VAST DIVERSITY OF WROCLAW IN DATELESS SILESIA, POLAND

Wroclaw is also called the ‘Venice of Poland’ due to its settlement on several islands in the river Oder, so let’s have a closer look.

Confrontation with the Centennial Hall from 1913

The old city of Wroclaw in Silesia can be followed back in a moving history for more than 1,000 years. Diverse actors played a role during all this time so that the town can profit from diverse influencing cultures and people till today.

Breslau during the Seven Years’ War, 1760, Johann-Gottfried Rüder

Some catastrophies did happen ever again like town fires in medieval times whereas the town has been only wiped out two times by crucial war actions. After the invasion of the Mongolians in 1241 the city was completely plundered and destroyed. But only shortly thereafter the city was again quickly reconstructed by German settlers what was finalized in 1261. Till 1945 the Germans (more precisely the Silesians) remained the formative power in town which’s name was Breslau for more than 700 years.

Postcard featuring nice spots of old Breslau, early 20th century

Breslau’s New Market at the end of WW II in Summer 1945

At the end of World War II the Nazis declared the whole municipal area as a military fortress to be defended by all means. The subsequent house-to-house combat between the German Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army ravaged and destroyed large areas of Breslau. Afterwards the city became a double symbol of forced displacements and migration because according an agreement of the Allies first all remaining German citizens had to leave Breslau and Silesia to render place for expatriated Polish people living in Polish areas in the East which were claimed and then finally occupied by the former Sovietunion.

Outlook on the new Capitol Theatre

Impression of the Dome Island

Early morning on Tusk Bridge

The new Polish citizens and residents in town have invested much time and energy in the reconstruction of the destroyed town after the atrocities of the wartimes such creating a new town now named Wroclaw. Today you can admire again a lot of historical buildings from diverse epochs and multiple styles in the old town being really worth a visit.

 

Gateway in the old town

Dreamy bridge inside the  amazing Botanical Garden


White Stork Synagogue from 19th century

Sculpture and green near the dome

We have just spent 48 hours here in Wroclaw by early July of 2019 and have found so much cultural richness although having seen just a little bit of the Silesian capital, so we really need to return someday again.

Linked to restlessjo:

Jo’s Monday walk : Cosmopolitan Horta

 

THE CROOKED WOOD IN POMERANIA / POLAND

If only trees could talk to us. What strange stories would then submerge subsequently from densely wooded grounds like this weird forested site in the very North-West of Poland?

This most curious natural monument is situated Southern from the city centre of Gryfino at Nowe Czarnowo in Western Pomerania near the border to Germany. The fairytale forest consists of at least 80 pine trees showing a mysterious deformity and shape (other sources name 400 pine trees, but I have not counted them while being there). All of the trees have the same northward 90-degree bend at the base of their limb but despite bent beginnings, all of the trees have grown to be tall and seemingly unhampered by this deformation. There are traces of rowed plantings, however, the majority of trees are scattered about the normal pines. Some of them are in small groupings.

The most popular theory about how the trees became crooked is that a group of German farmers planted these trees in the 1930s, intentionally damaging the base in order to create some sort of product, perhaps uniquely shaped furniture.  The world may never know if it’s true because the German farmers were unable to finish their work due to their forced migration after World War II.

Others assume that a snowstorm could have knocked the trees like this, freezing them into a bent position until the snow and ice melted in spring.  There are plenty of trees in the area, all of which grow upright from the base without the funky curve distinct of the crooked trees. So the Crooked Wood remains an odd occurrence and unsolved mystery of exceptional green.

Jo’s Monday walk : Back lane beauty

 

WAVES WILL ARISE ON SILENT WATERS

It is fascinating that water meant always more for mankind than just a fluid in order to satisfy our thirst, it can also be regarded as a magic agent substantial for life. These murals inspired by the famous picture The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai passed my way on the wall of an empty neglected house at the old town of Lublin / Poland in spring 2015.

ROOTS GORGE NEAR KAZIMIERZ DOLNY / POLAND

If you once have the chance to visit the Eastern part of Poland with the region of Lublin, you should not miss to go also to Kazimierz Dolny being regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in the country with some nice Renaissance buildings. There you also have the opportunity to attend a shipping tour on Vistula river, but the real highlight in my opinion is the fabulous Roots Gorge lying not far away from Kazimierz Dolny.


We speak about a hollow way which has been naturally created by the forces of erosion – just wind and rain forming a new path to wildness. The magical Roots Gorge has a lenght of approximately 1 km where you can now observe varied trees clinging to the edges of the spectacular gorge. The roots of the trees have been exposed over the years, now they may be admired as uncovered streets leading to the depth of soil in search of water and other dark secrets of the plants’ world eventually not known by us.

#ThursdayTreeLove – 51

 

MEETING LUBLIN IN POLAND – EUROPE AT THE BRINK

Poland or Polska is just standing for the term of a flat land what it is mostly in reality with wide agricultural fields, big forests and national parks, some mountains in the South-East at the border to Slovakia (High Tatra), small villages and some wellknown big cities like Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw or Gdansk. Around 40 million people are living there which are 99,9 % Christians (87 % Roman-Catholics) – only 5,000 Jews and around 30,000 Muslims have still their home in this country with a total amount of foreigners of around 100,000 or 0,27 % of the population (1).

