Poland and UNESCO Heritage List
Historic Centre of Warsaw
The year of 1944 plays an important role in Polish history. During this year, the capital of Poland, one of the most important testimonials of Polish culture, was destroyed almost to the ground. This was a result of Poles being reluctant to subdue to the Nazi German occupation. Polish people never accepted the loss of their loving capital and joined the forces and rebuilt their historic city.
The heritage of Historic Centre of Warsaw, which has been deliberately and totally destroyed, can only be cultivated until now, thanks to the whole nations’ dedication and persistence in its rebuilding. This was an unique scale reconstruction in the history of the world.
To rebuild the city, which was destroyed by 85%, the determination of the inhabitants and the support of the whole nation were needed. Not only Varsovians, but the whole nation mobilised to rebuild its capital. Together they reconstructed the Old Town in its historic urban and architectural form, townhouses, the circuit of the city walls, the Royal Castle, and important religious buildings. Read More
Historic Centre of Kraków
Cracow, the former capital of Poland is famous for having Europe’s largest market square. The Historic Centre of Cracow is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle and its pervasive culture of authenticity is visible in its location and setting, its forms and designs, its materials and substance. The city’s panorama, including its historic landmarks, such as Wawel Hill, the Town Hall Tower, and the individual churches hasn’t been impaired in any way, and fully reflects its origin until now.
The other example of sophisticated history of Cracow is the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in the southern part of town, Jagellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried.
Cracow is an urban architectural ensemble of outstanding quality, in terms of both its townscape and its individual monuments. The historic centre of the town admirably illustrates the process of continuous urban growth from the Middle Ages to the present day. Read More
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
The Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines are one of the most important cultural monuments in Poland. They remained in operation until 2007 and they have earned a recognition as one of the oldest salt mines in the world. They have also been a business project, with one of the longest history in Poland.
The salt mines are famous for chapels cut of the salt with altars and statues. They represent testimony of miners tradition to carve sculptures out of the nature rock. Their collection of mining tools, prove mining technology evolution.
Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork
Malbork Castle is the world’s largest brick castle and one of the most admired in Europe. Its medieval architectural composition has made this impressive castle, an example for Gothic buildings and medieval defence architecture development. It played an important historical role in medieval Europe and it is recognised as the most significant monument of Gothic brick architecture in Europe.
Auschwitz Birkenau is the largest concentration camp, which was established during the German Nazi regime. Its one of the most significant historical sites in Europe, it is a symbol of one of the greatest crimes ever made against human beings, being the majority were Jews. The site touches peoples’ souls and give all generations a chance to learn and understand the fullness of human sensitivity. It is a place of memory, where millions of people died in the gas chambers and from inhuman living conditions. A touching piece is a gate through which millions of people walked to their death. It also represents character strength of humans deprived of freedom and free thought.
Centennial Hall in Wrocław
The Centennial Hall is the greatest architectonic achievements of the 20th century. An extraordinary building, which light, cake-tiered and multifunctional structure is an example of creative and innovative achievement in construction development with a use of metal in structural consolidation.
Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica
The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica are expression of religious freedom and tolerance. They are the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, which were built by Protestant communities in Sielesia, after the Thirty Years’ War broke out in Europe.
The Protestants after the war finished, were forbidden to build their own churches and were not allowed to follow their own faith. Thanks to Catholic Habsburg Emperor, the Protestants got a permission to build their place of worship. It couldn’t however remind a church and it had to be built using non-durable materials, so that the construction couldn’t last longer than a year.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a cultural and religious monument, with interesting landscape and architecture takes your breath away. Uniqueness about this place lays, in the natural landscapes, which was used to create The events of the Passion of Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary. As a result of this, the sanctuary combines natural and human-made elements that has been perfectly combined.
Medieval Town of Toruń
Torun is one of the oldest and charming cities in Poland, located on the both banks of the Vistula River, at a site of intersection of ancient trade routes. Its medieval gothic town character, with a wide range of architectural masterpieces had a significant influence on the Eastern Europe’s urbanisation process in the 13th and 14th centuries.
The Old Town of Torun and the New Town of Torun, combined with a castle was an unique medieval settlement agglomeration, which has been greatly preserved and untouched until today.
