We will take a look at the medieval Market Square in Brzesko and listen to the history of the Goetz family, founders of the Okocim brewery and well-known philanthropists related to this region. We will visit the unique castle in Dębno and get to know knightly traditions and legends. The trails leading through Wojnicz will remind us about the former trade routes to Hungary and the history of the Wojnicz castellans, who welcomed St Kinga. Discover the Foothills (in Polish: Przedgórze), a region so close to Kraków, yet so unknown, full of surprises and exciting stories!
1. From Brzesko to the Dębno Castle
Brzesko Okocim Railway Station – Brzesko Market Square – Okocim Górny – Okocim – Kamieniec – Porąbka Uszewska – Dębno – Dębno Castle – Wola Dębińska – Maszkienice – Sterkowiec Railway Station
During this short but nice trip we will visit interesting lay and sacral monuments, cross beautiful forest areas and discover unique vantage points! The trail predominantly leads along roads with relatively low traffic intensity and partly on hardened forest paths.
We reach the Brzesko Okocim station with the bikes and head towards the centre of Brzesko, along the way passing by the Jewish cemetery and cemetery No. 276 from WWI that is located next to it. At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, Jews made up two-thirds of the town’s population.
Jews in Brzesko
In 1939, 211 businesses run by Jews were registered in Brzesko. There were also families of the intelligentsia: court judges, attorneys, physicians and clerks. The Brzesko Jews had significant impact on the life in the town, not only on account of their economic standing. Many educated people were engaged in social, cultural and political activities. They took part in the work of the town’s council and enjoyed general respect. The best evidence for the position of Jews in Brzesko is the fact that between 1894 and 1906, the post of the commune mayor was held by Henoch Kopholz. In turn, Julia Kopholz, his daughter, was the co-founder of a middle school (gimnazjum). The energetic and educated community of the Brzesko Jews was annihilated by the German occupiers, who captured the town on 5 September 1939.
Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews
We cycle across the picturesque square-shaped Market Square that brings to mind the Middle Ages. Here, you can sit on a bench and read about the monuments and titbits of the Brzesko region presented on the information boards next to the fountain and the Brzesko billy-goats. If you have not taken any food with you for the trip, definitely drop by Bar Mleczny Smakosz and purchase some of the tasty products offered there (10 Sobieskiego Street). Now, we are heading to the Okocim Brewery; we have to cross the busy roundabout at the crossing of roads No. 75 and 94, yet we will reach more peaceful suburban areas in just a moment. After crossing the Uszwica River, we are in the area of the Okocim Brewery, which is surrounded by the historical landscape park with the Goetz Palace– the former seat of the Goetz family from Okocim, owners of these lands and founders of the famous brewery. Browarna Street will take us to Okocim Górny, where the unique neo-Gothic Church of the Holy Trinity (Kościół Trójcy Przenajświętszej) is definitely worth seeing. It was built of sandstone between 1884 and 1885 according to the design of Max Schwed, a Cieszyn and Vienna architect.
We pass by the cemetery and cycle across the centre of Okocim, where quite a large number of traditional wooden houses have been preserved. At the end of the village, at the crossing, we turn right and go downhill along a steep road, admiring the views of the Beskidy mountain ranges. At the fork in the road, we choose the road leading slightly uphill to the right. In the vicinity of the Kamieniec hamlet, the picturesque part of the trail starts, leading through the forest (at the crossing of the forest roads, remember to turn left, where the drawbar is located). The forest will take us to Porąbka Uszewska, a well-known site of Marian worship. We cycle past the Church of St Andrew the Apostle (Kościół św. Andrzeja Apostoła) from 1910–1918, designed by Jan Sas-Zubrzycki in the Vistula Gothic style and approach the Cave of Our Lady of Lourdes (Grota Matki Bożej z Lourdes) of 1904, which is a replica of the famous French site.
We cycle on the peaceful street along the Niedźwiedź Brook. Along the way, we pass by several characteristic wayside shrines, well-preserved folk facilities from the 1st half of the last century. The signs on the new EnoVelo trails direct us straight to Dębno. We pass by the Na Kuźnisku Agritourism Farm, with the memorial site devoted to the social activists and heroes of WWI and WWII from Porąbka Uszewska located opposite it.
