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Cieszyn

Cieszyn, a city located on the border between Poland and the Czech Republic, has a very long and complicated history.

According to legend, the city was founded in 810 by three sons of the Polish King Leszek III. In fact, Cieszyn was founded in the 10th century as a stronghold defending the southern border of the Polish state. A separate city developed from the surrounding borough.
From about 1290, Cieszyn was the capital of the independent Cieszyn Duchy, then founded on the basis of the duchy of the region – Cieszyn Silesia. Since the Reformation, it has been a religiously diverse city with a mixed national composition. Apart from the Polish population, Germans, Czechs and Jews lived here, and at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a small but visible colony of Hungarians.
The dispute over the territorial affiliation of Cieszyn Silesia led to the division of the city in 1920. The suburbs on the left bank of Olza became part of Czechoslovakia and created a new city. From that moment it develops as two border cities divided by the Olza River: Cieszyn and Czech Cieszyn.

Attractions:
Castle Hill (Zamkowa Street) – on it, among others The 11th century Roman rotunda of Saint. Nicholas, a Gothic castle tower from the 14th century (the so-called Piast Tower), the Habsburg palace from the 19th century, fragments of the Piast castle, monuments of nature
The parish church of Saint. Mary Magdalene (Dominican Square), formerly Dominican – one of the oldest churches in Cieszyn; gothic elements from the turn of the 13th / 14th century, rebuilt after the fire at the end of the 18th century; Baroque decor from the 18th century
Church of St. George from the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries
Well of Three Brothers
Do you know that:
The film review “CINEMA FOR THE BORDER” is a cyclical event taking place in Cieszyn and Czech Cieszyn every year in April.
Cieszyn Rotunda of Saint. Nicholas from the beginning of the 11th century is one of the oldest preserved buildings on the plan of a circle in Poland. Her image is on a 20 zloty banknote.

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Brzeg

Brzeg – photo gallery of the city from 2009

As a city center, Brzeg evolved from the trade and fishing settlement existing here in the 12th century. He owed his importance to the location between Wrocław and Opole, at the intersection of three routes: water (Odra) and land routes from Silesia to Lesser Poland and Russia, and from the Czech Republic. In 1234, it was mentioned as the High Bank. After the Tatars destroyed in 1241, Henryk III the White, around 1250, established the city on the Środa Śląska. Thanks to obtaining the privilege of free circulation in 1310, Brzeg gained more on customs fees than transit trade. In 1311, Brzeg became the capital of an independent duchy, and in 1329 it recognized Czech supremacy. After the economic stagnation in the 15th century, it recovered in spite of the destruction during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), as a great center of trade in oxygens exported from Ruthenian lands (the biggest cattle fairs) in Silesia), and an important cloth production center. After the extinction of the Piastów Brzeskich line in 1675, it was incorporated into the Habsburg estate, and in 1741 – Prussia. In the nineteenth century there was a significant development of the city which already in 1842 gained a railway connection with Wrocław, and a year later with Opole. During the Second World War, it was seriously damaged, since 1945 it has returned to Poland.

Attractions:
Renaissance Castle of the Silesian Piasts from the XIII-XVI century, called the Silesian Wawel, the castle complex (including the chapel) is entered in the list of monuments of the international class (according to the old classification – class “0”).
The urban layout of the Old Town, from the middle XIII century, changed after 1945.
Church of St. Nicholas, erected in the years 1370-1417.
Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross from the 18th century, baroque with the illusionistic frescos of Jan Kuben from 1739-1745.
The former Franciscan church. The oldest temple of Brzeg, mentioned in 1285 together with the monastery. In 1582, it was turned into a prince’s arsenal, and from the first half of the twentieth century was the headquarters of the fire brigade.
Baroque statues of Jan of Nepomuk and Tadeusz Judah from 1722, placed in front of the facade of the church of the Exaltation of Saint. Cross in 1755.
Monument of St. Trinity on pl. Castle, baroque, erected in 1731.
Town hall, from the 14th century, rebuilt in the years 1569-72.
Tenement houses on the Market Square from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Market number 19, built in 1621, currently reconstructed.
The Oder Gate from 1595-96.
Old Fryderian Barracks, from 1781-82.
Planty – the remains of a bastion fortress erected around a medieval city. Construction began in 1572, several times expanded in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Willa Löbbecke from the 19th century at ul. Chrobrego, with a Triton fountain.
Courthouse at the corner of ul. Chrobrego and Home Army. Built in 1898-1903.
Villa Neugebauer (the owner of the “Concordia” sugar factory, today’s Nadodrzańskie Zakłady Fabryki Tłuszczowego) at Jana Pawła II street. Built in 1898 in the eclectic style, the object is surrounded by a garden where numerous rhododendron bushes and other plants have been preserved.
Former cemetery chapel of St. Cross, today the garrison church. She acquired her present shape in 1724.
Water tower at Rybacka St. from 1877.
Red Barracks from the beginning of the 19th century.
Jewish cemetery from the beginning of the 19th century at Makarskiego Street.

