THE OLD AND NEW TOWNS 60 THE ROYAL ROUTE 72 THE CITY CENTRE 82 FURTHER AFIELD 92 WARSAW STREET FINDER 98–103 Horsedrawn carriages in Zakopane TRAVELLERS’ ENTERTAINMENT IN NEEDS POLAND 334 WHERE TO SURVIVAL STAY 294 GUIDE WHERE TO PRACTICAL EAT 312 INFORMATION 342 SHOPPING IN TRAVEL INFORMATION POLAND 328 352 Lion from Namiestnikowski INDEX 362 Palace, Warsaw PHRASEBOOK 382POLAND REGION BY REGION ROAD MAP OF POLANDPOLAND AT A GLANCE 106 MAZOVIA AND THE LUBLIN REGION 108 CRACOW 126 MAŁOPOLSKA(LESSER POLAND) 146 SILESIA 174 WIELKOPOLSKA(GREATER POLAND) 206 GDAŃSK 230 POMERANIA 250WARMIA, MAZURIA ANDBIAŁYSTOK REGION 274 Wawel Royal Cathedral, Cracow
INTRODUCING POLAND DISCOVERING POLAND 89PUTTING POLAND ON THE MAP 1011 A PORTRAIT OF POLAND 1231POLAND THROUGH THE YEAR 3235 THE HISTORY OF POLAND 3655
8 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D DISCOVERING POLAND P erched between East and West, Poland has had a varied history which has shaped it into the beguiling, delightful and refreshingly colour-coded regions to reflect the diversity of Poland. Each region has its own special flavour: its own architecture, cuisine, customs and sights. different mix of old and new The following pages aim to that we see today. The give a taste of these regions chapters of this book have Copernicus statue and show you what there is been divided into nine in Warsaw to see and do. p130), which features many fine examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The Old Town is overlooked by the glorious buildings on Wawel Hill (see pp138–43), a symbol of national strength and patriotism. At the annual Festival of Jewish Culture (see p33), you can enjoy music, art, theatre perform- ances and much more. MAŁOPOLSKA The picturesque square at the heart of Warsaw’s Old Town • Poland’s painful past The birthplace of Chopin, • Wieliczka’s salt mine WARSAW Żelazowa Wola (see p114) • Winter sports at Zakopane houses a fascinating museum • Postcard-pretty Old Town dedicated to the great Polish The tragedy of the Polish • A Socialist Realist city composer. In the idyllic Jews can be witnessed at • Exciting nightlife Vistula Valley, affluent Oświęcim (Auschwitz) (see Kazimierz Dolny (see p160) where an estimated Rebuilt to its original 13th- pp118–19) is the unofficial 1.1 million people died at century design after being capital of the area popular the hands of the Nazis. destroyed in World War II, with Poland’s New Rich. This is now a UNESCO Warsaw’s Old Town (see World Heritage Site. The pp62–7) is truly delightful. old underground salt mine The city’s controversial post- CRACOW at Wieliczka (see p162) war Socialist Realist architec- features a chapel, museum ture, embodied by the Palace • Wonderful Old Town and a restaurant. A favourite of Culture and Science (see • Historic Wawel Hill retreat for many artists and p89), reflects the capital’s • Cracow Jewish Festival intellectuals at the turn of more recent history. Be sure the 20th century, Poland’s to visit a few of the city’s Cracow’s Old Town centres winter capital Zakopane (see vibrant bars and clubs for around the beautiful 13th- p164) attracts thousands of a taste of Warsaw’s nightlife. century market square (see skiers every winter. MAZOVIA AND THE LUBLIN REGION • Renaissance Zamość • Chopin and Żelazowa Wola • Picturesque Vistula Valley The finely preserved town of Zamość (see pp124–5) was built in the 16th century according to the Renaissance concept of the ideal city. The ski resort at Zakopane, upgraded for the 2006 Olympics Beskid Żywiecki Mountains
D I S C O V E R I N G P O L A N D 9SILESIA• Historic Wrocław• Gold-digging in Złotoryja• Getting away from it all in the Kłodzko ValleyAs well as a bustling OldTown, Wrocław (see pp188–97) is home to many of thecountry’s more eclecticcontemporary artists. Złotoryja(see p180) sits on the banks The tranquil landscape of Pomerania’s Kashubia regionof the gold-rich KaczawaRiver. Try your luck, then castle at Kórnik (see p211), Kashubia (see p262), knownvisit the Gold Museum or inspired by Neo-Gothic as the Polish Switzerland, iswatch the experts at the English architecture and the a gloriously peaceful area ofInternational Gold Panning Orient, is a splendid day out. lakes and rolling hills. TheChampionships. The majestic Kashubians are a distinctiveKłodzko Valley (see pp200–1) ethnic group with their ownis criss-crossed with hiking GDAŃSK language and culture.trails full of ancient churchesand castles, and is famed for • The cradle of Solidarityits mineral springs. • Westerplatte’s WWII legacy WARMIS, MAZURIA AND THE BIAŁYSTOK REGION In 1980 unemployed worker Lech Wałęsa climbed over • Fun on the Mazurian Lakes a fence at a shipyard in • Copernicus’s Frombork Gdańsk (see pp232–49) • The bison of Białowieża and gave a speech that arguably led to the end of Sail or canoe on Lake Communism. The story of Śniardwy (see pp284–5) and Wałęsa and the Solidarity explore the beautiful scenery movement can be seen in of eastern Poland, full of Gdańsk’s “Roads to peaceful harbours and tiny Freedom” exhibition. On 1 villages. On the Baltic coast September 1939, the opening is sleepy Frombork (see shots of World War II were p278), where the astronomer fired on the tiny Westerplatte Nicolaus Copernicus spent peninsula (see p249), which most of his life in the town’sThe Kłodzko Valley, a natural is now a pilgrimage site beautifully preserved 14th-paradise for hikers with burned-out bunkers, a century Gothic cathedral. memorial and a museum. For a spectacular nature holiday, head to BiałowieżaWIELKOPOLSKA National Park (see p291). POMERANIA A landscape of rivers and• Industrial Łódź canals, where the last bison• Poznań’s beautiful churches • Gothic Toruń in Europe live, it is also a• Kórnik’s castle island • Summer fun in Sopot bird-watching paradise. • Ethnic enclave in KashubiaBuilt in the 1800s by a trioof mill owners, the industrial Founded by the Teutoniccity of Łódź (see pp228–9) Knights, Toruń (see pp270–has many fascinating 73) features the second-museums and a welcoming largest ensemble of Gothicatmosphere, yet it remains architecture in Poland. Thealmost untouched by birthplace of Nicolaus Coper-tourism. The churches in nicus, Toruń is also knownPoznań (see pp214–19) are as the traditional home ofamong the most delightful in gingerbread. The seasidePoland. The Gothic cathedral town of Sopot (see p263)is the country’s oldest, and is the country’s unofficialthe place where, allegedly, summer capital and a non-Poland’s first king was chris- stop party venue for the three The exceptionally well-preservedtened. A visit to the island hottest months of the year. Gothic cathedral at Frombork
10 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D Putting Poland on the Map Poland covers an area of 312,685 sq km (120,696 sq miles) and is located in the centre of Europe. It borders Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine to the east, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the south, and Germany to the west. In the north, Poland’s coastline stretches for 528 km (330 miles) on the Baltic Sea and borders Kaliningrad, an enclave of Russia. Poland has a population of 38.6 million, making it the eighth most highly populated country in Europe. The capital, Warsaw, has over 1.6 million inhabitants.EUROPE Poland in Europe Poland is traversed by road and rail routes linking Western and Eastern Europe. The country’s largest inter- national airport is in Warsaw; other cities also have direct air links to European cities. There are ferry links to Gdynia, Gdańsk and Świnoujście.