We cycle across the village of Dębno and pass by the Gothic Church of St Margaret the Virgin and Martyr (Kościół św. Małgorzaty Panny i Męczenniczki) in Dębno. Right behind the historical parish cemetery from 1830–1840, we turn left towards the castle surrounded by a magnificent park. In the vicinity of the main entrance is the neo-Gothic tomb chapel of the Jastrzębski family – the last owners of the castle. It was designed by the famous Jan Sas-Zubrzycki, whose works accompany us during trips in the Tarnów area.
The late-Gothic Dębno Castle was erected between 1470 and 1480 by Jakub of Dębno – a great crown chancellor and a castellan of Kraków of the Odrowąż coat of arms. Having seen the highlight of the trip, we head to the Sterkowiec railway station, where our adventure ends.
2. Along the Traces of Wayside Shrines and Military Cemeteries in the Vistula Lowland (Nizina Nadwiślańska)
Sterkowiec Railway Station – Szczepanów – Przyborów – Borzęcin – Borzęcin Dolny – Dołęga, manor house in Dołęga – Nowa Wieś – Wał-Ruda – Zabawa – Radłów – Łęka Siedlecka – Siedlec – VeloDunajec – Komorów – [exit to Wierzchosławice, Museum of Wincenty Witos] – Gosławice – Ostrów – Bogumiłowice Railway Station
We will traverse the picturesque rural landscapes of the Vistula Lowlands, villages, fields and forests; along the way, there will be a number of wooden houses, a nobleman’s house in Dołęga, countless wayside shrines and several historical cemeteries from the times of WWI.
Rest and refreshment facilities for cyclists in Borzęcin
The parking site for cyclists is provided with bike stands, park and solar benches with photovoltaic panels of 100 W and battery capacity of 12Ah, Internet access via a WiFi router – a hotspot and a possibility of charging smart phones, tablets and mp3 players via USB. It is located by the Municipal Cultural Centre in Borzęcin.
The trip starts at the Sterkowiec railway station, which we can reach by the regional railway. We cycle through Szczepanów and pass by the brick neo-Gothic Basilica of St Mary Magdalene and St Stanislaus (Bazylika św. Marii Magdaleny i św. Stanisława), erected according to the design of Jan Sas-Zubrzycki, an outstanding architect, whose projects from the beginning of the 20th century are icons in the Tarnów region. From here, we will cycle amidst rural landscapes of the Przyborów and Borzęcin villages, where you can admire several wayside shrines. Many beautiful wooden farmsteads surrounded by rural gardens have also been preserved here. In Borzęcin, we cross the Uszwica River and go next to the Church of Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Kościół Narodzenia NPM). This eclectic building made of brick and stone has remnants of the former Baroque architecture. Next to the parish cemetery, we turn left and cycle across Borzęcin Dolny. It is worth knowing that a new monument devoted to the memory of the murdered Roma people was built at the cemetery in Borzęcin Dolny. The Roma people murdered by the Nazi Germans in the Borzęcin forest in 1942 are buried there. A sandstone sculpture presenting a mother holding a child was made by the Roma artist from Hungary, Andras Kallai.
Fate of the Roma People in the Tarnów Area
Adam Bartosz writes: ‘The Gypsies/ Roma people were one of the categories of people destined for complete annihilation by the Nazi ideologists. They shared the fate of the Jewish people.’
The largest collective tomb of the Roma people is located in a village called Szczurowa, where approx. 100 Roma people used to live. The Nazis murdered 93 residents here, from infants to elderly people. The Roma tombs and memorial sites are also located in Borzęcin Dolny, in the village of Bielcza (the birth place of the last Roma king) and in Żabno. In the forest between Wał-Ruda and Borzęcin, where the Nazis carried out the execution, is a wooden Monument of the Roma Holocaust, designed by the Roma artist Małgorzata Mirga-Tas. The Roma people from the Tarnów land belonged to the linguistic and ethnic group of the Polish Roma, i.e., the Polish Lowland Roma. Also the famous Roma poet, Papusza, aka Bronisława Wajs, came from this group.
