The Southern Kashuby. The land of hills and lakes.
From the lakes and hills to the valleys full of tastes and covered by the green grass. Form the classical sniffing tobacco to the Kashubian strawberry full of the summer sun. From the Kashubian old huts to museums showing the variety of the tradition of the region. The Southern Kashuby, the area from Zukowo to Przechlewo are fascinating with the landscapes and the culture.
The Southern or the Northern Kashuby? If You would ask such question to someone, who loves this region, for sure it would be impossible to answer that. This region is very diverse with the incomparable features and history.
Kashubian Switzerland... so hills and lakes
“Kashubian Switzerland” – this is how w describe the central part of Kashuby. The name is not accidental. This part has the biggest highs differences full of hills and lakes. It is located close to Wiezyca peak (329 m. above the sea level), the highest hill not only in Kashuby and the Northern Poland but in the European Plain. There is also the Kashubian Landscape Park here with beech trees, pines and spruce forests, unique bird species (like the sea ducks “Mergini” or boreal owl) or bats and even the common European viper. Through the Southern Kashuby goes the red tourists trail, very popular among the walkers as well as the cyclists. In the winter time, the area near Wiezyca is a fantastic place for skiing. In the Summer time it is worth climbing the platform on the top of the hill and admire the view.
Wiezyca, Fot: Kaszubski Park Krajobrazowy
Kashubian Switzerland that is not only hilly landscape and post glacier lakes. That is also a culture and tradition, You can find almost everywhere. The names of cities and villages are written in two languages – Kashubian and Polish. You can hear Kashubian language, a mixture of Polish and German almost everywhere. It is difficult to understand what Kashubian people are saying. Luckily, people where are very friendly and kind, sow hen they see you do not understand, they turn into Polish.
The capital of Kashubia?
Which city is the capital of Kashuby region? No one knows and there are debates about it . Usually, it is said that the capital of the whole Kashubian region is Kartuzy, some people say that it is rather Koscierzyna. On the other hand, when we drive into Gdansk, we see the sign: Gdansk, the capital of Kashuby. And how to decide now?
Rynek w Kościerzynie, Fot: UM Kościerzyna
Nevertheless, Kartuzy, situated at the four lakes, is that city which promotes Kashuby the most. Already before the WWII Kartuzy were the centre of Kashubian Switzerland. Tourists were coming here all year long, visiting former Carthusian Abbey and swimming on the lakes. Today there is a Kashubian Museum here with the name of F. Treder, with big collection of the artefact of the historical and folk culture of Kashuby.
Kashuby - cultura and traditions
Near Kartuzy, in the Kashubian Landscape Park, there is Chmielno. A small village, extremely popular among sailors and the lovers of Kashubian pottery. For generations the family of Necel lived here, known around Poland for their passion to pottery. Till today they produce by hand traditional Kashubian vases, tableware, pitchers or bowls with the traditional patterns of tulips, lilies, fish scales or Kashubian star.
Pottery Museum in Chmielno, Fot: Pomorskie.travel
Those decorations are also traditional motives of Kashubian painting on glass and the embroidery. There are several Kashubian embroidery schools, depending on the region.
Travelling deeper in the region, passing Koscierzyna with its renovated Old Town and famous Old Brewery, where the traditional Kashubian beer is brewed, we shall reach Wdzydze Kiszewskie. It is a touristic village, a true heaven for lake lovers and history enthusiasts. Wdzydze Kiszewskie is situated at the Golun Lake, ant the oldest Polish open air museum is situated here – The Kashubian Ethnographic Park. It was established in 1906 and till today is one of the most important historical attraction in Pomerania region and Poland.
Sunset in Wdzydze Kiszewskie, Fot: LOT Serce Kaszub
The Southern Kashuby hypnotize and fascinate. It is love at the first sight and who will fall in love with this area will love it forever.
Kartuzy – the capital of Kashuby?
The origin of Kartuzy and its name are closely connected with the Carthusian Order . In 1382 Jan of Rozecino, the owner of the lands in that area, brought from Prague the Carthusian Order that built in this area a group of monastery buildings called 'The paradise of Mary'. The central building of that group was a gothic shrine - presently a collegiate with a unique roof shaped like a coffin lid. Around the monastery premises, over the centuries there grew a settlement that slowly became the centre of a social, political, economical and cultural life. In 2012 there was a 630th anniversary of this monastery settlement.
In 2013 there was celebrated 90th anniversary of granting city rights to Kartuzy that were granted due to the determination of its inhabitants in 1923. Today the city is the seat of the authorities of the gmina: the provost of Kartuzy and the poviat : the starost of poviat of Kartuzy. Gmina of Kartuzy is inhabited by over 31 000 of people, with over 15 000 living in the city of Kartuzy.
A great source of knowledge about Kashubian culture are rich ethnographic resources of the Kasubian Museum in Kartuzy. Two exhibits are especially popular with the visitors to the museum: Kashubian ABC - or Kashubian music notes, and folk musical instruments 'burczybas' and 'devil's violins'. Another original and unique quality of Kashubian culture is its language that can be heard on the streets of Kartuzy and read on bilingual city signs.
Kartuzy has a lot to offer to tourists ranging from water tourism, bicycle tourism, hiking to Nordic walking. The Centre of Water Sports and the Promotion of the Region in Zlota Gora in Brodnica Gorna is a perfect place for relaxation and spending free time as they offer the biggest in the Pomorskie region summer stage along with the amphitheatre and yacht marina. One of the events that take place there annually is Strawberry Picking Fest (Truskawkobranie), which is a traditional celebration of a strawberry attracting thousands of tourists at the turn of June and July. What is also worth experiencing is the Kartusian Festival of Organ and Chamber Music that takes place every July and August in a post-monastery collegiate. One must not miss visiting the Art Gallery Refectory which is situated in the old refectory of the monastery.
A tourist to the community of Kartuzy will definitely find something for him or herself. What is worth seeing is the village of Sianowo with its Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sianowo or the village of Strysza Buda with its Kashubian Park of Miniatures. For the fans of nature tourism it is recommended to see the area of Mirachowo ,and in particular Mirachowo woods with their eight nature reserves. One must also try the local ,delicious and healthy Kashubian cuisine without worrying about additional calories as they can be easily burnt on the Kartusian swimming pool Nëczk offering sauna and a gym facilities.
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Sweet and juicy regional treasure. Kashubian Strawberry
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Tradition of the region – open air museums
The Teodora and Izydor Gulgowski Kashubian Ethnographic Park in Wdzydze Kiszewskie
Kartuzy – the capital of Kashuby?
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The complex of post-monastery buildings in Zukowo
Collegiate in Kartuzy
Snuff and the art of making snuff horns