So this is nowadays a ethnically cleaned society due to the brutal and fierce developments during the Nazi-occupation between 1939-1945. In former times the population was really much more diverse with a lot of Jews and other nationalities living there what is in my view always better for creating an open society.

Poland-Lithunia used to be an important monarchy in medieval times with the capital Cracow, but afterwards for long-time it was governed by foreign countries, divided more than once between other empires with the effect that Polish was more an underground language for centuries, therefore it is also regarded as a quite museal language in the Slavic area because it could not develop freely for long time. The grammar is really complicated, so to learn it is really not an easy task, but some few words like “barzo djekuje” (many thanks) can always be helpful to know for every visitor.

Due to the very bad experiences made in history nationalism is quite attractive for Polish people as a political concept, as long this does not mean national egoism and stupidity this is normally not a problem for neighbouring countries. So Polish people or governments quite often look nervously to the West (Germany) or anxiously towards the East (Russia) especially due to the traumatic experiences in the 20th century when in 1939 Germany and the Soviet-Union invaded and occupied the country and divided it in 2 parts where incredible crimes and mass-murders of the local populations took place. Subsequently a lot of matters happening today are a little bit more understandable when looking back in history of this country in the heart of Europe.

DSC_0065Urban art at an unused house in the old town of Lublin

The town of Lublin is situated in the very South-East of Poland not far away from the border to the Ukraine. The old town is very charming because not all houses are perfectly restored (some even without inhabitants) but instead you will find a lot of old pathes for loafing around, a high diversity of pubs and restaurants which are very crowded in the evening, just real life. Besides there is also an old castle in the centre hosting nowadays a big museum with a lot of important paintings from Polish history.

DSC_0018Former SS concentration camp Majdanek near Lublin

Only a few kilometers from the city centre you will find the former SS concentration camp Majdanek which was finally erected in December 1941 with the original purpose to serve as a camp for war prisoners from the Soviet-Union. However, it was then utilized for other purposes such as accomodating Polish civilians forced to work for the German SS regime. In 1943 and 1944 it served also as a place for eliminating the local Jewish population till the Red Army freed it in August 1944. At least 80,000 people (59,000 Jews) were killed here in the gas chamber, by shooting, due to hard work and inhuman treatment or by disease. On the photo you see the watch towers, in the background the crematorium with chimney and the white modern memorial monument made out of concrete at the place of a mass-grave. A visit is quite terrifying because the horror is still present in one of the still existing gas-chambers or the crematorium. This kind of industrialized mass-murdering is hardly realiziable for us today at this damned location.  So the memorial place outside of the camp therefore shall be a place of honour and remembrance to those who lost their life here at the brink of Europe.

DSC_0024Performance of the German-Polish chorus “Spotkanie” in May 2015 at Kazimierz Dolny

Fortunately we today live in different times with open borders between a lot of European countries (the Schengen zone). This is also the case for the border between Germany and Poland which can today be easily crossed normally without any control or delay. However, it must be still quite astonishing for a lot of people in Poland, when the mixed German-Polish chorus Spotkanie from Berlin is making concerts in Poland (mainly in churches) and then performing also a lot of traditional Polish songs like Gaude mater. The word Spotkanie is Polish and means meeting each other,  so in May 2015 the chorus did a short of performance on the market place of Kazimierz Dolny supported by the dynamic mayor of the town (to be seen on the photo infront of the chorus to the left) who professionally whistled melodies on a simple leaf what was a quite funny situation. Kazimierz Dolny (ca. 40 kms from Lublin to the North-West) is meanwhile regarded as one of the nicest villages in Poland with 2 famous Rennaissance buildings at the market place for instance. It is also possible to make short boat trips here on the nearby river Vistula.

zamosc_armenian housesMarket place with town hall and the Armenian houses at Zamosc

The city of Zamosc is a must for every visitor of this region while it is also called the “Padua of the North” – a UNESCO world culture heritage town being situated around 35 kms from Lublin to the South. The city was constructed (starting 1578) in accordance with the ideas of the Italian master builder Bernardo Morando in the style of the Italian Renaissance. It was founded by Jan Zamoyski in 1576 who was also the name giver of the town – his descendant Marcin Zamoyski was president of the town during the periods of 1990–1992 and 2002–2014. At the big market place it is truly nice to stay in one of the diverse taverns for a coffee or whatever will be individually preferred.

Wurzelschlucht2Roots gorge near Kazimierz Dolny

To complete an impression of the region it is also very much advisable to pay longer attention to a natural moment near Kazimierz Doly – the roots gorge created by erosion where you can view a lot of exposed roots created by very big trees in all different shapes. An amazing place for enjoying the subtile powers of plants which are existing much longer than our species on this unique planet Earth.

 DSC_0047

(1) All figures were published by the European statistics authority as per end of 2014.

More information is also available under the links above:
http://www.staypoland.com/about_lublin.htm
http://www.deutsch-polnischer-chor-berlin.eu/

© transmutation.me (2015)