We have everything: beautiful coastal beaches and dunes, lake districts carved out by glaciers, plains as flat as a pastry board, lush forests, mountains old and new, including the only Table Mountains in Europe, and even a desert region. Who could deny that Poland is a land flowing with riches?
Poland is a low-lying country? Yes, if seen from the centre, the flat Mazovia region, which, although its landscapes are monotonous, offers hidden riches within its forests. The forests, woods and groves are penetrated by naturally beautiful, unregulated rivers. These are plentiful in islands and old river beds, like the Vistula near Czerwinsk, or enveloped between steep banks like the Bug at Drohiczyn.
Water can be found in abundance in the plains of eastern Poland. The Narew, Europe’s only braid-shaped river, spreads wide near Bialystok and splits into branches like the Amazon. Meanwhile the Biebrza near Goniadz turns the whole terrain into a succession of marshes which continue for many miles.
The north of Poland is dominated by sand – fine, clean and more beautiful than that found in the Mediterranean. The wide Baltic beaches run beneath high cliffs and along spits, and behind them, the sand forms dunes. Some of these are shifting dunes, like those near Leba, which resemble a real desert!
Between the Baltic coast and the rest of the country is a belt of lakes. The Drawskie, Kashubian, Suwalki and Mazurian lake districts, the last containing the largest Polish lakes, Sniardwy and Mamry, are a legacy from the glaciers.
The last ice age ended just 10–12 millennia ago, so the carved shape of the landscape is still distinct. The best proof of the power of the glaciers is the Suwalki Landscape Park, where you can find hills in the shape of pyramids, moraines, kames, drumlins, terraces, cirques and hanging valleys.
Poland is bordered to the south by a belt of mountains. These include relatively new ranges like the Carpathians and the Tatras, but there are also ancient formations which go back to the beginnings of the Earth’s history 4.5 billion years ago. These are the Sudeten mountains, which have been eroded, risen again, and even been subjected to the action of volcanoes. They include Europe’s only Table Mountains, exceptional for the fact that they were built up not in folds, but in plates made of horizontal layers of sandstone. We really do have everything!
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