The Muskauer Park was arranged in the early 19th century and is one of the greatest achievements of the European gardening. It is an example of the garden and landscape innovative composition, designed for urban areas, which has been an inspiration for landscape architectures. Design of the park included use of local plants to bring the best of the existing landscape.
Old City of Zamość
Zamosc known as ‘a pearl of the Renaissance’, dates back to the 16th century. It combines Italian and central Europe architectural traditions and its Renaissance character has been preserved until today. It’s cathedral, ranks among the most outstanding accomplishments of late Renaissance architecture.
The Renaissance town layout has been maintained and the bastion fortifications surrounded town is a distinctive Renaissance type. The majority of buildings are tenements, which are also an example of Renaissance period.
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine
The Tarnowskie Gory Lead-Silver-Zinc mine is located in Upper Silesia, in southern Poland. It accounts for the largest and the most significant mining heritage site in Poland, with the underground labyrinth of historic mining excavations, chambers, walkways and tunnels. Its underground hydraulic engineering is a unique technical achievement of mid-sixteenth to late-nineteenth century.
Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region
The tserkvas are Greek Catholic churches and their wooden sacred architecture is a characteristic for the Carpathian region, in southeast Poland and Western Ukraine. The building tradition goes back to pre-Christian Slavic time and reflects the combination of the cultural and environmental qualities of local landscape. The churches are a heritage of borderland culture, created by Polish and Ruthenian Slavic tribes in the Carpathian region.
Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska
The churches were constructed by simple carpenters and the oldest church is the 15th century church in Haczow, which is also the biggest wooden temple in Europe.
The wooden church style started to be characteristic in this isolated region of Central Europe, in the late Medieval times. The Roman Catholic Church traditions, characteristic for this region can be seen in these unique churches. Old paintings and sculptures, which are a part of these churches, were sponsored by many noble families in 14th and 15th centuries.
Bialowieza National Park is an area of valuable wildlife, protected with utmost commitment by Poland, Belarus and a range of international organisations. Bialowieza Forest is a UNESCO biosphere reserve, entered on the World Heritage Site list in 1979. In 1992, UNESCO extended the status of the park of world heritage to the east by adding the bordering Belarusian national park “Białowieżskaja Puszcza”. This led to the creation of one of the world’s seven and Europe’s three world heritage sites which lie on both sides of a national boarder. The surface of the entire forest exceeds 150 thousand ha (62 thousand ha are within the Polish boarders), strict reserves are significantly smaller.
The Bialowieza Forest is a symbol of Poland’s natural wealth and diversity. The international experts recognized its unique value and the Bialowieza National Park was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as well as on UNESCO’s List of World Biosphere Reserves.
This large expanse of natural forest is located on the country’s eastern border and distributed roughly evenly between Poland and Belarus. The Belarusian part is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It’s the last original lowland forest in Europe, and retains much of its primeval landscape and plant and animal life. The Bialowieza Forest, in parts swampy, is covered with mixed forests untouched by man, with oak, hornbeam, spruce and pine being the predominant species.
Approximately 100,000 tourists come to the Bialowieza Forest each year. Most of them find accommodations in the little village of Bialowieza that is well prepared to host visitors as well as participants of various conferences and incentives. The village is located in the very heart of the Bialowieza Forest.
The Bialowieza region has many other attractions to offer, such as original borderland landscapes, multicultural heritage, little known eastern folklore, and timber architecture of particular beauty and special character.
Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region
Located in the mountain region of Świętokrzyskie, Krzemionki is an ensemble of four mining sites, dating from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (about 3900 to 1600 BCE), dedicated to the extraction and processing of striped flint, which was mainly used for axe-making.
It was one of the largest known complexes of prehistoric flint mines in Europe discovered in 1992 by a local geologist. With its underground mining structures, flint workshops and some 4,000 shafts and pits, the property features one of the most comprehensive prehistoric underground flint extraction and processing systems identified to date.
The property provides information about life and work in prehistoric settlements and bears witness to an extinct cultural tradition. It is an exceptional testimony of the importance of the prehistoric period and of flint mining for tool production in human history.
The Krzemionki mines are Poland’s 16th entry on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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