Dunes, palaces and amazing nature. We visit the Lebork Land.

A bit of history, lots of monuments and lots of nature. Lebork Land located between Wejherowo and Slupsk is an area where it is worth staying for longer. There is a lot of medieval history in Lebork, and Leba is an invitation to a unique meeting with the nature of the Slowinski National Park and a real seaside phenomenon - moving dunes.

Lebork Land, as the name suggests, first invites you to its largest city,  Lebork. The history of the village situated along the Pomorskie Way of St. James, takes us back to medieval times and is associated with the activities of the Teutonic Order. When visiting Lebork, it is impossible not to pay attention to the fourteenth-century defensive walls and towers. These are the remains of old, over 1200-meter-long fortifications. In the area you will also find the remains of the former Teutonic castle with towers and the 14th-century complex, which was once the seat of the Teutonic mayor.
The most important monument in the city is the Sanctuary of St. James, whose construction was completed in 1345, and till today impresses with, among others 18th century ivory tabernacle. The Gothic brick church is the seat of the Franciscan monastery and is located on the pilgrimage route to the Spanish Santiago de Compostela. Leaving Lebork, it is worth going North, towards the Baltic Sea and the enchanted world of the Slowinski National Park.
 

Palaces and nature reserves
Before we reach Leba, we pass through the "palace" village of Wicko. The palace in Poraj, over 100 years old, inscribed on the list of monuments, the palace in Charbrow from 1660 or the 16th century palace in Nowecin are examples of magnificent, dignified architecture from years ago. But Wicko and its surroundings are also very green areas. Along the Slowinski Coast you can admire Lebsko, the third largest lake in Poland and the Leba Spit, which separates it from the sea through a thin land line. There are nature reserves here, led by the Sarbska Mierzeka separating the Sarbsko Lake from the Baltic Sea.
You can find moving dunes here, the height of which can reach even 24 m above the sea level.

Walking down the dunes
The northern part of the Lebork Land is primarily the Slowinski National Park. A paradise for nature lovers, lakes, peat bogs, forests, meadows, flora and fauna. A paradise for those who want peace and quiet, want to breathe fresh sea air, feel the breeze from the Baltic Sea. The Slowinski National Park consists of moving dunes and many interesting facts that you can explore on your own or with a guide. One of the curiosities is the fact that until the dunes cover themselves with vegetation, they move in accordance with the rhythm of the blowing wind. Walking on the dunes (only on the routes marked by the employees of the Slowinski National Park!) Sometimes resembles a trip around the desert. The fact that we are at the seaside and not on hot sands reminds us of the wind, which constantly comes from the Baltic Sea.

The best starting point for walks on the dunes and the Slowinski National Park is Leba. It's a small coastal town with great infrastructure. You will find hotels, guesthouses, apartments, restaurants, cafes here. Leba enchants with its location: from the north it opens to the Baltic Sea, from the east it borders with the Sarbsko Lake, and from the west it envelops the Lebsko Lake and the Slowinski National Park.

Although today Leba is primarily a destination for tourists and nature lovers, one should not forget that it is also an old port, fishing centre and marina. In spring and summer, Leba offers a number of attractions for children and adults. In Leba You find a sand dune, a park, but also a beautiful, wide beach, on which we lounger until sunset.

The Teutonic Castle in Lębork

The Teutonic Castle in Lębork

     The story of Lębork Castle begins in the first half of the 14th Century, with the foundation of the town with Chełm rights. In this way, the founders of the town and constructors of the Castle, the Teutonic Knights, strengthened their reign over then recently-conquered  Gdańsk Pomerania.
The Castle became a part of the town defensive structures, placing it in its South-Eastern corner. It was a particularly splendid stronghold, considering its peripheral location. By building durable strongholds and locating the towns on the frontiers of their nation, especially in the conquered areas, the Teutonic Knights carried out accomplished-fact policy. Bringing in settlers from German countries, who were entirely dependent on them, they secured their initially-unsafe possession of from the 2nd half of the 14th Century, was the headquarters of a Teutonic commune head.


The stronghold was built on a square-like plan, with a residential building adjacent to a section from the stronghold's southern part to the defensive wall, along the entire side of the square. The other two corners were fitted with quadrangular towers. One peculiarity of the Castle design was the division of the courtyard by a watercourse, over which a mill and a brewery were erected, also in the courtyard. The Castle complex also included utility buildings, such as a stable and a granary in the Castle grounds.


Until the end of the 15th Century, the Castle remained in Teutonic hands, from time to time conquered and filled with the Polish King's army. Eventually, it became a fief to the Pomeranian Prince Eric II. Under the rule of the Pomeranian dynasty, the Lębork Castle underwent a significant redevelopment, according to the renaissance spirit. New buildings were erected in its territory, others were repurposed. Eric's heirs ruled the Castle and the town with short intervals until the 17th Century, when, with the passing of the family, the fief was returned back under the rule of the Polish King. Since then, a Polish communal head has resided in the Castle. Soon after, during the war with Sweden, better known as "the Swedish Deluge", the stronghold was severely damaged. Since the mid 17th Century, again, as a fief, both the Castle and the town fell into the hands of the Brandenburg Hohenzollerns. As a result of the partitions of Poland, Lębork found itself within the Prussian Borders.


The 19th Century and the interwar period brought significant changes to the shape of the Castle. First, defensive walls were deconstructed, and then, the Castle complex was adapted as a court. As a result, the original shape of the Castle was almost entirely lost. A trained eye would probably notice some relics of the original, gothic structure; however, it is not an easy task.


What remains to this day of the Lębork Castle functions as a district court headquarters. While in Lębork, it is worth taking a look at the building and try to find traces of the Castle's past.