New Mexico logo

Dates of visit:
September 15 - 30, 2009

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Meeting Cousins
 Historic Berlin
 Karkonosze Forest
 Town of Boleslawiec
 Town of Nowy Sol
 Town of Zielona Gora
 City of Wroclaw
 Wang Church
 Kowary Mine
 Klotzko Fortress
 Ladek Zdroj


[ Home ] [ Travel Page ] [ Trip ] [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 5 ] [ Part 6 ]
Intro Page - Introduction to trip
Part 1 of trip - Berlin, Germany
Part 2 of trip - Meeting Family, Towns of Kozuchow, Nowy Sol, Zielona Gora
Part 3 of trip - Lower Silesia, Boleslawiec City, Karkonosze and Zamek Chojnik
Part 5 of trip - Kowary, Klodzko Fortress, Ladek-Zdrój, Bear Cave, Ksiaz Castle
Part 6 of trip - Wroclaw + Panorama, Zagan + Stalag Luft III, Military Museum
Towns and Cities of Lower Silesia

Szklarska Poreba and Vicinity

1 ...
Location of Szklarska Poreba

Szklarska Poreba Coat of ArmsSzklarska Poreba (German: Schreiberhau) is a town in Jelenia Góra County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. The town has a population of around 7,000. It is a popular ski resort. An important regional and national centre for mountain hiking, cycling and skiing, Szklarska Poreba is situated in the valley of the Kamienna, between the Karkonosze Mountains and Jizera Mountains, 1,900 ft. above sea level, 16 miles south-west of Jelenia Góra. The ski resorts in this area are growing in popularity as an alternative to the Alps, thanks to wide range of both Alpine and Nordic skiing facilities.

History ... The village was created by German colonists on a spot bought by Knights Hospitalers from Calidus Fons (Bad Warmbrunn, now Cieplice Slaskie-Zdrój in Jelenia Góra) who were interested in finding gold and precious gems in the area. It was first mentioned in 1366 and 1372 in conjunction with a glass factory, forerunner of the famed later Josephinenhütte, as Schribirshau and Schreibershow. In 1578 several Bohemian Protestants moved to the village and greatly contributed to its development. Among the refugees was Marie Pluch, which gave the district Mariental its name. Over time the glass factory moved deeper into the mountains.

In 1617 the Preußler family migrated from the southern Bohemian side of the Giant Mountains to Silesia and received a concession to run a movable glass factory from the counts of Schaffgotsch, landlords of Schreiberhau. The glass industry of the village was dominated by the Preußler family for the next 200 years. In 1842 Franz Pohl, son-in-law of the last Preußler, persuaded Count Schaffgotsch to establish a new glass factory in Schreiberhau. This Josephinenhütte became the largest and best glass factory in Silesia, while Schreiberhau greatly expanded to become the largest village in Prussia, with 15 districts covering 43 square kilometres (17 sq mi).

Around 1900 several artists discovered the beauty of the countryside and formed the Schreiberhau artists' colony, among them Gerhart Hauptmann and his brother Carl, Otto Mueller and Wilhelm Bölsche. Later, younger artists formed the St. Lukas artists' association.

In 1925 the first winter games of the International Workers Olympiad (organised by the Lucerne Sport International) were held in the town. Twelve national delegations participated.

After World War II Schreiberhau became part of Poland and was renamed Szklarska Poreba (literally "glass clearing"). The German inhabitants were expelled and the village resettled with Poles. The Josephinenhütte was moved to Schwäbisch Gmünd. The glass factory in Szklarska Poreba was renamed and continued to operate.

On 22-27 September 1947 the conference on the establishment of the communist information office (Kominform) took place in the village. The village gained the status of a town in 1959.

Szklarska Poreba still contains some fine villas and municipal buildings built before the war although many are now being unsympathetically restored with the local planning laws being easily flouted.

