Olsztyn Sights and Landmarks Guide, Poland
Hidden in the deep woods of Northern Poland and surrounded by no less than 15 lakes, Olsztyn, the capital of Warmia and Mazuria has plenty of attractions to offer. Much of Olsztyn sights are concentrated around the city’s old centre and imposing castle, survivor of centuries of history and military conflicts.
Olsztyn Sights – Monuments and Museums
The most distinctive feature of Olsztyn is the Castle, built in the 14th century on the Łyna River by the Teutonic Knights. Initially built as a fortress, the castle had many functions across its centuries of existence, from storage facility to the residence of Nicolaus Copernicus. Today, the castle hosts the exhibits of the Museum of Warmia and Mazuria, as well as numerous events and festivals. Right in front of the castle you can admire the Statue of Copernicus (touching his nose will bring you luck). Some remains of the old city walls have still survived; the best preserved part is Wysoka Brama (High Gate), a tower guarding the entrance in Stare Miasto (Old Town), which now serves as a hotel.
Olsztyn is also home to an interesting Museum of Sports, a Natural History Museum and Gazeta Olsztynska Museum (dedicated to the first publication in Polish language in the region). Unlike other major polish cities – take Warsaw or Gdansk, for example, which were systematically destroyed during World War II – Olsztyn’s historic centre incorporates authentic buildings and not reconstructions.
Olsztyn Sights – Monuments of Architecture
In the centre of Olsztyn’s historic district lies the Old Town Market. The Old City Hall is probably the oldest construction in the Market; built in the mid 14th century, it underwent several reconstructions. Around the Market you can also admire some historical houses (like no. 1, no. 2, no. 10 and 11), that have served numerous purposes across time.
Olsztyn has a number of beautiful and historically relevant churches, starting with the 14th century Gothic-style Church of St. James the Elder and continuing with the Augsburg Protestant Church or the Jerusalem Chapel. The Railway Bridge over the Łyna is given great importance among Olsztyn sights, if not for its elegant architecture, at least for the sake of Olsztyn panorama it provides.
Olsztyn Sights – Culture and Entertainment
Over 30% of the area of Olsztyn is constituted by forests and lakes. You don’t even have to adventure yourself outside the city borders in order to enjoy all this nature: just visit the park along Łyna River and you’ll know what I meant. For some quality time with your family, plan a visit at the Olsztyn Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory: they’re open all year round. And last but not least, try to get a grip of Olsztyn’s cultural life. The Theatre of Stefan Jaracz, the Puppet Theater and Olsztyn Philharmonic Orchestra will be delighted to offer you a sample of their skill.
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