Poland Expedition


Text and photos by Marcin Gerc




At the begging of May 2002, I decided to make a short trip around the lake district of Poland called the Augustów Suwalki Region. It is situated in the northeastern corner of Poland and is famous for its lakes (roughly 200 of them), rivers and forests. The countryside is diverse and consists of forest areas, lakes, rolling hills, plains as well as valleys and steep hills. Due to its varied formation, natural beauty and unspoiled countryside it could be a real paradise for tourists. But the region is far less visited than similar tourist areas in Poland and abroad. That's also a less developed part of our country. There is no heavy industry in the area; just beautiful lakes surrounded by Augustów Forest the second largest forest in Poland (1100 sq. km). Augustów Forest is made up mainly of pine, spruce and colorful birches, oaks and elms. Rich and various wildlife includes boars, beavers, wolves, deer and elk. This is a really great place for offroading.

The whole trip was around 1400km (860 mile) and lead us mainly through unpaved roads, however sometimes we decided to turn to more challenging places. On some of the pictures are some quite interesting objects. There are two photos of an old Soviet bunker placed in the middle of the forest and the other just on the side of the road. Another interesting photo is LR Disco compared with a huge Russian KrAZ-255B heavy truck.

There are also some pictures with a LR parked on the small bridge over the sluice. That sluice is part of the unique example of a water engineering water system The Augustów Canal which was designed to connect the Vistula and the Baltic Sea when the Gdansk belonged to Germans. Construction on the sluice started in 1825 and was finished in 1839. The main designer was polish general named Ignacy Pradzynski. The canal is 101 kilometers long from which 82 (50 mile) kilometers in Poland. There are 18 sluices on the canal (14 in Poland). The difference in altitude is 41 meters (134 ft). The canal was not connected to the Vistula because the Biebrza was not canalized. The canal was also left unfinished because the Tsar's Government did not permit construction to finish. The last stage to Windawa is missing. The canal is a monument of engineering and is used for tourist purposes now.

There are also a few pictures of Stanczyki, one of the highest railway bridges in Poland. They were built by Germans in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, before the First World War. They were designed as a scenic point for the passengers of the trains. It is not a reinforced concrete construction but the builders used an interesting technique of putting logs into concrete. The design of the bridges was excellent. They are picturesque and well proportioned. There is no railway line on them now. The bridges are 180 meters long and 32 meters high, and resemble the Roman aqueducts.

Well.... the territory which we visited was the scene of many historic events where culture of many nations (Poles, German and Russians) ware mixing together. That's why monuments of the past can be found there. Nowadays, everybody may enjoy the beautiful nature and learn more about amazing history of that small part of the world but the whole word for many people.

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