For more information about this city visit ... City of Szklarska Poreba
Official city web site (Polish): Szklarska Poreba (English option available)

Traditional Oscypek cheeseOscypek ... (Polish; plural: oscypki) is a smoked cheese made exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland (as well as anywhere the Gorals - natives of the Tatra mountains - emigrate, e.g. Lithuania, Ukraine and Hungary). Oscypek is a protected trade name under the EU's Protected Designation of Origin geographical indication.

Oscypek is made using salted sheep's milk, with the addition of cow's milk strictly regulated by the protected recipe. Unpasteurized salted sheep's milk is first turned into cottage cheese, which is then repeatedly rinsed with boiling water and squeezed. After this, the mass is pressed into wooden, spindle-shaped forms in decorative shapes. The forms are then placed in a brine-filled barrel for a night or two, after which they are placed close to the roof in a special wooden hut and cured in hot smoke for up to 14 days.

The first mention of cheese production in the Tatra Mountains dates back to the 15th century, in a document from the village of Ochotnica in 1416. The first recorded recipe for oscypek was issued in 1748 in the Zywiec area. Before Poland voted to join the European Union, some Polish Eurosceptics warned that oscypek could be banned in the EU due to its use of unpasteurized milk and its production by unlicensed farmers. This fear proved unfounded.

Video recorded: September 2009
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Szklarska Poreba and Vicinity

General Views of Szklarska Poreba
Szklarska Poreba Szklarska Poreba Szklarska Poreba
Szklarska Poreba Szklarska Poreba Szklarska Poreba
Glass Works (Lesna Huta)
Lesna Huta Lesna Huta Lesna Huta
Lesna Huta Lesna Huta Lesna Huta
Lesna Huta Lesna Huta Lesna Huta
Lesna Huta Lesna Huta Lesna Huta
Wodospad Szklarki (Szklarki Waterfall)
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki Wodospad Szklarki
Shopping for Oscypek Cheese at Wodospad Szklarki
Oscypek Oscypek Oscypek
Karpach and Wang Church

1 ...
Location of Karpacz on Poland's Map

Karpacz Coat of ArmsKarpacz (German Krummhübel) is a spa town and ski resort in Jelenia Góra County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, south-western Poland, and one of the most important centres for mountain hiking and skiing. Its population is about 5,000. Karpacz is situated in the Karkonosze mountains - a resort with increasing importance for tourism as an alternative to the Alps. Karpacz is located at 480-885 metres above sea level. South of Karpacz on the border to the Czech Republic there is Mount Snežka-Snieska (1,602 m). In Karpacz Górny there is a Norwegian stave church, moved here from Vang, Norway in the mid-19th century.

Krummhübel is first mentioned in 1599 because of lead and iron mining. Since the construction of Krummhübel's first railway connection in 1895 history was connected with the development of metallurgy industries and with the progress of tourism. The village was part of Germany until 1945. Krummhübel's original German population was forcibly expelled from the village between 1945 and 1947. The town was subsequently repopulated with ethnic Poles and renamed Karpacz.

In Karpacz Górny (German Brückenberg) there is a gravity hill where bottles appear to roll uphill. According to legend, Krummhübel was the home to Rübezahl, a giant.

For more information about this city visit ... Karpacz
Official city web site (Polish): Town of Karpacz (English option available)

Vang (Wang) Stave Church

1 ... Location of Vang Stave Church in Karpacz

Vang, NorwayHistory of Wang Church (by Edwin Pech) ... Wang Church was built at the turn of 12th century in Vang which accounts for its present name. Vang was a settlement at Lake Vang in southern Norway.

Lake Wang (Vangsmjosi in Norway) set 466 m above sea level surrounded by high mountains where Mount Grindafjellet (1724 m above sea level), their most famous peak used to be a dwelling place for Tindull Grindo, a troll, in the "olden days". A circle marks a former site of the Wang church. (photo: © Janusz Moniatowicz)

Vang ChurchAbout a thousand similar wooden (stave) churches were built there then, yet till the present day only thirty one such churches survived in Norway, and this one in Karpacz Górny. Our Twin Parish in Hahnenklee, Germany, has also a wooden church built in 1908 according to the Norwegian designs.

