The Warmińsko-Mazurskie region is situated in north-eastern Poland. It encompasses three historic regions; Warmia, Mazury and Powiśle. Its extraordinary natural environment means that it is considered to be one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Warmińsko-Mazurskie may be known as the land of thousand lakes but, if truth be told, it encompasses twice that number.
The region abounds in outstandingly beautiful landscapes which have been taken into protection under a complex of nature reserves and landscape parks which incorporates lakes, the sources and valleys of rivers, glacial erratics and a reserve protecting the mute swan, the Eurasian coot, the grebe, the corn crake and many other species of rare birds.
The beauty of the region’s natural landscapes is complemented by exquisitely preserved human footprints in the form of Gothic castles, churches, palaces and other residences.
It is not only Olszytn’s close proximity to nature which accounts for its indisputable charm, but also its rich and colourful history. This weaves an enchantment which unites a dynamic and lively everyday reality with a nostalgic echo of bygone ages.
One of the region’s most compelling sites is the field upon which the Battle of Grunwald was fought out. It was one of the greatest battles in mediaeval Europe and it saw the power of the Teutonic Knights routed once and for all by the allied forces of Poland and Lithuania. Like all great battlefields, Grunwald has its highly informed experts and enthusiasts and, every year, the anniversary of the battle is marked with a variety of soundly researched events such as knights’ tournaments, which introduce spectators not only to the spirit of Middle Ages, but also to both the reality of the knights’ lives and the spirit of chivalry. Another historical site of great interest is the Wolf’s Lair. Located in a forest near the village of Gierłoż, close to the town of Kętrzyn, the Wolf’s Lair was Adolf Hitler’s first headquarters on the Eastern Front. Once a sprawling, top-secret complex, the bunkers now lie crumbling and eerie, semiruined in the forest. The Museum of Folk Architecture in Olsztynek, where cottages, outbuildings and entire homesteads from the various ethnographic regions of what was once a part of East Prussia have been collected, is another fascinating aspect of the region.
In Wojnowo, a Mazurian village situated on the Krutynia River, there is a molenna, a church bound up with the Old Believers of the Orthodox Church, as well as a former Old Believers’ monastery.
More than twenty towns and villages set alongside the Great Masurian Lakes serve as picturesque havens for those who take to the waters of the region. The Giżycko marina on Lake Niegocin appeared in Roman Polański’s Nóż w wodzie (Knife in the Water).