We are heading to Dołęga and the manor house in Dołęga from the mid-19th century, located on the Trail of Wooden Architecture. Having visited the site and its picturesque surroundings, we will take a peaceful road among ponds, meadows and forests to a village called Wał-Ruda, where cemetery No. 261 from the time of the First World War is located. At the crossing with main road No. 964, we turn left and cycle for over a kilometre along road No. 964 across the village of Zabawa. We pass by the brick Church of the Holy Trinity (Kościół Trójcy Przenajświętszej), the Sanctuary of Blessed Karolina Kózkówna (Sankturarium bł. Karoliny Kózkówny) and a parish cemetery with cemetery No. 260 from the times of the First World War. From the main road, we turn to the right in the vicinity of the Gothic border post to Zakościele Street, which leads among fields to Radłów.
Border Post in Biskupice Radłowskie
It is the oldest item of this type in Poland. It was made in 1450 of Pińczów limestone on the trade route leading from Radłów to Opatów at the initiative of Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki. It was positioned at the border of the lands that were held by the Kraków bishops and the knights’ village of Zabawa. This is how the dispute about the title to the land was put to an end. The post has the form of a red four-sided prism. There is a Latin inscription on it: Hoc signum verum clerum distinguit et hern 1450 may 4, which in English means: This post separates clerical and lay properties. Year 1450, 4 May.
We pass by the parish cemetery in Radłów, a part of which forms cemetery No. 268 from the time of the First World War. At the second crossing, we turn left to Rzemieślnicza Street and then left to Brzeska Street – in order to get to the Market Square in Radłów – the Square of Tadeusz Kościuszko (Plac Tadeusza Kościuszki). An interesting bronze sculpture of a lion with a lyre, featuring the Radłów coat of arms, is located here.
After resting for a bit at the Radłów Market Square, we will cycle along main road No. 975 next to the Church of St John the Baptist (Kościół św. Jana Chrzciciela) in Radłów which, after the destruction during the First World War, was reconstructed according to the design of a well-known architect and sculptor, Karol Stryjeński, author of several mountain refuges in the Tatra Mountains. After a while, we turn right from the main road towards Dunajec. In Łęka Siedlecka, we pass by another cemetery from WWI, No. 210. In Siedlec, we enter the VeloDunajec route and proceed south. In Komorów, we leave the bike path and have two routes to choose from. The shorter one leads from Gosławice, next to picturesque cemetery No. 214 from the First World War, and then across Ostrów to Bogumiłowice to the train station.
However, it is a good idea to extend the trip and in the longer variant in Komorówturn to Wierzchosławice, in order to see the Museum of Wincenty Witos located in the wooden family farmstead of the well-known activist of the Polish People’s Party and the prime minister of the Republic of Poland. From there, we will cycle to Gosławice and further across Ostrów to Bogumiłowice (the route will be extended by approx. 5 km). Between Wierzchosławice and Radłów are several reservoirs in old gravel pits, full of various species of fish and water plants: Lake Trzydniaki and Lake Dwudniaki and S1 and S2 reservoirs. This nook is called the ‘Tarnów lake region’ and is greatly popular among fans of angling.
3. Wojnicz Bicycle Loop
Bogumiłowice railway station – Sieciechowice – Mikołajowice – Łukanowice – Wojnicz – Sufczyn – Biadoliny Szlacheckie – VeloMetropolis – Bogumiłowice Railway Station
This flat loop is a proposal of an easy route on peaceful roads in the vicinity of Wojnicz. The start and the finish line are located at the railway station in Bogumiłowice, renovated as part of modernisation of the E30 railway route and due to this, the loop has become available for the residents of Kraków and the neighbouring areas. The first kilometres are on a peaceful local road which is currently a part of the VeloDunajec route. We pass by the picturesque Sieciechowice, the impressive Concrete Plant in Mikołajowice and head towards Łukanowice. We cross national road No. 94 and quickly forget about the vehicular traffic, heading towards forgotten roads amidst farmsteads and arable fields. After several kilometres of cycling, we reach Wojnicz, where we can rest at the pleasant Market Square. Let us not forget to drop by the historical wooden Church of St Leonard (Kościół św. Leonarda) from the second half of the 16th century, located near the Market Square.
