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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 3, 2009
Tourism: Exploring Northern Poland
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The Great Mazurian Lakes as the Seventh Wonder
June 3, 2009   
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The Mazurian Lake District is among 261 places nominated as contenders in a global online poll that aims to pick out the "new seven wonders of nature." The poll has been organized by the New7Wonders foundation, which works to preserve world cultural and natural heritage.

Prussians, the former inhabitants of this land, used to have sacred groves, fields and rivers where nobody would cut wood or plow fields, or reap crops, or fish, or drink the water, or moor a boat and where nobody would dare enter uninvited. Piotr Dusburg,, The Chronicle of the Prussian Soil

There are no more places untouched by man, but the nature of Warmia and Mazuria has retained its wealth and beauty and in some places, the primeval wilderness is still intact. The sacred groves have been succeeded by reserves with strictly controlled access and wildlife refuges where rare animal species live in peace and quiet in special conservation zones protected from uninvited visitors.

The Mazurian Lake District abounds in plains, hills and fields with hundreds of rocks scattered in them. Glimmering lakes and a multitude of rivers, streams and canals form a gigantic waterway network in the region. This is a place where dark groves hide amid postglacial mounds surrounded by vast forests and human settlements are situated many kilometers from one another.

No story of the natural and tourist attractions of the region would be complete without a mention of people and their contribution to the beauty of Mazuria. Prussians, Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Jews, the Dutch and other nations have all made their mark on this land. The legacy survives in numerous historic sites, from burial mounds dating back 2,500 years and Old Prussian and Yotvingian fortifications to mysterious sacrificial altars from pagan times, historic objects from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque, and reminders of the technological achievements of the 19th century.

For generations, romantic souls have been coming back to Mazuria to create a new legend of the place. They all agree with Polish poet Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński, who from the Pranie forester's lodge wrote to his poet friend Julian Tuwim: "Here by the lakes I can again navigate towards joy, the daughter of gods."

Compiled by the Warmia-Mazuria Regional Tourist Organization

Lured by Mazuria
The Mazuria Lake District comprises more than 2,000 lakes linked by rivers, canals and streams that form an over 200-kilometer paradise for sailors and other water sport enthusiasts. Visitors are welcomed by a wealth of sailboat marinas with a well-developed infrastructure, stores with aquatic sports equipment, hotels, boarding houses, camp sites, and a multitude of restaurants and inns serving regional cuisine.

Still, in order to experience Mazuria to the fullest, you need to reach beyond the obvious and come here off-season, stray off popular tourist routes, and plunge into the mist wrapping the lakes or take a flight over the area in an airplane. From above, you can get a better view of the region's coves, isthmuses, water zones and tiny islands. Secluded islands on the lakes look eerie and work on your imagination, while those inhabited by cormorants add to the sense of mystery.

Come and take a hike through these extraordinary places, and we hope you will find something just for yourself, while your curiosity and imagination will prompt you to plan many unusual expeditions.

Elżbieta Zawadzka
Director of the Regional Tourist Organization in Olsztyn
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