Poland is a country located in Central Europe, located between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges – the Sudetes and the Carpathians in the south, for the most part in the basin of the Vistula and the Oder rivers. From the north, Poland borders with Russia (with Kaliningrad region) and Lithuania, in the east with Belarus and Ukraine, in the south with Slovakia and the Czech Republic and in the west with Germany. Most of the northern Polish border marks the coast of the Baltic Sea.
It’s largest city and the capital is Warsaw. Other metropolies include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin.
Poland is divided into sixteen provinces called „województwo” (voivodeship). There are: Greater Poland, Kujavy and Pomerania, Lesser Poland, Łódzkie, Lower Silesia, Lubelskie, Lubusz, Masovia, Opolskie, Podlaskie, Pomerania, Silesia, Subcarpathia, Świętokrzyskie, Warmia and Masuria, West Pomerania.
KUJAVY AND POMERANIA
Kujawy is an interesting region in terms of ethnography and history located in the area of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, between the upper Noteć from the west and the Vistula from the east.
The historical capital of Kujawy was Kruszwica, but later it lost its name to Włocławek. Today, the most significant cities in Kujawy are beautiful Bydgoszcz, Toruń, Włocławek, Inowrocław, Golub – Dobrzyń and Biskupin. In this region you can relax from the hustle and bustle of cities and everyday problems.
There are about 600 lakes in Kujawy – mainly post-glacial, of which Gopło is the largest – a natural reservoir extending over 24 km. The Polish prehistory and legends about Popiel are associated with Gopło. There is an ornithological reserve on the lake, and the wider area has been protected in the form of a landscape park – Nadgoplański Park Tysiąclecia.
Kujawy is an unusual place where interesting folklore and folk customs are still present in everyday life. This manifests itself in dialect, costumes, dance (kujawiak, mazurek, oberek), songs and of course, numerous customs. The best way to get to know them is a longer stay in Kujawy, especially on farm tourism.
WŁOCŁAWEK – DESCRIPTION, LOCATION, HISTORY
District town in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. Located on the Vistula River, at the mouth of the Zgłowiączka River, below the dam forming the Włocławek Lake. The largest and most important city of eastern Kujawy. There is a passenger dock and a river port here. In 1969, the Włocławek Hydroelectric Power Plant was built.
The origins of the city date back to the tenth century, however archaeological traces indicate that in its area there was already a settlement of the Lusatian culture about 3000 years ago. The town rights were granted by the prince of Kujawy in Kazimierz before 1265. In the first half of the 13th century, the city was completely destroyed during the Teutonic raids. The town was restored to peace only in 1466 when the peace in Toruń was signed with the Teutonic Order. Then the city flourished, which became an important centre of the Vistula river’s floating grain.
In the best period there were 27 grain granaries and the main customs chamber on the Vistula River. After the Swedish invasions, the city deteriorated again, its situation improved only from the mid-18th century, when a number of reforms aimed at improving the situation of Polish cities were introduced. The nineteenth century is the time of Włocławek’s economic development. At that time, many factories were created, paper, faience, metal products and the largest cellulose factory in Poland. In 1862, the city gained a railway connection with Warsaw and Bydgoszcz. In the years 1917 -1924 the Primate of Poland Stefan Wyszyński was educated at the Seminary.
During World War II Włocławek was partially destroyed, however, just after the war it was rebuilt and the industry was modernized. The second half of the 1960s was an intense development of the city – a dam, hydroelectric plant and nitrogen plants were built.