The Lubelskie region is situated in south-eastern Poland. It encompasses the Puszcza Solska (Solska Wilderness), which is the second largest forest complex in Poland and the huge swathe of the Lasy Jankowskie (Jankowskie Forests) complex. The picturesque Roztocze Upland, with its rolling hills and tree-covered slopes, stretches from the town of Kraśnik in the south-west of the region, through the Puszcza Wilderness and into Ukraine.
Locations in Lublin have frequently appeared in feature and documentary films and television series and the city has played the role of Warsaw, Vilnius and Paris on the screen. It was there that the Stephen Daldry’s Academy Award-winning The Reader, featuring Kate Winslet, was filmed.
Lublin is located in the picturesque region of the northern Wyżyna Lubelska (Lublin Upland) and stands on the banks of the Bystrzyca River. The Bystrzyca valley divides the city into two parts, which are somewhat diverse in terms of landscape. The left bank is characterized by deep valleys and loess gorges. Górki Czechowskie, a gorge complex with a number of rare plant species, is a key site for nature enthusiasts and plans are afoot to transform the area into a park and nature preserve in the near future. Other landscape features within the city limits include three forested areas and Zalew Zemborzycki, a water reserve on the Bystrzyca River.
Now five hundred and thirty years old, the Lubelskie region is one of clean, unpolluted nature protected in two national parks and seventeen landscape parks. It is a place of vivid rural traditions and crafts and unique, magnificent monuments of the past, including the subterranean chalk passages of Chełm, unmatched across Europe, the Museum of Palace Interiors in Kozłówka and the country’s oldest Orthodox monastery complex, near the village of Jabłeczna.
Lublin is a city with a history spanning seven hundred years. Its unique location played a key role in its growth as a multicultural centre. It boasts a number of architectural gems from different historical periods. The Old Town, with its townhouses, courtyards, gateways and alleys, is worthy of mention, as is the twelfth-century Royal Castle, which includes a Romanesque tower and a chapel decorated with original Russian Byzantine frescoes.
As is the case with most multicultural cities, Lublin is known for its numerous Orthodox churches and synagogues, as well as the cemeteries bound up with different religions. It is also home to the monumental Chamchei Lublin Yeshiva, once the world’s largest centre for Torah studies.
Zamość is a sleepy town which is gradually finding its feet in Poland’s new, free-market reality. What it offers is a treasure trove of stunningly beautiful architecture, a scattering of cosy bars and restaurants and locals who are friendlier than in the big cities. Highlights of the town include the Rynek (Grand Market Square), with its dazzling town hall and the houses once owned by Armenian merchants, which feature particularly ornate parapets; no. 30 now houses the charming town museum. Zamość also boasts several beautiful churches and one of the finest synagogues in Poland, although, tragically, the Jewish community is but a shadow of its once thriving self.