Border region of Warmia and Masuria: from Reszel to Święta Lipka

Warmia and Masuria are closely related to the richness of nature and the post-glacial landscape. Both countries have a similar landscape of moraine hills, lakes, roadside alleys, jagged (erratic boulders) as well as swamps and peat bogs. In Warmia, the soils are more fertile than the sandy Masurian soils. Masuria is more forested. There are large dense forest complexes here – primary forests: beepingRomincka and Borecka† Warmia forests are composed of trees that cannot withstand severe frost, such as: beechplaneyew† There are almost no beech trees in the colder Masuria, there is more esp and ordinary ash† They are present in both regions sparpine treesblack alderpedunculate oakshornbeamssmall-leaved linden treesregular clones and warty birches† Masuria has the richest water network in Poland. However, Warmia and Masuria are separated by a cultural heritage, mainly due to the historical difference in religious denomination.

some history

In 1374, the pope from some of the lands conquered by the Teutonic Knights separated the Warmia area and reported directly to the bishop. Masuria remained under the rule of the Teutonic Knights. A turning point
in the history of Masuria it was the year 1525, when the great German master Albrecht Hohenzollern secularized and liquidated the German state. Instead, Ducal Prussia was established together with
Masuria. When Albrecht Hohenzollern converted to Lutheranism, Protestantism gained the upper hand in Prussia and Catholic practices were banned. Warmia, however, remained Catholic. There was a Baroque splendor in the churches of Warmia, and the interiors of the Evangelical churches were modest. Warmia is distinguished by roadside shrines. They did not take place in Protestant Masuria. Small mansions and episcopal castles were built in Warmia. Masuria has beautiful palaces and German castles. Warmia has old medieval towns with a characteristic medieval architectural layout. While Masuria has mainly rural settlements.

6 kilometer border

The two small medieval towns of Reszel in Warmia and Święta Lipka in Masuria are only 6 km apart. These 6 km are part of the historical border between Warmian and Masuria.
Reszel is a town from the 14th century with an original layout of streets and squares in the center. Reszel was one of the few medieval towns to have a water supply network. Thanks to these qualities, it was included in the list of Historic ICOMOS Cities. Above the town there is a brick Gothic bishop’s castle on a stone foundation, surrounded by a moat and defensive walls. Entering the tower we pass nests with young city pigeons. The castle looks amazing when you look at it from the 50 meter high tower of the 14th century baroque church of St. Saint Peter and Paul located near the castle. Below the castle, in the deep glacial valley of the Sajna River, stretches the Zielona Dolina, one of the most beautiful natural urban parks in Poland. The gorge is about 30 meters deep. The river meanders lazily through the entire park. The banks of the Sajna are connected by bridges. There is a specific microclimate in the canyon. In the summer it is cooler here and the air is more humid. Ten information boards have been placed on the marked routes that describe the fauna and flora of this ecosystem. The vegetation of the park shows a mixed type of forest and park cover. They grow here willowslime treeshornbeamsrobincloneoakalderpine trees and spar† In the summer season we will see the river bank a branch of porcupineSparganium erectum† The name of this monocot plant comes from its tough, spiny inflorescence made up of many drupes. on fragrant hemp beetleEupatorium cannabinum) party colorful butterflies. The birds are singing. They float on the river wild ducksthey speak in the treetops coal titfinches and belly† A gray female hides in the foliage scythe† The park bids us farewell with a high brick Gothic bridge. As we walk towards Reszel’s market square, we pass a beautifully colored man sitting on the fence of one of the houses CinderellaPhoenicurus ochruros† It is a migratory, synurbitic, slender bird of the Venus Flytrap family, dark gray with a black face, throat and breast, white inset on the secondary remiges, and a rusty tail and rump. On the window of one of the stores we can see green grass meterGeometry of papilionaria† It is quite a large butterfly (40-60 mm), the wings are bright green with thin, wavy, white bands.

The blacksmith along the cross

We leave Reszel in the direction of the medieval Święta Lipka and enter the historical border, a 6 km long pilgrimage route with a linden avenue. From the 15th century, pilgrims from Warmia, Warsaw, Vilnius and Lviv went there. Among the lime trees along the road are fifteen chapels of similar size, plastered in white. They were built in the years 1733-1735. In front, in the body of each of them, there is a niche with a bas-relief representing one of the Stations of the Cross. The pediments have pilasters. Each chapel is finished with a three-tiered cornice, while the whole is covered in ceramic tiles and topped with an iron cross with a flag. Both the chapels and the lime trees are listed in the monument register. Almost every avenue of lime trees is basked in the sun by regular visitors of lime trees, wingless blacksmithsPyrrhociris apterus† Clouds of these brightly colored insects that sit at the bottom of the linden trunk make an impression… And they are looking for linden nuts, which they eagerly suck. These fruits contain a substance that inhibits the transformation of the blacksmith larva into an adult. However, clever smiths have developed resistance to this substance and still party under the lime trees.
A little arachnid feeds on lime leaves linden rosaryEriophyes tiliae† Its activity results in reddish galls on linden leaves. They graze in the meadows along the road field deerthey fly prey buzzard and marsh harriersCircus aeruginosus† Although this Marsh Harrier, as the name suggests, is associated with the aquatic environment, it also hunts over meadows and fields. It has a silhouette in flight typical of the wetlands (wings raised in a wide V). Males have gray wings at the ends black.

Częstochowa in the north

Święta Lipka is located in Masuria, just a few hundred meters from the border with Warmia. It is called Częstochowa of the North because of the Marian shrine located here, which dates back to the 14th century (in Warmia, Gietrzwałd is the center of the Marian cult). This historic building is considered one of the finest examples of late Baroque in Poland and refers to Warmian churches. The architectural complex consists of a church, a cloister and a cloister. It has a rich and varied decoration that has been preserved in perfect condition. A great landmark is a gilded Baroque organ from 1721 with sculptures of moving angels playing instruments as they play the organ. Organ concerts in summer attract thousands of tourists and pilgrims
from Poland and abroad.

In the forest near the shrine

In the forest behind the sanctuary, on the road leading to Stanewo, it’s worth stopping and looking at four broad oak trees…” – natural monuments One of them has a forge great woodpecker† The great woodpecker inserts cones of conifers into bark fissures, also called forges, and peels them with its strong bill to extract seeds. Our red beauties jump in the bushes – squirrels Sciurus vulgaris) and marches down the path garden runnerCarabus hortensis† It can grow up to 3 cm. The silhouette is typically runner-like, the body is elongated, and the beetle’s legs are great for running. The lids usually have 3 rows of dotted cutouts. Contrary to its name, it is primarily a woodland species. He is a night fighter and is very rare during the day. In the undergrowth we will probably encounter a multicolored bug Elasmostethus interstinctus† It is a small insect with a body length of 8-12 mm. The first segment of its antennae is quite long and the angles are slightly tighter. The insect has a decorative cherry spot in the upper part of the shield. It feeds on the sap of plants. The European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) also appeared on the forest path. He waited vigilantly, then continued.
While staying in this area, it is worth paying attention to the fact that both medieval towns have kept their differences. In such places, regardless of the season, in the majesty of the little changed nature, you can still find inner peace and quiet, which in the modern world is becoming more and more difficult.
Maria Olszowska
The author is a retired biology teacher. He is from Krakow, has lived in Mrągowo for thirty years. She is still discovering the beauty of Masuria and is eager to encourage others to discover the wonders of this country

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