Roztocze is undouptedly full of fantastic tastes to discover. This is area of culinary exploration, and Guciow farm is for sure one the most important part of this 'research'.
First impression: Wintertime, snow-storm outside! One, second, third stair, large wooden room, heat and flames from the fireplace, Christmas deceoration below the ceiling. Apples on the line funny swing right-left, right-left.
First dish: aromtic Zurek (Polish soup prepared from rye, garlic, herbs, potatoes, sometimes bacon, ribs, sausage, mushrooms) warmed my cold entrails. The menu is not too rich but it prove that dishes are fresh and home-made.
Next: Choose 'Reczczoniak' - eastern invention - dumpling filled with potatoes and buckwheat (it will destroy you previous dishes' ranking :). You prefer meat? OK. Try the porkneck in the herbs. The home-made 'bigos' (sausage, mushrooms and sauerkraut - yummy) is also worth of consideration.
One of photos included to this descrptions shows you the list of dishes (only in Polish :( with prices.
You are not hungry? Simply visit the Guciow inn, order something to drink and enjoy the atmosphere of tranquility and out-of-race forgetfulness when outside snow and storm.
And whene you've got a bit of luck the farm host treats you to his favourite alco-drink called tenderly "The moisture of the gorge" :)) After it the winter-cold will be only blurred impresssion :)))
this SUPPLEMENT was created during my second visit in Guciow farm (may 2008): AVOID this place during the national holidays. The crowd of people here takes away the pleasure of being here, in nature full of traditions.
Near Susiec, between settlements of Oseredek and Hamernia is located small but charming nature reserve "Czartowe pole" (Devil's field). Here the river Sopot created several small river rapids. This lovely place can be the superb point of your bike trip or just the stop during the walking across this part of Roztocze. -----------
You can also reach this place by car (free parking) and take the educational tourist route (about 1 km) along the river banks. Big recomendation.
The national reserve "Tanew River Rapids" (in Polish "Szumy nad Tanwia") is the very picturesque place located just 5 km from Susiec. --------------
Although they are not high waterfalls you will not be dissapointed admiring them. The river Tanew is situated in the middle of Roztocze forests in totally unpolluted environment. Near its wild banks you can find big trees, many singing birds, small meadows. (almost)Only the forces of nature regulate the look of this land, so in many places it looks like it was before centuries. The old virgin forest.--------------
From the small car parking near the bridge over Tanew starts the educational route around the waterfalls. The path is very well-preserved and labelled. Only 2 km from "Tanew reserve" you can find the river Jelen rapids, so it's worth to link the visit in Tanew with expedition to Jelen.
Susiec is the small town (or large village:) located in the Central Roztocze about 50 km from Zamosc and 40 km from Polish-Ukrainian border crossing in Hrebenne. It is excellent base camp for visiting nature and history pearls of Roztocze. --------------
Distances: 5 km from Susiec to "Tanew reserve", 9km next reserve area "Devil's field" ("Czartowe pole"), 8km from here one can swin in Majdan Sopocki lakes, 20 km concentration camp museum in Belzec, 24 km charming small town of Krasnobrod, etc... --------------
Susiec has excellent connection with main and smaller bike and walk routes. There is also great place for bird-watching, fishing, kayaking.--------------
Here you can find rich offer of accomodation from private rooms to campings and small hotels. Although I have to underline that finding the place during the national holidays can be difficult.
The central point of Kazimierz is of course the Market Place, which has some beautifully decorated Rennaissance houses built by wealthy 17th-century merchants as well as some arcaded houses with sloping roofs with galleries, museums, cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. The Market Place is always busy with school trips and groups of tourists hanging around, looking for souvenirs, taking pictures or watching artists who have set up their easels there. For Kazimierz has been an artists' Mecca since WWI. They still love to come here attracted by the beautiful architecture, the wonderful landscapes, the excellent food served in the local restaurants and generally the artistic ambience of the place.