We go further west, pass by cemetery No. 282 from the time of WWI. The only elevation during this trip is ahead of us, i.e.,a section in Wąwóz Szwedzki. This is a very interesting portion of the route which offers interesting landscapes irrespective of the season of the year. Luckily, the elevation is not too steep or too long and after a moment, we’re down the hill to Sufczyn. Once again, we cross the national road and ride slightly downwards across Perła in the direction of Biadoliny Szlacheckie.
We reach the railway line, cross it and enter the well-marked VeloMetropolis trail, which leads through the Radłów Forest along the A4 motorway. This is an interesting section where modernity (motorway, overpasses and passages for animals) blends with the rural vibe of forests and Radłów ponds. After a few kilometres, we reach the end of the route – Bogumiłowice, where we close the loop.
4. Ensnared by the Dunajec, the Wisła and the Raba Rivers
Bogumiłowice Railway Station – Gosławice – Hutki – Brzeźnica – Borzęcin - Niedzieliska – Strzelce Wielkie – Barczków – Uście Solne – Wyżyce – Mikluszowice – Gawłówek – Stanisławice Railway Station
This is a proposal for a longer trip along the ‘new bike routes’ in the Tarnów area. We will follow the VeloDunajec, VeloRaba, VeloMetropolis/EV4 and the EnoVelo routes. The area will be super-flat, because this section of Małopolska, forming a triangle between the Niepołomice Forest, Tarnów and the Vistula River, is probably the only such extensive lowland portion of the Małopolska Province.
We suggest travelling from Kraków to Bogumiłowice by train (approx. 1 hour). We will cover the first kilometres from the train station along the picturesque Dunajec embankments as part of the VeloDunajec route (exit to the old river bed in Komorów is suggested). Then, along the freshly-completed connection from Gosławice, we will cycle to the Radłów and Wierzchosławice Forests (Lasy Radłowsko-Wierzchosławickie). A definitely more ‘gravel’ ride starts here in the forests, which on hot days is proposed basically to everybody as an alternative to riding along the embankments as part of the Vistula Bike Trail (Wiślańska Trasa Rowerowa, WTR) or the ‘service roads’ of the highway adapted for the needs of EV4 (EuroVelo 4). The only thing that can slow us down is the abundance of lakes in the forests and natural attractions – the gravel surface is really neat. In Borzęcin, we will enter the freshly marked EnoVelo route, and the signs of this route will accompany us up to Uście Solne. At this section, the route leads along very peaceful roads amidst fields, forests and local attractions. We recommend visiting the wooden Church of St Sebastian (Kościół św. Sebastiana) in Strzelce Wielkie; right next to it, we can rest in the huge cabin for cyclists. In Barczków, definitely look for an old house that played the main role in the film titled ‘Demon’. The ride from Uście Solne to Mikluszowice uses a part of the VeloRaba route, which at this section leads on a nice gravel road to the edge of the Niepołomice Forest (Puszcza Niepołomicka). From here, up to the railway station at the finish line, in principle you can cycle all the time on asphalt roads across the Forest; however, we suggest that you keep the crunch of the gravel under your tyres and take the gravel Royal Road (Droga Królewska). Who knows, maybe you will get the chance to spot the European bison behind the fence of the European Bison Breeding Centre in Poszyna? We will end our trip at the Stanisławice railway station, located at the very edge of the Forest. Obviously, you can also return to Kraków by bike, using the VeloMetropolis route (the Royal Road across the Niepołomice Forest and access to the Vistula embankments).
MOST IMPORTANT SITES ON THE TRAILS
Market Square in Brzesko
According to historical records, back in the 13th century Brzesko was a settlement located on a route leading from Kraków to Ruthenia and Hungary. The town was founded by the Melsztyński family in 1385 pursuant to the Magdeburg law. Its medieval urban layout has been preserved with a square-shaped Market Square and the Gothic Church of St Jacob (Kościół św. Jakuba) of 1447.
