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Archive for poland

Europe’s Largest Jewish Cemetery

By Linda Tancs

Jewish heritage abounds in Łódź, the third largest city in Poland. Jews first began settling there in the late 18th century, and the city became one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe, second only to Warsaw. When the Nazis attacked, it became a ghetto, replete with death and mourning until its liberation by the Soviets in 1945. Amidst such history it should come as no surprise that the city hosts Europe’s largest Jewish cemetery (and one of the largest in the world), with about 160,000 people buried on its grounds.

The History of Polish Jews

By Linda Tancs

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews stands in what was once the heart of Jewish Warsaw—an area the Nazis turned into the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Its compelling location underscores its role as a narrator of history and its standing as an important and innovative center for research, education and culture as well as a platform for social change. The museum traces 1,000 years of the Jewish community’s history in Poland, and its core exhibit includes artifacts, paintings, reconstructions, interactive installations and video.

The 2016 European Capitals of Culture

By Linda Tancs

New year, new cultural pursuits. The European Union’s honorees for 2016 Capitals of Culture are the Spanish city of Donostia-San Sebastian and Wroclaw, Poland’s fourth largest city. San Sebastian, the third largest city in the Basque Country, is focusing their agenda on a community of culture to foster peaceful coexistence. Seeking to link the two cultural capitals, Wroclaw’s opera director is planning a massive Spanish folk musical at the local stadium, featuring 50 dance groups and 80 choirs performing under the direction of a Spaniard. What a perfect way to promote understanding through culture and the arts.

Woodstock Lives on in Poland

By Linda Tancs

The Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York is one of the most popular music events in history.  It’s been faithfully re-created in Kostrzyn, Poland (50 miles from Berlin) since 1995.  This year’s festivities begin today and end on 2 August.   Over 500,000 attendees are expected.  Be there or be square.

The Longest Wooden Pier in Europe

By Linda Tancs

It isn’t uncommon for a seaside city to boast of rejuvenative effects.  In Sopot, Poland’s seaside city, they even say that the concentration of iodine in the air is heavier at seaside than on land.  Whatever the merits of the claim, what is undeniable is that this small seaside resort sports the longest wooden pier in Europe at about 1676 feet.  That’s quite a platform from which to view the town’s panorama of Art Nouveau townhouses, villas and historic parks.  Not surprisingly, most hotels are situated along the shoreline, like the stately Grand Sopot.  Spring and summer bring a slew of street and music festivals.  Better hurry.

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A Crowning Achievement in Świebodzin

By Linda Tancs

Świebodzin in western Poland still contains remnants of the town’s past as a medieval walled settlement, but perhaps its greatest feature is the newly unveiled statue of Christ on the outskirts of town.  Capped with a gleaming gold crown, the imposing statue with outstretched arms reportedly rivals Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer.  At a stunning 33 meters (one for each of Jesus’s years of life), the locals are hoping to attract pilgrims and the accompanying revenue.

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