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My Bieszczady
By Pogranicze Media
Published: 22.04.2010

photo (bo)

Reservation  "Sine Wiry"
Sine Wiry is a scenic reservation ( surface 450 ha,) which is located on the former lands of Luh, Zawoj and Polanka villages . The most beautiful  and the most reachable part of reservation for tourists is Wetlina, near the Poloma hill.  If you go by car the best way to get to Sine Wiry is to set up from Bukowiec ( the small village near the Solina Lake) going to Dolzyca near Cisna or the other way round.
Quite close to Polanka village, where the Wetlina falls into Solinka river there is a car park called Spisowka. Then we can cross the Solinka through  the bridge and go  down the road among  thickly overgrowth  slopes , where we  can also hear  the humming of Wetlina river. After one hour walking we will spot the river ,meandering among numerous rocks and mighty boulders. Just above  there is a huge cluster of stones, which form a little island. From here down the river there was a little lake called Szmaragdowe Lake, which was formed due to the slide of the mountain. The rocky precipice, placid, green depths, humming of the river, beauty of landscapes and abundance of nature make this place not only beautiful but also mysterious.
It is worth to be here!!!

Reservation "Zwięzło" Duszatyńskie Lakes

We are in Komańcza, we pass the old, wooden church and we take next turn on the road through Prełuki. The road is rather bumpy, so the drivers have to be careful to not to destroy the car’s undercarriage. After 6km we reach Duszatyn. We leave the car on the parking lot and then we follow the Red Trial (pl. czerwony szlak). Our roaming takes approximately 1 hour till we reach Zwięzło Reservation

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In 1907 after a long-lasting raining season, a huge stratum of slate (together with almost 12 mln.m3 of forest) “slipped”   from Chryszczata Mountain to the nearest Olchowaty Stream, which resulted in formation of three small dam lakes. Nowadays, only two lakes still exists – Mniejsze Lake (with AMSL of 683m) and Górne Lake (with AMSL of 701m). The landscape is marvelous, also the tranquility of this place makes it even more amazing. However, there is a quite high possibility, that lakes will disappear in 20 years time, because of the mud from streams, which flow through lakes.

translated by JustynaB

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The Osława’s Valley Route

This tourist route is said to be unwritten border between Bieszczady and Low Beskids. The route is full of amazing examples of the wooden church architecture, However, not only.

A nineteenth – century (1836) brick Orthodox Church with a beautiful iconostasis.

An eighteenth – century church (1797) with a baroque interior and precious icon of the Annunciation of Blessed Virgin Mary form 16c.

The ruins of Carmelite Monastery from 1700-1710.

Gubrynowicz’s minor, often called “The last Commonwealth’s castle”.
A brick church form 1784 with baroque and rococo interior decorations.
The nineteenth – century brick vicarage and inn.

A wooden Orthodox Church with a characteristic for Lemkos’ architecture and icons, also the interior decorations are based on the distinctive wooden architectural style of the Lemko churches - the highest cupola of the church building at the entrance to the church, with the roof sloping downward toward the sanctuary.

Relatively new brick Orthodox Church with the iconostasis from 1900.

A triple wooden Orthodox Church from 1888, with a polychromy form 1925,
A wooden bell tower (1889) (next to the church).

Awooden Orthodox Church (1824), surrounded with a brickwork. The church has been built in Lemko’s architectural style with a nineteenth – century polychromy on the walls

A wooden Orthodox Church (1803) with a wooden bell tower surrounded with a brickwork, inside there is the polychromy and the iconostasis (1895).

A concrete Orthodox church, which was built in 1985-88. Inside there is a Lemko’s Heritage Room.

The former Unit parish church under the invocation of Our Lady which was erected in 1802, at present an Orthodox daughter-church. A gage-belfry was built in 1834, and this was followed by the addition of a sacristy in 1836. It has been renovated extensively. The iconostas dating from 1832 has been retained of its earlier furnishings and decorations. A very characteristic feature is its location at the extension of the sanctuary on the axis along the church. The Unit church in Komańcza along with its belfry are typical exemplifications of the East Łemkowie (so-called "Osławski") sacral architecture.

