The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award is a Prize organized by the European Union and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, “to acknowledge and reward quality architectural production in Europe’.

The Prize was created in 1987 as a partnership between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe. Competition is open to all the works completed in Europe within the two-year period before the granting of the Prize.

383 projects from 38 countries – this is a list of the nominees for the Mies van der Rohe European award 2019. This year, 18 objects from Poland were fighting for the main prize.  All the projects nominated this year are pretty amazing, but we have chosen our favorites. They are not only beautiful in the way they are designed and built, but they are very functional.

You can for example send your kids to this super modern school which looks like straight from Hollywood films. Akademeia High School in Warsaw, designed by Medusa Group is a one of a kind studying area in Poland. It focuses on educating young people in order to help them achieve the highest qualifications and get into the best universities in the world.

“By the way House” is the second of our top favorites. Designed by KWK Promes studio, located in central Poland on a beautiful, huge field above the river bank. The owner’s wish was not only to make the best use of the existing landscape conditions, but also to move the interior from the current apartment. The owners wanted mainly to have a private and intimate leaving area, so the house is in the center of the plot, and the living area is on the first floor.

Building of the District Court in Siedlce is a mix of the seriousness and calmness of ancient buildings. Thanks to the restrained form the building looks enormously majestic. In the interior, architects contrasted architectural concrete with transparent glass details. The harmony effect was obtained by combining empty spaces filled with light and full, simple forms.

Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk is built on a lot at Władysław Bartoszewski Square near the center of the city. It is located in a symbolic architectural space, 200 metres from the historic Polish Post Office in Gdańsk and 3 kilometers across the water from Westerplatte Peninsula, both of which were attacked in September 1939.

NAWA – the sculpture of Oskar Zięta on the Daliowa Island in Wrocław is a part of the events related with the celebration of the European Capital of Culture. It refers to the main slogan – “metamorphosis of culture”. Its form is an artistic interpretation of the constant transformation of the city. NAWA is an ultra-light, but solid construction consisting of 35 steel arches forming a gate through which you can walk.

The lucky nominees were 18 objects, but we have chosen (subjectively) 5 of them. Polish architects and architecture companies grow rapidly showing that our country represent the world level.

 

picture source: EUMiesAward website

In Poland there are almost 420 castles, and although most of them are ruined, there are several dozen which look like in an old fairy tale. Maybe Walt Disney was inspired by the German Neuschwanstein castle, but we can promise you that the polish ones are as adorable as the ones abroad, or even more!

They show us an amazing architecture variety, you can find among them medieval fortresses, elegant residences, but also fancy buildings from a fairy tale or legend. Throughout centuries, they have inspired artists and played a big role in cinematography. Their beauty and history still fascinates thousands of people all around the world. The historical castles and rich cultural heritage of our country are today reminiscent of fortified castles and representative palaces.

  1. Malbork Castle

Sightseeing of this monumental building will keep you busy for at least few hours. The whole area is over 20 ha, there are actually three castles (High, Medium and Low), and over 4.5 million bricks were used to build them.  From 1309, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order resided there and as it can be seen he could enjoy a lot of luxury as for his times. He had, among others underfloor heating or a secluded toilet.  You can go back in time, thanks to their numerous of historical reconstructions.

  1. Castle in Moszna

It looks totally like from a Disney fairytale! Combination of 3 architecture styles, 99 towers, a beautiful large pond and rooms for every day of the year (365!). It is located only 35 kilometers from Opole and it has used to be the residence of the Silesian family Tiele-Winckler. Not only the building is worth visiting, but also the enormous park – about 200 hectare(!). The castle has been extended with an additional wing just before the World War I. For many years it has been used by the Center for Neurotic Therapy. It doesn’t sound unusual, because there is no better place to relax and get in great mood.

  1. Czocha Castle

This castle is known from many films, series and even music videos. This place looks like it has been created specially for spectacular shots – with a moat, thick walls, a photogenic courtyard and a huge tower. It has also very mysterious history.  It was created in the mid-13th century by the order of the Czech King Wenceslaus I and for the next centuries he witnessed numerous sieges, bloody counts and macabre crimes. But through the World War II it had also been a very difficult period at the castle. Nazi created there a laboratory where they have carried out various experiments with new types of weapons.

