which was founded in 1920, is divided into five faculties in Poznan and two more in Szczecin. Areas of instruction include composition, singing, music education and church music.
Karol Marcinkowski Medical University in Poznan
The Medical University of Poznan, founded in 1950, is divided into four faculties and currently trains around 6,000 students.
Technical University of Poznan
The Technical University of Poznan , currently attended by 21,000 students, was founded in 1919. It is divided into a total of nine faculties.
University of Warsaw (Uniwersytet Warszawski)
The University of Warsaw is housed in some beautiful old palaces:
Czaski Palace (Pałac Czapskich)
Krakowskie Przedmieście 5
The building got its current appearance in the middle of the 18th century. The Chopin family lived in the south wing in 1826. You can visit the reconstructed salon.
Krakowskie Przedmieście 26-28
The palace from the 17th century was redesigned in the 19th century in a classical style and in 1816 it became part of the newly founded University of Warsaw.
Tyskiewicz Palace (Pałac Tyskiewiczów)
Krakowskie Przedmieście 32
The beautiful building was built between 1785 and 1792.
Uruski Palace (Pałac Uruskich)
Krakowskie Przedmieście 30
The originally late Baroque palace was redesigned in the 1840s.
Around students study at Warsaw University.
Transmitter Gleiwitz (Glewice)
The transmitter in the German town of Gleiwitz (today Gleiwice in Poland) played a very special role at the beginning of World War II: to have a pretext for the attack on Poland and, above all, to present an attack by the Poles on Germany to the world, three attacks by the Poles on German institutions were staged by the SS: on the customs house near Hochlinden, the forester’s house in Pitschen and – especially on the transmitter in Gleiwitz (today Glewice) in Upper Silesia. The attack on the Gleiwitz transmitter, created in 1935, was directed by SS-Sturmbannführer Alfred Naujocks and was intended to make the world believe that the beginning of the war came from Poland. The SS people escaped that the station did not broadcast its own program, but only broadcast the program of the Reichsender Breslau 150 km away. Therefore, the call to the Poles, written in Polish – to revolt against the Germans – could only be heard in the immediate vicinity of the transmitter and thus practically missed its effect. This caused the boss of Naujocks, Reinhard Heydrich, to burst into anger over his stupidity. During the attack on the transmitter, the SS men disguised as Poles wore civilian clothes and left behind the previously murdered German Franz Honiok, who was considered a “friend of Poland”, as evidence of the “Polish attack”. Therefore, the call to the Poles, written in Polish – to revolt against the Germans – could only be heard in the immediate vicinity of the transmitter and thus practically missed its effect. This caused the boss of Naujocks, Reinhard Heydrich, to burst into anger over his stupidity. During the attack on the transmitter, the SS men disguised as Poles wore civilian clothes and left behind the previously murdered German Franz Honiok, who was considered a “friend of Poland”, as evidence of the “Polish attack”. Therefore, the call to the Poles, written in Polish – to revolt against the Germans – could only be heard in the immediate vicinity of the transmitter and thus practically missed its effect. This caused the boss of Naujocks, Reinhard Heydrich, to burst into anger over his stupidity. During the attack on the transmitter, the SS men disguised as Poles wore civilian clothes and left behind the previously murdered German Franz Honiok, who was considered a “friend of Poland”, as evidence of the “Polish attack”.
The transmitter still exists today and is now part of the city museum. Incidentally, the transmission tower is made of larch wood and still broadcasts programs. Naujocks died in Hamburg in 1966 without ever being held accountable for his activities in the “Third Reich” – like countless others.
The Park Muzakowski (Muskauer Park) on the German-Polish border river Neisse stretches on both sides of the river.
From 1815 to 1844 the landscape architect Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau designed this beautiful park
. The park has an area of approx. 6 km². In 2003 the bridge over the Neisse was put back into operation, and the “Iron Curtain” was opened to traffic and the entire park could be visited again on both sides of the Neisse – German and Polish side. This park is home to regional plants and blends seamlessly into the local landscape.
The park was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004 – it crosses borders and, to a lesser extent, is also located inGermany.
