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Country & People.

Mazury.

Located in the northeastern region of the Republic of Poland, Masuria is not a geographically unambiguous area. In general it is assumed that the Masurian region is located in the hexagon of Lyck, Johannisburg, Ortelsburg, Neidenburg, Sensburg, Angerburg, and Treuburg (Ełk, Pisz, Szczytno, Nidzica, Mrągowo, Węgorzewo, Olecko). It includes the large lake plateaux with Giżycko and Mikolałki in the middle, the Piszcza Piska in the south and the Borka heath in the north-east. Originally inhabited was the land of the Prussian tribes of the Sudauer and Galinder. The name Masuren is ethnographic in nature and is derived from the immigrants from the southern duchy of Masovia. Since the 13th century, with the beginning of violent Christianization, Masuren became a part of the Teutonic Order. After the self-disintegration of the Order (1525) Masuria belonged to the Duchy (later kingdom) Prussia and was an essential part of the province East Prussia in the German Empire.
Under the heading "Country & People" you will find an informative discovery trip to Masuria, to the north-eastern region of Poland. We provide short, stick-like contributions to regional features, historical facts, sights and many other things. In addition, you will learn many interesting things that can help you during your stay east of the river Oder.
Photo: Pixabay

Lakes and rivers.

Masuria, but also the relatively small Warmia in the western part of the region, is known for its unique landscape, its forests and countless lakes. The Masurian lake plate of the Mecklenburg or the Pomeranians is similar in landscape. It is called land of the thousand lakes, although there are almost three times as many lakes with a size of over one hectare. The main town of the region, the Olsztyn (Olsztyn) is even situated on eleven lakes. The largest of the lakes is the Sponding Lake (Jezioro Śniardwy, 114 km²), followed by the Lake of Mauze (jezioro Mamry) with an area of ​​104 km². About 40% of the lakes are protected by nature. The waters are generally very rich in fish. Here you will find many freshwater fish, of which pikeperch, whitefish and perch are the most famous fish. Many lakes are linked and are often used for kayaking and canoeing. The Łyna River, which crosses the Pregel in the north to the Mierzeja Wiślana and the Baltic Sea, and the Krutinna (Krutyń), which is about 100 km long and has the status of a reserve, are of great popularity among water sports enthusiasts. You can either participate in an organized water tour or rent a kayak and explore nature at your own pace. In several towns along the river you can rent a canoe or kayak. A swimming pool is not required. A special attraction is the Upper Canal, a technical monument connecting the cities of Osterode (Ostróda), Deutsch Eylau (Iława) and Elbing (Elbląg). In order to link these cities and their lakes by the waterway with the Fresh Haff, five roller-skiers were built in the middle of the 19th century, on which the ships are transported over land by rail to overcome the height difference of 99 meters.
Inclined plain of the Upper Channel seen from below. (Photo: Wikipedia, Wsombeck)
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Regional food.

Real regional cuisine is rare. If this is to be achieved at all, it is most likely in private houses and restaurants owned by the group of people who have been living in this area since the pre-war period. Under mysterious names are often variations of the Polish standard kitchen on the menu, which are considered to be Masurian or Hungarian specialties. Nevertheless it is worth looking for them, especially if they are prepared with own or regional ingredients. In the never particularly rich region you always cooked simple and modest. The most famous dishes are Königsberger Klopse with capers, blacks, potatoflinsen and stain. The two last are widely known and known as Placki ziemniaczane and Flaki. The post-war settlers have brought their own dishes from Eastern and Central Poles, or West Lithuanians and Ukrainians. It is recommended to have mullets (pierogi) and beetroot soup (Barszcz), which are best served by Ukrainian families. In summer, beetroot soup is served cold with lots of yoghurt and fresh vegetables as chłodnik.
Königsberger Klops Photo: Pixabay
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A Polish beer from Danzig, brewed according to German purity. Photo: M. Höhne - ostpreussen.net
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Residents, hospitality.

In 1945 the population of the region was almost completely replaced under German administration after 700 years. Above all, in the countryside, but also in larger cities, there are still 12,000 Germans living in clubs. Apart from them, Ukrainians are the largest non-Polish minority in the region, who have been brought here from the border area of ​​Westukraine / Eastern Poland. In Masuria there are 11 other ethnic groups. Today, the German language is only a little widespread, but it is easy to communicate with the hosts who welcome guests from the German-speaking countries. English and among the older generation Russian are spoken at an acceptable level. With the arrival of the population from the East, the region's proverbial Polish hospitality has been found in the region after the Second World War. Therefore you should be prepared for an inviting menu with plenty of alcoholic beverages

Prices + cost of living.

The prices of food and everyday items are relatively high for the local population. For people from the euro area, however, they are often much cheaper than in their home countries. For larger purchases, it is worthwhile to make this in the supermarket. Little Aunt-Emma stores in the country are very expensive. And something else you should consider. Many sellers increase their prices when they realize that they are foreigners. Leave it, if it is possible, purchasing a Polish speaking companion. In small, rural pensions you pay about 6, - to 8, - EUR for one night and in the cities from 20, - EUR per night.
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Zloty banknotes and coin money Photo: A. Zimmermann

Fishing in Poland.

Tourists may fish for 6 weeks without a Polish sport fishing pass, but they need a valid fishing permit for Polish waters. In private waters they can buy it from the owner or tenant. But attention, blackbirds have to count on delicate penalties. Boats with 6 hp outboard are free of license in Poland, their use at night is not allowed. Fishing with live bait is still permitted. Fishing is prohibited in designated nature reserves.
Angler Photo: Pixabay

Bicycle tourism.