The vibe of the Brzesko Market Square is truly unique. It is lined with stylish townhouses with decorations and colourful façades. The architect for one of them was Teodor Talowski, known as the Polish Gaudi. The Baroque figure of St Florian of 1731 stands in the middle of the Market Square; it is one of the oldest sculptures of this type in the region – the lights that are lit in the evening bring out its assets. Picturesque lights and benches decorate the centre; additionally, lights were also installed on the walls of the former town hall.
Goetz-Okocimski Palace and Park Complex
The landscape park set up by Jan Albin Goetz and his wife Countess Zofia née Sumińska at the end of the 19th century is situated close to the Okocim Brewery in Brzesko. Across a surface of 40 hectares are 43 species of trees, including exotic ones, and 12 species of bushes. In the centre of the park is the neo-Baroque Goetz Palace in the Viennese style. As can be read on the website of the Brzesko Commune: The palace was built between 1898 and 1900 by the king of beer – Jan Albin Goetz-Okocimski and his wife Zofia née Sumińska in the neo-Baroque and neo-Rococo style. The designers of the oldest part of the palace were the Vienna architects, Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. Between 1908 and 1911, the palace was extended by the eastern section designed by Leopold Simoni, professor at the Vienna University of Technology. The palace and the park are in private hands.
Sightseeing in the brewery is conducted by the Okocim Brewery Lovers’ Association.
The Goetz Family
The Goetz family was from Bavaria that settled in Bohemia and later in Galicia where it received a noble title. Jan Ewangelista Goetz (1815–1893), the founder of the Okocim Brewery, gained his initial beer-making experiences in his father’s small brewery of and later improved his skills in various parts of Europe, among others in Vienna. He was well-known for his philanthropic activities – he founded a school, a church and a library in Okocim. His son, Jan Albin Goetz (1864–1931), was known as Baron Jan Goetz Okocimski. Together with his wife, Countess Zofia née Sumińska, he built a palace complex next to the brewery, modelled on Viennese architecture and surrounded by an English-style park. Like his father, he was an entrepreneur and a philanthropist as well as a political activist. Another well-known member of the family is Antoni Jan Goetz (1895-1962), an industrialist, politician, and member of parliament during the Second Polish Republic. He spent the last decade of his life in Kenya, running a tea shop. He is immortalised in a portrait by Jacek Malczewski.
When visiting Dębno, let us take a look at the historical parish cemetery located close to the castle. In the vicinity of the main entrance, we will see the tomb of the Jastrzębski family, the last owners of the castle. The neo-Gothic chapel of 1906 was designed by the famous architect and art conservator, Jan Sas-Zubrzycki. A valuable monument in Dębno is also the late-Gothic Church of St Margaret the Virgin and the Martyr (Kościół św. Małgorzaty Panny i Męczenniczki), erected at the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century and financed by Jakub Dębiński. Inside, we can see seven Gothic porches and a cartouche on one of them, i.e., a decorative framing of the Odrowąż Dębiński coat of arms.
The manor house is surrounded by a park which features a historical wooden shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Immaculate Conception, the oldest of four chapels existing in the Zaborów parish. It was built in 1849 by a family with patriotic traditions. A picturesque forest alley leads to it. Inside is a plaster figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary and an image of a Jagiellonian eagle of 1910.
In the vicinity of the manor house, one can also see a rural cottage, transferred here from Skrzyszów.
Churches Designed by Jan Sas-Zubrzycki
Numerous traces of works by the outstanding architect and art conservator, Jan Sas-Zubrzycki (1860-1935), have been preserved in the Tarnów area. Sas-Zubrzycki was a professor at the Lviv University of Technology and a member of the Polish Academy of Learning (PAU), who spent a substantial part of his life in Kraków. In his academic works, Sas-Zubrzycki described the premises of the Polish national style in architecture. He designed primarily in the Vistula neo-Gothic (neogotyk nadwiślański) style; he is the author of designs of over 40 churches; Sas-Zubrzycki also prepared reconstruction projects for approx. 20 churches in the Małopolska, Podole and Bukovina regions. The following are the churches designed by him in Przedgórze:
- Church of St Andrew (Kościół św. Andrzeja) in Porąbka Uszewska from 1914–1918 made of brick with the use of stone and concrete. The church is eclectic with elements of neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque styles. The beautiful stained-glass windows were executed in the Kraków Stained-Glass Workshop of S.G. Żeleński.