Komańcza – Letnisko
A beautiful place where Nunnery of Congregations of  the Holly Family is placed. The nunnery was built in 1928-31, nowadays there is a guesthouse. What is worth mention is the fact that  here in 1955 and 1956 The Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński was interned.

Wisłok Wielki
A very precious wooden Orthodox church (1850-54), surrounded with brickwork in which the bell tower is inbuilt. The church has a bipartite iconostasis and original nineteenth – century furniture.


A brick orthodox church with a bell tower (1806). Inside there is a very valuable iconostasis from 17 – 19c.

Wola Michowa
One of the oldest Jewish cemetery in Poland (kirkut), over 50 gravestones, some of them are as old as from 1780.

The village is placed near the Osława’s spring. Nowadays the village has almost disappeared. The only sign of human activity is the small concrete  shrine which is situated next to the Miraculous Spring.

translated by JustynaB

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The narrow gauge railway in Bieszczady
(“Bieszczadzka ciuchcia”)

My first encounter to Bieszczady’s narrow gauge line was in 1967. I was a young travel guide, when I was  made to guide a quite large group of tourists from 
Polish Tourist-Sightseeing Society. One of the main attraction which the tourist could afford while the sightseeing was the ride on “Ciuchcia” from Łupków to Majdan. The ride was fabulous, mainly because that those times Bieszczady was really wild. Sometimes, the train had to stop near the stream to “refuel” water. Meanwhile, people was going to the forest to pick up some raspberries and blueberries.  Unfortunately, nowadays Bieszczady isn’t as wild as it used to be. There is no sign of old Lemkos and Boykos’ settlements. But let’s back to the history of the “Bieszczady’s narrow gauge railway. The history goes back as far as to 19c, when demand for building timber has grown  enormously. However, the transport was always difficult, that is why the idea of the narrow gauge railway was put into practice. The  railway’s building started in 1890. Albin Zazulk from Jarosław became the Constructor  Manager. Firstly, the narrow gauge line contained 5 steam locomotives and 15 railroad cars. Till, the outbreak of the  WWI the railway was a very important element of Bieszczady’s industrial development. Along the line, a lot of sawmills  were established, so that local people could easily take a number of available job opportunities in their neighborhood. The Interwar period brought some changes in terms of the railway’s ownership – Polish State Railways (PKP) became the new owner. This period was quite successful, when we take into account a lot of changes and improvements which took place during those times. When the WWII started, German invader decided to take the advantage of Bieszczady’s forests and ordered to cut down a lot of trees, all for the army needs. During those times, the rail tracks were narrowed (1cm). However, fights with Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) caused the biggest destruction of the narrow gauge railway in Bieszczady. The steam locomotives and railway cars were totally destroyed. A  lot of experts and skilled workers were killed or forcibly resettled during Poland’s Wisła Operation. The new rolling stock was bought in 1953. From now on the narrow gauge line was connected with Bieszczady’s timber industry. In 60s and 70s two new lines were introduced: to Wetlina and Moczarne. Unfortunately, in late 70s the narrow gauge railway was on the brink of crisis. The motor transport became cheaper and more available for every Mr. Average. That is why Bieszczady’s narrow gauge railway was about to become only a part of history. In 1994 the local authorities decided to wind the narrow gauge railway up. However, Wojomir  Wojciechowski (the then director of Bieszczady National Park), Mr. Wrona (vogt of Cisna commune) and Mr. Wermiński, who was a hothead of Bieszczady’s narrow gauge railway appeared on stage. Mainly, from their indicative the narrow gauge lines were reopened. Nowadays, “ciuchcia” is shuttling between Majadan and Przysłup, and also to Wola Michowa.

Roman Holzer
translated by JustynaB
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Sine Wiry - (photo bo)