Święta Lipka – Holy Linden

A charming view…

From among the trees – there emerges a church in a valley, amidst the joyful twittering of birds and the buzzing of bees in the linden trees.  The surrounding gardens bloom hollyhock, everywhere there is a raised atmosphere, at the sight of an impressive building, and above all at the sight of the brilliant gate carved in iron by Schwartz, the blacksmith from Reszel.

The history of the place can be found in the eternal Wiki, an about the history of splendid paintings in the church – I wrote HERE.

That however is not all. Święta Lipka also offers splendid music. Every day there is a short recital, presenting the sound of the splendid instrument. And every summer the Święta Lipka Organ Music Festival takes place. Listeners from far away come to applaud performers, among whom there are many organ celebrities.

As for the instrument – it is one of very few, that survived the Second World War, and the post war robberies, and banditry and vandalism. Below I am attaching my translation of the entry from the Hertitage (Dziedzictwo) website (unfortunately they did not care for making the English version of the website).

The organ was built in 1719-1721 by Johann Josua Mosengel, organ master from Koenigsberg. The instrument had 40 voices with a baroque sound. The beautiful, richly decorated organ prospectus is one of the most magnificent Baroque prospectuses in Europe. The casing is decorated with a golden ornament of acanthus leaves. The statues of angels playing musical instruments are placed on the finials of the towers. On the two highest towers are the Mother of God and the Archangel Gabriel; these two figures together with the dove – symbol of the Holy Spirit, constitute a group of the Annunciation. These sculptures together with the stars and bells on the towers are set in motion during the concert. The interior of the organs was thoroughly rebuilt in 1905, when the place of the majority of Baroque voices took on new, romantic sounds (35 voices in total). In 1944, the instrument was destroyed. After the war, the missing pipes were repaired and the figures destroyed for many years were repaired and put back into motion.

After the sightseeing and listening to the recital, it calls for a meal… Luckily, in In Święta Lipka there is an inn… A little local restaurant, in an old historical building, so typical for this region. The owners and the staff love people, food, and life. And they serve a delicious variety of the traditional food. So after visiting the church, walk some 5 minutes, to finally sit down in a cosy room, and enjoy a great lunch.

And below – enjoy few photos I took during my last visit. And YES!! I promise to have my camera the next time, for better quality photos…

The Bishops’ of Warmia cuisine – the season for off-topics

I am translating a very interesting book at present. But as I am a champion in search of alternative topics, here is what I found browsing through my notes…

The cuisine of Warmia bishops’

Warmia was Poland’s unique bishopric, one of three richest in the Polish kingdom. As such it also had it’s own court. Bishops’ court. Between the 14th and 18th century the Bishops of Warmia also bore the title of the  prince. It was not a hereditary title, but still it gave the splendor to the family of the bishop.  The bishop was usually elected from among the capitular canons. And throughout the history (until the partitions) this little Bishops’ State could and was able to keep relative independence.

Today Warmia region is rich in quite a  number of reminders of the glorious past.  Among them are the  historical buildings that survived the 1945 (mostly monumental churches). But among the most of all are: the wonderful castle in Lidzbark WarmińskiSmolajny palace, and the Cathedral Hill in Frombork.

As mentioned above, the bishops held courts. Sometimes they were quite numerous, like the court of Bishop Martin Kromer, which had 123 members, others hald  smaller courts, but still demanding. By stating “demanding” I mean – there seldom were days without a guest… So the court had to provide visitors with proper welcome and board. The cooks held at the court were among the best of their times. And we have documents saying how the bishops recruited their cooks.

As for the cuisine – it was a very rich one, and often compared to the cuisine of the richest.

Meals were served twice a day, and the court was seated at eleven tables. At the first one – placed on the dais – sat the bishop. Then were the tables at which ate the courtiers, guests, officials, all according to the certain order which was specified in the Ordinatia Castri (Castle Regulations).

What was eaten then?

According to Stanisław Achremczyk (Polish historian, professor at the Warmia-Mazury University) – there was a variety of fish dishes: salmon, cod, herring, eel, pike, tench, Dutch herrings. They were grilled, boiled, fried, marinated, smoked. We can read about grilled salmon, carp cooked in wine with nutmeg.