P U T T I N G P O L A N D O N T H E M A P 11 0 km 100 0 miles 100 KEY Airport Port Motorway Major road Railway National border
I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D 13 A PORTRAIT OF POLANDG rowing numbers of tourists visit Poland every year. Even so, it is still a relatively unknown country. To travellers crossing the lowlands from Eastern to Western Europe, there may notappear to be the diversity in landscape and buildings seen in otherEuropean countries. The pages that follow show the visitor the varietythat Poland has to offer, in terms of its culture, history and landscape.Although it is situated in the Many areas of great naturalplains of central Europe, beauty are protected asPoland has a varied land- national parks or reserves.scape. Alpine scenery pre- Mountain lovers candominates in the Tatra make use of the well-Mountains along the coun- developed infrastructure oftry’s southern border, while hostels and other shelters,the north is dominated by such as those found in thelakelands, which contrast The Polish eagle Beskid Sądecki or the Tatrawith the landscape of the Mountains; the more adven-Baltic coast. For those who like turous can explore the unfrequentedunspoiled natural scenery, there are and almost inaccessible Beskid Niskiareas of primeval forests in Białowieża or Bieszczady. All areas have clearlyand extensive marshlands along the marked hiking trails and well-banks of the River Biebrza which are equipped shelters (schroniska). Thea haven for many rare bird and plant countless lakes of Warmia andspecies. About 30 per cent of the area Mazuria, areas known as the Land ofof Poland is woodland, including a a Thousand Lakes (Kraina Tysiącanumber of vast forests covering more Jezior) are a haven for watersportsthan 1,000 sq km (390 sq miles). Most enthusiasts, as are the waters ofof these consist of coniferous trees Pomerania and Wielkopolska. Theand mixed woodland, but there are lakes are popular with canoeists andalso many forests of deciduous trees, in summer are dotted with rowingmainly oak and hornbeam, or beech. and sailing boats.The Bzura, one of Poland’s many unspoiled riversA rural chapel in winter
14 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D A summer’s day on a sandy Baltic beach POPULATION AND RELIGION religious denomination does not Poland’s inhabitants, who number necessarily coincide with ethnic iden- almost 39 million, all but constitute a tity, although Belarussians tend to single ethnic group, with minorities be Orthodox while Ukrainians belong accounting for less than 4 per cent of to the Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church. the population. The largest minorities In the Białystok region there are are Belarussians and villages where Catholics, Ukrainians, who inhabit the Orthodox Christians and east of the country, and Muslims – the descendants Germans, who are concen- of Tartar settlers – live side trated mainly around the by side. As in Spain and city of Opole in Silesia. Ireland, the fact that the The vast majority of Poles majority of the population are Catholic, but large is Catholic continues to Lacemaker from regions of the country, exert a major influence on Koniakowo such as Cieszyn Silesia, have the moral values of the a substantial Protestant population, country, as well as on its political and followers of other denominations life. An example of this is the many a r e a l s o w i d e l y d i s p e r s e d . debates in the Sejm (the lower house In the east of the country there are of the Polish parliament) that have many Orthodox Christians; here, alternately limited and liberalized the right to abortion. Religion, however, is not a major fac- tor in the way that Poles vote, as election results show. The political scene is divided between the supporters of the right and the post-communist left. Over the last ten years the Polish electorate has shown itself to be quite unstable, with each elected govern- ment standing in opposition Pump room at the spa of Polanica-Zdrój to the previous one.