  1. Książ Castle

It is the third largest – and, according to many people, the most beautiful castle complex in Poland. Built at the end of the 13th century by the Silesian Piasts and repeatedly rebuilt in subsequent centuries, the place is stunning with stylistic diversity. During the last war, one of the secret quarters of Adolf Hitler was located here, and priceless treasures were stored in underground labyrinths, including collections of the Berlin State Library. It is famous for the unearthly beauty of the duchess Maria Teresa Hochberg von Pless, who is affectionately called Daisy. She was the wife of the last owner of the Duke’s estates. She hosted many famous guests, such as: Winston Churchill (privately her nephew), Emperor Franz Joseph, and even Indian Maharaja.

  1. Dunajec Castle in Niedzica

The history of this place is full of mystery. After World War II in the castle has been found a suspicious document written in the ancient script called “kipu”.  It was supposed to be a kind of leading map to a hidden place with treasure left here by the descendants of the Inca ruler, Tupac Amaru II. Why did the Indians from Machu Picchu decide to go all the way here? Well, Tupac’s nephew – and the only rightful heir to the Andean empire – married the daughter of a Hungarian aristocrat, whose family was then owned by the Niedzica fortress. The treasures were found to this day, so maybe you will be the lucky one?

Poland is with no doubt beautiful and unique, but there are some places, you would never guess, that they are in our country.

In Poland, we have our Provence and Tuscany – they look like their foreign counterparts or even better, but we have also our desert, canyons and rock cities. Some of them still remain unknown and not touristic.

Although we have in Poland villages like Venice (Wenecja) or districts like Italy (Włochy) they don’t bring to mind Italian views. However there is a wonderful place called Polish Tuscany – White Water Reserve in Pieniny. It is composed of amazing hills covered with intensively green grass. It is an ideal place for cycling trips and trekking.

Lavender fields are not only in Provence, we also have them in Poland. This beautifully blooming flowers create wonderful romantic landscapes in the Małopolska fields. Lavender blooms most beautifully from mid-June to mid-July. It is not the only place where you can find lavender in Poland, but the fields of Ostrów in Lesser Poland are the most spectacular.

Bruges, Venice and Amsterdam are known around the world thanks to the spectacular canals. But if you are tired of crowds and tourists just visit Opole or Bydgoszcz! When you compare this cities, they look equally magnificent and magical as their foreign equivalents.

We have also a desert in Poland and it is unique on a European scale. The small Błędowska Desert has been a star in a lot of films and the Słowiński National Park was entered on the UNESCO list to the Biosphere Reserves network. The moving dunes, lakes, swamps, meadows, forests and peat bogs make an amazing impression worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

You will maybe not mistake them with Colorado or Antelope, but rocks in the Stołowe Mountains in Lower Silesia can successfully play the role of canyons. They are in no way worse than their American counterparts – they are just different.

The castle in Moszna is one of the most interesting attraction in the Opole region. Currently, it houses a hotel and restaurant, and interiors are available open for visitors. It has 99 towers and turrets, which makes it look like from a fairy tale. You can sightsee the castles of the Loire in France, but why go so far if you can just visit the Polish ones.

            If you want to travel back in time to ancient Rome, village Stańczyki in the Romnicka Forest is something exactly for you. These viaducts don’t look like any typical bridge. Pillars of viaducts in Stańczyki are decorated with elements that were inspired with the most famous ancient aqueducts Pont du Grad. That is why they are often called “aqueducts of the north”.

            Desert, viaducts, canyons, lavender fields? You don’t have to visit 10 countries, just come to Poland which has it all. Far away from the crowds of tourists and high prices – discover the beauty of small villages and masterpieces created by nature.

Learning can be very exciting and nowadays more and more children and young people start to understand it. In Poland through these past few years many unique science centers and labs were built, which bring science to life.

They convince us that anyone can understand physics or become a scientist.  It encourages people to shape their own mind by critical and creative thinking. In these centers, whether you are old or young, you are being inspired to observe, experiment and be curious. It’s a great place for an all day family activity, there are permanent exhibitions as well as temporary.

Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, beside lots of great attractions, has also a mesmerizing planetarium, where you can take part in a marvelous “performance”. This center is located right next to the Vistula river and within a walking distance to the University Library and Old Town. It’s not a museum, it’s a space where you decide how much will you advantage from this visit. If you are thinking about a fun date idea, Copernicus Center is there for you – “Evenings for adults” are organized on Thursdays once a month and each evening is special and unique. Beside this, they organize lots of special projects, like science shows, picnics or meeting with scientist.