Jagiellonian University Botanical Garden in Krakow
The garden was laid out in 1780. Among other things, it houses rare exotic plants. The Astronomical Observatory (Obserwatorium Astronomiczne UJ) is right next to the Botanical Garden. The University’s Botanical Institute is now located in the beautiful neo-classical building.
Botanical Garden in Warsaw
This garden was created in 1818 on part of the area of the ? Azienki Park. Tsar Alexander donated the 22 hectares of land to the University of Warsaw, which had had a botanical garden since 1811. However, the garden was reduced by two thirds in 1830 by the Russians after the November uprising. Today it only covers 5 hectares. There are around 5,000 different types of flowers, plants and trees on it. Furthermore, the observatory is a magnificent building, which was built around 1824, destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt in the post-war period.
The Gdańsk Bay around Gdańsk is one of the recreational centers of Poland. Gdansk itself is an old trading city and has many sights to offer. Some of them are along the former royal route into the city, such as the high gate, the golden gate, the long market and the green gate. The Marienkirche, the largest brick church in the world and the crane gate as well as some museums are also very worth seeing. The Miechowskie cave is well worth seeing north of Gdansk.
Fresh Lagoon and Fresh Spit
You can find a detailed description of the Fresh Lagoon and the Fresh Spit at Goruma under geography
The Stettiner Haff, also known as the Oder and Pommersches Haff, is located at the confluence of the Oder and Peene rivers. The Polish-German state border has been running through the lagoon since 1945, with the Polish part being called the Großes Haff. A few cliffs, but a lot of free and flat reed areas determine this part of the Szczecin Lagoon.
Hela Peninsula (Hel)
The narrow peninsula, which is only around 200 meters wide in some places, is located about 40 km north of Gdansk. It is about 35 km long and protrudes into the Gdańsk Bay. Here you will find beautiful high dunes, a pine forest and heather plants. There is also a narrow sandy beach on the coast to the Baltic Sea. The main town of Hela is located at the very tip of the peninsula. There are still some old fishermen’s houses from the 19th century.
Lazienki Park in Warsaw
The 75 hectare park was laid out in the second half of the 18th century as a royal palace park. There are still some beautiful palaces and buildings here, such as the Water Palace and the Miślewicki Palace (see Castles and Palaces). Also worth seeing are the Hermitage, which was completed at the end of the 17th century, the Old Orangery from the 1780s, the neoclassical Sibyl Temple (around 1820), the White House from the second half of the 18th century and the New Orangery from the 1860s Years. There is also a large Chopin monument in the park from the first half of the 20th century, which was blown by the Nazis in 1940, and a pretty water tower that was built in the 1770s and redesigned in the first half of the 19th century.
Las Wolskis (Wolski Forest) near Kraków
About 6 km west of Kraków’s center is the city’s largest green area. It combines the original forest area with later created and in part wonderfully designed parks. Worth seeing in this area are the Renaissance Villa Decius (Willa Decjusza), the Komorowice Church, a wooden church from the 16th century, and the Kamadulese monastery with church from the 17th century. Las Wolskis is easy to get to from Krakow by bus.
This region, by the way the richest in all of Poland, extends around the middle Oder and includes Grünberg, the largest wine-growing region in Poland.
Malta Lake in Posen
In Posen there is the 64 hectare Malta Lake, which was created by the damming of the Zybina, a tributary of the Warta. Here there are various leisure activities, such as an outdoor swimming pool and the sports and recreation center “Malta – Ski” on the south side of the lake or the New Zoo on the east side (see zoological gardens). For children there is a children’s train and a playground. You can also take a boat tour on the lake.
The region around the Polish capital Warsaw is characterized by vast landscapes, endless fields and unreal avenues. Then there are the dreamy landscape parks of Arkadia and Nieborow.
Masurian Lake District
The Masurian Lake District is one of the most important natural and recreational areas in Poland. The most important place in this region is Allenstein, where the Teutonic Order built an important castle in the 14th century. The spacious area with thousands of lakes is ideal for relaxing, hiking and enjoying nature.
