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.
Kashubian Switzerland (Szwajcaria Kaszubska)
The characteristic element of this landscape are picturesque glacial lakes and forested hills with some small villages in between. The whole area of Kashubian Switzerland (Szwajcaria Kaszubska) is located in the Kashubian Landscape Park which was founded to protect wildlife, historical, cultural and landscape elements.
Natural wealth of Kashuby are its numerous glacial lakes, which connected by rivers and streams make up one of Poland's most beautiful waterways. One of them is called "Raduńskie loop" - a trail connecting 14 lakes (e.g. Lake Raduńskie, Ostrzyckie, Brodno Wielkie , Kłodno, Patulskie), providing an unforgettable experience for the fans of canoeing and sailing. Extensive forests covering a wealth of nature, numerous nature reserves with unique vegetation invite to cycling, walking and horse riding forms of tourism. Beautiful Kashubian lakes also encourage to a less active leisure, or simply lounging on the shore or pier and to swimming.
The main advantage of the Kashubian Switzerland is its topography. From the denivelation point of view there is a piedmont landscape. Numerous hills and valleys interwoven densely with glacial lakes make it unique on a national scale natural landscape. The richly forested Szymbarskie hills with the highest elevation on a Central European Lowland - Wiezyca (328.6 m a.s.l) are considered the most picturesque area. This magnificent landscape can be admired from several vantage points located throughout the Kashuby region. The most popular places of this type include: observation tower on Wiezyca, viewpoints in Sobotka, Jastrzebia Gora, Zlota Gora, Tamowa Gora and Zamkowa Gora.
Kashubian Switzerland is not only beautiful nature but also unique, widely recognized Kashubian culture and tradition. Folk art, in particular Kashubian embroidery, painting and ceramics have lots of fans. A peculiar attraction is also cherished by residents of local communities Kashubian language. Regional museums such as the Museum of Kashuby in Kartuzy the Museum of the Necel's in Chmielno present to tourist a rich cultural heritage of Kashuby. The real cultural peculiarity of Kashubian Switzerland is, however, the Centre for Education and Region Promotion in Szymbark where Kaszubian culture takes almost global dimension. Here you can see unusual objects such as the world's longest plank house built upside down, a replica of the bunker Ptasia Wola or the House of Siberian(Sybirak).
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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