Esperanto

Did you know that, Esperanto, the world’s most successful constructed language was invented / created by Ludwik Lazarus Zamenhof, a Polish Jew?

esperanto

A pair of Polish postage stamps issued for the International Esperanto Congress in 1959.

Zamenhof was born in 1859 in the town of Białystok in Poland and created Esperanto while still in school. The inspiration behind his creation was his fascination with the idea of a world without war. He believed that this could happen with the help of a new international auxiliary language such as Esperanto. Zamenhof died in 1917 and is buried at Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw, Poland.

esperanto sopot poland

Advertising for an Esperanto conference held in Sopot, Poland, in April 1973.

It is believed that between 100,000 and 900,000 people actively speak Esperanto globally.

Offsite link: Further information on the Esperanto language.

Communist era Poznan

poznan 1960

An original photograph taken in Poznan in June 1960. Click on image to enlarge to see more detail.

Three more communist-era images of the city of Poznan in Poland.

poznan 1960 posen

A 1960 photograph of horse-drawn buggies in the centre of Poznan.

poznan 1960 postcard

A multiview picture postcard featuring three different images. This mailed in 1965 from Poznan to England. Click to enlarge image.

Related webpages on Polish Poland:

Poznan between the wars; More images of 1960s Poznan; Poznan in the 1970s.

Donald Tusk – President of European Council

Donald Tusk, the new President of the European Council, speaking in English – a language he is said to have learnt in less than one year – about his life so far.

High Speed Train

pendolino train

Poland’s first high speed Pendolino train ran for the first time today. It operated a scheduled PKP service between Warsaw and Krakow. Other services will operate between Warsaw, Gdansk, Wrocław, Krakow and Katowice. The train is built by Alstom and in tests prior to it going into official service achieved a speed of 291 km/h (181 mph). I for one can’t wait to travel on it!

Zdzisław Beksiński

Zdzisław Beksiński was a renowned painter, photographer, and sculptor. Beksiński had no formal training as an artist and worked in construction for many years. His paintings were mainly created using oil paint on hardboard panels and his art might in the main best be described as utopian realism / surrealism. He was born in Sanok in 1929 and murdered in Warsaw in 2005.

Here are three examples of Beksinski’s paintings.

beksinski poland

beksinski zdzislaw

Beksinski polish artist

To discover more about Zdzislaw Beksinski and see more of his art visit his official website: Beksinski.pl

Related page on Polish Poland: a list of great Polish artists (painters).

Napoleon in Meseritz / Miedzyrzecz

meseritz napoleon haus

The French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, stopped off and stayed overnight in the town of Meseritz (now Miedzyrzecz) while travelling from Berlin to Posen (Poznan) and then on to Warsaw on 26th November 1806. He stayed at a house owned by a cloth merchant named Johann Jacob Volmer. The house in which he stayed was located close to the town hall in the market square and was long known as ‘Napoleon’s House’ (Napoleonhaus). Unfortunately, for reasons unknown the house was demolished after the Second World War.

meseritz miedzyrzecz napoleon

Legend has it that a failed assassination attempt on Napoleon took place while he was in the town!

Related content on Polish Poland: More old images of Meseritz (Miedzyrzecz).

Kasza / Groats / Buckwheat

groats poland

Kasza (Groats, Buckwheat, Kasha) is a ‘cereal’ eaten chiefly in Poland and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe. It was for many years a staple of the Polish diet but since the fall of communism there has been a fairly dramatic fall in the amount of kasza consumed by the average Pole. Kasza is cooked in much the same way as rice and can be used as an interesting substitute for rice as an ingredient in dishes like Golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls) or with saucy dishes such as curry. Some people also eat Kasza as a breakfast porridge instead of the more usual western-European porridge made with oats.

Some things you may not know about Kasza:

  • Kasza is rich in flavanoids (antioxidants).
  • Kasza is high in fibre, magnesium, manganese, and other nutrients.
  • Kasza is related to rhubarb and sorrel.
  • Its flowers are very fragrant and most attractive to bees.
  • Kasza is naturally gluten free.
  • The Polish for Buckwheat Groats is kasza gryczana.

Rehydrating Dried Wild Mushrooms

wild mushrooms

Most Poles – in common with many continental Europeans - adore the taste of wild mushrooms and because of this many will spend a lot of the spare time wandering around the forest of Poland during late Summer and Autumn / Fall seasons looking chiefly for Chanterelle (pieprznik / kurka), Podgrzybek (bay bolete) Mushrooms, and Borowik (boletus / porcini) mushrooms. Many of the Chanterelles they find will be eaten fresh but probably most of the Podgrzybek and Porcini mushrooms will be dried for use later in the year. Once dried wild mushrooms are stored in a in an airtight container and can safely be kept for around 12 months.

Dried mushrooms should always be before re-hydrated before use and not just added to a recipe. This is how we rehydrate our dried mushrooms …

  • Boil some water and add to a bowl.
  • When the water has cooled down slightly, add some dried mushrooms to the water. The water should be hot but not at boiling temperature.
  • Remember that dried mushrooms increase in volume around 3 to 4 times after they have been soaked, so don’t soak more than you need. 100 grams of dried mushrooms will yield between 300 grams and 400 grams of mushrooms once they have been rehydrated.
  • Soak the mushrooms for a minimum of 30 minutes. Better still, overnight if you have the time.
  • Drain from the water and use the mushrooms in your recipe.
  • The water will have a wonderful mushroom favour and can also be used in recipes. If you do use this broth be sure to strain it first to remove any sand, grit or earth!

dried wild mushrooms

Related content on Polish Poland: our delicious recipe for mushroom sauce.

Independence Day

independence day poland

Independence Day is a national day in Poland celebrated on the 11th November each year to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of a Polish state in 1918 after 123 years of partition by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Empire. It is a national holiday in Poland. Buildings and streets throughout the country will have Polish flags flying. Polish television and radio broadcast patriotic films and songs. And parades and events take place in many towns and cities.

independence day poland

As the date also marks the end of fighting in the First World War, Poland’s Independence Day falls at the same time as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or Veteran’s Day, celebrated by other countries.