National parks in Poland
There are 23 national parks in Poland. The unique Bialowieza primeval forest in its original state is the last primeval forest in Europe. Around 58,000 ha = 580 km² of the primeval forest are located on Polish territory. Many reserves, national parks and protected landscape areas in Poland are under nature protection.
(Krajowy Zarzad Parków Narodowych)
Tel: +48 (0) 22-82514
Fax: +48 (0) 22-82514
Email: [email protected]
Pregierz (= pillory) near Oświęcim
This is an oak that was once used as a place of punishment. There are still visible traces of metal straps on the tree, indicating that unfortunate people were tied to it and then whipped.
The Giant Mountains are the western part of the Sudetes on the border region between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Special sights are the striking mountain peaks such as the Schneekoppe and a rich flora and fauna.
Lake Complex The lake complex in the far north-east of Poland attracts with excellent opportunities for water sports. Part of the lake complex is also the Hancza, the deepest lake in Poland at over 100 meters.
Slowinzische National Park
This national park on the Polish Baltic Sea coast is made up of beachy stretches of coastline, imposing shifting dunes and larger coastal lakes. The park measures a total of 18,618 hectares.
The Tatras is the alpine region of the Carpathian Mountains in Poland and Slovakia. The wild region is recommended in summer for its unique nature, hiking and mountain climbing opportunities.
In winter, the Tatras around the traditional town of Zakopane turn into a large ski area.
Baltic Sea and some rivers
A detailed description of the Baltic Sea can be found at Goruma here.
Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, most of the Neisse was known as the “Oder-Neisse peace border”. Nowadays you can visit this wonderful landscape without any problems.
At that time, the Neisse and the Oder formed the border between the GDR and the People’s Republic of Poland, which was established by the victorious powers after World War II. Incidentally, the Neisse is correctly referred to as the Görlitzer Neisse or Lausitzer Neisse.
The Neisse (Polish: Nysa Łużycka) is an approximately 255 km long left tributary of the Oder and flows into the Oder near the village of Ratzdorf in the “Oder-Spree” district.
The river rises with the source rivers (White Neisse, Black Neisse, Gablonzer Neisse in the Czech Republic in the Jizera Mountains. The following cities are located on the Neisse (alphabetically): Forst, Görlitz, Guben, Liberec, Zittau.
The Oder (Polish: Odra, Czech: Odra) forms the border between Poland and Germany from the village of Ratzdorf in the Oder-Spree district – the confluence with the Neisse – to north of Schwedt.
The river has its source in the Czech Republic – about 1.5 km northwest of Kozlov at Fidlův Kopec (Fiedelhübel) in the Moravian Oder Mountains – and flows into the Szczecin Lagoon, which merges into the Baltic Sea around Usedom and Wollin.
From the source to Świnoujście (Swinoujscie) the Oder has a length of around 900 km. The following cities are located on the Oder (alphabetically):
Breslau, Eisenhüttenstadt, Frankfurt (Oder), Głogów, Kędzierzyn-Koźle, Nowa Sól, Oppeln, Ostrava, Police, Racibórz, Schwedt, Stettin and Świnoujście (Swinemünde).
“As long as the Vistula still flows through Poland, Poland is not lost”. Last but not least, this saying shows the importance of this large, approximately 1,045 km long Polish river for the country.
The Vistula rises around 10 km south-east of Wisla in the Silesian Biskids – in the “Silesian” voivodeship. It flows into the Baltic Sea near Danzig. The following cities are located on the Vistula (alphabetically): Bydgoszcz, Danzig, Krakow, Toruń and Warsaw
Probably the most remarkable mammal in Poland is the bison, which only lives free in the Bialowieza jungle. With a length of over 3 m, a height of 2 m and a weight of 1 ton, the bison is the largest and heaviest land mammal in Europe. Characteristic are the dark brown, thick fur, the goatee and the always lowered head, which is always carried lower than the withers. The wild animals in the jungle are the result of a reintroduction program after the last bison in Poland was killed by a poacher in 1921. The animals can also be observed in peace in the Bialowieza zoo.
