Aug 22

TOP FIVE MOST POPULAR TOURISTIC SITES IN POLAND (POLSKA)

Poland. A country that has crossed heavy centuries, full of conflicts, in order to reach the status of a modern and independent nation that is today. Those who visit Poland will discover its rich culture, extraordinary landscapes, historical buildings and delicious cuisine and we assure you that you will be full enthusiasm. We are offering you five suggestions of the most interesting places and sights to visit in Poland.

Wawel Castle

People have lived on the site on which Wawel Castle is built since the Paleolithic. The castle itself, located in Krakow, was built in the 14th century, commissioned by the Polish monarch Casimir III the Great. Built in Gothic style, the Wawel is hosting the best preserved part of the Polish Crown – the legendary sword Szczerbiec, used at the coronation ceremonies of the Polish kings from 1320 until 1764. Decorated with symbols and floral patterns, the sword has a notched handle, hence the name of “jagged sword”.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

A visit at Auschwitz-Birkenau is an experience that can hardly be transcribed into words. The immense size of the former Nazi concentration camp is the first thing that hits you as you approach the entrance of the museum in Oswiecim. Arranged in memory of over 1.1 million victims of the Nazi regime, who have perished here during the Second World War, Auschwitz-Birkenau has been visited by over 25 million people.

Masurian Lake District

This chain of lakes is located in the lower basin of the Vistula River at the border with Lithuania. More than 2,000 lakes, connected by an intricate system of canals and rivers form the most popular European lacustrian destination. The lakes are surrounded by hotels and camping trips and tourists often choose to visit the beautiful area by bicycle or make long boat rides to admire unique landscapes.

Slowinski Sand Dunes

Located in the north of the country, the sand dunes are part of the Slowinski National Park, located on the Baltic Sea coast. The park is named after the slovincina inhabitants who lived here long ago and the Kluki outdoor muezum dedicated to them will tell you more about their history and culture. The dunes were formed by the waves and wind and sometimes they rich heights up to 30 meters. Their shape changes over the years, so the dunes are known as the “moving dunes”.

Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle was founded in 1274 by the Teutonic Knights who used it as their headquarters in a bid to defend Poland from enemy attacks and to continue their sovereignty over northern Baltic territories. The castle was rnhanced several times over the years to cope with growing numbers of knights until they surrendered in Königsburg in 1466. Today, Malbork is the most important attraction of the city with the same name.

Photo source:

Picture 1: arounddeglobe.com; Picture 2: famouswonders.com; Picture 3: bykoket.com; Picture 4: easyvoyage.co.uk; Picture 5: en.wikipedia.org; Picture 6: pomorskie.travel; Picture 7: en.wikipedia.org
Sep 07

Wawel Castle (Castelul Wawel)

When it comes to imperial houses, Europe has quite a variety of impressive castles, the only thing that make some more renowned than others are the striking appearance and craftsmanship with which they have been constructed.

The Polish town of Krakow prides itself with a beautiful Gothic Castle which was erected by the order of Casimir III. Wawel Castle is actually an ensemble of edifices which encompass within their walls a courtyard. During the reign of Casimir the Great, the castle truly blossomed, being transformed into the perfect lodging for the royal family. However, the citadel was destroyed almost in its entirety at the turn of the 15th century when it was ravaged by flames.

http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com

But it can be argued that something good came out of this event in the sense that it was then that the architectural style characteristic for Renaissance was brought to Krakow. With the initiation of the rehabilitation process, Krakow experienced an architectural turnaround, the new wave of decorative design having been incorporated in all of the new constructions to come, not only in Krakow, but throughout Poland.

The historical past of the construction is tumultuous, as Wawel has experience both periods of greatness and of complete decadence. From the epicenter of the most powerful country on the European continent, Wawel Castle was transformed into nothing more than a dirty garrison under the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

At present, tourists are bound to find the Wawel Castle at its very best, as the edifice had undergone renovation for quite some time. The sections which are more likely to catch the interest of visitors are the State Rooms, the Treasury and the Armory.

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The State Rooms are striking in their appearance, even more so if we are to take into consideration that these have been used for military purposes for close to a century. The restoration work was initiated at the beginning of the 20th century, but when WWII broke, the refurbishing process came to an end abruptly. But none of these historical hindrances is noticeable within the walls of the castle. These rooms are now decorated with beautiful tapestries and ancient collectables, at which are added antique furnishings. Wawel Castle has preserved an authentic feel to it in the sense that visitors actually feel that they are going back to that historical past, and they have the opportunity to walk alongside royalty. The only thing that lacks from this scenario are the actual noblemen; otherwise, everything is preserved to its minute detail.

http://www.britannica.com

The treasury and the armory are definitely worth exploring due to the precious objects encountered here. Tourists can gaze on the weapons of ancient times: swords, maces, and all sorts of weapons used in the past, some of them being beautifully adorned with precious stones. The designs are so unique that it becomes obvious that only a true artist could have created such one-of-a-kind pieces of weaponry.

The treasury located inside Wawel Castle consists of several ceremonial objects, the majority dating from antiquity. While you might expect to find the crown jewels here, with the castle having been the dwelling of the royal family, you will be disappointed to find out that these are not part of the treasury. In fact, these jewels have been melted near the end of the 18th century, when Poland underwent its final dismemberment. But there is something that has survived from the crown jewelry and that is the Szczerbiec Sword which was first used in the coronation ceremony in the 13th century and which has been used as such from then onward.

http://www.inyourpocket.com

As it has been previously mentioned, the Wawel Castle traversed different stages having shifted its purpose in time. A museum has been organized here so as to maintain the history of Wawel alive.  Several archeological diggings took place so as to uncover de hidden pieces of the puzzle, which were to retrace the past and give insight into the construction of the castle and of the way in which it was transformed throughout the years.