In the nineteenth century Wang Church proved too small and in need of costly renovation, and so a decision to sell it was made. The money was needed to pay back a loan taken for the construction of a new one.

Parish buildingThanks to the efforts of a Dresden-based Norwegian painter, Professor John Christian Dahl, this great architectural experience of the Vikings was bought for the sum of 427 marks by the then king, Frederick William IV. A royal architect completed the working plan of the church building, and the edifice was taken to pieces so as to be shipped, in boxes, to Szczecin in 1841 and from there - to the Royal Museum in Berlin. The King, however, had abandoned the idea of having it reerected on the Peacock Island near Berlin and started seeking another site for the church to render its religious services.

Owing to the involvement of Countess Frederica von Reden of Bukowiec, in the spring of 1842 the church was moved to the Karkonosze Mountains so that it could be of use to the Lutherans living in Karpacz and its surroundings. The church therefore journeyed on barges along the river Odra to be later hauled by nine horse wagons.

The building site for the church was presented by Count Christian Leopold von Schaffgotsch of Cieplice. It is a slope of Czarna Góra (885 metres above sea level), midway between lower Karpacz and Mount S'niez.ka.

To provide a few hundred square metres of a building plot necessary for the church, the rectory, the school and the cemetery the rocks were blown up and a six-metre-high retaining wall was constructed.

On August 2, 1842 King Frederick William IV himself laid a cornerstone for the church, and two years later on July 28, 1844 the solemn opening and the consecration of the church took place in the presence of the King, his Consort, Frederick- the Prince of Holland and other distinguished guests.

For the first time the bells were heard ringing from the bell tower of this church whose location is the highest among the Lower Silesian churches. The bells' ringing made it known that from then onwards the church would provide the same service as it had in Norway.

Vang ArchitectureWang Church followed the best examples of the Scandinavian sacral architecture and is now a unique work of the old Nordic art. Built in the way the Viking longships were, that is without a single nail, it features wooden bolts and dovetails. The church was built from the Norwegian pine rich in resin which reveals unusual endurance.

Rune lettering
(photo: © Janusz Moniatowicz)

THE RUNES IN WANG CHURCH ... Runes were the letters of the syllabic alphabet used at the beginning of our era by the peoples of north and north-west Europe. The letters were mainly carved in stone, metal, bone and wood. They had probably been created beyond the Roman culture. They followed the Latin and Greek alphabets. Among the Scandinavian people they survived as late as the 19th century as the peasant and ornamental script. The word "rune", i. e. a secret, stood for a secret script.

In Norway there are about 1,600 rune inscriptions. The runic inscription on the portal of the Wang church had various translations, e. g. "Eindridi badly cut St. Olafs son's little finger." Most probably the inscription reads: "Eindridi carved (the portal), a thin finger, Olaf the Evil's son." It is then an artist's signature. The name of the carver who made the portal was Eindridi; he was called "thin-fingered" ("of artistic fingers"?) and was the son of some Olaf the Evil.

To follow the discussion that follows, refer to the images in the Site Gallery - Vang Stave Church ( below )

The outer door frames, which one passes through, draws one's attention to their half-columns decorated with a tangle of dragons and plants. On their capitals mounted are the stylized lions in their symbolic roles of the beasts which keep guard at the gates.

It is most incredible that in those days with such scarce tools available like the ones made from flint, horn or fishbone people were able to so masterly carve the beasts' heads, their legs and furs. Quite unlike other ornaments these are facing outwards.

The age of the southern doorway on the right is revealed by the characteristic lunette which caps it and whose clover shape points to the twelfth century.

In the top corners of both doorways are the carved winged dragons right in the act of tearing apart the horizontally placed figure eight. Such an arrangement may symbolise the eternal and everlasting combat between good and evil.