At least as remarkable are the brown bears and lynxes still living in the wild in Poland, which roam the mountain forests.
Even wolves come here before, mainly in the Bieszczady and other parts of the Carpathians. Although they have been under protection since 1998, they are still hunted, which is a major threat to the population.
Typical mammals of the tundra and taiga in the north-east are arctic hares and elks and in Masuria, deer and wild boar also live as martens, badgers, foxes, otters and beavers.
The latter has a long tradition in Poland and was almost extinct in 1945. Little by little, individual animals have immigrated back to Poland or were consciously brought there, so that the country can now enjoy a proud population.
Marmots, which are the symbol of the Tatra National Park, as well as the protected chamois are characteristic of the Tatras. They belong to the cloven-hoofed family and live at an altitude of 800-2500 m.
Characteristic are their relatively thin, 30 cm long and backward curved hook-shaped horns. Their fur, which is reddish-brown in summer and darker in winter, forms a standing mane from the neck to the croup in front of the tail, from which the hair for the “chamois beard” is plucked.
Also worth seeing is the bat reserve “Nietoperek”, where the pipistrelle – the smallest Polish species – and the leaf-nose are at home.
Reptiles without snakes
The range of the European pond turtle also includes Poland, where it can be found on calm and slow-flowing waters as well as on ponds and oxbow lakes of rivers. It has a shell length of less than 25 cm, rarely 30 cm. Her belly armor has a transverse joint, which enables her to fold this armor in front and rear in case of danger and thus protect herself from predators. Their habitat is limited to standing or flowing water with dense bank vegetation. Their diet consists mainly of animal food such as tadpoles, small frogs, newts, water snails, crabs, dead or dying fish.
In addition to Poland, it is also represented in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Iberian Peninsula, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, France, Sicily, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, northern Iran, Cyprus, Israel and northern Lebanon. But despite this widespread distribution, the European pond turtle is in decline.
The snake-like slow worm is one of the most widespread native reptiles. However, this is not a snake, but belongs to the lizards, and there to the sneak family. Your extremities are so much receded that they cannot be seen from the outside, but their beginnings are visible in the skeleton. Other features of the lizard include the closable eyelids and the lack of abdominal scales that help snakes move. The tail can also be thrown off in case of danger and distracts the enemy from the actual prey through independent movements.
However, in contrast to the lizards, the slow worm only grows back a short part, not the entire tail. Overall, it reaches a length of up to 50 cm, which can vary greatly due to the growing tail stub. The color is sand-gray to brown-black.
The slow worm lives inconspicuously in cool stream valleys, forest clearings, hedges, meadows, embankments and the edge of the vineyards. Usually it hides under stone slabs or wooden boards. It can often be encountered after rain showers as it then leaves its hiding place to hunt nudibranchs, earthworms, insects and spiders.
Snakes (not poisonous)
Among the hazardous specimens include the grass snake and the Aesculapian which Aesculapius, the medicine is dedicated to Lord. To this day, the Aesculapian snake winding around an Aesculapian staff is a symbol for doctors and pharmacists.
In Bieszczady there is the 50 to 80 cm long and quite thick adder, which is considered a natural enemy of the storks. Most of the time, however, the snake tries to escape when it is shaken and is therefore usually hardly a danger. However, here too, if the snake is irritated and feels threatened, it can also attack.
The many species of butterflies are characteristic of Poland – and unfortunately the mosquitoes, especially in regions with a lot of water.
There are also horseflies, flies, ticks, bees, wasps, hornets and dragonflies, to name just a few of the local insects.
The lake plateaus and wetlands are a very important breeding area for birds, where one can observe numerous species. The largest European breeding area is Lake Luknajna, where you can admire the mute swan.
Cormorants, tufted ducks and great crested grebes also live near the water.
One of the most common birds in Poland is the stork. The very rare black stork lives in the Bialowieza National Park, and other rarities have also found a home here, such as the white-backed woodpecker, the night heron, the blue roller and the common raven.
The black stork is named after its shiny black plumage, with the underside white and the legs and beak bright red. Small vertebrates and larger insects are on the menu.