While talking about Planterium, the place to be is definitely Toruń. They opened already in 1994 and it is very popular among school groups, families and tourist. It is located in a historical tank of the old municipal gasworks in the Old Town. The Planetarium offers astronomical shows in the screening room under the dome and two interactive exhibitions: MARS#17 Base – a new interactive and multimedia area that resembles a futuristic space laboratory on Mars and Geodium, an exhibition dedicated to Earth. They tell about the size and construction of the Universe, stars, constellations, and planets of the Solar System as well as about the history of astronomic discoveries. It is also worth mentioning that Toruń is the home town of Copernicus, so there is actually no better place to learn something about the universe.

Hydropolis in Wrocław, takes us into the world of completely different science – it’s a knowledge center about water. It is which focused on one major issue – show water from various fascinating perspectives. The center was opened in the end of 2015 and it is the only facility of this kind in Poland. It is located in a historic, 19th century underground pure water tank covering a floor area of 4,000 m². While speaking in number it is important to mention that there are 9 zones of exhibition, 6 films in their cinema rooms. They have been visited already by 720000 visitors and Hydropolis won 10 awards and prizes. There are various interesting workshops dedicated specially for groups from kindergarten until high schools, so no one gets bored.

We have mentioned only 3 of dozen Science Centers in whole Poland. It is a great idea for literally everyone regardless age or nationality. You will be surprised how fun it can be to get to know more about science, just visit Poland and find out!

picture source: Centrum Nauki Kopernik / Facebook

After years of efforts the Canadian authorities handed over to Poland the Douglas DC-3 Dakota “Spirit of Ostra Brama”.

Until now, the plane was in a military base in Winnipeg, Canada. On 8thMarch it was given to the Polish embassy in Ottawa and later transported to Poland. The famous DC-3 was manufactured in Oklahoma City in 1943. In January 1944 it was transferred to the British Royal Air Force and a few months later a Polish crew flew under the command of Capitain Józef Tyszka. After this flight, the machine had received the name “Spirit of Ostra Brama”. Later it was used to transport the Polish commander-in-chief of the armed forced in the West – General Kazimierz Sosnkowski.

After the war, the plane belonged to the next units in the RAF bases, but in 1946 it was sold to the Canadian airlines and converted to into a classic passenger plane.  Almost 50 years ago it was removed from the aircraft register and used only as a source of spare parts. Later it became the property of an air museum. Only in 2002, the history of the air craft was discovered and handed over to the 17thRoyal Wing of the Canadian Air Force in Winnipeg. In 2016 the plane was partially painted by local volunteers. On the basis of photos from World War II, they used the name “Spirit of Ostra Brama”.

Now, finally, thanks to the work and involvement of enthusiasts, volunteers and embassies, we will be able to admire it in the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw.

 

source of the picture – PLinCanada / Twitter

6 reasons why Poland is the best place to organize conferences

The conference market has an enormous potential. If you are thinking whether to organize such an event or not, here are some conclusions why you should not hesitate.

           1 First of all, there are no crises in the conference industry. In the last few years Poland is being placed higher and higher in the rankings of event destinations, due to the rapid development in categories like communication (domestic and international), which are important for the organizations of conferences.

           2 One of the important issues is safety, taking into account recent events in the world related to the migration crisis and the threat of terrorism, Poland is considered as a safe and calm country.

            After Euro 2012 the number of direct flights has increased significantly. It has become very easy and comfortable to visit Poland from hundreds of destinations. As we speak about the aviation market, it is worth mentioning that for example in Warsaw, the airport is located in the city, so getting to the city center or conference centers is very simple and cheap. As well as by plane, you can visit Poland by train – Moscow, Berlin or Vienna are only a few of many direct train routes.

            Another advantage of conference centers in Poland is variety. You can find a lot of conference centers in cities, but also outside the metropolises like in Mazurian Voivodeship or Bieszczady District. It is up to you and your company what location you prefer.

            Diversity is not considered only in terms of city or countryside, but also in size of the conference room itself. The divergence is enormous, you can find a space for 1915 people as well as for a group of 20, so the number of participants doesn’t have to limit you.

            Poland has a variety of conference venues with extensive technical facilities, the whole organization takes place at the highest, world-class level. It is worth pointing out that, the prices are very attractive in comparison with other European countries. This a great example of the fact that luxury and reasonable prizing can go hand in hand.

            There are plenty places in various cities which we can recommend. Warsaw can be proud of the National Stadium or Ms Mermaid (this one has a wonderful view on the Vistula  river). Kraków has the biggest conference venue in Poland for 1915 people called ICE Kraków. For meetings in the heart of the city Stary Browar in Poznań is a perfect spot. Centrum Stocznia Gdańska and Wroclaw Conference Centre are also worth recommending and if you are looking for a place a bit different – Hotel Narvil Conference & Spa is a unique place located among the forest and on the banks of the Narew River, only 40 minutes from the center of Warsaw.