Across from here, one can see the southern doorway which was carved by Eindridi in the first half of the twelfth century as the runic inscription, placed on the edge of the door frame reveals: "Eindridi carved me to the glory of St Olaf."

ColumnsThe half-columns, which make decorative door frames, depict the Viking warriors' faces, with their forked tongues sticking out. Such tongues represented the passing of knowledge and wisdom onto the following generations. The upper parts of the columns from the twelfth century, carved in the Byzantine style, are also true works of art. The carved figures of animals, plants and mascarons decorate these capitals.

The four columns placed in the middle of the main nave and the ones on its both sides may have been the masts of the Viking long boats. The remaining columns, which are in front of the altar and depict David's victory over Goliath, and the Prophet Daniel in the lions' pit were reconstructed by a remarkable sculptor - Jakub of Janowice. Sill another of his works is the cross made in 1844 from a single oak trunk and the figure of Christ, made from linden wood in 1846.

CandelabraOn both sides of the altar, made in 1980 by Ryszard Zajac, standing are the two mounted candelabra. One shows a swan as a symbol of faithfulness, the other - a heart as a symbol of love. The candles in them are lit only during wedding ceremonies. Wang Church is well known as a church of successful marriages.

FontThe font, the Lower Silesian baroque, made around 1740, comes from a dismantled church in Dziecmorowice, near Walbrzych. The pulpit was made from the wood brought from Norway. The two boards hanging on the walls are used for displaying the numbers of hymns sung during services, and they date back to the year 1904.

The church is surrounded with the cloisters which protect it against cold. In the days of old, people used to leave their weapons and fishing nets there. In medieval times they would do penance in there. The sunlight brightens the church interior through 174 little crown-glass windows. On leaving the church we can see some highly characteristic roof ornaments. The roof tops are decorated with pinnacles, i.e., the projections in the shape of gaping dragon mouths which resemble the ornaments characteristic of the Vikings' longships. Thus the Karkonosze Wang Church is an example of how the pagan elements penetrated into Scandinavian Christianity.

A 24-metre-high tower was built of the Silesian granite to shield the little church from sharp gusts of wind blowing off the Sniezka direction.

In 1856, on the western slope, king Frederick William IV put up a monument with an epitaph in honour of Countess von Reden and with her likeness in a medallion. In the churchyard also are the rectory buildings for the use of the local Lutheran Parish. In the Chapel of Christian Mission you will find the Holy Bible, the Bible for children, Christian publications, Wang Church photographic albums, view cards and souvenirs connected with the place. Next to the book shop is a sculpture, made by Ryszard Zajac in 1994, which shows Lazarus being raised from the dead.

Additional Information: book titled: "Wang" by Janusz Moniatowicz, Edwin Pech

* ISBN 83-901277-0-9 (Polish)
* ISBN 83-901277-1-7 (German)
* ISBN 83-901277-2-5 (English)

Text and image source ... History of Vang
For more information on Vang Church ... Vang Stave Church
Official web site (Polish): Vang (Wang) Church (English option available)

Video recorded: September 2009
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Vang Stave Church

Hike to Vang (Wang) Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Exterior of Vang (Wang) Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Interior of Vang (Wang) Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Vang Church Vang Church Vang Church
Gerhart Hauptmann House (Nobel Prize Winner)

1 ...
Location of Stara Kamienica on Poland's Map

Stara Kamienica (German: Alt Kemnitz) is a village in Jelenia Góra County. It lies approximately 13 km (8 mi) west of Jelenia Góra, and 106 km (66 mi) west of the regional capital Wroclaw (German: Breslau). The village has a population of 1,200. Prior to 1945, it was in Germany. Name means "Old House" or "Old Tenement."

Gerhart Hauptman (1945)Gerhart Hauptmann (15 November 1862—6 June 1946) was a German dramatist who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1912.

