Friday, 26 March 2010

Zsuzsi Abroad pt.II


As you could read in the previous post, I spent about 8 months in Lublin. This post will give you more information about the city.


Lublin is the 9th biggest city in Poland, and it is located in the eastern part of the country. It is a very interesting place which has not really been discovered by foreign visitors. It’s not as big as Warsaw, nor is it as famous a Cracow, but the city has a certain worn-down charm that may offer something rather different to tourists. When I lived there, it was still possible to eat in old communist-style restaurants and kiosks, we went out partying in shady pubs where nobody knew any English and the lack of international businesses was rather enchanting. Nowadays, I hear, the city has changed quite drastically. Don’t ask me how, though, because it’s been a while since I last went there.  

The Old Town (Stare Miasto), filled with bars and restaurants, is a good choice for meeting up with friends. It is lovely to go there in spring and summer, soaking up the sun and enjoying a good drink. The Krakowska Gate (below), which is the entrance to the old town, is a beautiful landmark.


The Lublin Castle is situated on the other side of the Old Town (i.e. the Old Town is between the Castle and the city centre). The castle was built and rebuilt from the 12th century onwards. It was restructured during 1826-1828. From this time onwards the castle served as a prison, and since 1957 it has been the main site of the Lublin museum. The picture you can see below is taken at the square in front of the castle.


The most frightening spot in Lublin lies in the outskirts of the city. In 1941 the Nazi concentration camp Majdanek was established. During its 34 months of operation, it came to be the last home (if that definition can ever be used for a concentration camp) for 78,000 people, including a large number of Jews. Before the war, Lublin had had a thriving Jewish community. Due to its location, the camp was among the first ones to be "freed" by the Soviet Red Army, and it was almost intact when the Russians captured it. For this reason, Majdanek is the best-preserved concentration camp in Poland. It is very difficult to describe the feeling one gets when visiting a place like this. When I went there, the sun was shining and the grass was already green. We could see the city centre from the site. It was quiet and everything seemed to have been left just the way it was in 1944. The smell of tar still makes me sick.


1 comment:

knickknacks said...

Seems like a very nice place! Thanks for sharing! :)