Kaszyby is a cultural region in northern Poland and a part of Pomerania region. It is an area inhabited by, among others, Kashubs (indigenous Pomeranians) who speak the regional Kashubian language. Kashubs are proud of their speech, but they consider themselves rather as Poles. Ethnically Kaszuby include those communes where Kashubs constitute at least 30% of the community and where there are vivid social and cultural activities. Within these boundaries, Kaszuby has an area of 7,009 km². Historicly Kaszuby includes those communes where the local Kashubian community lived 200 years ago and after the Second World War they settled here again (Kashubians constitute a small percentage here, less than 30%). They cover a total area of 4,759 km².
Kashubian culture is extremely interesting and completely different from the cultures found in other regions of Poland. Until now, traditional Kashubian costumes, songs, music and the language have been preserved. If you want to get to know Kashubian folklore better, you have to visit the Kashubian Ethnographic Park in Wdzydze Kiszewskie. This park, located about 70 km south-west of Gdańsk, boasts over a 100 years history. When it was founded in 1906, it was the first open-air museum. The park apart from normal museum exhibitions offers also workshops on Kashubian language and the art of craftsmanship.
Kashubian embroidery is the hallmark of Kashubia (you will also find it as a folk symbol at all our Pomeranian webpages). Although we have a dozen or so types of Kashubian embroidery, the common feature is the colors. These are the five basic colors: blue, black, yellow, green and red. Traditional motifs are references to flowers: tulips, pansies, lilies, roses and forget-me-nots. Today, embroidery is still a hobby of many Kashubian women and an idea for spending free time. It is difficult to find a Kashubian household where we cannot find scarves, tablecloths or tableware decorated with traditional embroidery.
A wonderful, extremely colorful element of Kashubian culture is the traditional folk costume, worn on special occasions. Blue, red and green, wide, women's knee-length skirts, a white apron, a white embroidered blouse and a black velvet corset - this is a popular women's Kashubian outfit. Gentlemen, on the other hand, wear white pants with a white shirt tied with a red ribbon under the chin. They pull a black vest over the shirt.
Traditional Kashubian cuisine is rich in fish and meat, including goose meat, which is a culinary pride. Unique dumplings, i.e. pancakes made of yeast or bread dough or schnitzel with glance, which are a round glazed raisin cookie, are homemade desserts that can be found in many Kashubian restaurants.
It is a place where you can admire the art of pottery, amber making, folk embroidery, unusual attractions of arts and crafts, and in general - breathe the Kashubian atmosphere. There are over 50 buildings characteristic of the rural landscape of Kashubia, Kociewie and Bory Tucholskie regions from the 17th to the 20th century.
It is situated about 50 km from Gdańsk (less than an hour trip). It is especially famous for its upside down house. It stands on its roof and you enter it by the window. In the house you move on the ceiling and you make a journey to Polish Communist era as all the furniture come from then. Of course the main attraction is that the house plays tricks to your ears labyrinth and it is very hard to walk straight there. The house stands in the educational centre where among other attractions you can see the longest board in the world, the largest playing piano and household appliances museum. There is also a possibility to visit the centre with a guide so, don’t wait too long and book the trip. The centre’s aim is to promote history, language and culture of Kaszuby region.
In this floral reserve there is a graveyard of the Goth tribe. You can find here stone circles and burial mounds, i.e. mound-shaped graves, which are the place of burial. The circles are 15 to 33 meters in diameter and protrude from the ground to a height of 20 to 70 cm, they are referred to as the "Polish Stonehenge".
It is an unofficial capital of Kaszuby region. An excellent source of knowledge about the Kashubian culture are the rich ethnographic collections of the Kashubian Museum in Kartuzy. Another place worth a visit is the Carthusian monastery complex with a Gothic temple - now the Collegiate Church with a unique roof in the shape of a coffin lid, dating from the Baroque period.
It rises 329 meters above sea level and is the highest place not only in Pomerania, but also in the whole of northern Poland and European Lowlands. In 1997, the Kashubian Observation Tower named after John Paul II was opened at the top, from which visitors can admire the vast panorama of the surrounding area. The easiest way to get to Wieżyca is via the black trail, from the parking lot located approx. 100 m from the national road No. 20 (Gdańsk - Kościerzyna). From the top, visitors can see not only Kashubian forests and lakes, but also - in completely cloudless weather - also Hel Spit, which seemingly seems to be hundreds of kilometres away. Climbing the tower, despite its height (approx. 35 m), is not difficult. The stairs are comfortable and wide, with appropriate railings, and the terrace itself is also extensive.
The gothic Teutonic castle from the 14th and 15th centuries, initially the seat of the Teutonic prosecutor, and then the property of Pomeranian dukes. The castle nowadays hosts a hotel and Western Kashubs Museum with ethnographic and historical exhibitions.
Kaszuby region has really much to offer. First of all, its pristine peacefulness, beautiful hilly forests and lakes. Furthermore, there is this unique Kashubs culture with all its folklore allure. Finally, there is delicious, natural cuisine. It is just a perfect location for holidays during pandemic times. If you find this area interesting, just contact one of our professional group coordinators and start your Kaszuby adventure with us. You can also check our one day tour package from Gdańsk if you are spending your holidays in Tri-city and would like to explore the region a little more. Kaszuby will charm you with their hospitality.
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska