Poland

Attraction

Gdańsk Shipyard

Readers who are interested in history and international politics would know Poland was the one triggering the democratisation of Eastern Europe in the 90's. Polish trade union Solidarity founded at the Lenin Shipyard, known as Gdańsk Shipyard now, played a crucial role in the movement. In the most important port-industrial city in Poland, Gdańsk, workers fought for labour rights and staged strikes. To better coordinate and lead the movement, the trade union was established at the shipyard. The movement later became the resistance against the high-handed rule. Eventually, Solidarity succeeded in introducing democratic elections to Poland. Wałęsa, leader of Solidarity and first democratically elected president, led Poland to become a democratic country and encouraged the neighbouring countries to follow. 


In the shipyard that is still in operation, you can visit the museum inside and learn about the establishment and history of Solidarity. This is where you can feel the enthusiasm of the workers in the movement, ponder over Polish people’s contribution to democracy and cheer for their success.

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

As you study the history of World War II, it is inevitable to learn the ethnic cleansing of Jews by Nazi Germany. Many Jews were sent to concentration camps, forced to work and kept for human experiments. Eventually, Jewish prisoners would be executed in gas chambers. Among all, the notoriety of the Auschwitz concentration camp is unparalleled. 


Located in Oświęcim, a small town near the ancient capital Kraków, the concentration camp imprisoned Jews, criminals, communists, homosexuals, Gypsies and dissidents. They were delivered to the Auschwitz concentration camp by train. As Jews reached the terminal station of their lives, they would be urged to register by jailers. All valuables would be confiscated. After taking the very last photo in their lives, Jews would be jailed in the concentration camp. 


Healthy grown men were sorely responsible for heavy manual labour during their days in the concentration camp. They did not receive much food and could only take rests on bunk beds with their bodies curled up. Not following jailers’ orders, lucky ones would only be beaten up while the majority of the unfortunate prisoners would be executed on the site. For the elderly, the weak, women and children who had weak working abilities, most of them would be directly sent to gas chambers. They were killed in the toxic gas due to suffocation when they thought they could finally take a shower. Those who were more luckless would be treated as the experiment subjects of human experiments. They were tested with various biochemical weapons and perished under torture. Most prisoners in the camp could not survive for 24 hours. 


Walking into the site from the “rail of death” and the plaque that reads “Arbeit macht frei” (“work sets you free” in German) on the entrance, you will understand how hopeless the imprisoned Jews were. In the camp, you will follow the last footsteps of the Jews, witnessing the gas chambers in which they were executed and belongings of the deceased. Their clothes, hair and teeth, stored according to categories, are presented to you. From the photos and case files of the victims, you will be shocked to see one after another getting killed. Countless lives were brutally massacred like butchering livestock. Visiting the concentration camp with the heart sank and mourning the victims, you will understand thoroughly how horrible extremism and wars are. You, for sure after this trip, will cherish the peace, freedom and equality you have now.

Zamość

To explore the beauty of Polish buildings, it is a must for you to visit the ancient city of Zamość. Under the influence of Renaissance, Zamość has become the ideal town to “experiment” Renaissance. The exquisiteness of Central European architecture, with the bright colours of Italian Renaissance style, has turned Zamość the perfect town for artists.


In this ancient city, you can find small houses identical to those in fairy tales and have a visual feast with the grandeur of castles. While finding out how Italian and Polish architectural styles are mixed, you may discover white Jewish synagogues occasionally which reflect the history of the Jewish community in Poland. History can be either dark or colourful – as long as a nation is able to let go of the burdensome past, it will revive and embrace the bright future ahead.

Torun

You might have dreamt, while playing online games, about being a courageous medieval knight who kills enemies in wars. Now there are no knights from chivalric orders in the world fighting on horseback, but you can still follow the footsteps of knights in Toruń.


The ancient city was founded by the Teutonic Order, one of the three greatest chivalric orders. The Gothic-inspired architecture in Toruń is different from the vividly colourful Polish architecture. Among the thick defensive walls and buildings built of red bricks, you can see the fancy decoration. The Teutonic Order from Germany incorporated the architectural style of their hometown into the fortress of Toruń. This explains why you can find the exquisite art of architecture from this solemn military building for defence. Even though you do not have a horse to ride, you can still wander around the city of red bricks. Or you may climb up to the top of towers like an assassin to feel the magical hues of the Middle Ages.


Piotrkowska Street

Every city owns a commercial street, filled with the hustle and bustle, which attracts locals and tourists to take a walk and shop. In Łódź, you can shop till you drop in the world’s longest commercial thoroughfare!


With a length of 4km, Piotrkowska Street runs through the Polish city known for its film art. The elegantly classic buildings, under the brilliant lights, have transformed this commercial site to be the cultural hub that “hipsters” are obsessed with. Piotrkowska Street is not only the main attraction of the city of Polish films, but also the location of the National Film School in Łódź. It is, of course,full of film elements. There is the Avenue of Stars with stars on the ground engraved with names of Polish film stars to commemorate their contributions. At specific nights, the street even has the Light Move Festival to paint the traditional buildings in new colours with lights! Piotrkowska Street, the street of art, culture and light, is genuinely enchanting.