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.
With cream and sugar, as a topping on pancakes, as a cocktail, a supplement to cakes and desserts or straight from the bush! The Kashubian Strawberry, the fruity Pride of Pomerania. A classic regional product appreciated throughout Europe. Sweet, juicy, melting in the mouth. The only one! Best!
There is no other way-if you visit Pomorskie in late June and July, you will be here to eat Kashubian strawberries. It is one of the finest regional products that can be enjoyed. Some say that the Kashubian strawberry is even more precious than the Baltic Amber! Yes, these little red-and-pink fruits have their big fans here!
Where did the Kashubian strawberry come from?
The history of a small red-pink Kashubian strawberry stars in the early 20th century. Then Helena Gruchała, a local farmer, started her first plantation. It was located in the Kashubian Lake District in the Długi Kierze. Local priests also encouraged to grow strawberries. They helped to establish fields and facilitated the import of seedlings.
It is worth noting that the Kashubian strawberry does not have an easy life. The cold nights and hot days make its cultivation not very simple. However, the fruits pay for all the work. The Kashubian strawberry is incredibly juicy, supper, sweet and aromatic. It is most cultivated in the vicinity of Chmielno, Sierakowice and Stężyca, where the first crops were created more than a hundred years ago. Interestingly, Chmielno is proud to be the most strawberry region in Poland! Almost half of the cultivation carried out here is certified by the Kashubian strawberry plantations. The most popular varieties are Honeoye, Senga Sengana, Elsanta.
Strawberry Holidays and attractions
Every year in the turn of June and July, at the time when the fruit matures the fastest, Kashuby invites you to a strawberry feast. This includes the festival of Kashubian strawberry in Chmielno and the annual strawberry festival in Brodnica Górna near Kartuzy, which has been held since 1971! Those are open-air events, or even folk festivals, combined with the tasting of fruits and products produced from strawberries (cakes, desserts, preserves, as well as sweet soup).
Also in Gdansk, the capital of Pomorskie region, during holidays the feast of the Kashubian strawberries is held. During the popular festival, various competitions with strawberries in the main role are organized. Exhibitors, processors, confectioners, but also members of the Circles of Rural Housewives are racing to show the different use of the Kashubian strawberry. The annual Strawberry Feast is a great way to promote regional customs, local traditions and the achievements of Kashubian culture.
It is also worth noting that the Kashubian strawberry, or Kashëbskô Malëna, was entered into a special statement-the European system of names and geographical indications. In 2009 the European Commission registered Kashubian Strawberry as a protected geographical indication.
Sweet and juicy regional treasure. Kashubian Strawberry
Tradition of the region – open air museums
The Teodora and Izydor Gulgowski Kashubian Ethnographic Park in Wdzydze Kiszewskie
Wielkanoc na Kaszubach
Kartuzy – the capital of Kashuby?
Boże Narodzenie na Kaszubach
Co o Kaszubach turysta wiedzieć powinien
The complex of post-monastery buildings in Zukowo
Collegiate in Kartuzy
Snuff and the art of making snuff horns
Kashubian Switzerland (Szwajcaria Kaszubska)