The black stork is widespread in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in parts of Asia, but lives very withdrawn and avoids human settlements. It is under nature protection. And of course numerous species of songbirds and corvids live here.
Representatives of the birds of prey are black and red kites, sea, ospreys and spotted eagles as well as wasp buzzards and hawks.
Due to the still existing pollution of the rivers, the fish population has decreased significantly.
Trout are still relatively common in the rivers of Pomerania and Masuria, and salmon trout cavort here during spawning. The bleak and roach occur exclusively in pure waters and are accordingly rare.
Most common are tench, carp, pike, perch, eel, bream, crucian carp, pikeperch and catfish, which is one of the largest freshwater fish.
Due to the very low salt content, the Baltic Sea is rather poor in animals, herring, cod, sprat, flounder and salmon are the most common. Occasionally you can see the gray ringed seal on the coast, but this happens very rarely.
Poland: Unesco World Heritage Sites
Historic Center of Krakow (1978)
The city of Krakow is located on the Vistula. The city was first mentioned in a document in 965 by the merchant Ibrahim ibn Jakub. Around 990 Krakow was conquered by Mieszko I (922-992) and came under the rule of the Polish rulers of the Piasts. From the year 1000 there was already a diocese and Krakow became the capital of the country in 1038. The city has been destroyed several times, but has been rebuilt again and again, so nowadays there are buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periodsstand. Kraków became a Hanseatic city in 1430 and the city became a prosperous university city in 1364. In the same century synagogues were built in the Jewish quarter and the Gothic Wawel Church, where the Polish kings were crowned.
The carved high altar in the Gothic St. Mary’s Church is probably the most valuable work of art in the city. The old town is located around the market square and only fragments of the medieval city walls that surround it at that time are left. Below the Wawel hill, directly on the Vistula, lies the Krak cave, which legend has it that he is famous for being the founder of the city of Krakow by defeating a fire-breathing ogre dragon.
Kraków’s Old Town was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
Auschwitz-Birkenau – Concentration and Extermination Camps (1979)
“Work makes you free” – This cynical and inhuman slogan stood above the former main gate of the Auschwitz I concentration camp (main camp) and meant nothing less than the gradual physical annihilation through work for those prisoners who were not selected as “unfit for work” on arrival at the camp “And immediately” on the gas “. The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of all National Socialist camps and got its name because of its proximity to the nearby town of Oświęcim, which is called “Auschwitz” in German. The actual extermination camp, in which people were systematically gassed, is Auschwitz-Birkenau and is a few kilometers away away from the main camp.
How many people died during the time of the existence of the concentration camp in Auschwitz through targeted murder (especially via gassing with Zyklon-B), through “medical” experiments or because of the cruel living conditions, can still not be said with absolute certainty Auschwitz has become a symbol for the Shoah, i.e. for the mass murder of around six million European Jews and for the extermination of several thousand Sinti and Roma, Russian and Polish forced laborers, homosexuals and other people who were declared enemies or subhumans by National Socialism The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has existed since 1947 and provides insight into the two main camps.
Auschwitz-Birkenau was entered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979.
Royal Salt Mines of Wieliczka and Bochnia (1978, 2013)
The city of Wieliczka is about 17 km from Krakow. Salt was boiled there from spring water around 5,500 years ago. In the 13th century underground salt domes were found and shafts up to 60 m deep were dug, which in later centuries were expanded to a depth of 340 m with 9 levels and approx. 300 km of tunnels.
Horses were also used for underground transport. It should be noted that miners’ work was extremely dangerous until well into the 20th century. Every year up to 10% of miners were killed in all kinds of accidents. And in the frequent methane gas expulsions, between 20 to 50% of miners died underground.
The miners formed large statues deep underground from the salt rock – including those of Copernicus or Goethe, who had also dealt with the construction – altars, reliefs and even several churches, the largest of which is 100 m underground and almost the inner dimensions one Cathedral owns.
Opposite the altar at the other end of the church is the “salty” figure of Pope John Paul II, who is highly revered in Poland! In the Holy Cross Chapel you can find Mary with the baby Jesus. In 1993, however, salt mining was stopped.
