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While there are plenty of reasons to explore the country, there is no question that the World Heritage Sites of Poland are some of the biggest draws. Thanks to Poland's natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural vibrancy, 16 different UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located within the country. Poland has lots to see, do, and explore, from medieval towns, national forests, stunning castles, and even historic mineral mines. While you may not be able to see each of the destinations from the UNESCO list in Poland, seeing as many as possible during your travels will be a rewarding experience. The latest additions to the list include Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region (2019) and Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System (2017).

However, traveling in the post-Covid19 reality, many visitors may feel more comfortable exploring outdoor locations, away from crowds and enclosed spaces. Thankfully, some of Poland's many UNESCO sites can be found in somewhat remote areas and away from mainstream and trendy tourist destinations. We would like to present a selection of five outdoor UNESCO sites with hopes that you will choose to visit some of them during your Poland vacation.

Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica

These two churches were supposed to symbolize reconciliation between Roman Catholics and Protestants, ending the longest war in history. They are unique constructions from an architectural standpoint. The churches in Jawor and Świdnica are the largest timber and clay buildings in Europe. While their exteriors are relatively modest, interior woodcarvings, painted biblical scenes and original pipe organs astound with skillful and talented artwork. Usually, between May and September, the inside of these churches turns into a backdrop for events, including classical music and gospel and organ performances. 

Mużakowski Park

A landscaped park astride the Neisse River and the border between Poland and Germany, it was created by Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau from 1815 to 1844. Blending seamlessly with the surrounding farmed landscape, the park pioneered new approaches to landscape design and influenced the development of landscape architecture in Europe and America. Within Germany, the estate comprises Castle Park, Spa Park, and Upper Mountain Park, including the Upper Walk. The Park on Terraces and Petzold's Arboretum can be found on the Polish side of the property.

Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine
The Wooden Tserkvas are a collection of 16 different churches, whit eight of them located in Poland. The Polish tserkvas are: the Tserkva of Saint James the Less the Apostle in Powroźnik, three Tserkvas of Saint Michael the Archangel in Brunary Wyżne, Turzańsk and Smolnik, the Tserkva of Our Lady’s Protection in Owczary, the Tserkva of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chotyniec, and two Tserkvas of Saint Paraskeva in Kwiatoń and Radruż.

Wooden tserkvas match the surrounding landscape of forested mountains perfectly. They usually stand on hills and are surrounded by circles of imposing trees, beam fences, and accessed by intricate gates. The artistry of carpentry masters was manifested in the beam joints at wall corners and in the refined modeling of rooftops and bell towers. The interiors sometimes contain polychrome frescos, but it was icons that were especially important. The oldest churches date back to the 15th century.

Białowieża Forest

As the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Poland, the Białowieża Forest is a unique destination in the country. The park is an enormous section of land situated on the border between Poland and Belarus. This primeval forest is home to animal and plant species typical of both Eastern and Western Europe. It's the only place in the world where you can see European bison freely roaming. This endangered species is the biggest European land mammal, and seeing them roaming in herds is an unforgettable sight. An area of about 40 square miles of the forest is protected as a natural park. The protected part of the park is fenced and can only be visited as part of a guided tour or official scientific expedition. Much care has been taken to ensure that this part of the forest remains undisturbed. 

Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska
The six trails on the Route of Timber Architecture in the Małopolska region are over 930 miles long. They feature total of some 252 timber constructed sites, including 125 Roman-Catholic churches, 50 Orthodox churches, and scores of other museums, manors, rural and small-town complexes. In 2003 four wooden churches in Małopolska were entered onto the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. Among them are the Parish Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Binarowa, the Parish Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Dębno Podhalańskie, St. Leonard’s Church in Lipnica Murowana and the Filial Church of St. Philip and St. Jacob in Sękowa.

 

 

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