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 15Religious belief is outwardly expressedby a deep reverence for religious sym-bols and rituals. Wayside crosses andshrines to the saints or the Virgin Maryadd charm to the Polish countryside.The main religious festivals –Christmas, Easter, Corpus Christi andAssumption, as well as All Saints’ Day,when almost everyone in Poland,regardless of their religious denomi-nation, visits the graves of relatives –are solemnly observed. An unusualcult surrounds the Virgin. For cen-turies, believers from all over Polandand further afield have made the pil-grimage to the image of the BlackMadonna in Częstochowa (seepp156–7). Indeed, throughout Polandthere are shrines to the Virgin, to Corpus Christi processionwhom miraculous powers have beenascribed. Another famous pilgrimage monuments are in Małopolska,is made by Orthodox Christians to the Lubelszczyzna, Wielkopolska andholy mountain of Grabarka (see p291). Lower Silesia. Not all of them, how-Poland is also visited by Jews from all ever, belong to Polish culture, sinceover the world who come in remem- the country’s frontiers have changedbrance of the millions who died there many times over the centuries. A par-during the Holocaust under German ticularly important change came at theoccupation of the country during end of World War II, when the AlliesWorld War II. approved a westward shift of Poland’s borders. As a result, the inhabitants of CULTURAL VARIETY AND SHIFTING the eastern areas, lost to Poland after BORDERS the war, were resettled, and manyMagnificent buildings bearing witness were sent to the western regions,to past splendours can be seen at inhabited by Germans – who were inalmost every step. Most of these turn displaced.Restored market square of the Old Town, Wrocław
16 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D tized, and the drastic reforms that were car- ried through over a number of years accel- erated Poland’s GDP to make it the fastest- growing in Europe. By the end of the 1990s, the Polish economy had become largely resistant to crisis. The country has a A poster by Maria Pałasińska dedicated to Solidarity substantial foreign trade deficit, but this is The legacy of more than 100 years of balanced by the surplus produced by partition rule is still visible in Poland’s an unofficial cross-border trade. There cultural landscape today. Russian, are, however, negative aspects of the Prussian and Austrian administration reforms – among them the budget left their mark not only on rural and deficit and unemployment. The latter urban architecture but also on continues to be high. The problem the customs and mentality of of unemployment is somewhat the Polish people. mitigated by the illegal employment of workers, DEMOCRATIC CHANGE although this is usually AND ECONOMIC confined to small firms. DEVELOPMENT There is an ambitious pro- The fall of communism in Logo of the Polish gramme of privatization, but stock exchange Poland came about largely it has not yet been fully thanks to the efforts of the completed, and some trade union Solidarity (Solidarność), enterprises are still state-owned. which was founded in 1980 but forced Heavy industry tends to be outdated, to go underground after the imposi- unprofitable and economically ineffi- tion of martial law. When the democratic cient. There is an ongoing systematic opposition won the elections to the programme of coal-mine closure, Sejm and the Senate in 1989, Poland and former mineworkers have been again became a country with a parlia- forced to look for work elsewhere. mentary democracy and a market economy. This was important enough in itself, but it had wider implications too: by tackling its inefficient, crisis-ridden socialist economy, Poland had set the standard for eco- nomic reform in Central and Eastern Europe as a whole. Many Polish industries were priva- Session of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 17 Political and economic changes have had their impact on Poland’s towns and cities. Old buildings are being renovated, attention is being paid to the environment, new shops have appeared, and large out-of-town supermarkets and modern petrol (gas) stations have sprung up. New buildings – though not always archi- tecturally distinctive – are going up everywhere. Market squares and main streets in many Polish towns have been pedestrianized. In many of the old towns that suffered damage dur- ing World War II – including Szczecin, Kołobrzeg, Głogów and Elbląg – build- ings are now being reconstructed. Smaller towns, too – swelled by sprawling apartment housing after the war – are now acquiring more tradi- tional buildings. Nonetheless, the vastThe Pazim, the tallest building in Szczecin concrete housing developments typi- cal of the communist era still dominateNot surprisingly, this has brought many Polish townscapes.considerable social and economic Many new public buildings – mainlyproblems in its wake. office blocks – are springing up, too. The archaic farming system is Much of the new development is cen-another candidate for restructuring. tred on the capital, Warsaw, althoughPolish farming is still based on tradi- commercial investment is now slowlytional family smallholdings consisting beginning to filter through to otherof no more than a few acres of land. cities, among them Cracow, Katowice,It is seriously under-mechanized and the Baltic conurbation of Gdańsk,requires a disproportionate amount Sopot and Gdynia, and Wrocław,of manpower. Poznań and Łódź as well. A fundamental part ofthe reform process wasPoland’s drive to joinWester n military andeconomic structures. In1999, Poland became amember of NATO, andthen in 2004, it joined theEuropean Union. Thisrequired harmonizationof the Polish legal andeconomic systems withthose of the EU countries,providing a further pow-erful incentive to change. The privatized Zakłady Metali Lekkich Kęty SA metalworks
18 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D The Landscape of Poland FAUNA OF POLAND Poland’s landscape is very varied. The south of The most typical the country is bounded by mountain Polish wildlife – ranges which, the further north you including wild boar, deer and travel, gradually turn into areas hare – is to be punctuated by hills and low-lying found in mixed ancient forests. Northern Poland, an Roman and deciduous A cabbage area of great natural beauty, has been snail forests. Some white on a shaped by a succession of glaciers that species, such as meadow flower moved southwards from Scandinavia. bison and capercaillie, are National parks and reserves have been found almost nowhere else in established in many areas. The central regions of Europe. In the Carpathian and Sudety mountains, bears and the country, consisting of lowlands, merge into lynxes may be seen. picturesque lakelands and coastal plains. MOUNTAINS LAKELAND SCENERY The Tatra Mountains (see The lakelands that cover pp164–5) are the highest in much of northern Poland Central Europe. Though covering a consist of picturesque moraine small area, they provide breathtaking woodland and thousands of alpine scenery. The High Tatras (Tatry lakes. Largest and most scenic are Wysokie) are mainly granite, with the Great Mazurian Lakes, in a jagged, rocky peaks. At 2,499 district known as the Land of a Nutcracker m (8,200 ft) above sea level, Thousand Lakes (Kraina Tysiąca Rysy is the highest peak in Jezior). Abounding in forests, marshes Poland. The Western Tatras (Tatry Zachodnie), and peat bogs, they are a haven consisting of sedimentary rock and crystalline for many bird species: the largest shale, are inhabited by such rare animals as Crane concentration brown bears, marmots and chamois. of storks in Europe, swans, grebes, cranes and cormorants. The crocus (Crocus satinus) blooms in early spring Bog arum (Calla palustra) in mountain valleys is a poisonous perennial and alpine meadows, plant with a characteristic mainly in the Tatras white leaf below a globular and Babia Góra ranges. flower. It grows in peat bogs. The silver thistle (Carlina acaulis) is a protected plant. Its The great sundew leaves form a rosette (Drosera anglica), an containing a basket-like insect-eating plant found flower with a covering of in peat bogs, is a pro- dry, silvery leaves. tected species in Poland.
