A Gentle Land, which has many places waiting to be discovered. We invite You to visit Kociewie!

Kociewie. Ethnical-cultural land of Pomerania spreads from  Gdansk county to Chojnice on the line of Tczew-Starogard Gdanski – Swiecie.

- It was winter, 1807. There were fights between Polish and French troops fighting with the Prussians to get part of this land back. Lieutenant colonel Hurtig was informing gen Jan Henryk Dabrowski about moving the soldiers “towards Gociewie”. This fragment of a letter sent February 10 from Nowe, near Wistula River was the first time, the name of this area was mentioned – says Piotr Konczewski, a director of the Local Tourists Board KOCIEWIE.

There are 340.000 inhabitants living in Kociewie. They are called “Kociewiacy”, along with Kashubians, one of the most important social group in Pomerania. Let’s focus more on the practice, not theory. In our conversation We shall ask Piotr Konczewski about the things what characterise Kociewie and why it is worth coming here…

Piotr Konczewski: - It is worth coming to Kociewie for the several century tradition which testimony is the folk art, the dialect and local food. For unforgettable landscapes, historical heritage and original folk food. But first and foremost for people in Kociewie always welcome You with serenity.

Vistula bridges in Tczew, fot: pomorskie.travel

Pomerania.travel: - What we have to visit in Kociewie?

P.K.: - Kociewie is the land, which You can visit at any time of the year. It is really worth visiting Tczew to see the bridge from XIX c built by Carl Lentze, famous at that time architect. There is the only in Poland river museum here, Vistula River Museum, where in Wreck Conservatory Centre You can see boats from all over the world. For art fans there is a Art Factory, where You can visit different kinds of art exhibitions.

One more place important on the map of Kociewie is Pelplin, the spiritual capital of the region. There is a massive construction of the Basilica church with a famous painting by Herman Han “The coronation od St. Virgin Mary”. The Cistercians, while building the monastery did not forget about the citizens and the Holy Spirit church was built for them. You can find different styles of the interior there, form gothic to neo - baroque.   In a Diocese Museum there is the only in Poland piece of Gutenberg Bible. It is one of the most precious book in the world. A very special place in Pelplin is a hill near the city. June 6 1999, pope  John Paul II celebrated a mass there. Today a lot of pilgrimages come there.

Cistercian abbey in Pelplin, fot: UM Pelplin

Pomorskie.travel: - Kociewie is also associated with the ancient settlements and medieval constructions…

P.K.: - Fans of medieval tournaments should visit Gniew and the former Teutonic Castle, which was built in XIII/XIV c. It was a seat of a House Commander and later a Polish foremen, including, the most famous one,  - John III Sobieski. Today, there are tournaments and historical show’s organised here. While visiting the city, go and see the Old Town, where the square has remained its medieval shape.

Following the tradition of medieval nights, we have to also mention Johannites, whose castle was in Skarszewy and today You can see its remaining. Have a look also at the market square and medieval city walls.

Owidz Settlement is situated  close to the capital of Kociewie and also offers meetings with the history. There is reconstructed  settlement from IX c. where old Slavic tribes used to live. There is a Mythological Slavic Museum there too, where in a modern way You can learn more about people who lived here in the past.

Owicz settlement, fot: pomorskie.travel

Pomorskie.travel: - What about the capital of Kociewie?

P.K.: - Of course, it is worth going to Starogard Gdanski, the capital of the region. This settlement was built on the former ancient Amber Route and St. Mathew church still remembers those times. The church was built in XIV c. and impresses us with the number of sacral artefacts. Walking around the city pay your attention to the touristic trail, called “The crown and the cross”. Following it You will see the most important places in the city – for example the square market in the Old Town and three towers: Gdansk, Triangle and Tczew. There are also two history and cultural facilities here. Museum of Kociewie Land where You know more about the history and the culture of the region and the Musuem of Rokitna Chevau-leger, where You can have a living history lesson.

Pomoreskie.travel: - Kociewie is also a place for the active tourists.

P.K.: - There are over 800 km of cycling paths in the region, called Cycling Trail of Kociewie. They lead through the most interesting and most beautiful areas of Kociewie. The fans of water sports can go canoeing down the two rivers. Wda – a calm river where You can admire the nature of Wda Landscape Park or Zurski Lagoon. Those, who need adrenaline choose Wieżyca River, which is very curly and can offer us some surprises.

Canoeing down the Wieżyca river, fot: LOT Serce Kaszub

Pomorskie.travel: - Kociewie has extremely rich culture. There are famous embroidered table cloths and napkins here with flower, wheat and poppyseed patterns. There is also a typical kind of tree shaped laces on vest typical for the women folk clothes tradition.

