Paths Of The Past

The world was slowly waking up to life when a small bus from Lublin stood at the bus stop in Kazimierz Dolny. The door opened, filling the entire interior of the vehicle by a fresh, cool air.
After a few days in one of the larger cities in Poland I dreamed only about escape into the endless forest, big and wild spaces, peace and quiet. Kazimierz Dolny was the epitome of these traits.

Wonderful altostratus covered the sky by his robe, not letting the rays of the sun break through its surface. Finally came the first cool day of summer, which together with the cloud cover brought billions of drops of water flowing from the heavens. The rain washed away the tourists, so Kazimierz turned into a ghost town and the hiking trails into the wild and quiet spaces. That is what I like the most.


The first step of journey was conducted through the city. Passing the old synagogue, the former center of the Jewish Quarter, the street full of art galleries, historic church and a hospital, I got to the first point trips, which was the former Jewish cemetery. By way to the cemetery I could not find one of the most important points, namely school, designed by Karol Siciński. Then I learned from a resident of the city, which was also a graduate of this school, that the building was recently razed to the ground, and in its place is likely to be built a supermarket. Saying this, tears came to the eyes of this older woman. Not only historic building was torn down, but also her memories, a piece of her youth. The brother of this woman for many months postpones arrival to Kazimierz, because he believes that the sight of the demolished school will break his heart.
The world is changing whether we like it or not. The new generation does not care about what was important to generations from the past. There are no other reasons than economics. Maybe someday our graves will be placed under the floor of the Tesco, and the place where we first kissed with the love of our life, will turn into a factory. That’s why it is so important to take care of the memories in us, because often it’s the only thing we remain.

The cemetery that emerged from the forest wall is the only Jewish cemetery, which remained here. Until the II World War, Kazimierz had two cemeteries. German people destroyed completely the older one and they paved streets using a tombstones. The cemetery on Czerniawy was during the occupation site of executions of Jews and Christian. Until today the number of victims of these executions is unknown.
When in 1983 the Museum of the Vistula regained some tombstones, they have been used to build the original monument (lapidary) modeled on Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Jewish pilgrimage from all over the world come here and put in the slots cards with prayers to God.

kirkut 3
Although the monument makes a great impression, the most interesting part of this place is hidden behind it. Around the middle of the monument there is a crack, which is the gateway to one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. Through a crack in the monument, symbolizing the tragic fate of Polish Jews during the Second World War you can go to the site of the former cemetery, where there are about 25 tombstones, the oldest of which dates from 1851, most of the dates from end of the XIX century and the first 40 years of the XX century.

kirkut 2
Crown of giant trees formed a roof through which passed very few rays of sun. For this reason, the entire area of the cemetery was dark. Only mosses contrasted with the gray tombstones and soil.

The rest of the trail led through a small paths at which there were many beautiful, historic buildings. One of the most interesting building was the old cottage – one of the oldest in the Lublin region, dating from the eighteenth century. If walls could talk, these certainly could tell a lot of amazing stories.
Half a kilometer from the cottage was the entrance to the picturesque gorge called Korzeniowy Dół. In the meantime, it began to rain quite large, but stopped just before the entrance to the fairy-tale place. Korzeniowy Dół is undoubtedly one of the wonders of nature. Vertical walls rising to a height of even a few meters were covered with roots in fantastic forms. I felt there like in the world of fairy tales.


wąwóz 2

After almost a kilometer opened up to me a great space filled with gorgeous wildflowers. I left behind the gorge and go ahead by a quiet, rural roads that led me to the entrance of the Mount of Three Crosses. It is a great vantage point of the entire district of Kazimierz Dolny. Residents who survived the epidemics of the years 1705 and 1708 put crosses on top. Probably the first crosses were created in the sixteenth century.

kwiaty polne

During the descent the sky began to gather the rain clouds, and a moment later the Kazimierz was drowning in the rain. Unfortunately, it turned out to be much longer than this rain from the morning and prevented me to start the next tour. Last moments in this wonderful city I spent at a restaurant in the former Jewish district center, imagining the place decades earlier – full of life and bustle. Now there was only hear the rain drops hitting the ground and walls. One day the whole world become silent and only they will remain after us.




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