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.
The complex of post-monastery buildings in Zukowo
Due to the efforts of the Duke of Gdansk Msciwoj and his wife Zwinslawa, there was issued a fundraising act for the Norbertines granting them initially four villages. Supposedly, the construction of the monastery in Zukowo began in 1212, and shortly after the first nuns appeared. Since then the development of the village was closely linked with the monastery farm. The monastery from the beginning ran a female school for daughters of patricians of Gdansk. At school girls were taught sewing, embroidery of the canonicals and Kashubian folk embroidery today known as "Zukowo school" that has survived in such form till present times. The rule of the Norbertine monastery was strict and they were obliged to fast.
The Norbertines of Zukowo possessed over the centuries several lands and properties such as the brewery, sawmill, brickyard, the mills; they also had the right to fish in the Radunskie lakes. The wars in 17th and 18th centuries destroyed Zukowo. Prussian regulations from 1810 and 1815 left Zukowo convent to wither itself, as they banned novitiate, the admission of new nuns and the election of the prioress.
The monastery existed till mid 19th century. The cassation of the monastery was done on behalf of the Prussian government in 1834 by a landrat from Kartuzy Stein. Ten nuns were left to themselves on a life sentence. The last nun Agnieszka Bojanowska died in 1862 at the age of 81, and it was her who ,till the end of her life, run a monastery chronicle, and passed to the village embroiderer the art of embroidery, the legends and stories from the life of the monastery.
The post-monastery church comes from the 13th-14th centuries and is the oldest sacral building in Kashuby. This wonderful shrine includes:
The main altar - the late Renaissance, gilded, three-storey construction, made from carved polychromed wood. In the central part there is a painting from Herman Han workshop depicting Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the patron of the church.
Triptych from Antwerp - an altar dated 1515-1525, late Gothic , from the Antwerp altar type characterized by a luscious figurative carving,
Baroque baptistery from 2nd half of the17th century , made of polychromed and gilded wood,
A Gothic crucifix - Gothic polychromed sculpture of a crucified Christ from about 1360,
Altar of St.Mary - a Baroque side altar originally made in the first half of 17th, enlarged in the first half of the 18th century.
A painting commemorating murdered Norbertine nuns - a mural on the southern wall depicts the nuns that were murdered by the pagan Prussians during the attack in 1224,
A Baroque pulpit and empora of the nuns.
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Sweet and juicy regional treasure. Kashubian Strawberry
Wielkanoc na Kaszubach
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