The Southern Kashuby. The land of hills and lakes.

Co warto zobaczyć na Kaszubach - atrakcje Kaszub

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.

Pottery

Pottery

     Vases, jugs, double pots, candlesticks, beer mugs, plates, all are produced manually with the use of a potter’s wheel powered only by the potter’s legs. After that they are dried for 3-7 days and processed. This is how wonderful Kashubian ceramics are created.
Kashubians learn for years how to become a master in their profession, and then they pass their knowledge on to the youngsters - in this way, from generation to generation, the pottery tradition has survived in Kashubia. In Chmielno, in the Necel family company, we can find out for ourselves what the process of producing clay vessels looks like, and it is not as easy as it seems.


After a manually-formed vessel dries, it should be coated with slip, i.e. effecting a change in the natural colour of clay. At the next stage, the vessel should be fired in a kiln at a temperature of 800 - 850°C. When the item reaches the proper hardness, women proceed to the manual decoration of vessels by glazing them so that it becomes glossy, after which the vessels are fired once again, this time in a temperature of over 900°C. Only vessels processed in such a way are ready for use.


Few companies dealing with manual ceramics production have survived to the present day. One of them is the Necel family company in Chmielno. Now it is the already the ninth generation cultivating many years of family traditions. For years, the Necel family has developed a style distinctive among other ceramics producers. They most frequently produce vessels in white, yellow, green, brown and deep blue, decorated with unique ornamentation. Among the many shapes decorating the vessels are lilac twigs, small tulips, large tulips, the Kashubian star, fish scales, Kashubian garlands, and lilies. The ornaments decorate not only vessels but also beautiful stove tiles, produced only by Leon Lecel.


Another well-known pottery centre is Kartuzy, where the Meissner family produced vessels are characterised by white slip and cobalt decorations. Only later did the Meissners begin to use deep blue, yellow and brown. They most frequently used the motif of a tulip and oxeye daisies to decorate their products. Meissner was also known for producing stove tiles, modelled on Gdańsk stoves, which he decorated with Kashubian embroidery motifs from Wdzydze.


The oldest pottery centre in Kashubia is Kościerzyna, in hich in 1961 there were as many as 18 potters, some of which from the Necel family.


The exquisitely-beautiful Kashubian porcelain has decorated the tables in many real Kashubian homes until the present day. To find out how colourful and decorative it can be, and how many shapes the masters of ceramics are able to achieve, one should visit the Necel Kashubian Ceramics Museum in Chmielno. In this special museum, everyone can see how the process of creating vessels from clay, and also try their skills in forming pots on the potter's wheel and look inside a huge kiln in which vessels are fired. And all these attractions can be found in the very heart of Kashubia ...