- Basilica of St Mary Magdalene and Stanislaus the Bishop (Bazylika św. Marii Magdaleny i Stanisław Biskupa) in Szczepanów of 1914. A neo-Gothic church made of brick with a tapering tower with two bells from the 16th century. The architect also designed the main altar.
- Church of St Bartholomew the Apostle (Kościół św. Bartłomieja Apostoła) in Szczurowa built between 1887 and 1893. The neo-Gothic brick church is distinguished by two symmetrical towers topped with pyramid-shaped cupolas. It is surrounded with old linden trees and a wall made of Pińczów stone. The side altar displays a valuable figure known as Our Lady of Szczurowa of approx. 1500. The polychrome was designed by Jan Matejko himself.
- Church of Birth of Blessed Virgin Mary (Kościół Narodzenia Najświętszej Marii Panny) in Borzęcin rebuilt and extended in line with the design of Jan Sas-Zubrzycki between 1912 and 1917. It is an eclectic structure with visible remnants of Baroque architecture and a neo-Renaissance facade. The characteristic tower with a tented roof, divided into storeys, was completed in 1922.
- Church of Our Lady of Angels (Kościół Matki Boskiej Anielskiej) in Bielcza built between 1906 and 1908. The brick church has an eclectic style with neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque elements. A square tower adjoining the aisle is a distinctive element in its structure.
- Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Kościół NMP Wniebowziętej) in Wietrzychowice was built between 1917 and 1924. The neo-Gothic church is made of brick and stone. The tall square-shaped tower has three storeys and is covered with a pyramid-shaped cupola. Rich neo-Gothic and eclectic architectural details are the distinguishing trait of Jan Sas-Zubrzycki’s designs. The figural stained-glass windows were executed in the Kraków Stained-Glass Workshop of S.G. Żeleński.
Treasures of Wojnicz
In the Middle Ages, Wojnicz was a castellan’s stronghold that guarded the Dunajec section of the trade route to Hungary. The name of the town derives from the word ‘woj’, which in Polish means a member of a knight's squad. Wojnicz is one of the oldest towns in south-eastern Poland; it was founded between 1239 and 1278. Its rank is attested by the rally of the Małopolska noblemen in 1239, organised to celebrate the welcome of Kinga, the daughter of the Hungarian king and later the wife of King Boleslaus the Shy. When in 1394 Queen Hedvig visited Wojnicz, its population was about 400 people. At the end of the 14th/ beginning of the 15th century, the Dunajec River often flooded; this changed the bed of the river and the village of Isep was set up in the oxbow.
The Castellan's Embankments (Wały Kasztelańskie) in Wojnicz are the remnants of the medieval stronghold, located amidst marshes and flood plains of the Dunajec River. A significant part of this huge defence complex was permanently destroyed by the capricious river. The fortifications were erected in the 11th century and extended in the 13th – 14th century. They comprise three circular embankments. The south-eastern section is still visible today. A system of moats was connected with the embankments.
In the vicinity of the historical Market Square in Wojnicz, at Leonarda Street, a gem of wooden architecture has been preserved: the Church of St Leonard (Kościół św. Leonarda) with a log-frame structure, timbered and covered with shingles, dating to probably the second half of the 16th century. This single-aisle church’s original Gothic structure has been preserved in an almost completely intact condition. Inside, take note of the painting of St Kinga made by Florian Cynka, a colleague of Jan Matejko.
The townhouse at No. 29 at the Market Square houses the Regional Chamber of Rev. Jan Królikiewicz, presenting the history of the town and the interior of a burgher house and a display devoted to the history of bread and handicraft.
The most emblematic monument of lay architecture in Wojnicz is the Dąmbski Palace of 1876 surrounded with a park. The palace complex also comprises a guard house, a villa from the inter-war period and a sundial. Local gentry planning the January Uprising met at the manor house.
