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Notes on the Geography of Poland: Countryside

Here's a rural cross-section of Poland, from the progressive northwest to the backward but beautiful southeast.

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Poland: Countryside picture 1

Northwest of Warsaw and Plonsk, a fine highway zips through that countryside toward Stettin, the old German name for a city in the western and formerly German part of the country.

Poland: Countryside picture 2

The dark forests of European folktales: a patch survives northeast of Poznan (Posen).

Poland: Countryside picture 3

The equipment here--northeast of Torun--is a generation behind the times, but far ahead of what one sees in the east and south of the country.

Poland: Countryside picture 4

Northwest Poland--here near Ostromecko, between Torun and Bydgoszcz--is the most technologically progressive but visually dull part of the country.  As usual, the two are related inversely.

Poland: Countryside picture 5

The Kansas of Poland.

Poland: Countryside picture 6

Poland's leading agricultural-research institute has long been at Pulawy, southeast of Warsaw and on the Vistula. Yet not far away, on the road east toward Lublin, mechanization falls away. A horse takes a rest after pulling a harrow down an exceedingly long row, suggesting that the medieval fields here have been reorganized, even if production technology remains little changed.

Poland: Countryside picture 7

Back to work.

Poland: Countryside picture 8

No combines here: sheaves stacked in shocks.  There's a word you don't hear much in the United States these days.  Of course that's because you no longer see the things.

Poland: Countryside picture 9

Narrow medieval strips, just about a furrow long--which is to say, a furlong, 660 feet. Northeast of Cracow, near the Vistula.

Poland: Countryside picture 10

Southern Poland, east of Cracow, is full of log cabins befitting such fields. The fence is a pity.

Poland: Countryside picture 11

This sequence is from near Dabrowka, between Krakow and Tarnow. The garden is typical, a riot of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Even in sober places like Poznan, the cityfolk have plots in tracts set aside for gardening. They put up tiny huts, surround them with growing things, and remember their own agrarian roots.

Poland: Countryside picture 12

A log cabin, dressed up.

Poland: Countryside picture 13

Timber buildings are an old, old craft here. Church near Sandomierz, between Kracow and Lublin.


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