Polish Masuria: The Land Of 2,000 Lakes

Arcaion (CC0), Pixabay

There are many heavenly places for recreational tourism in Poland and this is one of them. Masuria, a northeastern region of Poland, which takes up a significant amount of the Masurian Lakeland (also known as the Masurian Lake District), which is famously dubbed The Land of 2,000 Lakes. In close proximity to the Russian, Belarusian and Lithuanian borders, as well as to several international airports, Masuria can be easily reached by car, train, bus and even boat. Thus, it should come to no surprise that there’s an ever-growing number of tourists that keeps increasing with every new year.

Masuria bears an intrinsic cultural and historical importance for Poland. During the Middle Ages it was part of the State of the Teutonic Order. In the 1500s it became part of Duchy of Prussia. Later on it became part of the German Empire during Germany’s occupation of Polish territory. All in all, the Masurian Lakeland saw a number of battles, including a couple of notable belligerences during World War I and World War II.

In present day Masuria is a province under voivodeship and its old native ethnic groups have virtually disappeared ever since the 20th century. The area has a diverse relief that’s made out of thousands of lakes, mixed forests, several rivers, vast hills and countless streams. There are also a bunch of resort towns and villages scattered here and there that break up the virgin natural landscapes.

Masuria’s 2,000 lakes are the main factor that attracts tourists from all over the globe. Travelers can partake in numerous activities among which are sailing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, swimming, hiking, trekking, biking, fishing, berry and mushroom picking.

The thousands of lakes were formed millennia ago from ancient glaciers that existed in the area and melted after the last Ice Age. Similarly to them, the hills and plains were formed from moraines. One of the lakes, Łuknajno, is among the 11 nature reserves in the Lakeland, which are under the protection of UNESCO’s MAB (Man and the Biosphere program for biosphere reserves). The entire Masurian Lakeland area was submitted to the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign in 2007. Even though it didn’t make it in the final 7 wonders, the Masurian Lake District was a finalist runner-up.

Back in 1976 UNESCO designated Masuria’s Białowieża Forest as a protected biosphere reserve. It’s one of the few remaining parts of the grand primeval forest, which used to stretch over the Great European Plain. After the post-war restoration of the area the forest became home to the previously thought to be extinct European wisent – a type of bison that was hunted down to near extinction during the previous century.

Nowadays the lakes of Masuria are connected with one another via rivers and manmade canals, which make up an extensively wide and long waterway system. It’s linked to the Baltic Sea by the unfinished Marusian Canal dating back to the 18th century. Geologists and historians still argue on whether there really are a total of exactly 2,000 lakes or if there are more.

Regardless of the real count of Masurian lakes, the fact is that the Lakeland impresses with its picturesque waterscapes and colorful wildlife, especially with its wading and sea birds, including the large population of Eurasian mute swans. Due to the fact that the nearby towns aren’t industrialized the entire Lakeland area boasts with lush greenery and fresh air. As such, it’s an ideal destination for a vacation in the small towns or an off the grid camping trip. On top of that, if you’re a fan of boat trips, the thousands of lakes provide a serene opportunity to hop onto one.

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