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 19 Deer, which live in Marmots, rodents of the herds, are a relatively beaver family, live in common sight in Poland’s the Tatra Mountains. deciduous and mixed They ‘whistle’ when forests. They are hunted disturbed. as game animals. Moose live in largeWild boar, forests, marshes andwidespread in peat bogs, even nearPoland, are large cities. Largethe ancestors populations of themof the domestic pig. can be seen inDeciduous and mixed Kampinoski Nationalforests are their Park and in theprincipal habitat. Białystok region.THE LOWLANDS THE COAST The apparent monotony of The sandy beaches of Poland’s Baltic the lowlands is broken by coast are among the finest in elevations, meandering rivers, Europe. They are situated by marshes and peat bogs. Most of sand dunes or cliffs, and the land is under cultivation, but were it not for river there are also extensive forests. estuaries, it would be Białowieża Forest (see p291) Seagull possible to walk along them shelters bison. Moose can be for the entire length of the seen in the marshes and coast. Narrow sandy spits formed by the Hoopoe storks in the lakes. coastal currents and known as mierzeje are a characteristic feature of the shoreline. Lyme grass (Elymus arenarius) grows on the The corn poppy sand dunes. (Papaver rhoeas) It has pointed is becoming leaves and its increasingly rare roots bind the as it is weeded out sandy subsoil. from cereal crops. Toadflax Marram grass (Linaria vulgaris) (Ammophila arenarea) has narrow leaves has narrow grey-green and yellow-orange leaves, and flowers flowers with a between June and characteristic spur. August. Like lyme grass, It grows in ditches it helps to bind the sand and on wasteland. dunes where it grows.
20 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D Early Polish Architecture Over the centuries, and particularly during World War II, Poland lost a great deal of its architectural heritage. However, major efforts on the part of both private individuals and the government have meant A Romanesque that many important buildings have been capital restored, and in some cases completely rebuilt. Royal and aristocratic palaces, churches, castles and entire streets of old towns can thus be admired today. Traditional wooden buildings are Renaissance courtyard at another interesting feature of Polish architecture. Wawel Royal Castle ROMANESQUE Semicircular Triforium with decorative ARCHITECTURE presbytery columns The Romanesque style of architecture seen in Narrow windows that also Polish cathedrals, palace served defensive purposes chapels and monasteries flourished largely as a result of the country’s conversion to Christianity in the 10th century. Unfortunately, few Romanesque buildings have survived intact. Among those that have are the collegiate church at Tum near Łęczyca (see p229) and the monastery at Czerwińsk (see p114), both of which are decorated with stone carvings. The Roman- The collegiate church at Tum near This 12th-century esque style reached Łęczyca, dating from the mid-12th Romanesque doorway is its apogee during the century, is Poland’s largest surviving from the Cathedral of St 12th century. Romanesque religious building. Mary Magdalene (see p190). GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE Gothic elements began to appear in late Romanesque architecture in the early 13th century; this transitional style can be seen in the abbeys at Wąchock, Sulejów and Koprzywnica. By the end of the century, the Gothic style was prevalent throughout Polish architecture. Many fortified castles were built at this time, more than 80 being founded by Kazimierz the Great. Notable examples are those at Będzin, Ogrodzieniec and Bobolice (see pp158–9). Gothic churches and monasteries were also built throughout the country, fine examples surviving in Cracow and Wrocław. The oldest surviving wooden churches, such as that at Dębno, date from the same period. In Polish provincial The 15th-century church at The doorway of the early architecture, the Gothic Dębno (see p165) is one of the 15th-century Church of St style persisted until the oldest surviving wooden churches Catherine in Cracow has an early 17th century. in Poland. ornamental stepped frame.
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 21THE RENAISSANCE AND MANNERISMRenaissance architecture was introduced to Polandin the early 16th century by the Italian architectBartolomeo Berrecci, who designed Wawel RoyalCastle and the Zygmunt Chapel in Cracow. Many ofthe churches in Mazovia (as at Pułtusk and Płock)were influenced by the Italian Renaissance, as werethe town halls in Poznań and Sandomierz. From themid-16th century onwards, buildings in Pomeraniawere designed in the northern Mannerist style.Decorative ceilings such as those in the churches of The Zygmunt Chapel (see p143) is one ofLubelszczyzna and Kalisz illustrate provincial the finest examples of Renaissanceinterpretations of Renaissance and Mannerist forms. architecture in Poland. Richly ornamented attic concealing sunken roofsLeszczyński Castle in Baranów Sandomierski Central gateways leading to Corner(see p153) is one of the few surviving late a courtyard surrounded lookoutRenaissance buildings in Poland. by cloisters turret Upper lookout ARCHITECTURE OF THE AGE OFBas-relief depicting gallery THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS St Florian The Teutonic Knights, who ruled Eastern Pomerania and Prussia in the 13th and 14th Wooden centuries, left impressive brick-built Gothic defence buildings. The knights built defensive castles galleries (such as those at Malbork, Gniew and reconstructed Bytów) and city walls (as at Chełmno and after World Toruń), and founded numerous churches.Machicolation War II GateThe Florian Gate in Cracow(see p134), a surviving city watchtower with The imposing bulk of the Upper Castle, part ofGothic fortifications, dates from the 13th the Malbork Castle complexto 15th centuries.
