This event is on Warmia and Mazury region of Poland.
The Province of Warmia and Mazury is situated in the north-east of Poland, in the Mazurian Lake District. Olsztyn is the capital of the province and other cities include Elbląg, Ełk, Iława, Ostróda, Giżycko and Kętrzyn. In terms of its area, the Province of Warmia and Mazury ranks fourth in the country. It is inhabited by 1.4 million people.
Unique natural features
The breathtaking beauty of the region is mainly due to the unique natural features, highly esteemed around the world; there are many rare plants and animals which can be found here, living in their natural habitats. When walking in the forests, you can meet a wisent, a deer, a roe deer, a beaver, an eagle, a heron, a cormorant, a grebe or a crane. One of the inseparable elements of the Mazurian landscape are the old, monumental trees which Adam Mickiewicz used to call “monuments of nature”. They are mainly oaks, but there are also lime trees, pines, firs and birches.
Active leisure pursuit enthusiasts – canoeists, ice sailors, cyclists and walkers, who more and more frequently visit Mazurian trails – will surely find something for themselves. One must also mention sailors, who come here from all over the world to pursue their passion and experience the atmosphere of sailors’ tales. The Great Mazurian Lakes, including the best known ones, such as Mamry or Śniardwy – are interconnected by a network of canals and sluices. Together they make up a unique water route, along which you can sail for as long as two weeks without ever sailing in the same place twice!
Warmia and Mazury – cultural life
The Province of Warmia and Mazury is a unique region, visited by millions of tourists every year. The region bustles with cultural life thanks to the numerous and diverse artistic ensembles. When one adds colourful fairs, festivals and exhibition – the picture will be complete.
Among the regular cultural events are: the International “Piknik Country” in Mrągowo, the “Złota Tarka” International Traditional Jazz Festival in Iława, and the “Let’s Sing Poetry” Castle Meetings in Olsztyn. Young people enjoy themselves at the Reggae Ostróda Festival, Rock Music Festival in Węgorzewo and at the “Przystanek Olecko”, which involves theatre performances, events and singing poetry concerts.
A region for the active
Cultural events are accompanied by sport competitions, which are popular among Polish and foreign sport fans. These include the international World Tour beach volleyball tournament and the Polish Rally in Mikołajki.
The Province of Warmia and Mazury takes advantage of the opportunities which have been created by the European Football Championships in 2012 – Ostróda and Lubawa have been chosen to be among the 21 residence and training centres for Euro 2012. Being entered in a special catalogue means that in less than 2 years, foreign teams, taking part in the European Championships, may live and train in Ostróda and Iława.
Enthusiasts of active leisure pursuits – sailing, canoeing, skiing, windsurfing, angling, diving, horse riding, walking, cycling and car tourism – can also find plenty of opportunities to do what they like.
The medieval castles in Warmia and Mazury are worth visiting. They can be found in Olsztyn (which currently houses the Museum of Warmia and Mazury), Nidzica, Ostróda, Lidzbark Warmiński and Kętrzyn. Another interesting place is the 14th-century Teutonic castle in Ryn; it is now a hotel which you can tour with a guide.
Another interesting object is the Elbląg Canal – a technical wonder on a global scale; designed in the 19th century, it is still operative. It connects several West-Mazurian lakes with the Vistula Lagoon. Despite the 100-metre level difference, boats and ships can sail along it thanks to the system of sluices and slipways. The latter are pulling devices which are powered by flowing water.
In 2007, in the ranking in the “Rzeczpospolita” newspaper, the Elbląg Canal was voted to be one of the Seven Wonders of Poland, along with the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Malbork Castle and the Wawel Cathedral.
Another place worth visiting are the Fields of Grunwald in mid-July. In 1410, one of the greatest battles in medieval Europe was fought there – there were about 50 thousand troops in the opposing armies and the battle which lasted for several hours ended with the great victory of the Polish-Lithuanian army over the Teutonic Order.
Every year, on the anniversary of the battle, it is re-enacted by about 2 thousand knights. No other military re-enactment attracts so many re-enactment enthusiasts, not only from Poland, but also from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and the USA. The knights’ armoury are faithful replicas of what knights wore in those days, which allows them to recreate the character of the medieval battle.
The Cathedral Hill in Frombork is the top class monument of architecture. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, it has retained the basic arrangement of its medieval structure. The exceptional value of the place is even more increased by the historic traditions and the person of Nicolaus Copernicus (the Great Astronomer is buried in Frombork Cathedral). Visitors can see the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum, in the former palace of the bishops of Warmia (near the cathedral).
True gourmets should visit first of all those restaurants which are marked by special signs “Culinary heritage – Warmia, Mazury and Powiśle”. Restaurants and producers – holders of such certificates – offer local and regional products and foods, they promote local customs as well as the traditional regional eating culture.
You are welcome to come and see a cycle of events, which promote food produced from local ingredients. They include the Regional Fish Food Festival, the Warmia Dumpling Feast, the Regional Goose Festival, the Honey Festival and the Bread Festival.
Warmia and Mazury is a region full of surprises. You will not regret it if you come here in any season, do the sightseeing, have a good rest and… come again next year.
This post is also available in: Polish