There are more and more places where you can rent a bike. For ambitious cyclists, it is best to come with your own bike to Poland. There are also some organizers who organize bicycle tours with guide. Since most of the forests in the region are state-owned, they can be used as well as field roads. The bike must have at least a white or yellow front lamp, a taillight, a red rear reflector, a brake, a non-frightening bell. For beginners, the Green Velo Route is recommended, which is constantly being expanded and described in detail. It runs through the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.
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Evening at the lake Photo: Pixabay

Sailing.

No sailing license is required for sailboats up to 7.5 m. In practice, however, you must present it whenever you wish to hire a sailboat. The best and varied sailing routes are available in the Masurian sea plate. You can sail your sailing trip, B. Start in the town of Giżycko and finish in Angerburg (Węgorzewo). Before you leave, you should ask for any shallows or sandbanks (especially on the Sponding Lake) and check if and where you have to move the mast while driving. It is forbidden to drink alcohol on board and to enter islands. On board you must carry a rescue ring per person, at least one paddle and a rescue vest. There is, however, no obligation to sail in rescue vests.
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Sailing trip in Masuria Photo: Pixabay

Attractions.

Warmia and Masuria is characterized not only by lakes and forests, but also by the diverse architectural backgrounds of almost 800 years of European history. The Teutonic Order built a large number of knights' castles to dominate and manage the country. The most impressive example of this is the Marienburg (Malbork), a masterpiece of bakingsteingotics and the world's largest castle complex, once the capital of the religious order. However, a. including the impressive bishoprens in Heilsberg (Lidzbark Warmiński), Kopernikusburg in Olsztyn, castles in Neidenburg (Nidzica) and Rastenburg (Kętrzyn). Also from the time of the Order some bakeries and town halls, Such as the old town halls of Morąg, Pr. Holland (Pasłęk) and Marienburg (Malbork), the Basilica of St. Jacob in Olsztyn, the Church in Frauenburg (Frombork) or the restored Church in Braunsberg (Braniewo). Especially impressive baroque churches from the counterreformal Warmia have survived the times to this day, above all the magnificent church in Holy Land (Święta Lipka), which was already in Mazury. East Prussia was an agricultural country, the grain chamber of the German Reich, which was cultivated by small and large peasants and often by estate companies. From this time a number of mansions and palaces have been preserved, For example, the royal castle in Dönhoffstädt (Drogosze), which was intended as a residence for the passing landlord, or the nobility seat of the family of Lehndorff in Steinort (Sztynort) on the Mauersee or the ruins of the once-finest East Prussian castles in Finckenstein (Kamieniec) and Schlobitten Słobity). Many of the manor houses are now used and maintained by Poland, For example Galiny (Gallingen) and Nakomiady (Eichmedien). Parts of the interior of mansions and paintings can be found in museums, Eg in the castles of Allenstein and Rastenburg and in the Dohna-Schlößchen in Mohrungen (Morąg). Although the many small towns lost some substance in the Second World War, some examples of the once-German city culture can be found, Eg in Sens-burg (Mrągowo), Ortelsburg (Szczytno) or Rößel (Reszel). The horrible relics of the war are found in the Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg, Hitler's headquarters for the conquest of the Soviet Union, and not far from there, on the Mauersee, the headquarters of the commando of the Army, a large complex of thirty giant bunkers. The Poles have created a considerable number of national parks, nature conservation reserves, which are well signposted. In Popiellnen (Popielno) at the Spirdingssee a test station for the rearing of tarp and przewalskipferden, old South Russian and Mongolian wild horses, has established itself. In the bird sanctuary "Luckneinensee" ("Jezioro Łuknajno") in Lucknainen northwest of Spirding Lake, a colony of more than 1,000 swans has settled, the largest concentration of swans in Central Europe. In Lahna / Allendorf (Łyna) north of Neidenburg (Nidzica) is the source of the river Alle (Łyna). The picturesque landscape, where you can see how the river joins a mountain slope from many small streams, is protected by the reserve "Springs of the river all" ("Źródła rzeki Łyny").
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Święta Lipka (deutsch Heiligelinde) Photo: Pixabay

Horseland East Prussia.

The old tradesmen of East Prussia were once famous. The noble riding horse was bred, crossing native horses with thoroughbreds. As a result, half-breeds were born with 25% native, 25% Arab and 50% English blood. The trakehner animals had strongly built limbs with a well-shaped head, beautifully attached throat, straight-backed body, long-rounded croup, and broad chest. They were persevering, quick and needless, docile, obedient, and patient. The East Prussian half-bred breed resulted in many outstanding racing horses, which could successfully compete with the thoroughbreds. The starting point for state breeding was the main pole in Trakehnen, which today is located in the Russian part of East Prussia and has only one horse: the bronze temple keeper. The main studs included a number of state farms, as well as many stud farms run by private breeders. In Poland the land estates in Rastenburg (Kętrzyn), Braunsberg (Braniewo) and Marien-werder (Kwidzyn) have been preserved. In addition, today's main stalls are in Weeskenhof near Pr. Holland, Plenkkity north of Osterode and Liesken near Bartenstein. In the non-governmental sector the Ferenstein stud in Galkowen / Nickelshorst (Gałkowo) has a good reputation. There, Count Potocki had moved the old Steinorter hunting lodge, which today houses a rustic pub. For horse riding holidays in Masuria there are various riding possibilities. Horse competitions are organized on several horse farms, most of which are in Gallingen (Galiny), Alt Pötzdorf (Pacółtowo) and Galkowen / Nickelshorst (Gałkowo) - "Gałkowo Cup".
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Stud Liesken (Frederik Blattgerste, 2008)