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7 Must-See Sites In Poland

by Susan Barnes

Sep 25, 2018

© A Wolszczak | Dreamstime.com

Europe

Slightly smaller than the size of New Mexico, it is quite impressive that Poland has within it 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites — 14 cultural and one natural. We know that is a lot, so we chose seven that are must-see, in addition to the historic centers of Warsaw and Kraków, the medieval town of Toruń and the Old City of Zamość.

 

Auschwitz Birkenau

Poland’s dark history can be found at Auschwitz Birkenau in Oswiecim County. Here, according to extensive research, 1.5 million people, most of them Jewish, perished in the extermination camp from 1942–44. Though it is hard to witness, “The fortified walls, barbed wire, railway sidings, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz Birkenau show clearly how the Holocaust, as well as the Nazi German policy of mass murder and forced labour took place.”

 

Białowieża Forest

Bordering Poland and Belarus, the Białowieża Forest World Heritage site covers more than 350,605 acres of primary forest. The forest is considered to be of Outstanding Universal Value because of its natural state and biodiversity conservation, including the largest population of the European bison.

 

Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

On the east bank of the River Nogat is the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, considered the most complete example of a Gothic, brick-built castle complex in the style of the Teutonic Order. The 13th-century castle is considered to be of Outstanding Universal Value.

 

Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork at night

Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork at night © Patryk Kosmider | Dreamstime.com

 

Centennial Hall in Wrocław

Built 1911–13 by architect Max Berg, the Centennial Hall in Wrocław was built as a multipurpose recreational building that can accommodate thousands of people. The hall’s 75-foot dome is topped with a lantern in steel and glass, considered a pioneering work of modern engineering and architecture.

 

Park Mużakowski

On the border between Poland and Germany, 1,300-plus-acre Park Mużakowski, created by Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau from 1815–1844, sits along the Neisse River. The park’s innovative landscaping integrated the local town of Muskau with manmade and natural water features, bridges, buildings, forested areas and paths. Here you will also find a reconstructed castle and an arboretum.

 

Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines

From the 13th to late-20th century, the salt mines in southern Poland constitute one of the earliest and most important European industrial operations. The Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines are not only mines, however. Rather, each houses hundreds of kilometers of art galleries, underground shapes and statues sculpted from salt.

 

Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska

Rather than being built of stone, the Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska were built using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe since the Middle Ages. Six of the best-preserved and oldest wooden Gothic churches are found in southern and southeastern Poland, in the towns and villages of Blizne, Binarowa, Dębno Podhalańskie, Haczów, Lipnica Murowana, and Sękowa.

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