The salt mines were entered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978 and expanded in 2013.
Bialowieza Forest (1979, 1992, 1994)
This “European jungle” lies on the watershed between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea and is over 8,000 years old. The area of the park is approx. 100 km², with the greater part of the park belonging to Belarus. In the park, endangered animals live in the wild, such as: wolves, lynxes, sea eagles, peregrine falcons, white storks, eagle owls and many others. The jungle’s vegetation consists almost entirely of native plants. The national park was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979 and expanded in 1992 and 1994. The park crosses borders and is partly in Belarus.
Historic Center of Warsaw (1980)
During the Second World War, Warsaw was almost completely destroyed. The Germans almost leveled Warsaw after an uprising in 1944, it was the second uprising, because in 1943 the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had tried in vain to defend themselves against the unworthy conditions in the ghetto. The city was rebuilt between 1945 and 1966, based on the pictures of the Italian painter, Bernardo Bellotto Canaletto, who lived here from 1721 to 1780.
There is a triangular house on Kanonia Square that was built to avoid paying the state the tax it collected on the number of windows and the width of the street.
Warsaw’s Old Town was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.
Teutonic Order Castle in Malbork (Marienburg) (1997)
The city of Malbork is located about 65 km south of Gdansk, on the Nogat River, an estuary of the Vistula. The castle complex was built in the Gothic style by the Teutonic Order at the end of the 13th century and is the largest brick building in Europe. The complex is surrounded by walls, trenches, earth walls and bastions that were used for defense. The Swedes occupied the castle during the Thirty Years’ War and the Swedish-Polish War. From 1772 Marlbork became Prussian, and since the Prussians used the order’s palace as barracks, much was destroyed.
The city was also half destroyed in the Second World War, only a ruined castle, the Gothic town hall, the Gothic town church and the two town gates remained. The castle was given its old appearance when it was rebuilt. A mass grave was found near the palace complex in 2007, in which German settlers are believed to have been buried after the war. The old town was also rebuilt, but much was lost because the floor plans of the destroyed city were not used. The Teutonic Order Castle was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.
Old town of Zamość (1992)
The city of Zamość is located approx. 240 km southeast of Warsaw and 110 km northwest of Lviv (Ukraine). The approximately 200 m high plateau on which the city is located is heavily forested. The city was planned as a trading city by an architect from Padua in the Renaissance style in 1578, as it was strategically located between the Black Sea, Western and Northern Europe. Almost all of the city’s Jewish population perished while the Nazis occupied the area after they were deported to concentration camps and gassed or shot there.
The collegiate monastery with church was built in the 16th century. The town hall with its approx. 50 m high clock tower has a curved flight of stairs and is located directly on the market square. The town houses in the old town are well preserved, painted in color and have a variety of decorations. The old town of Zamosc was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1992
Medieval town center of Toruń (Thorn) (1997)
A fortress was built by the Teutonic Order in the middle of the 13th century. More buildings were erected very quickly and the city of Torun was born. It soon became a Hanseatic city and thus wealthy. You can still see this in the old public and private buildings. In the years 1250 to 1400 a fortification belt was built around today’s old town, parts of which are still preserved along the river with gates and towers. The house of Nicolaus Copernicus, who was born in Torun in 1473, can be visited. The old town of Thorn was entered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.
Calvary Zebrzydowska (1999)
Calvary Zebrzydowska with its mannerist architecture and park landscape complex with pilgrim park is also worth a visit for non-Christians. The city of Kalwaria is located on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains in the south of the country. In 1600 a small church was built on Mount Zarek.
The Franciscan Minorite monks, who are also referred to as the St. Bernard monks, wanted to create a facility that was comparable to the sites in Jerusalem. With the help of a special measuring system, the dimensions of Jerusalem were transferred to the area and so the monastery and 40 chapels were built on different hills, the so-called Calvaries.
The pilgrimage site consists of a baroque basilica, the monastery and the chapels in Baroque and Mannerist style within a radius of six kilometers. Kalvarienberg was formerly called an execution site. The term was expanded to include a replica of the crucifixion of Christ. The facilities have not been changed since they were created. In 1617 Zebrzydowa received city rights.