Hauptmann's career as a playwright ... Hauptmann was born in Obersalzbrunn, a small town of Silesia, now known as Szczawno-Zdrój and a part of Poland.

He was the son of a hotel-keeper. From the village school of his native place he passed to the Realschule in Breslau, and was then sent to learn agriculture on his uncle's farm at Jauer. Having, however, no taste for country life, he soon returned to Breslau and entered the art school, intending to become a sculptor. Here he met his life-long friend Josef Block. He then studied at Jena, and spent the greater part of the years 1883 and 1884 in Italy. In May 1885, Hauptmann married and settled in Berlin, and, devoting himself entirely to literary work, soon attained a great reputation as one of the chief representatives of the modern drama.

Gerhart HauptmannIn 1891 he moved to Schreiberhau in Silesia. Hauptmann's first drama, Vor Sonnenaufgang (1889) inaugurated the naturalistic movement in modern German literature. It was followed by Das Friedensfest (1890), Einsame Menschen (1891) and Die Weber (The Weavers 1892), a powerful drama depicting the rising of the Silesian weavers in 1844. Of Hauptmann's subsequent work, mention may be made of the comedies Kollege Crampton (1892), Der Biberpelz (1893) and Der rote Hahn (1901), the symbolist dream play The Assumption of Hannele (1893), and an historical drama Florian Geyer (1895). He also wrote two tragedies of Silesian peasant life, Fuhrmann Henschel (1898) and Rose Bernd (1903), and the dramatic fairy-tales Die versunkene Glocke (1897) and Und Pippa tanzt (1905).

Hauptmann's marital life was difficult, and in 1904 he divorced his wife. That same year he married the actress Margarete Marschalk, who had borne him a son four years previously. The next year, his second marriage was interrupted by an affair with the 17-year-old Austrian actress Ida Orloff, whom he met in Berlin when she performed in his play The Assumption of Hannele. Orlov inspired characters in several of Hauptmann's works, and he later referred to her as his muse.

Gerhart Hauptman Nobel PrizeIn 1911 he wrote Die Ratten. In 1912, Hauptmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art."

Gerhart Hauptman Nobel Prize

During the First World War Hauptmann was a pacifist. In this period of his career he wrote several gloomy and historical-allegorical plays, like Der Bogen des Odysseus (1914), Der weisse Heiland (1912–17), Winterballade (1917). After the War, his ability was clearly on the wane. There are two full-length plays which are similar to the early successes, but with a little Realistic taste: Dorothea Angermann (1926) and Vor Sonnenuntergang (1932). He remained in Germany after Hitler's Machtergreifung and survived the fire storm of Dresden. His last bow is the Atriden-Tetralogie (1942–46).

Several of his works have been translated into English. These include the plays which he wrote till Veland (1925), except Elga, an earlier fairy play and Festspiel in deutschem Reimen, a festival play. His works were published by S. Fischer Verlag.

Hauptmann died at the age of 83 at his home in Agnetendorf (now Jagnia;tków, Poland) in 1946. Because of German atrocities committed in Poland during World War II, the Polish communist administration did not allow Hauptmann's relatives to bury him in Agnetendorf although even the Soviet military government recommended it as they admired the work of Hauptmann, his body was transported in an old cattle wagon to occupied Germany more than a month after his death. He was buried near his cottage on Hiddensee.

Source: Gerhart Hauptmann
Nobel Prize: Nobel Prize in Literature

Gerhart HauptmanAutobiography ... Gerhart HauptmannI was born on November 15, 1862. The place of my birth is Bad Obersalzbrunn, a spa famous for its medicinal springs. The house of my birth is the inn «Zur Preussischen Krone». My father was Robert Hauptmann, my mother Marie Hauptmann, née Straehler. I am the youngest of four children. I remember growing up in an educated and lively middle-class house.

I attended the village school, learned some Latin from a tutor, and had violin lessons. Later I went to Breslau, the capital of our province, where I lived in boardinghouses and attended a Gymnasium. Fortunately, my Breslau school period did not crush me, but it left scars from which I only slowly recovered.