P.K.: - Yes, indeed. What’s more – along with the embroidery and the traditional clothes people in Kociewie has got their characteristic dialect, which is registered as a part of the greater Poland dialect. The culture of Kociewie that is also its kitchen and food, which is very varied  because the food was different at the lakes and rivers and different in the low lands and forests. There were mainly vegetables, fruits, forest fruits and fish. Meat was served usually during festivals.

Pomorskie.travel: - People from Kociewie, Low Lands, citizens from the Tricity. Shared life is in peace and symbiosis…

P.K.: - Of course, it is… We are aware of the fact that people come to Pomerania to visit mainly the Tricity with Gdansk and the sea side. Kociewie has got many advantages from that as well. More and more tourists, during summer time, organise loser and further trips away from the beach … to Kociewie.

Castle in Gniew, fot: Castle in Gniew

I can admit, we are less popular that Kashuby region but popularity is not the same as the attractiveness and the touristic potential. The last one is on our side. I am sure we have far more to offer when the cultural tourism is concerned: artefacts, such as Pelplin or Gniew, the Owidz settlement, an arboretum in Wirty, the complex of the Art Factory in Tczew, Vistula River Museum and the Centre of Wreck Conservation. We have to also remember about the Nowe near Vistula , Swiecie or Tlen. All that, plus the attractions of the active tourism: cycling or canoeing and the offers of the holiday resorts and guesthouses with good food can become an alternative for the nearby Kashuby and even the sea side resorts.

The Kociewie dialect

The Kociewie dialect

The Kociewie dialect, or dialects, can still be heard on the streets of the region’s villages and towns, or at least its single words. A good ear will discern a different accent or pronunciation.
When a mother says chodźkaj, idźkaj to her child (instead of standard Polish chodź and idź), she is using a dialect word, although she is probably not aware of this fact. Although it seems that the Kociewie dialect is in decline, the current "craze for regionalism" may actually lead to its revival.
Kociewie dialects belong to the Wielkopolska dialect, although with very noticeable links with the Masovian dialect. Kociewie dialects were also influenced by transitory dialects close to those of Chełm-Dobrzyń, Kuyavia, and Malbork. In any case, the Kociewie dialects, along with those of Malbork, are considered the youngest and most innovative continental dialects of Gdańsk Pomerania, i.e. typically Polish dialects.
A characteristic feature of those dialects is the lack of mazurzenie or masuration (the replacement of common Polish sounds "sh", "zh", "tsch", "dzh" with "s", "z", "ts", "dz"), the closed "a" (which brings Kociewie dialects closer to the standard Polish language), the voiced "w" after voiceless consonants, the simplification of inflections (the "-óm" suffix in the past tense first person singular, e.g. "byłóm" = "byłem"; forms of the past tense third person plural changed to "-eli" e.g. "speli" = "spali"; alternations of e:o and r:rz are removed from the present tense ("ja bierze" instead of "ja biorę"). The Kociewie dialects also feature numerous Germanisms, such as "bana" - train, or "munia" - cow's mouth.
Examples of Kociewie vocabulary (Kociewie - Polish - English):
bajzel - bałagan - mess
balija - wanna - bathtub
cédel - pokwitowanie, kwit - receipt
czuć - słyszeć - hear
dekel - pokrywa na garnek - lid
filować - podglądać, śledzić - spy on, follow
gardyna - zasłona - curtain
glómza - twaróg - cottage cheese
halać - przynosić - bring
kamlot - duży kamień - large stone
karadeja - byle jaki pojazd, złej jakości - crummy vehicle
kaszorek - sitko do wyławiania ryb - fish sieve
klafty - plotki - gossip
listowy - listonosz - mailman
lorbas - duży, wyrośnięty chłopa - well-built man
łajza - nieudacznik - loser
mantel - płaszcz - coat
mądrować -wymondrzać się - act a wise guy
néki - fochy - sulks
obuć się - ubrać się - get dress
rajby - randka - date
rojber - łobuz - scallywag
rónkel - burak - beet
ruchanki - placki drożdżowe - fritters
szachtelek - pudełko - box
szlajać - włóczyć się - ramble
topek - nocnik - potty
wandry - włóczęga - tramp
zelga - odwilż - thaw
zylc - galareta - aspic
Owing to the work of specialists, it was possible to compile a Kociewie vocabulary. We may mention here the three-volume dictionary Słownictwo kociewskie na tle kultury ludowej (Kociewie vocabulary in the context of folk culture) by Rev. Bernard Sychta, and also the works of Prof. Maria Pająkowska-Kensik, including Mały słownik kociewski (The little dictionary of Kociewie).