Also oysters from the North Sea were often eaten.

Foreign guests were served venison, pheasant, geese, caviar…

A variety of sauces were used to accompany meat and fish dishes. There was a yellow sauce (whatever it was), white sauce with cream, gray with garlic and onions, black with jam, or the so called red sauce – made on the basis of cherry juice, and also the horseradish sauce…

As for the vegetables – pickled cucumbers were eaten, fresh ones too. Cabbage, cauliflowers, asparagus and lettuce were eaten very gladly. Potatoes became very much welcome. Of course bread was served also. It was baked mostly in Lidzbark, and Olsztyn.

Oil for cooking was supplied by one of Gdansk merchants. It was imported from Provence. Mustard was imported from England, and cheese – from France. Fruits such as pears, plums, apples, and wild strawberries, raspberries, etc were also wery fondly eaten.

Best wines and beer were served, also different kinds of confectionery.

In the 17th century Warmia adopted the habit of drinking coffee, hot chocolate and tea. Coffee was drunk black, or with milk, cream and alcohol. Therefore new tableware needed be purchased.

Indeed, amazing how many off-topics can be found during work 😉

Another winter in Frombork

I often visit Frombork. And it is not only because I guide there, but also because I simply like this sleepy little town “at the world’s end”, according to Doctor Copernicus… I wrote about Frombork HERE, and now I am posting some PICTURES of winter.

And this post has been provoked by my recent visit there – as I have just returned from a training I participated in the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum. It was concerning the new exhibition “Mors ianua vitae” – Christian Funeral Customs. Seldom today we think of how much death accompanies us – we rather push its “presence” aside. It does not constitute the everyday life anymore, and became something embarrasing. It stands in contrast of the omnipresent worship of youth, eternal beauty, and fitness. Here – the exhibition shows how death was once somewhat a natural end of a long and tiresome journey.

HERE is a picture gallery of some very interesting exhibits. What is worth mentionning, they survived the madness of wars. And there have been quite many of them here – as this part of Europe had suffered from numerous hostilities since the early medieval times…

Plauten (Pluty) – the reminiscence of holidays

I often go back to the memories of our November East-Prussian escapade.

Not only because it was finally that dream vacation, so very well deserved after a frantic season. Also, because we visited some important places along the way… Those were places important to the history of Europe, and now often forgotten and neglected. Deliberately forgotten, I am tempted to say…

The majority of the Warmia-Mazury Voivodship is today still almost Terra Incognita.

Tourists rather go to Masuria, and the travel agencies (except for absolutely a few, which understand the place) still do not see anything interesting in the off-roads of the former East Prussia. In schools, teachers continue to avoid the subject as sensitive, moreover, they know little about it. Warmia is being discussed in isolation from reality. And thus it still is not very clear what is this phenomenon called: Warmia (Ermland).

Meanwhile, near the border between Warmia with Natangia, on the road from Pieniężno (Mehlsack) to Górowo Iławeckie (Landsberg) there is a small village Pluty (Plauten).

I do not know whether it was important for the Great History, but it is certainly important for those who appreciate the beautiful views.

The village was founded near the old Prussian settlement of Pelten. It is known that around the year 1325 the Warmia chapter in the person of the provost Jordan built a castle here. Jordan managed the chapter, in place of Bishop Eberhard of Neisse who was seriously ill at that time. Soon he himself was elected Bishop of Warmia.

Parish in Pluty was established in the first half of 14th century. In 1326 the parish endowment appeared.

In 1410 during the Great War the village was destroyed. We know that more than a century later (in 1583) a parish school operated in the village.

Parish Church of St. Lawrence dates from the mid-fourteenth century. It was several times adapted, , first in the sixteenth century and then in 1801, it was extended in a westerly direction, and the tower was added. Barely visible today date “1521” in one of the top blind arches of the sacristy can be a certificate of completion of a phase of the temple’s construction. Church was consecrated by Bishop Martin Kromer in 1581.

The church was built on a rectangular plan, and it was built of fieldstone (in the basement) and brick (the walls). It was plastered recently (except the tower). It has two extensions: the north is the vestry and the south is the porch.The interior is baroque. And I have to trust the descriptions here, for when we got there during our peregrinations – the church was closed. It was raining cats and dogs, and the wind was quite bitter. Therefore neither of us at all had in mind to look for the Reverend, to ask him to open the temple for us.