I should have perished if there had not been a way out. I went to the country and began to study agriculture. The tortures of school, begun in 1874, ended in 1878. But agriculture remained an episode. Once in solitude I reamed to stand on my own feet and have my own thoughts. I grew conscious of myself, my value, and my rights. In this way I gained independence, firmness, and a freedom of intellect that I still enjoy today.

Hungry for culture, I resumed to Breslau where I spent a second, happier period. I attended the art academy, did sculpturing, learned what youth, hope, and beauty are, the value of friends, masters, and teachers.

I drew, sculptured, drank, wrote poems, made plans, and built castles in Spain. In this mood I exchanged the art academy of Breslau for the University of Jena in Thuringia. In this mood I exchanged Jena for Rome, and later Rome for Berlin.

Although I still worked as a sculptor in Rome, it was here that I finally decided upon literature. A play Vor Sonnenaufgang [Before Dawn] made me publicly known in 1889.

My later works I wrote partly in Berlin, partly in Schreiberhau in the Riesengebirge, partly in Agnetendorf, partly in Italy: they are the condensation of outward and inward fortunes.

Source: Nobel Prize Laureate - 1912

Video recorded: September 2009
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Gerhart Hauptmann House

Gerhart Hauptmann House (Exterior)
Hauptmann House Hauptmann House Hauptmann House
Hauptmann House Hauptmann House Hauptmann House
Gerhart Hauptmann House (Interior)
Hauptmann House Hauptmann House Hauptmann House
Hauptmann House Hauptmann House Hauptmann House
Wlastimil Hofman House (Polish Painter)

Wlastimil Hofman (1881-1970) was a Polish painter, one of the most popular painters of the interwar and postwar years.

Hofman was born Vlastimil Hofmann in Prague to Ferdynand Hofmann, a Czech, and Teofila, a Polish woman. In 1889 Vlastimil moved to Kraków in Poland, where he studied at St Barbara’s School and then at the Jan III Sobieski high school. In 1896, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he studied under Jacek Malczewski. In 1899 he went to study painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1902 he had his first showings in an exhibition by the "Sztuka" society. Further exhibitions followed in Munich, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Warsaw. In 1904 he painted the first of his village (or peasant) "Madonnas". In 1905 he started the cycle of pictures called “Confession”. In 1907 he was the first Polish painter to be made a member of the Gallery of the Vienna Secession. In the period 1914-1920 he lived in Prague and Paris. Back in Kraków in 1921 he had a house and studio built in Spadzista Street. Sometime around 1922, due to the influence of Jacek Malczewski, he changed his name to the less Czech and more Polish Wlastimil Hofman.

Malczewski died in 1929. In September, 1939 Hofman fled from the Nazi invasion because of his Jewish wife and during the Second World War was in the Soviet Union, Turkey, and Palestine. In 1942, he published a book of poetry called Through Darkness to Freedom. During the. He returned to Kraków in June 1946 where he met his future wife, a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust. In May 1947, together with his wife, he moved to Szklarska Pore;ba in the mountainous south of Poland. In the period 1953-1963 he produced religious paintings for the local church, including “Four Evangelists” “The Way of the Rosary”, “The Way of the Cross”, “The Adoration of the Child”. He also produced many portraits of local people and also self-portraits. In 1961, he was awarded the Cross of the Order of the Polish Renaissance. Wlastimil Hofman died on March 6, 1970.

Wlastimil Hofman

Video recorded: September 2009
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Wlastimil Hofman House

Hofman House Hofman House Hofman House
Hofman House Hofman House Hofman House
Hofman House Hofman House Hofman House
Hofman House Hofman House Hofman House
Hofman House Hofman House Hofman House
Hofman House Hofman House Hofman House
[ Home ] [ Travel Page ] [ Trip ] [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 5 ] [ Part 6 ]