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Pałuki, the bloody Venetian devil, and "Polish Pompeii"

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

In an area spread over two voivodeships (Wielkopolskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeships) is a small cultural region called Pałuki. Where did the name of this region come from? Probably from the word for hilly terrain, "arched" (łukowaty in Polish). The land is small but very picturesque and interesting both historically and culturally; the so-called Piast Trail runs through the region, connecting places related to the establishment of the Polish state. There are many places to see in the region, but the most important and typically visited ones are the town of Żnin and the two tiny settlements of Venice and Biskupin. Żnin Żnin is one of the oldest cities in the region and is the uncrowned capital of Pałuki. Here, you can visit the Museum of the Pałuki region, where you can see artifacts from the Pałuki culture. In the old market square, you can admire the tower, a remnant of the town hall, and as is typical for small towns in this area, a church from the 15th century. There is also a small manor house nearby, the so-called "Sufragania". The narrow-gauge railway is inseparably connected with Żnin - the biggest attraction and fun for children and adults alike. Thanks to this peculiar railway, from here it is easy to visit two extraordinary places, Venice and Biskupin. Venice It is not fully clear why Mikołaj of Nałęcz, whose castle ruins are in Venice, was called the bloody Venetian devil. He probably irritated too much the archbishops of Gniezno during the civil war in Greater Poland in the 14th century, by looting their possessions (which, incidentally, was not something unusual), and so, in retaliation, they started to call him that nickname. His castle survived until the 16th century. Afterwards it became a complete ruin. Visiting the castle and the narrow-gauge railway museum located at the station can be an interesting prelude to the next stop on the route, Biskupin. Biskupin Hidden under the water of Biskupin Lake, this place was waiting for 2700 years to be discovered. Then, one day in 1930 a local teacher, Walenty Szwajcer, and his pupils noticed sharpened wooden poles protruding from the water. He immediately wrote about his find in a letter to a professor at the University of Poznań. It soon turned out to be a sensation on a worldwide scale, attracting the attention of archaeologists around the world who wondered who the inhabitants of this wooden settlement were. It is believed that the settlement of Biskupin was founded in the 8th century BC, or in the Iron and Bronze Age, by tribes belonging to the so-called Lusatian culture, who lived on the territories of today’s Eastern Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Western Ukraine between 1300 and 500 BC; however, the ethnicity of the settlers is unknown . They were definitely not Slavs, neither the Germanic tribes, as Nazi propaganda once claimed. To this day, Biskupin is the most important archeological site in the country, and for this reason it is called “Polish Pompeii”. It is a very unique place and known to every person with a Polish education, being one of those familiar things that every Polish person knows, such as the white and red flag, the emblem with the Eagle, and the national anthem.

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