From the descriptions I just know that the main altar dates from 1694, and that it was made ​​in Königsberg. The maker of the altar was probably Isaac Riga, or his workshop. Side altars are from the same (more or less) period. In one of the side altars there is a painting o “The Last Supper” by Peter Kolberg (a prominent East Prussian artist – 1702), the pulpit dates from 1732, the choir was made in the 19th century and organ – in the  early twentieth century The only medieval part of equipment are the granite font and stoup.In the Tower there is an original clock mechanism as well as two bells. And beneath the church floor there is a crypt with coffins.

“The old Prussian settlement is situated east of the village, on a hill 30 meters high (ca. 98 feet), overlooking the Wałsza River. The remains of walls and moats can be seen.” I had no opportunity to check this as it was raining 😉 …

Last year a fair amount of money was acquired from the EU for renovation of the cultural heritage of the village. And the result of the works could be seen in some places around the church… Hopefully the funds will appear sufficient, and the enthusiasm of the locals will not fade away.

 

The church seen from the road.It is situated on a hill. Whole Warmia is hilly…

it can be seen that some work has been done..

It is a shame that the tombstone serves as a step to the church !!!!! It is a shame and a scandal!

Hopefully the funds will appear sufficient

Still there is a lot to do around the church... after years of negligence

Frombork church bells

Here is a short film (from the cell phone) of the church bells in Frombork. This is a unique place with very special bell tone!

Just listen to the noon bells in Frombork.

Do I need to add that Frombork is a place one should definitely see while in Poland 😉

At the world’s end – Frombork

A small town (only about 2500 dwellers) in the north east part of Poland. It was founded in the 13th century, but received civic rights in 1310. It belonged to the bishops of Warmia (Ermland) but then was given to the cathedral charter. It was called Civitas Warmiensis (Warmian Town). And so it was – as Frombork had been Warmia’s capital.

Frombork is the town – where Nicolaus Copernicus spent his adult life. From 1510 till his death in May 1543 he lived here and worked to the glory of God and the Warmian bishops. He was an administrator of the Warmian land, and thus settled many villages – of which many exist till today. He also worked on the monetary reform (known today as Copernicus-Gresham law). When Thomas Gresham was born in 1519 – Nicolaus had the outline of his reform ready.
He also reformed the bread recipe, stating how much should there be white how much dark flour, and how big should the loaves be… He also was a doctor, and as such he served his uncle in Lidzbark Warmiński (Heilsberg, in Old Prussian Lēcbargs).

In Frombork Nicolaus wrote his “De Revolutionibus”, a book which changed the outline of the understanding of the World.

Here in Frombork cathedral Nicolaus Copernicus was finally buried.
And few years ago a sensation spread around the scientific world (pity that only around the scientific one) – the grave of Copernicus was found. Now we know how he looked like and thanks to the Central Forensic Laboratory we can look into his eyes (the linked article is unfortunately in Polish only).

Frombork was taken form Poland when the country lost independence in the 18th century. After years of a sleepy existence in the East Prussia – it returned to Poland after the tragic years of the II World War. Very much destroyed in the course of fights between the Soviet and German armies – the town was rebuilt. Unfortunately not exactly as it was before. It lost most of its charming houses. It lost also its continuation – historical continuation. New people came here after the war. New times came too.

Luckily the Cathedral Hill is still above the town, guarding the place as before through the centuries.

It is worth climbing up the Bell Tower to see the splendid view over the Wisła Lagoon, as well as to see and maybe understand the way of work of the Foucault Pendulum (for me it is enough to know that it shows that the earth is turning).

It is easy to stay here – as there are few quite decent places to sleep, and few places to eat.
There is a good bus connection with Elbląg, but unfortunately no train one anymore.

At the world’s end … the title of this note is from the letter of Copernicus to his friend – when he settled here… It seems that the town is still at the world’s end. Sleepy and not advertised well.

I dare say – it is not advertised at all! As a guide – I hope to change it.

Here are some photos of the simple beauty of this place on earth.