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Biecz

BIECZ – TOWN, PHOTOS, EVENTS.
Until the mid-sixteenth century, Biecz was one of the largest cities of the First Polish Republic. Today, it is a small but very charming town located on the route from Gorlice towards Sanok and Bieszczady. The town located on the Ropa River, because of its historical significance, is full of monuments, and their number could be divided into several larger cities.

ATTRACTIONS:
A complex of defensive walls created in the 14th century.
Town hall on the main square.
Kamienica Chodorów – House of Zbój Becz, the legendary founder of the city.
Tenement House Barianów Rokicki – called the House with the tower.
Kromer House – a tenement house from the beginning of the 16th century, currently the seat of the Museum of the Biecz Land.
DO YOU KNOW THAT…:
As if at times the local legends and applications were not enough, you can always come up with something. In the nineteenth century, one of the journalists sucked from a little toe, as if in the Middle Ages in Biecz there was a school of executioners in which young adepts learned this fascinating profession.
One of the points of the final exam was to cut the ant with the ax of the head. I must admit that the author of the legend had an extraordinary sense of humor.

In Biecz there is a legend about fossil bread. One day, when a poor man, tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread, asked the hostess for a piece, the stinginess refused. The hungry man went so far, and the housekeeper left the bread on the window sill to let it cool. When she returned, she found fossilized leftovers instead of a fresh loaf.

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Baltow

Bałtów – Attractions, photos, events.

The village of Bałtów is located 12 km north-east of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski in the Kamienna River valley.
It is a picturesque village surrounded by steep slopes of the river valley.
In the mid-1970s, the first fossilized traces of dinosaurs were discovered in the village in a place called “Czarcia sideke”.

Decades later, a Jurassic Park was built near this first find, which is under the care of the Polish Geological Institute. In the Park there are models of Jurassic reptiles of original size and color, presented with great attention to detail and in poses reflecting their lives. For visitors, a small Jurassic Museum and a children’s playground with dinosaurs were prepared.

In Bałtów, you can also take a “bloodless safari” on a specially prepared 40-hectare area, where several dozens of animal species live – also exotic, very friendly to people.

Attractions:

  • Jurassic Park and the Jurassic Museum.
    Hours rafting Kamienna with rafts in regional costumes (rafting is also organized at night with torches – then you can spot beavers with a bit of luck).
  • Safari.
  • Palace of the Dukes of Drucki-Lubecka from the 19th century with a park from the 18th century
  • Church of Our Lady of Sorrows from the 17th century
  • Water mill from the 19th century on the Kamienna river.
  • Wooden chapel of St. John of Nepomuk from the 19th century
  • There is also canoe rental in Bałtów.
  • Horse stables and riding school.
  • Hiking and cycling trails and viewpoints at the Kamienna Gorge.
  • In winter, two artificially snowed ski slopes are started.

Website of the Jurassic Park http://www.juraparkbaltow.pl

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Bialowieza National Park

This national park protects the most valuable in Europe and the only remaining fragments of primeval forest. Furtheremore in the Bialowieza Forest lives the world’s biggest population of the largest terrestrial mammal of Europe – European bison, the park’s symbol. Yet another extreme: it is the only Polish object designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Everything mentioned above is an effect of the forest’s protection that has been carried out during the last 600! years – at first obviously as hunting areas for kings.

Touring the park is allowed on foot, bike and horse tracks, in winters skiing is also permitted. Hiking may seem somewhat monotonous: trees – trees – old trees – trees etc. What’s more, the oldest parts of the forest can only be entered with a tour guide. This is why, for variety’s sake, it is worth to visit European Bison Expositional Reserve, where visitors can also see beefalo and Polish primitive horses, as well as Nature-Forest Museum.

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Bieszczady National Park

Bieszczady National Park (Polish: Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy) is the third largest National Park in Poland, located in Subcarpathian Voivodeship in the extreme south-east corner of the country, bordering Slovakia and Ukraine.