            Poland conference market grows rapidly and it is becoming one of the best countries to organize such meetings in Europe.

Let’s burn some winter calories and get a bit active with one of the easiest and most popular sports – cycling.

After winter we are all craving for some outdoor activities and biking is the first thing that comes to our mind. Poland maybe isn’t the most obvious destination for biking trips, but we can assure you that it is definitely worth a try. Thanks to the incredibly diverse areas (mountains, fields, forest and beaches) you can choose the right environment to your abilities. Even cycling in big cities is getting much easier and safer. But if you want to enjoy a whole day trip or even a weekend we recommend you 4 tours, which will definitely satisfy your expectations. However, it is important to remember that Poland has thousands of stunning routes to explore.

Not many know that in Poland we have a desert – Błędowska Desert! The tour has 26 km through this unusual environment. On the way tourist can also admire an old wooden church from 15thcentury and some giant, natural curved rocks. At the end of the trip, you get a great reward which is Czubatka – marvelous view point on the entire desert.

“Land of 100 lakes” sounds magical and it surely is. On a distance of 99 km you can sightsee not only lakes but also a lot of monuments. This trip is very convenient for these of you who will combine it with a visit in Poznań, because here it starts, next to Lake Malta. On the way among all the lakes, you will be able to see Górków Castle and the first printing house in Wielkopolska. Worth a stop is also Sierakowski Landscape park neighboring with the oldest stable of hot-blooded horses in Poland.

The third tour we recommend is for Pros, but the monuments and views on the way are definitely worth the effort. The trip contains 83 km of mountainous areas, some even up to 600m. This district is a land formerly inhabited by the Lemkos, where you can visit numerous ancient churches: the Greek Catholic church, orthodox church of Saint. Paraskeva, Orthodox church. Nativity of the Mother of God. The entire route begins in Gorlice and ends in the magical Dukla.

Beside these 3 nice tours, we have in Poland something we can be very proud of – Green Velo route, it is almost 2000 km long and runs through 5 voivodeships in the eastern part of the country. Thanks to the uniqueness and diversity from each district every tourist will find something for him. The route combines beautiful views, stunning landscapes and historic monuments along with Polish cultural heritage. We are able to visit 5 national parks, 15 landscape parks, 26 special protection areas for birds and 36 special areas of conservation. It’s an absolutely marvelous adventure and a great way to discover Poland. Using the website greenvelo.pl you can easily plan a route tailored to your needs and ability. They have also created an app, which makes everything super easy and comfortable even already during the trip.

Long distance cycling is a great activity for all, young and old, girls and boys. You can go alone, with your other half or with your whole family. Visit Poland to admire the stunning landscapes and get into form after winter. Spring is starting, so don’t hesitate and contact us to organize your spring break holiday in Poland.

We all need a bit luxury and relaxation in our lives.

Poland is not only all about farms and agritourism. There are elegant and exclusive hotels, where the SPA areas are pretty outstanding. Even big hotels can have an “one of a kind” atmosphere.

They are a great possibility to relax, without organizing long holidays abroad. You don’t have to travel far, because a lot of SPA centers are located near cities, or even sometimes in city centers offering you a wonderful day time treatments. Of course if you are looking for a little escape out of the city, there are cozy and hidden hotels as well. We are presenting few high luxury accommodation, where you can forget about all your worries and have some time only for yourself.

            Masuria Arte is a luxury, boutique establishment in the Land of Great Masurian Lakes. It is located close to Ełk and Augustów in nature park and five lakes with exclusive access to a private lake. The property includes a typical Masurian settlement. It is a perfect combination of luxury and home warmth. A great, holistic SPA, is amazing not only thanks to very qualified stuff, but also because of the stunning views.

            Heron Live Hotel Marina & SPA is situated in Lesser District, about 50km from a charming touristic village – Krynica Zdrój. The hotel has a stunning (!) outdoor pool and you can use all the water sports facilities. Despite the very luxurious character of the place, there is a babysitting service, so you can enjoy your treatments, while your kids are taken care of. If you like outdoor activities, there are bikes and canoe available.

            NoName Luxury Hotel & SPA is an oasis of total peace. Is a place where you automatically switch into good mood, a place very intimate and providing a complete relaxation. It is a heaven to which you want to escape, to be alone in a beautiful environment. The biggest advantage of the hotel is its intimacy – even if there are other guests, you can barely notice them.