You can sit in one of the cafes in the Market Place and watch the life go by or have your fortune told by one of the intrusive gypsy women, but beware - you may part with more money than intended. I once watched them approach their potential clients from my hotel window - and it was a curious spectacle indeed.
Kazimierz has its folk art and film festivals, concerts in the magnificent 17th-century parish church (Fara), a few museums and many art studios. It's a must-see for every tourist visiting the area and well-worth a day trip from Warsaw.
You can see the Market Place on a webcam at the address given below. The most interesting buildings can also be seen at: http://www.kazimierzdolny.pl/
Guciow is a little village situated along the route from Zwierzyniec to Krasnobrod in the midst of wonderful countryside. It is best known for the Ethnographic and Natural History Museum aka the Guciow Farm. It consists of a 19th century cottage and farm buildings, which can be visited with a guide. In addition to traditional farm utensils the exhibits include minerals and works of local artists. A guide is also available to show you around Monastyrz, the hill nearby, to see the remains of the 9th-11th century settlement with outlines of ancient bulwarks still visible. A legend has it that there is a church buried underneath but the digs so far have only revealed ancient iron tools, fragments of pottery, animal bones and clay figurines as well as barrows in the vicinity.
The farm offers accommodation in a cottage(with rooms ensuite) and also a choice of delicious local dishes in their restaurant. It's not the cheapest restaurant in the area but the dishes are all homemade and original. The place is run by the poet Stanislaw Jachymek and his wife Anna and retains a charming rural style, which most visitors enjoy.
If you come from a country where snow is at a premium, Guciow Farm is the place to visit. With its continental climate, snow lies there for 100 days a year on the average, so the hosts can organise a sleighing party for you. In the summer months, on the other hand, rides in a horse-drawn cart are available.
The Roztocze National Park has its roots in the game reserve set up in Zwierzyniec by Jan Zamoyski towards the end of the 16th century. But the park itself was established as late as 1974 and covers a much larger area than the original reserve. The interesting flora and fauna of the vast forest interspersed with ponds and fields attract biologists and tourists alike.
There is one cycling route crossing the park and five hiking trails. The yellow cycling route that my husband and his friend took starts at Zwierzyniec, the seat of the park management, and goes on to the 'Echo' ponds, famous for their accoustic effects, with the little Polish horses grazing on their banks. The next stop is Florianka, a tiny village best-known for the ancient oak tree 'Florian' and for the 'crying stone'. Next you can visit the Guciow traditional farm, which will be described in a separate tip. Altogether, it's a great day trip for nature and bicycle lovers.
When I visited Zamosc in the 70s I didn't have a camera but for once I'm not sorry I couldn't take any pictures. This beautiful Rennaissance town was in such a bad condition that pictures could only expose the neglect and the drabness of its Old Town walls. So when I recently saw the pictures of its new face, I could hardly recognise it.
Zamosc is an unusual town in at least one respect. Founded by Jan Zamoyski in 1580, it was designed by one architect, the Italian Bernardo Morando. The result is stunning - no mixture of styles as in many other cities and a sense of perfect harmony. Zamoyski wanted to create an ideal town and provide all amenities for its inhabitants. So Zamosc had a cathedral for a congregation of 3000 and a synagogue, a university - the Zamosc Academy, a Town Hall, a large square for celebrations and two smaller ones, which served as marketplaces. The houses around the Great Market Square were owned by professors of the Academy, burghers and wealthy Armenian and Greek merchants. The houses are beautifully decorated, each is different but all are perfectly matched as the plans had to be approved by the architect. Zamoyski's family lived in a palace, now unfortunately spoilt by later modifications. In the Arsenal, he kept a collection of armour and war trophies. Zamosc was surrounded by 10 m tall town walls with bastions, gates and a moat, so its defensive character was obvious.
The town seems to be little changed, although much of it is the result of recent restoration. In the seventies it looked like a godforsaken reminder of its former glory, now it has come to life again. The Great Square is the venue of cultural events - concerts, theatrical performances, New Year and state celebrations. In the summer there is something happening there nearly every day. On 18th - 22 July this year, for instance, Zamosc hosts Eurofolk, with folk music concerts, folk art fairs and theatre, to which everyone is welcome. And don't forget to climb the Town Hall tower for a magnificent panorama of the area.