22 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D Later Polish Architecture Buildings dating from the Baroque era are quite a common sight in Polish towns and cities. Many distinctive 19th-century residences and architectural ensembles are also noteworthy, as in Łódź;. Around 1900, at a period coinciding with that of Art Nouveau, attempts to build in a Polish national style produced particularly felicitous results. Folk architecture is another area of great interest. The best way to explore it is to visit the skansens (open-air museums) which exist in each region of the country. Baroque cartouche with the emblem of Poland BAROQUE ARCHITECTURE High gable framed In the first half of the 17th by volutes century, architects of Italian descent started to introduce the early Baroque style to Poland. Pediment decorated with Nobles built imposing residences, coat of arms chief among them Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd (see pp44–5 and p152), in the Mannerist style, and the fortified early Baroque palace in Łańcut (see pp172–3). Italian architects were also commissioned to design the Royal Palace in Warsaw, the country’s new capital. The destruction wrought during the Polish-Swedish war was followed by a period of building in the late Baroque style. In Warsaw, the renowned Dutch architect Tylman van Gameren designed a large number of buildings, alongside Italian architects. During the rule of the Saxon kings in Poland, architects from Dresden designed many new buildings in Warsaw, as well as palaces like the one at Edena House in Gdańsk Kodeń Church, with its broken Białystok (see p290). is a fine example of the façade, is typical of the late Mannerist style. Baroque period. Steep broken Bay window with a roof decorative gable This country house in Koszuty (see p211) is a Porch in front of Corner typical example of an aristocrat’s country seat main entrance turrets in the Baroque style.
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 23NEO-CLASSICISM Dome set Neo-ClassicalNeo-Classicism appeared in Poland after the on a tambour porticorule of Stanisław August Poniatowski, the in the exactcountry’s last king. The Royal Palace and centre ofŁazienki Palace in Warsaw were built in the the buildingNeo-Classical style, as were many othersincluding those at Lubostroń and Śmiełów.Features included landscaped gardens inthe English manner. Lubostroń Palace (see p221) is a fine example of Palladianism, a refined Neo-Classical styleThe town hall in Łowicz is an example of small- imitating the work of the Italian Renaissancetown public buildings in the Neo-Classical style architect Andrea Palladio – in this case, hisof the early 19th century. Villa Rotonda at Vicenza.HISTORICISM ANDMODERNISMThe second half of the 19thcentury saw a proliferation ofNeo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissanceand Neo-Baroque buildings.In the 1880s there was amovement towards creatingan architecture in the Polishnational style, which gaverise to some very picturesquestructures. Art Nouveau wasshort-lived in Poland, The wooden chapel at The Warsaw School ofalthough it did leave a Jaszczurówka is an example Economics combinesnumber of attractive of a building in the Polish modern features andbuildings, primarily in Łódź. national style. traditional elements. TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE Fine examples of wooden architecture can be found today at most skansens. Log cabins, often with thatched roofs, can still be seen in many villages in Poland. Painted interior of a peasant dwelling Beehive in Windmill at the skansen (open-air in Zalipie human form museum) in Wdzydze Kiszewskie
24 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D The Literature of Poland regarded as the father of Polish literature. The most Polish literature has always been inextricably prominent poet of the time linked to the historical development of was Jan Kochanowski the country, as the political situation, (1530–84), who wrote the particularly over the last two centuries, has first Polish tragedy, entitled The Dismissal of the Greek not always favoured freedom of speech. Envoys (Odprawa posłów Stanisław Many writers were forced to emigrate, greckich). He was also the Wyspiański while those who remained were often author of the humorous obliged to publish their works in other Trifles (Fraszki) and the countries. Poland boasts four winners of the Nobel sorrowful Laments (Treny), Prize for Literature: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław a lament in the form of a S. Reymont, Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. cycle of 19 poems. Other notable figures among Poland’s early poets are Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński THE MIDDLE AGES (1550–81) and Szymon Szymonowic (1558–1629). Polish writing originates in The ancient Sarmatian the 11th century. The earliest culture had a great influence works were in Latin, often on Polish Baroque literature. written by people from The greatest works of the other regions who copied period are by Jan hagiographies and holy Chryzostom Pasek chronicles. The oldest Polish (1636–1701), who wrote chronicle, by the Benedictine highly colourful accounts monk Gall Anonim, dates both of great historical from the beginning of the events and of the everyday 12th century. Native Polish life of the Polish nobility in writers soon appeared, and the reign of Jan III Sobieski. Polish literature expanded into all the literary forms known in Europe at the time. The first Jan Kochanowski writing Treny, a work in the Polish language lament for his daughter’s death was written in the second half of the 13th century. The earliest religious song RENAISSANCE AND in Polish, The Mother of God BAROQUE (Bogurodzica), was probably written at the end of the The Renaissance is regarded 13th century, although it is as the Golden Age of Polish not found in manuscript literature, when both prose until the 15th century. The and poetry flourished. Polish Holy Cross Sermons Mikołaj Rej (1505–69), the (Kazania świętokrzyskie) first significant writer in the Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz date from around 1450. Polish language, is generally by Walenty Wańkowicz POLISH CINEMA THE ENLIGHTENMENT The first Polish feature film was made as early as 1902, but AND THE 19TH CENTURY it was not until after World War II that Polish film-makers achieved international renown. The best-known Polish film The Enlightenment, and directors include Andrzej Wajda, whose Man of Iron won particularly the reign the Palme d’Or at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, Krzysztof of the last king of Poland, Zanussi, Krzysztof Kieślowski (Decalogue, Three Colours Stanisław August Poniatowski, – Blue/White/Red) was an important period in and Roman Polański the development of Polish (Chinatown), who literature. The first Polish has spent many years novel, The Adventures of making films in the Mikołaj Doświadczyński USA and France. (Mikołaja Doświadczyńskiego przypadki), was written by Scene from J. Hoffman’s Bishop Ignacy Krasicki film Colonel Michael (1735–1801), a moralist and satirical poet.