Radłów is the former village of Kraków bishops. Its name probably derives from ‘radło’, in Polish denoting a farming tool (plough). The trapezoid-shaped market square in Radłów was built at the end of the 17th/beginning of the 18th century by the main street opposite the palace garden. Development comprised wooden houses with arcades and a number of inns operated around it. The monument of Tadeusz Kościuszko of 1911 is located by the Market Square and a modern sculpture presenting the symbol of the town – a lion with a lyre. A lion is well-grounded in the medieval culture, primarily knightly, but not only. Its artistic use derives from the Medieval bestiaries; it symbolises valour, courage, but also such features as loyalty, dignity and freedom, claims historian Professor Józef Szymański, born in Wojnicz.
The oldest preserved monument is the parish Church of St John the Baptist (Kościół św. Jana Chrzciciela) rebuilt a number of times. It was founded by the Kraków Bishop Jan Grot in 1337. The central bas-relief makes references to it: in the centre is St John the Baptist and on the left the founder, Kraków Bishop Jan Grot, offering a model of the church to the patron. It is a Gothic structure with Baroque and neo-Gothic elements. Destroyed during the First World War, it was rebuilt and extended according to the design of Karol Stryjeński, a well-known architect, sculptor and director of the State School of Wooden Industry in Zakopane.
OTHER INTERESTING SITES IN PRZEDGÓRZE
- Church of St Sebastian (Kościół św. Sebastiana) in Strzelce Wielkie: a monument located on the Trail of Wooden Architecture, built between 1784 and 1785, with a log frame structure, timbered. A wooden post-frame bell tower attracts attention to the church. The interior design is mainly late-Baroque and Rococo from the 18th century. Strzelce Wielkie can also boast of the 19th century manor house that originally belonged to the Ossoliński family.
- historical development of the Market Square in Uście Solne founded by King Casimir the Great in 1360. It used to be an important loading port for salt from the salt mine transported to Gdańsk. Near the Market Square, wooden log frame structure houses and old stables have been preserved.
- complex of wooden buildings in Mokrzyska encompasses remnants of long rows of wooden cottages facing the road.
MAJOR LOCAL EVENTS
- Agri-Tourism Feast (Biesiada Agroturystyczna) with a cooking contest and tasting of the local dishes, Porąbka Uszewska
- Wickerwork Day, Isep, Wojnicz Commune
- Mushroom Feast (Święto Grzyba), Borzęcin
- International Knightly Tournament ‘Tarłówna's Golden Braid’, Dębno Castle, September or July (month of the event may change)
- International Roma Caravan Memorial, Tarnów and neighbouring areas, July, August or September. The first caravan memorial was organised in July 1996, 32 years after the communist authorities forbade the Roma people to wander on the Polish roads. It is worth not only reminding people about the ban, but also about the annihilation of the Roma people by the Nazis.
YOU MUST TRY THESE
- dishes made of the ‘Piękny Jaś’ beans. This type of bean is the largest as far as the runner bean is concerned. It is farmed in eleven communes of Małopolska, including in Wietrzychowice and Wojnicz. It has the protected designation of origin of the European Union. Some of the most popular dishes from this area are the dumplings with the ‘Piękny Jaś’ beans.
- regional dishes from Przedgórze served during the local events. The primary ingredients include groats, dried fruit, peas, sauerkraut and potatoes. It is worth purchasing a book with recipes published by the Local Action Group titled ‘Kwartet na Przedgórzu’;
- Wojnicz ‘kukiełki’, whose shape resembles loaves decorated with flowers made of dough and sprinkled with caraway or black caraway seeds. ‘Kukiełki’ are on the list of traditional products of the Małopolska Province. The tradition of baking ‘kukiełki’ in Wojnicz goes back to the first half of the 19th century. Stanisław Jachowicz (1796–1857), a poet and a fairy-tale writer said: Wojnicz – a town by the Dunajec River in Galicia on the route to Vienna, 9 miles from Kraków; here, bakers have a special way of preparing very tasty elongated loaves known as ‘kukiełka’; passing by Wojnicz, you cannot resist the temptation of buying the Wojnicz ‘kukiełki’.