            In Poland the SPA market is evolving really quick. The offers are getting really wide and now you can not only get a classical massage, but in some of the resorts, a real plastic chirurgical operation. Some centers focus on natural products, while other go for new cosmetic discoveries. People visit SPA not only for relaxation, but also for health reasons. There is no better place to clear your mind and focus on your mental health as in a beautiful, cozy and nice wellness area.

How do we welcome Spring in Poland?

First day of Spring is dated on 21stof March, but the astronomical one is the day before, when we experience equinox. As we look through the window, we can already feel the sun warming up the leaves on the trees. But regardless of the weather conditions, Poles have a lot of fun customs to celebrate the beginning of the season.

Drawning of Marzanna is a tradition which refers to a Slavic goddess who identified winter and death. According to the legend, killing her, would lead to a fast approach of Spring. People are creating such puppets by themselves, in schools or with friends, and then drown them in a nearest river.

Spring Cleaning is hated by many, but it’s and activity than comes every year around the first day of Spring. It doesn’t sound like it, but it comes from ancient beliefs – it is not only about a shining apartment, but it has a deeper meaning – with the removal of the whole mess, we can get rid of everything that remained after winter, so together with all the garbage we throw away the evil.

With no doubt, Truant Day, is the favorite custom of all the pupils. Schools celebrate this day by organizing school trips, movies or other activities instead of regular classes. Of course there are students which will choose another way to celebrate this day – away from school, but it’s all in the tradition.

As you can see, we celebrate in Poland almost EVERY occasion that there is, thanks to a lot of fun Slavic customs and legends. We recommend to Visit Poland and experience it yourself!

 

Stop for a while and enjoy the moment. The philosophy of “Mindfulness” becomes a thing and the best place to embrace it is definitely a quiet and beautiful accommodation which brings the word “hygge” into life. 

Poland is a country like no other. Big cities combine old and amazingly renovated buildings, which reminds us about the difficult history that this land has been through, but on the other hand Warsaw for example is becoming an important business center with evolving companies from all over the world as well as polish ones. However, Poland isn’t only large agglomerations with lots of tourists. The real natural beauty starts approximately 200 km from the capital, it’s hidden in the woods, fields and lakes.

Slow down, relax and enjoy the moment. We are taking you on an imaginary trip through the one of a kind Warmian-Mazurian Voivodeship. It’s a district which is perfect for every part of the year. In Summer you can swim in the lakes or borrow a boat, Autumn is perfect for walking in the forest and searching for delicious mushrooms, Winter welcomes you with fireplace, hot chocolate and a good book in small, but adorable agritourism, but now, in Spring, long walks and bike trips are just ideal.

Poland countryside is getting more and more creative, farms are becoming ecofriendly and people (finally!) begin to appreciate local products. With great honor we can recommend places, where time stops, or at least it passes really slowly.

Fajne Miejsce in Tłokowo. First of all, the name translates as “The Great Place” and that’s already super fun itself. This wonderful place is also animal friendly, so you don’t have to leave your lovely pets at home, let them enjoy with you! Bike tours in this area are definitely for Pros, because it can get bumpy, but during them you can reward yourself with delicious cheeses from local farmers, which you pass on the way. In the morning you can get a breakfast basket and enjoy your meal on the near bridge next to the lake.

Kwaśne Jabłko in Świątki it’s a place where everything is perfect, starting from the host, the people who work there, the atmosphere and ending with the food and home-made cider. It is located in a middle of nowhere, but that’s what makes it so relaxing. In the garden there are lots of apple trees, so it’s almost natural that the hosts decided to produce their own cider which you can taste during your stay. Almost all the food is made at the place, so you can be sure, that the products are fresh and eco. If you want to get to know more about everyday life of the locals, it’s a spot perfect for you.

Dom w Dolinie Łąk, Przerwanki. It’s a heaven on Earth. Beautiful, old house with 3 bedrooms, fire place, full equipped kitchen and a big garden. Place for everyone, who wants to escape from all the noise, crowds and stress of the city. It’s located near a big lake cold Gołdopiwo and it’s taken care of by a wonderful lady. By your arrival she will wait for you with her home-made bread (I got it still warm) and honey made by the neighbors. For these of you interested in WWII, I strongly recommend visiting Mamerki (20 km from Przerwanki), where you can walk in the forest and visit 30 bunkers of Headquarters of the Wehrmacht “Mauerwald”.

Poland is an amazing place for relaxation. Warmian-Mazurian is a district, where you can always find some time for yourself and forget about all the everyday troubles. Not only in Spring, but throughout the whole year.