Wherever you wander in Poland you will come across ‘beware of the dog / dog warning’ signs. Generally they are attached to the fence or gate. Sometimes a dog lives in the house. Sometimes not. And often there is a dog but it is quite different to the dog pictured on the sign. Take my neighbor: he has an aged Dachshund but the sign outside his house depicts a fierce looking Rottweiler. Here are a couple examples of typical dog warning signs we snapped earlier this morning.
The Postomia (Postum) is a river of around 70 kms in length in the western province of Lubuskie in Poland. The river begins in Lake Postomsko (Bürger See) and continues through places like Wedrzyn, Ostrow, Sulecin, Krzeszyce, Lemierzyce, and the Warta Mouth National Park near Slonsk.
During the Spring and Summer months kayaks and the occasional canoe can be seen on the River Postomia. The most commonly paddled and probably easiest section being between Lemierzyce and Slonsk. This route of approximately 12 kms takes around four hours depending on the number of obstacles encountered on the way. These obstacles are fallen trees brought down by the many beavers to be found in this part of the country. As well as mammals such as beavers and wild boar, bird-watchers will delight in the storks, herons, cormorants, and kingfishers that can frequently be seen ‘fishing’ along pretty much the entire route of the River Postomia to the River Warta.
Poland has some great universities. The best of these offer a higher education of a standard up there with the best colleges and universities in the world. Here then is a list of what are widely considered the best and consistently highest ranked universities in Poland. All of the below feature in the newly published Times Higher Education ‘World University Rankings 2016′.
1 – University of Warsaw
2 – Warsaw University of Technology
3 – Jagiellonian University in Krakow
4 – Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
5 – AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow
6 – Gdansk University of Technology
7 – University of Lodz
8 – Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun
9 – University of Silesia in Katowice
According to the same ranking system the best university in the world is the University of Oxford in England. View the full results here.
Today is Three Kings Day in Poland and many other Christian countries.
Three Kings Day (Trzech Króli) is an important celebration with parades featuring the Three Wise Men, in many larger cities. Carols are sung and special services are held in most churches. And special cakes are baked and eaten.
In addition, in homes throughout Poland, Poles take a small box containing a piece of chalk, incense, a piece of amber, and a gold ring to a church to be blessed. When home they then inscribe the letters K+M+B+ and the year with the chalk above the main doorway to the house. Tradition has it that this provides protection against illness and misfortune for all those within. The letters, with a cross after each one, stand for the names of the Three Kings in Polish – Kacper, Melchior and Baltazar. These markings remain above the door all year or until they disappear with weather or are replaced by new markings on the 6th of January the following year. In some households markings are made above every door in the house! And some Poles don’t get their chalk blessed in church but just add the inscription in chalk themselves. However, in some smaller communities, this is seen as a serious spiritual event with the priest present when the inscription is made.
Three Kings Day or Epiphany is an official non-working national public holiday in Poland. Almost everywhere is closed. Schools, offices, shops, indeed, pretty much any place.
Many families will also remove and eat any edible decorations on their Christmas trees and take down their Xmas tree on Three Kings Day, as this is officially the 12th day of Christmas, which marks the end of the Christmas season.
Read more about Epiphany in Poland on our earlier webpage about the initials KMB.
Following an incident centred on a Kebab takeaway in the town of Elk in Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship of north-east Poland is in the news. Nudged by this media attention we’ve scanned some images of Ełk through time from our picture archive and put together some lesser known facts about the town and present them here.
Did you know:
- Prior to the end of World Ear II Elk was called Lyck and part of East Prussia, Germany.
- The German writer Siegfried Lenz was born in Elk / Lyck in 1926.
- Defending German troops left Elk / Lyck intact without a shot being fired on 24 January 1945.
- The Red Army entered and promptly destroyed nearly 50% of the buildings.
- Ełk was repopulated by Poles from the Augustow and Szczuczyn areas and by displaced people from the Grodno and Vilnius region.
You might also be interested to learn that:
- A superb Narrow Gauge Railway operates between Elk, Sypitki, and Turowo.
- Museums dedicated to the narrow gauge railway and beekeeping are located in Ełk.
- Elk is located in the Elk Lake District, which is part of the Mazury Lake District.
- The current population of Ełk is around 59,000.
- A news report on the killing of a local man allegedly by Muslim immigrants.
Stanislaw Raczynski (1903–1982) was a Polish artist who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. He is probably best known for his architectural and figural woodcuts of which these are fairly typical examples.
Related: Woodcuts and water colours by the artist Wladislaw Skoczylas.
Today’s seasonal Polish phrase is ‘Wesołych Świąt’, which translates in to English as Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas!
Or if you prefer you can say Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia, which also means Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas! If you’re in Poland, you might also hear, Wesołych Świąt i szczęśliwego Nowego Roku, which means Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Today’s featured location is Górecko (former: Altgurkowschbruch), a small village, near Drezdenko, in the province of Lubuskie in the west of Poland. Here is our usual mix of information on and archive images of the location. As ever, should you be interested in any village or town within present-day Poland and want to see something similar featured on our website, get in contact, and we’ll see what we can do!
Some things you may not know about Górecko:
- The church in Gorecko was built in 1789.
- Until the end of World War II, Gorecko was called Altgurkowschbruchand and part of Brandenburg / Neumark, Germany.
- In 1939 the population of Górecko / Altgurkowschbruch was 778. Today it is around 450.
- All cars registered at addresses in Gorecko have registration plates beginning with the letters FSD!
Did you know that a selection of rather good Polish beers are produced by a brewery (browar) in the town of Ciechanow located in the Mazowieckie province of Poland.
Trivia related to the brewery in Ciechanów:
- For many year the brewery was owned by someone of Scots descent called Karol Machlejd (MacLeod).
- During the Second World War the brewery was take other by the Nazis and known by the name Brauerei Betriebs GmbH.
- Some of the beers produced by Ciechan include Ciechan Lager, Ciechan Miodowe (Honey), and an unpasteurised beer called Ciechan Wyborne (Exquisite).
- Ciechanów brewery also make an isotonic drink called Krzepiak.
More photographs from our archive and information on Ciechanow.
Today is Mikolajki!
December 6th is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, and Mikolajki as this day is known in Polish is a special day in the run up to Christmas when small gifts are given to children in Poland. Depending on family traditions these presents are either left under pillows, on windowsills, or in footwear (clean shoes or boots!).
Related pages on Polish Poland:
- More information on Saint Nicholas Day and old images of St. Nicholas.