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 25Polish Romantic poetry associated with theplayed an important role in artistic communitykeeping nationalist sentiment of Cracow, beganalive. The outstanding writers to emerge. A keyof that time, Adam role in this wasMickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki played by Stanisławand Zygmunt Krasiński, Wyspiańskiwrote outside Poland. To this (1869–1907), authorday, their work forms the of the Symbolistcanon of patriotic literature, play The Weddingwhose jewel in the crown is (Wesele), which wasMickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz, made into a filmwhich is both a nostalgic by Andrzej Wajdaevocation of the vanishing 70 years later.traditions of the nobility and Also influentiala vision of the emergence of in Young Polandmore modern social attitudes. was a BohemianAlso notable at this time was group surroundingthe comedy writer StanisławAleksander Fredro, whose Przybyszewski, aworks include Revenge friend of Henrik Wisława Szymborska receiving the Nobel(Zemsta) and Husband Ibsen and Edvard Prize for Literatureand Wife (Mąż i Żona). Munch.Another writer who holds Another Nobel laureate Polish literature after Worlda prominent place in was Władysław Reymont War II spawned many famousthe history of Polish (1865–1925), who wrote writers, several of whomRomantic literature society novels. He wrote from abroad for politi-is Cyprian Kamil was awarded the cal reasons. Stanisław LemNorwid, regarded Nobel Prize in 1924 (1921–2006) wrote philoso-as the precursor of for The Peasants phical science fiction, whichmodernism. Eliza (Chłopi), which has been translated into manyOrzeszkowa describes the lives languages. His Solaris was(1840–1910) and of the inhabitants made into a film twice – inBolesław Prus of a village near 1972 by Andrei Tarkovsky(1847–1912) are Łowicz. Between and in 2002 by Steven Soder-the principal the wars, avant- bergh. Tadeusz Różewicz, alsofigures in the garde writers well known as a poet, andnext phase of the such as Sławomir Mrożek are promi-development of Monument to Aleksander Stanisław Ignacy nent playwrights. Hannathe Polish novel. Fredro in Wrocław Witkiewicz Krall and Ryszard KapuścińskiAnother major (called Witkacy, (1932–2007) are known forwriter of this time was 1885–1939), Bruno Schulz their documentary-writing.Henryk Sienkiewicz (1893–1942) and Witold Andrzej Szczypiorski, who(1846–1916), best known Gombrowicz (1904–69) wrote A Mass for Arras (Mszain Poland for his trilogy of came to prominence. za miasto Arras) and Thehistorical novels describing Beginning (Początek),events in 17th-century Poland has also achieved inter-and The Teutonic Knights national recognition.(Krzyżacy), which is devoted Contemporary poetryto the late 14th and early 15th has a special placecenturies. Outside Poland, in Polish literature.Sienkiewicz is better known Apart from Tadeuszfor Quo Vadis?, which deals Różewicz, its mainwith the beginnings of exponents are Zbig-Christianity and for which niew Herbert, Ryszardhe was awarded the Nobel Krynicki and StanisławPrize for Literature in 1905. Barańczak. The best illustration of the achievements of con-20TH-CENTURY temporary Polish writ-LITERATURE ers is the award of two Nobel Prizes: inFrom 1900 onwards Young 1980 to CzesławPoland (Młoda Polska), a Miłosz and in 1996 tomodern trend in Polish the Cracow poetessliterature particularly Nobel Prize winner Czesław Miłosz Wisława Szymborska.
26 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D The Music of Poland Poland has made a major contribution to the international music scene, as much through the works of great composers as through its renowned jazz musicians and colourful folk music. Polish classical composers such as Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49), Stanisław Moniuszko (1819–72), Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937) and Wojciech Kilar (born 1932) have often been inspired by folk music, as have modern jazz and rock musicians. Poland has also given the world such outstanding musical performers as the tenor Jan Kiepura and the pianists Artur Rubinstein and Witold Małcużyński. Fryderyk Chopin in a portrait by mainstream. The first Polish Eugène Delacroix EARLY MUSIC opera stage was set up in the 17th century at the court of regarded as the father of the Although they are not Władysław IV. Court and Polish national opera. His widely known, there is religious music flourished at most famous operas are much of interest in the works that time, and the works of Halka, inspired by highland of early Polish composers. such composers as Adam folklore, and The Haunted Mikołaj z Radomia, a com- Jarzębski, Stanisław S. House (Straszny dwór), poser of the first half of the Szarzyński and Marcin which evokes the traditions 15th century, produced both Mielczewski are still widely of the Polish nobility. religious and secular works. performed by Polish In the second half of the In the Renaissance, musicians today. 19th century, the violinist composers such as Wacław Henryk Wieniawski and the of Szamotuły and Mikołaj pianist Ignacy Paderewski Gomółka brought Polish THE 19TH AND 20TH achieved world renown. The music into the European CENTURIES latter was also prominent in politics, serving for a time as The most prominent Polish Prime Minister of Poland. JAN KIEPURA composer of the Romantic era Before World War I, the (1902–1966) was undoubtedly Fryderyk town of Zakopane was a Chopin (1810–49), who major centre of Polish composed almost exclusively culture. It drew not only for the piano. Chopin artists but also composers contributed to the who sought inspiration from establishment of a Polish the landscape of the Tatra national style in music, and Mountains and the colourful exerted a great influence folklore of the highland on the development of dwellers. Among European piano music. composers associated During his short life with Zakopane is he composed a large Mieczysław number of preludes, Karłowicz mazurkas, (1876–1909), noted polonaises, waltzes, especially for his Jan Kiepura achieved études and other symphonies. international renown pieces. Many of Karłowicz perished as an opera singer. Chopin’s works tragically in an He performed on the contain elements avalanche in the world’s greatest stages, of folk music. The Tatras at the and from 1938 was Chopin Piano young age of with the Metropolitan Competition, held in 33. Another Opera of New York. Warsaw, has been a frequent visitor He gained popularity regular event since to Zakopane through his appearances 1927, and award- was Karol in operettas and winners have gone Szymanowski, musicals, where he on to become world- whose fascination performed together with famous pianists. with the folk music his wife, Marta Eggerth. Stanisław of the region Moniuszko is Stanisław Moniuszko inspired him to