The Park was created in 1973. At the time it covered only 59.55 km², but over the years it was enlarged four times. The last enlargements took place in 1996 and 1999, when the Park incorporated the former villages of Bukowiec, Beniowa and Carynskie in 1996, and in 1999 the former villages of Dzwiniacz, Tarnawa and Sokoliki.

Currently it occupies an area of 292.02 square kilometres (112.75 sq mi), covering the highest areas of the Polish part of the Bieszczady Mountains. In 1992 the Park and its surrounding areas became part of the UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which has a total area of 2,132.11 square kilometres (823.21 sq mi), and also includes areas in Slovakia and (since 1998) Ukraine.

Forests cover about 80% of the area of the National Park. The woods are mainly natural and in some cases it can be said that they have preserved their pristine character. The highest peak in the park – Tarnica – is 1,346 metres (4,416 ft) above sea level. Animal life is abundant with several species of endangered animals thriving in the area, among them bears, wolves, wild boar, beavers and lynx as well as deer and Polish bison (around 100 of these live in the Bieszczady Mountains). The Park is also home to the largest Polish population of Aesculapian snakes. The Park also contains interesting bird specicies, including eagles and owls.

The area of the Park is sparsely populated (less than 1 person per km²), which means that animals can roam freely. The region is very popular among tourists, but there are not many facilities in the area. Around 70% of the Park’s area is regarded as strict preserve, which means that the use of trails is restricted. The Park’s authorities promote walking trips.

Pictures from: 2012.

 

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Castle in Szymbark

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Przemysl Fortress

Przemyśl fortress was a series of fortifications constructed at Przemysl by the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the mid 19th century until the First World War. It was constructed in sections, depending on the diplomatic relations between Austria and the Russian Empire, and saw extensive combat during World War I.
The initial construction plans for 41 entrenchments were drawn up at the beginning of the 19th century; however, good relations between Austria and the Russian Empire meant that construction did not go ahead until 1854 with the outbreak of the Crimean War. 19 of the 41 entrenchments were completed, with nine more under construction when relations again improved in 1855 and construction was halted. Until 1878, no work was undertaken on the fortress.
On the outbreak of World War I, the fortress was only garrisoned by a small force of five infantry battalions, artillery and sappers. Defence preparations began on August 2, 1914, the civilians were evacuated on September 4, and the Austro-Hungarian Army’s HQ followed on September 15. Two days later, on September 17, 1914 the Russian army laid siege to the fortress, sealing it off totally by September 26.
The siege continued into October, with a truce being offered and subsequently refused on October 5. Bombardment intensified in the next few days, and on October 7 the Russians assaulted the fortress at 3.00am. The Russians lost 10,000 personnel, 3—4,000 of them killed, and by October 9 a relief force had pushed them back to the San river. The fortress was later abandoned by all but a small defensive force on November 4 as it was in danger of being outflanked. The remaining troops were left to tie down the Russian forces for as long as possible, and when they were surrounded for a second time they sortied continuously through late November and December.

Food shortages through the spring of 1915 led to the butchering of 13,000 horses to feed the garrison, and by March 14, 1915 the outer fortification had been captured or destroyed by the Russian army. At this point, in the face of low food and morale, the fortress commander, General Hermann Kusmanek von Burgneustädten decided to break out. His forces, however, were bogged down and repulsed by the Russians. Documents were burned on March 19 and the artillery was destroyed on March 22, and later that same day 119,000 troops surrendered to the Russian forces.

Tsar Nicholas II visited the fortress on April 25, 1915 as the Russians adapted it for their purposes. By May 16, however, German forces had reached the fortress, and after laying siege, they captured in on June 5, 1915, led by General von Kneussl. Afterwards slight repairs were made, however the mostly ruined fortifications no longer had serious military significance. They may have been used briefly during the fighting in the course of the Polish-Ukrainian War in the 1920s and very briefly during the Second World War.

Source: wikipedia.org

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The Blue Springs

Blue Springs – Nature Reserve

Scenic nature reserve Blue Springs lies in Pilica valley, in southeastern part of Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The reserve’s area is 28.8 hectares. It was created in order to preserve waterfowl. They are protected by an alder forest found within its grounds. This reserve also includes heavily pulsing springs of limnokren type, which form the beginning of Jana river. Their charm is sand being knocked out of their bottom by water, appearing as bright green, pulsing stains.
Pictures from 2011.