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  Spin the Gothic Wheel

Become a knight on a bicycle!

Once upon a time, in the valley of the Lower Wisła, in the lush forests and swamps of Pomerania… This fairy-tale beginning suits perfectly to start a story about Powiśle and Żuławy. To the south of the sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea occupied by thousands of tourists, far from bustling Gdańsk, to the north of well-known Toruń, to the east of the lakes of Warmia and Mazury and to the west of the Wisła river there are two very interesting historical regions which seem little known and little recognised by tourists. Żuławy region appeared some thousands years ago, built up from fertile sediments which were collected by the Wisła river at its estuary. The region of Żuławy is called “the land snatched from the sea.” For some hundred years it has been shaped with dramatic human effort. The Mennonites took the lead in that effort. They were a little-known religious Protestant faction which came from the Netherlands. Today their only traces are historical cemeteries and arcade houses that can be found in Żuławy and the Lower Wisła valley. There are also numerous heritage gothic churches and chapels. The jewel of Żuławy is Nowy Staw situated in the middle of the region as its former capital. However, the greatest attraction of the region is the Teutonic castle in Malbork – the biggest medieval brick castle in Europe.

To the south of Żuławy the picturesque hills of Powiśle spread widely. There are many lakes with small interesting towns and villages hidden at their sides. Even the smallest villages have several centuries of history behind them, and the number of large medieval brick churches can be surprising. There are also some castles and ruins: especially the castles in Kwidzyn and Sztum are worth visiting. The ruins of strongholds in Dzierzgoń, Prabuty and the castle in Przezmark located on a charming forested promontory of Motława Wielka Lake are also of particular interest. These structures were built by Teutonic knights after they had deprived old Prussian tribes of these lands. In the 17th century Powiśle was the scene of wars between Polish and Swedish armies. Later on German settlers dominated the region. Polish people strongly opposed that situation and organised themselves under an emblem of "Rodło". The centre of such activities, among other places, was a splendid manor in Waplewo, surrounded with a beautiful park, the home of Sierakowscy family. Nowadays, it has been turned into the Polish Gentry Museum.

All these places are connected by marked bicycle routes which run along asphalt or ground roads with little traffic. Their total length is over 400 kilometers and they are combined into a well-marked network. The cooperation project, in which three LAGs - local action groups take part, has allowed its participants to select and adjust 15 lodgings as “bicyclist-friendly.” These objects are ready to welcome individual tourists and bicyclist groups. Bicycles can be safely locked there and all the necessary repair tools are provided. 

Spin the Gothic Wheel!

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