Elbląg Canal (Elbing Canal, Oberland Canal)

I went on tour on the Canal … I mean Elblag Canal. Properly it should be called the Oberland Canal.

Oberland – as it runs through the Upper Country. Name forgotten, or rather doomed to oblivion after the war because it is German (as if they wanted to erase from the history centuries of this land’s existence). It is a pity that throwing away the old name – it was not replaced by a nice Polish name: Upper Country.

* / *

Although it rained cats and dogs and the sun remained only a dream …  we were all delighted.

Air, water, birds singing and the silence during the ride uphill (because we started off from Jelonki inclined plane) – all this made my group be in the proverbial seventh heaven.

Our trip to the Canal was mainly because my tourist were foreigners, and wanted to see this marvel of technology. But also it was intertwined with the anniversary. This year it is 150 years since the official opening of this unique hydro facility.

I shall not write everything here – as it is all available on the internet…  I shall just mention few facts about the history of the Canal.

It was designed by Georg Jakob Steenke, a German-Prussian engineer born in Königsberg in 1801. He was the son of the port captain in Pillau (today Baltiysk). Were it not for the death of his father (in the maritime rescue), young Georg Jakob would have probably became a lawyer – and I would not have had occasion to admire the phenomenon of the canal.

Leaving this to the appropriate websites – I will not describe in detail the construction of the canal. It is enough to say that the construction started 28.10.1848  and the grand opening celebration of a new waterway was held 31.08.1860. The first opened shipping route was from Elblag – through Miłomłyn and Iława – to Zalewo.

The canal was primarily to serve transportation purposes – it was to connect the lake district with the Baltic Sea. However, the novelty soon lost its importance for transport – because this was the time of the railway. Thus, the canal soon began to play a different role – the role of a tourist attraction.

Important for tourists is the height they are sailing / riding on the boat. The height of the 5 inclined planes is nearly 100 meters on the distance of about 9.6 km.

And if you want to go to the Canal – first go to Elbląg – to have a look at the tower of St. Nicolaus Church. It is roughly the same height as all 5 inclined planes.

And then – best to go on the canal in May – when you can see and hear the nightingales!

For those very patient and very interested – I recommend the entire route! From Elblag to Ostroda – it’s about 11 hours. But it’s worth it! You can also sail from Małdyty to Ostróda. And the experiences are unforgettable. Even if it rains – still there is a wonderful landscape to admire. And most important most of it is a Wildlife Reserve.

Oh, and one more thing – you will meet many gongoozlers on the way.


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