The Old Town Synagogue in Zamosc was built in the years 1610 - 1620 in the style of late Rennaissance. Most architectural elements inside it, like for instance the vaults, are similar to those of the Zamosc cathedral. Inside you can see the original stone portal and the also original 17th century Aron ha-kodesz, as well as many beautiful stucco decorations and inscriptions in Hebrew. The wrought-iron chandeliers in the photograph were reconstructed later.
During WWII the Nazis ravaged the interior of the Synagogue, setting up a carpenter's manufactory there, but perhaps that is why the building itself remained intact. Having been restored for many years and also used as a library, it now houses a museum, which is planned to become the Museum of the Jews of Zamosc and the Land of Zamosc.
The Jews had been brought to Zamosc from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Turkey in 1588 by the founder of the town. More, mainly from Germany, arrived there in the 17th century. Most lived around what is now Zamenhofa St near Solny Market, where you can still see the beautiful arcaded house of the rabbi. They had their own bathhouse, hospital, butchers' stalls, two synagogues and a few houses of prayer, all of which are still there. Making up 49.3% of the town's population in 1921, they also had their own newspaper 'Zamoscer Sztyme'. Sadly, the war brought an end to their peaceful existence. In October 1939 the Nazis set up Judenrat and in the spring of 1942 a ghetto in Zamosc and soon over 8 000 of the town Jews were transported to the extermination camp at Belzec, another 500 were shot in the town itself. The Jews lost their lives, Zamosc lost over a half of its population and its culture suffered a severe irreversible loss...
Photos by Andrzej Kaznowski
Krasnobrod and the area around it abound in chapels, usually founded to commemorate some important event or as a votive offering. The best known of them is probably the shingled timber chapel of St Roch in the Zakopane style at a place called Zagora. Legend has it that the first chapel there, damaged in 1935 by a falling beech tree, was founded on this spot in the 17th century by Marysienka Sobieska, the king's wife, during an outbreak of the bubonic plague. In the chapel she put a picture of St Roch, the patron of those suffering from contagious diseases. The water from the spring in the chapel is generally believed to have healing powers.
Photos by Andrzej Kaznowski
Szczebrzeszyn is a small town best known for the tongue twister difficult to pronounce even for the Poles, but it is also a town steeped in history, much of it tragic. For centuries before WWII the town and the area around it had a large Jewish population, most of whom died in the Holocaust. Some of the remainders of their presence in the town are the Jewish Cemetery and the 17th century Synagogue, burnt down by the Nazis but reconstructed after the war. Those of the local Jews who managed to escape the mass murders taking place there later founded the Israeli Association of the Jews of Szczebrzeszyn.
As the Nazis had planned to set up a German community in the town, they also deported over a thousand Polish inhabitants of Szczebrzeszyn.
The carved statue of Death in the Synagogue, with his scythe but no face or body, is a poignant reminder of the atrocities of the past.
Photos by Andrzej Kaznowski
I must admit that I have never been to Zwierzyniec and regret it. My husband, who stayed there for a few days, describes it as a lovely little town with a big park in the middle, a pond, and, what was very important to him, a brewery with a nice garden where you could sit and drink excellent beer at very low prices. He and his friend also liked the wonderful little Polish horses, which I am going to describe in a general tip. But it is not only from the horses that the town takes its name, which could be translated as a game reserve. In 1593 the place was acquired by the chancellor and commander-in-chief of the Polish army Jan Zamoyski, who had a large piece of land fenced off and surrounded with a moat to create a game reserve with such animals as bisons, deer, elk and tarpans. The hunting parties in Zwierzyniec attracted even the Polish kings and other VIPs of the time.
The timber manor in Zwierzyniec was later transformed into a palace when Maria Kazimiera de la Grange, the future wife of King Jan III Sobieski, came to live there with her first husband. And in fact it was here that Marysienka, as she was popularly called, and the future king met and fell in love. The place as it looked then, with the wonderful park, the pond, the little islands and the long canal with gondolas, was truly conducive to romantic meetings.