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 27compose a number of works,including the ballet Harnasie. One of the best-knownmodern composers isKrzysztof Penderecki(b. 1933), whose oeuvreincludes epic symphonies,oratorios and operas. Hisopera The Devils of Loudun(Diabły z Loudun) has beenperformed all over the world.Other prominent composersof international standing areAndrzej Panufnik (1914–91),Witold Lutosławski (1913–94)and Henryk Górecki Folk band outside the Cloth Hall (Sukiennica) in Cracow(b. 1933), whose worksinclude the outstanding prominence, including Adam instruments, the mainSymphony No. 3, which has Makowicz, Tomasz Stańko one being the fiddle,topped the classical music and Michał Urbaniak. Jazz and sometimes bagpipescharts for years. Other major clubs opened throughout the or drums and basses.composers of symphonic country, and the Warsaw Depending on the regionmusic are Wojciech Kilar (b. Jazz Jamboree, first held in these instruments are1932) and Zbigniew Preisner 1958, became the world’s supplemented by clarinets,(b. 1955), most widely biggest jazz festival. Another horns, accordions andknown for their film music. renowned festival is Jazz on occasionally dulcimers. the Oder, held in Wrocław. The best way of getting to Many jazz musicians came know and enjoy Polish folk to public recognition in the music is to attend some of 1970s and 1980s, among the concerts traditionally held them the pianist and during the summer months, saxophonist Włodzimierz such as the Kazimierz or Nahorny, the saxophonists Zakopane festivals. Here Zbigniew Namysłowski and there is a chance to listen to Janusz Muniak, and the live music being played and pianist Sławomir Kulpowicz. to watch the dance groups that perform in colourful folk costumes. FOLK MUSIC Polish vocal and dance groups have brought Polish folk music is worldwide popularity to unusually colourful. Every Polish folk music. The region has its own specific Mazowsze group, forThe composer and conductor tradition, and the music of example, gives stageKrzysztof Penderecki the Tatra Mountains is performances that are unique. Folk bands play inspired by the folk quite a basic range of traditions of various regions.JAZZJazz traditions in Poland goback to the time of theSecond Republic. After WorldWar II, jazz was deemed bythe authorities to be “alien tothe working class”, and itwas not until 1956 that jazzcould be performed inpublic. An important jazzmusician of that time was thepianist and composerKrzysztof Komeda (1931–69),who wrote the popularlullaby for Roman Polański’sfilm, Rosemary’s Baby. During the 1960s, otherjazz musicians came to The Warsaw Jazz Jamboree
28 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D The Traditional Nobility The tradition of the Polish nobility was dominated by the idea of Sarmatism, which was based on the myth that the Polish aristocracy were descended from a warrior people called the Sarmatians. Sarmatism was influential in shaping the ideology of the ruling class, as well as its customs and lifestyle. A Sarmatian embraced the old order, was patriotic and Catholic, and at the same time valued freedom and privilege, lived life A kulawka was a as a landowner and upheld family traditions. special toasting goblet Aristocratic Sarmatism played an important part in art for drinking “bottoms figurine in up”, as it could only be porcelain and literature, particularly memoirs. set down on its rim. Turban Headpiece with heron feathers Noblemen’s houses were typically single-storey buildings fronted by an imposing colonnade. Rooms flanked the central entrance hall. A TRADITIONAL BEVERAGE Mead was a favourite drink of the Kontusz Polish aristocracy. It is in the style made by fermenting worn by ladies wort, a solution of honey and water that has been flavoured with herbs. The most popular type of mead is trójniak, in which Wyloty – slit honey makes up sleeves rolled back and over one-third of the the shoulder total wort. The rarest is póltorak, with two parts honey and one part water. Although mead is no longer widely drunk, it is Stolnik still produced today. mead
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 29 COATS OF ARMS The coats of arms of aristocratic families in Poland number no more than about 200. They were held in common by members of clans with different names. Aristocratic titles were not used at the time of the Republic (with the exception of the titles of Lithuanian princes), while magnate families looked to foreign rulers for titles. Polish heraldic symbols usually had theirAn election gathering, at which the nobility elected the origins in individual symbols;king, is portrayed here. This was one of the greatest they were therefore relativelyprivileges exercised by the gentry. simple and differed from those of Western Europe. Kołpak Żupan POLISH NATIONAL DRESS Required attire of the nobility in the Baroque era, its main elements were the żupan (a kind of shirt) and the kontusz (an outer garment tied with a waist- Cielątkowa band). Headgear took the form of either a kołpak (fur hat) or a square- bottomed rogatywka. Men wore their hair short and sported a moustache, and sometimes a beard. Łodzia Szreniawa Wyloty Coffin portraits of the deceased were Kontusz sash painted in oils on The kontusz was metal plates cut to an outer garment the shape of the with cutout sleeves, cross-section of a which were thrown coffin, to which they over the shoulders. were attached during funerals. Silk sashes known as kontusze were The karabela was a an indispensable part of a nobleman’s traditional sword that had a single-sided blade attire. Several yards in length, they were and a highly ornamented worn wrapped around the waist and handle, often with inlaid tied in a decorative knot, allowing the precious stones. tassels to hang downwards.
30 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D The Different Religions of Poland Although the majority of the Polish population today is Roman Catholic, in the course of the country’s history its inhabitants have adhered to a variety of faiths. Besides Roman Catholics, there have been Orthodox Christians, Uniates and Jews (most of whom lost their lives in World War II), and, since the 16th century, Lutheran and Calvinist The Convent of the Old Protestants. When the Polish borders were Believers at Wojnowo is one Roadside redrawn after World War II, a large section of the few places where this reli- shrine of the Eastern Orthodox population found gious group can still be found. itself in Belarus or the Ukraine. At the same time, the western border moved further westwards, incorporating many German Protestant churches. The wide variety of Poland’s ecclesiastical architecture bears witness to the many cultures and religions that have existed there. Orthodox Christians today are found mainly in the eastern parts of the country, where many of their historic churches still stand. The Evangelical Reform Church in Warsaw was built after the Reformation and used by the small group of Calvinist believers in Poland. The Basilica of the Holy Cross and the Birth of the Holy Mother (Bazylika Krzyża Świętego i Narodzenia Matki Boskiej) has the tallest church tower in Poland. The cemetery at Kruszyniany, one of the few Muslim burial grounds in Poland, is used by people of Tartar descent.