Calvary was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999.
Peace churches in Jawor and Świdnica (2001)
Church in Swidnica The Protestant Peace Church in Swidnica (Schweidnitz) was built after the Peace of Westphalia, i.e. after the end of the Thirty Years’ War (1818-1848). Swidnica is located around 50 kilometers by road southwest of Wroclaw.
The Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III. (1608-1657) had approved the construction of three Protestant peace churches in Schweidnitz, Glogau and Jauer.
The foundation stone of the church was laid on August 23, 1656, and the first service was celebrated on June 24, 1657.
The church was built by the Wroclaw master builder Albrecht von Säbisch (1610-1688) and the local master carpenter Andreas Kämper. This baroque basilica with the plan of a Greek cross is idyllically situated in the middle of a park and old cemeteries. The church covers an area of around 1,090 m² – with 7,500 seats, including 3,000 seats. The construction of the three peace churches was linked to three conditions:
- The churches were only allowed to be built outside the city walls without bells and a tower.
- Only wood, sand, clay and straw were allowed to be used for the construction.
- The time to build the churches could not exceed a year.
The bell tower was not built until the 18th century, but it is about 50 m away from the church. Extensive renovations were carried out on the church in 1852 and 1902. The last, also with support from Germany, in the 1990s.
Church in Jawor (Jauer) For the construction of the Protestant Peace Church “To the Holy Spirit” (Kościół Pokoju pw Świętego Ducha) in Jawor, the same conditions applied at that time as for the construction of the church in Swidnica.
The city of Jawor, with around 24,000 residents, is located in Silesia – around 70 kilometers by road to the west of Wroclaw.
The church in Jauer was built between 1654 and 1655 – like the church in Swidnica – according to plans by the Wroclaw architect Albrecht von Säbisch (1610–1688). Around 5,500 people can be accommodated in an area of approx. 1,180 m².
The paintings inside the church are by Georg Flege and were created in the years 1671–1681. The pulpit was built in 1670 by Matthäus Knote from Liegnitz and the altar from 1672 is the work of Martin Schneider.
As a result of the Altranstadt Convention of 1707, Emperor Joseph I (1678-1711), in his role as Silesian sovereign, allowed a bell tower to be built on the church. The Altranstädter Convention was on September 1, 1707 between King Charles XII. of Sweden and Emperor Josef I in the Altranstädt Palace – located near Leipzig – closed. The two peace churches were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2001.
Wooden churches in the south of Lesser Poland (2003)
“Lesser Poland” means the southern part of the old Polish state with the metropolises Krakow, Lublin, Zamość and Sandomir. The oldest of the local churches dates from the 14th century, six of the churches are listed as protected and come from different styles – Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. This type of wooden church is almost unique in the world alongside those in Romania. Six of the wooden churches were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003. These are the churches in:
Binarowa, Blizne, Dębno Podhalańskie, Haczów, Lipnica Murowana and in Sękowa.
Church in Binorowa The parish church “Archangel St. Michael” in Binarowa (kościół św. Michała Archanioła w Binarowej) was built around 1500 instead of a church that had previously burned down. It is made of fir wood and was built in the late Gothic style. The altar with the sculpture of Mary with the baby Jesus from the time of the late Renaissance, a stone baptismal font from 1522 and a Gothic bell are particularly noteworthy.
The church is located in the Malopolska Voivodeship. On July 5, 2003, the church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Church in Blizne The All Saints Parish Church in Blizne (kościół Wszystkich Świętych w Bliznem) dates from the 16th century. The polychromy inside the church represents the almost unique so-called People’s Bible. The church is located in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship.
On July 5, 2003, the church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Church in Dębno Podhalańskie The parish church of St. Michael the Archangel in Dębno Podhalańskie (kościół św. Michała Archanioła w Dębnie) was built around 1490 as a result of the activities of the Cistercians. The church tower dates from 1601. The church is made of larch and fir wood built without the use of nails. This church is certainly the most visited wooden church in Poland. A large parking lot and some traffic stalls are among other things an eloquent testimony to it. The church is located in the Malopolska Voivodeship. On July 5, 2003, the church was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site added.