The baroque church of St John of Nepomuk on one of the islands, which can be seen in the picture, was founded in the years 1741 - 1747 by Tomasz Antoni Zamoyski as a votive offering for being cured of his illness and given a male heir. There are some interesting paintings and decorations inside but the church was being renovated when my husband was there so he couldn't get in. There are rumours that the tomb on another, smaller island, is that of the countess's dog.
The famous brewery of Zwierzyniec has produced beer since 1804. My husband tried a few kinds of their beer of course and says all were delicious. Trust the expert!:)
Photo by Andrzej Kaznowski
You will find this nature reserve on the edge of Puszcza Solska, the immense forest stretching in the southern part of Roztocze. Situated on the Tanew River, the place is best-known for its area called 'Szumy', i.e. noises that the river makes. Although the river rapids are not very imposing, reaching no more than 1 metre, the noise is so great that it makes talking impossible. Following the trail you can get to see the Nature Reserve on the Tanew River - 'Rezerwat nad Tanwia'. You can either walk all the way in a loop (15 km) or just see the rapids and walk back to the station. There are a few other trails starting from the station at Susiec, which you might like to take as well.
In September 1939 the forest was the scene of heavy fighting and, later in the war, the hideout of partisan troops, whose operations included attacks on German trains transporting supplies for the army.
Photos by Andrzej Kaznowski
Tomaszow Lubelski, a town not far from the Polish - Ukrainian border, boasts a number of interesting places, which reflect the mixture of cultures characteristic of the region. So there is a Catholic church and an Orthodox one dedicated to St Nicholas. Until WWII, the town also had a 17th century Synagogue demolished by the Nazis in September 1939, so, sadly, the only remaining trace of the Jewish inhabitants of the area is the Jewish Cemetery, which is well-worth visiting.
The most precious of the surviving buildings in Tomaszow Lubelski is the Parish Church of the Annunciation built in 1627 and re-built a hundred years later. Made of larch timber, with two square towers crowned at the top with timber-roofed domes, which made me think at first it was an Orthodox church, it is really unique. The dark interior strikes a contrast with the white altar with the apparently miraculous picture of Our Lady in the middle. I can't help feeling that, if miracles do happen, they could easily happen in this wonderfully atmospheric place.
Photos by Andrzej Kaznowski
Kazimierz Dolny is a lovely little town on the Vistula River about 60 km west of Lublin. I've been there many times first on school trips, then attending conferences and also on a family day trip to show this pearl of the Rennaissance to our English great-aunt and her son.
Much of the architecture of Kazimierz dates back to the 17th century, but the town is much older than that. It probably takes its name from King Kazimierz Sprawiedliwy (Kazimierz the Just), who in 1181 granted it to an order of Cracow nuns, who named it after him. In the mid-14th century another great Polish king, Kazimierz Wielki (Kazimierz the Great) had a castle built there just below the round tower (Baszta), which remains there from the previous castle on the same spot. You can now climb the tower for the great panorama of the river valley and the town itself or at least view the scenery from the castle ruins.
Another fantastic viewing point is the Hill of the Three Crosses (Krzyzowa Gora). The crosses were erected there in 1708 in memory of the victims of the Plague, raging there at the time.
The town abounds in greenery and you can hike in the ravines around it, which in the spring are overgrown with masses of flowers, a wonderful view. You can also take a boat trip on the river or just walk along its banks. Just outside Kazimierz there is a 16th century granary which is worth visiting. And, when you get tired of walking, sit in one of the marvellous restaurants and have a delicious meal in the company of other tourists.
Ul Krakowskie PrzedmieScie 12, Lublin 20-002, Poland
Good for: Families
Krakowskie PrzedmieScie 56, Lublin, Eastern Poland, 20002, Poland
Good for: Solo
The hotel dates back to 1867 but it's been fully refurbished recently. It is really nice, has all...more