A P O R T R A I T O F P O L A N D 31 The ‘Church of OTHER Peace’ (Kościół Pokoju) at DENOMINATIONS Świdnica was Some of Poland’s historic churches one of three have changed denomination over churches to be the years – for instance, when built specifically Polish Catholics took over disused for Silesian Protestant churches. Although the Protestants after original interiors have generally the Thirty Years’ not survived, the exteriors have War, which often been carefully conserved. ended in 1648. Some religious denominations no longer have followers in Poland, although their places of worship remain. An example is Open-air the Mennonite chapel in Gdańsk. altar Old Mennonite chapel in Gdańsk Pauline monastery Judaic artifacts in museums are poignant vestiges of the synagogues that were once so numerous in Poland. As a result of the Holocaust and the ensuing communist era, there are few Jews in Poland today.CZĘSTOCHOWA PILGRIMAGEThe Monastery of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa isthe most important Catholic shrine in Poland –and one of the greatest in the Christian world.The image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, also The picturesque wooden churches of theknown as the Black Madonna, draws pilgrims all Ukrainian Uniates, or Greek Catholics, builtyear round. The main pilgrimage, which attracts for the Lemk and the Boyk minorities,hundreds of thousands of believers from Poland survive in the Carpathian Mountains. Theirand beyond, is held in the meadows at the foot congregations were resettled in other areasof the monastery on 15 August each year. during Operation Vistula after World War II.
32 I N T R O D U C I N G P O L A N D POLAND THROUGH THE YEAR T ourists tend to visit Poland in the summer, between June and Sep- tember. During that period, the most popular tourist spots are autumn. The best way of spending winter in Poland is skiing in the mountains. As the majority of Poles are Catholics, traditional Catholic crowded, and a variety of open-air feast days are the most important events, from street theatre festi- holidays. The celebrations that Ginger- vals to re-enactments of medieval bread heart take place at Christmas, Easter, tournaments, take place through- and Corpus Christi as well as out the country. The main music and other local church festivals are drama festivals are held in spring and interesting spectacles for tourists. APRIL SPRING Palm Sunday (the Sunday The official beginning of before Easter) is the day when spring, 21 March, is an “palms” are blessed in the unofficial day of truancy churches. The most colourful among young people in celebrations take place in Poland. The tourist season villages in Kurpie and begins with the first warm Małopolska – in particular days of spring. Rabka, Lipnica Murowana and Tokarnia. During Holy Week MARCH (the week leading up to Easter), mystery plays are Topienie Marzanny performed in churches around (23 Mar) is the day when, in the country. The oldest and many areas, children throw best-known spectacle is Performance at the Cracow small dolls – symbolizing Chwalebne Misterium Pańskie, Festival of Student Song winter – into rivers. a passion play which has The International Poster been performed in Kalwaria Festival of Biennial (even-numbered Zebrzydowska (see p161) Theatre Schools, Łódź years), Warsaw. since the 17th century. On Festival of Stage Songs, Holy Saturday, Easter food is MAY Wrocław. Polish and inter- taken to church in baskets national performers take part. and blessed. Visits are also International Labour Day International Dance Group made to symbolic sepulchres (1 May). Presentation, Kalisz. in churches. 3 May The most important International Festival Easter Sunday is the public holiday, marking the of Alternative Theatre, most important Catholic adoption of the first Polish Cracow. holiday, when the grandest constitution of 1791. mass is held to Festival of Student Song, mark the Cracow. Performances by the Resurrection. best student vocalists and Easter Monday accompanists. (Śmigus-dyngus) is Chamber Music Days marked by the (first 2 weeks in May), custom of people Łańcut. This is an throwing water over international event. one another. International Book Fair Gdańsk (last 2 weeks in May), International Warsaw. One of the largest Guitar Festival events of its kind in Europe. (every other year), Kontakt Theatre Festival Gdańsk. (last 2 weeks in May), International Toruń. Festival of Films Jazz on the Oder, Wrocław. for Children Renowned jazz festival. and Youth, Poznań Jazz Fair, Poznań. Poznań. Short Film Festival, Paka Cabaret Cracow. The oldest film Passion play in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Review, Cracow. festival in the country.
P O L A N D T H R O U G H T H E Y E A R 33 AVERAGE HOURS OF SUNSHINE PER DAY Hours 12 9 Sunny days 6 The period from May to September has the greatest number of 3 days of sunshine. April and September 0 are often also sunny, Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec while December has the least sunshine. Summer Film FestivalSUMMER (late Jun), Łagów. Festival of Folk Bands andFrom the end of June to the Singers (late Jun),beginning of September, Kazimierz Dolny.open-air events are held all Jewish Culture Festivalover the country. Theatrical (Jun/Jul), Cracow.life in the towns and cities,by contrast, tends to slow JULYdown. Most open-air eventsare held in tourist areas. Festival of Film Stars, Międzyzdroje. Street performers at the Viking Festival, Wolin. Dominican Fair in Gdańsk Viking battles. Most of the boats arrive from Scandinavia. AUGUST International Street Theatre Festival (mid-Jul), Beskid Culture Week Jelenia Góra. There is also (early Aug), Beskid region. street theatre in Jedlnia Dominican Fair (first Zdrój, Szczawno Zdrój and 2 weeks in Aug), Gdańsk. Wałbrzych in Lower Silesia, Chopin Festival and in the cities of Gdańsk, (second week in Aug), Toruń, Cracow and Warsaw. Duszniki Zdrój. International Organ Złota Tarka Traditional Festival (mid-Jul), Kamień Jazz Festival (mid-Aug), Pomorski. Iława. Singing Poetry Festival Feast of the Assumption (mid-Jul), Olsztyn Castle. (15 Aug). This is a religious Summer Jazz Days, Gdynia. holiday, but it is also the dayCorpus Christi procession FAMA (mid-Jul), Świnoujście. on which Poles com-in Spicimierz Student arts festival. memorate their victory over Piknik Country (end of Jul), the Bolsheviks in 1920.JUNE Mrągowo. International International Song country music festival. Festival (late Aug), Sopot.Corpus Christi (variable).Solemn processions are heldthroughout the country.Midsummer’s Night(23 Jun).Fishermen’s Sea Pilgrim-age (29 Jun). Decoratedfishing boats sail into theport of Puck across the bay.Festival of Polish Song(late Jun), Opole.Mozart Festival (lateJun–early Jul), Warsaw.Malta – InternationalTheatre Festival(late Jun), Poznań. Fishermen’s sea pilgrimage in the bay of Puck