Masuria – Wonder of Nature

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From the point of view of landscape beauty and of tourist attractiveness, the Great Masurian Lakes constitute one of the most interesting regions of Poland. Here nature shows us its richness at its best. Clean water and air invite anyone to spend each idle moment in this unspoiled natural environment. At the same time, it is the biggest complex of inland water lakes in Poland, which are interconnected by means of numerous canals and rivers. They create a unique water route, which stretches from Węgorzewo in the North to Pisz and Ruciane-Nida in the South. The District of Giżycko is the centre of this land. It has 110 lakes within its boundaries, including the best-known complex of lakes composed of Lake Niegocin and of Lake Kisajno. In summertime, they constitute an oasis for the lovers of all the forms of boating leisure. The “white fleet” cruises give a unique opportunity to discover the charms of the “swan route” or of the Island of Cormorants.

At the same time, this traditional water route is an interesting offer for lovers of kayaks who travel from Ryn to Giżycko along the historical route of the masters of the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly called the Teutonic Order. It is worth setting course for Giżycko not only in summertime. Autumn is a wonderful period to go both fishing and mushrooming. Here it is not difficult to find a cep mushroom, a birch bolete mushroom, a porcini mushroom or a saffron milk cap. For may people the forest is most attractive and beautiful in early autumn, when it sparkles with all the colours of autumn and the rustle of the leaves under the shoes puts them in a state of marvellous relaxation. However, there is also a winter in the Great Masurian Lakes Land. The walk on the frozen surface of the lakes is an unforgettable experience for may people. The crystal clear winter air invites to come. It is the time of memorable of sledging cavalcades and of snowball fights, which end with bonfires, with picnics and with evenings by the fireplace.

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Masuria is not only the land of “a thousand lakes”. A distinctive element of the landscape of this region consists in abundant mixed forests, marshes and peat bogs. The maintenance of the wild character of these areas created the optimal conditions for the existence of a great variety of birds and of plants. Every year, favourable conditions for their habitat bring thousands of cranes, of grey herons, of black-headed gulls and of cormorants. The presence of total of 262 species of birds was observed, including the white-tailed eagle, the lesser spotted eagle, the osprey, the Eurasian bittern, the black grouse, the spotted crake, the corn crake, the black tern and the aquatic warbler. In order to preserve the most beautiful nooks of the Great Masurian Lakes, their most precious fragments are protected. A special attention should be paid to the complex of forests called Puszcza Borecka, which is located in the commune of Krulanki and which constitutes the only relic of the old-growth forest in this region. The most valuable fragments of this forest with an area of 250 square kilometres are protected. In this primaeval forest there are four reserves with an area of more than 650 hectares. A special tourist attraction is the European Bison Breeding Station in Wolisko, which is the home of approximately 80 European bisons. The visit in the reserves Bagna Nietlickie (marshes of Nietlica), Staświńskie Łąki (meadows of Staświny) and Głazowisko Fulendzki Róg (place abounding in rocks and boulders called the Corner of Fulendzko) will provide unforgettable impressions.

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This amazing natural environment is an ideal basis for all forms of active tourism. The bicycle lanes and footpaths invite for rides, walks, excursions or jogging. The horse riding lovers have at their disposal numerous equestrian centres, which provide a wide range of services. The enthusiasts of canoeing will be happy with not only the lakes and kayaks, but they will also enjoy the little known charms of the Sapina valley. The camp and tent sites delightfully situated among forests and lakes are an ideal place for persons loving peace, a personal contact with nature and long walks in the woods. The roads are shaded by an avenue of old trees. It is a great pleasure to wander on them especially when the heat is taking its toll. A distinctive feature of the landscape of this region consists in abundant mixed forests, marshes and peat bogs. They present an ideal environment for lovers of horseback tours lasting several days. Those who want to know the limits of their physical endurance and of their psychic resilience may venture deep into the inaccessible wild parts of the forest called Puszcza Borecka or of the marshes called Bagna Nietlickie.

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An interesting supplement to the tourist values and a source of unforgettable experiences is the cultural offer of our district. Especially in summertime, there is a big number of events, which are varied in terms of their nature and which may enrich one’s stay in Masuria. In February the conquest of the Boyen Fortress offers a combination of leisure and of family fun. In May the Boyen Fortress invites for the traditional family running. A continuation of these events consists in the summer festivities organized by the local cultural centres as well as in the already traditional festivals called Giżycko Days, Ryn Days and Days of Ukrainian Culture. A visible trace of our cultural richness is shown in the numerous folk events such as „Majówka Rydzewska [Spring Picnic in Rydzewo]”, „Noc Świętojańska [Midsummer’s Night]” in Giżycko, in Miłki and in Wydminy or the unique „Nicz na Iwana Kupała [Kupala Night]” in Kruklanki. The lovers of folklore will not miss the Saint Bruno Fair in Giżycko and the Fair of Folk Artists in Wydminy. All the poetry lovers will be attracted by the unique atmosphere of the meetings in the windmill in Grądzkie.
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In summertime, the sounds of all kinds of music, which travel on the surfaces of the lakes, are a distinctive feature of Masuria. At the successive weekends of summer holidays, we enjoy the concerts of well-known Polish and foreign bands in the amphitheatre of the Boyen Fortress, on the beaches of Giżycko, of Wilkasy, of Ryn, of Wydminy and of Krulanki as well as numerous festivals such as the biggest event devoted to sea shanties in Poland called “Shanties in Giżycko”, the “Cabaret Night of Giżycko”, the “Masurian Hip-Hop Festival”, the “Masurian Jazz Fiesta” or the “September Vilnius Feast in the Municipal Wood of Giżycko”. The lovers of classical music will be happy to hear the “International Concerts of Organ Music”, an event with a thirty-year-old tradition, which takes place in the Evangelical Church of Giżycko, or the Autumn Concerts of Orthodox Church Music. The values of the military facilities are appreciated by the lovers of historic vehicles, what is visible in the annual rallies of lovers of heavy motorcycles and of historical motorcycles. More and more frequently, they are followed by the “four wheels” enthusiasts. The local wasteland, the former military training grounds and the wet soil areas give an excellent occasion for the testing of one’s vehicle as well as of one’s driving skills. Other people may use the quads and all-terrain vehicles offered by the local organisers.

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