Church in Haczów The branch church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Haczów (kościół Wniebowzięcia NMP w Haczowie) is a wooden church in the late Gothic style – it was built in the 14th century, making it the oldest wooden church in Poland and at the same time the largest wooden Gothic church in the world in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. On July 5, 2003, the church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Church in Lipnica Murowana The present cemetery church of St. Leonhard in Lipnica Murowana (kościół św. Leonarda w Lipnicy Murowanej) dates from the 15th century. But as early as 1141, the construction of a church began on the site where an old Slavic temple previously stood. Wandering Benedictines had come here beforehand and proclaimed the Christian faith. The church is located in the Malopolska Voivodeship. On July 5, 2003, the church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Church in Sękowa The wooden church of St. Philpp and St. Jacob in Sękowa was built in the first decades of the 16th century. Evidence of this is the stone baptismal font inside the church from 1522. The church is one of the most beautiful sacred wooden buildings in Poland. During the First World War, the church was severely damaged by Austro-Hungarian soldiers, so they used parts of the church as fuel or for fortifications of jumps.
Serious restoration efforts took place only between 1948 and 1949 and then again between 1982 and 1984. The church is located in the Malopolska Voivodeship. On July 5, 2003, the church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Park Muzakowski (Muskauer Park) (2004)
The Park Muzakowski (Muskauer Park) on the German-Polish border river Neisse stretches on both sides of the river.
From 1815 to 1844 the landscape architect Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau designed this beautiful park.
The park has an area of approx. 6 km². In 2003 the bridge over the Neisse was put back into operation, and the “Iron Curtain” was opened to traffic and the entire park could be visited again on both sides of the Neisse – German and Polish side. This park is home to regional plants and blends seamlessly into the local landscape.
The park was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004 – it crosses borders and to a lesser extent is also located in Germany.
Centennial Hall in Wroclaw (2006)
The Centennial Hall in Wroclaw was built from reinforced concrete between 1911 and 1913.
The hall is shaped like a four-leaf clover. The dome has a diameter of approx. 65 m. In 1913 the exhibition of the century opened in the Centennial Hall. The hall is a debut in structural engineering with steel.
The Centennial Hall in Wroclaw was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006.
Wooden churches in the Carpathian Mountains (2003, 2013)
The wooden churches in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland and the Ukraine “complement” the six wooden churches of “Lesser Poland”, which were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003. The Carpathian Mountains are a mountain range
The wooden churches in the Carpathian Mountains cross the border with Ukraine and were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2013. The wooden churches cross the border with Ukraine.
Tarnowskie Góry lead-silver-zinc mine (2017)
The world heritage site “Tarnowskie Góry lead-silver-zinc mine and its underground water management system” is located on the Upper Silesian plateau – approx. 180 km southeast of Wroclaw. The facility is the largest and most important historical ore mine in Poland that can be visited.
Tarnowskie Góry was an important production site for the global lead and zinc mining and production. For a long time, the lead extracted here covered a large part of global demand. The mine has a remarkable underground drainage system, which was developed in the 15th and 16th centuries and continuously expanded and improved until the 19th century. The system consists of main drainage tunnels with a length of around 50 km as well as a secondary system of drainage tunnels, tunnels, shafts and conveying areas including the associated water management infrastructure above ground. The Tarnowskie Góry lead-silver-zinc mine and its underground water management system were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017.
Krzemionki – mining region of prehistoric flint extraction (2019)
In the Krzemionki mining region there are underground mining areas as well as around 2,000 shafts and pits with a depth of 4 to 12 m from the time from 3,900 to 1,600 BC. The mining region Krzemionki has an area of 342 ha = 3.42 km². The flints that were extracted were mainly processed into hatchets. The mining region is located in southeast Poland in the up to 612 m high Świętokrzyskie Mountains and is approx. 145 km (as the crow flies) south of Warsaw.
The Krzemionki mining region was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019.