Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Beskid Sadecki ("Basket" Valleys)

One tour book describes the area around Krynica: "as good an experience of rural Poland as you could hope for, through fields where farmers still scythe the grass and forests cover the hills above. The villages are ripe for cerkiew (old wooden church) hunting and mineral water bottling facilities abound." One morning of our time at the conference in Krynica was devoted to a bus tour of this area (then the conference continued in the afternoon and evening). I've attached some pictures from the churches the tour book talks about, one of the most interesting characteristics of the area. They were originally Greek Orthodox churches of the Lemks - an ethnic minority of this area who were 'relocated' (mainly to the Ukraine) as a result of the border redrawings after WWII. Now they are Roman Catholic churches but have only been adapted slightly (such as adding an altar at the front of the church in addition to the two side altars typical of Greek Orthodox) and much of the original interior remains, as well as the very unique exterior design.

The ongoing stories of border changes and wholesale population relocations continue to amaze us. We heard someone tell a joke about their grandfather "who was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), went to school in Austria, was married in Germany, and died in Poland.....but never left his village in Silesia." It's harder to joke about your family and whole village being deported hundreds of miles to another country as a result of redrawn borders.
Cerkiew in Muszynka (on the border with Slovakia) from 1689
Cerkiew interior

Pojazdow cerkiew, 1604 (oldest in the area)

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