________ Day trips ________

The recreation centre "Krecik" is a great place as a starting point for exploring the surrounding area. The management of the centre will make every effort to facilitate the implementation of excursions. We will help in arranging transport, booking tickets, etc.

Worth visiting:
1. Boguchwały - a baroque church (from 1620), a cross vault in the chapel;
2. Dobrocin - a brick palace from the 17th century;
3. Kalnik - historical huts with a log construction;
4. Sambród - an evangelical church, a baroque main and side altar;
5. Venice - a baroque smithy from the 18th century

Distance from Kretowiny - 20 km. Numerous lakes and rivers connecting them have been used for transport purposes since time immemorial. Undoubtedly, these objectives were served by the longest river of the Iławski Lake District - Drwęca, connecting Lake Drwęckie and around Ostróda with the Vistula river, and thus with the Baltic Sea. There are evidences that in the ninth century it was a major communication artery for the Prussians living in these lands.

In the Middle Ages, after controlling the Prussian lands by the Teutonic Knights, the importance of Drwęca increased significantly. The significance of this waterway is evidenced by, among others, the castles built in Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Kurzętnik, Bratianie, Golub, Brodnica and Złotoryja, built by the Teutonic Knights known for Teutonic Knights’ wars with Poland. Many preserved source materials talk about works related to the deepening and regulation of the river
In the 16th century, the demand for wood increased. Rich and valuable sources of this resource were large forest complexes located in the area of Ostróda. These forests were interested in entrepreneurial and ingenious Gdansk merchants. The idea of connecting the nearby lakes with Drwęca was also woken up. There is a reference to the fact that one of the merchants from Gdansk, a Negotian, intended at its own expense to build a canal connecting Lake Szeląg with Drwęca. The construction of the channel, despite high costs, was to be a viable undertaking.

In the second half of the 18th century, Vogt from Węgorzewo and Person from Bydgoszcz, people who did not know that they were working on one work, developed two separate plans (mutually complementary) to build a waterway connecting the region with Toruń, Gdańsk and Elbląg. An official commission for the construction of the water route Lake Drwęckie - Toruń was also established, which on June 15, 1798, gathered in Ostróda to travel along the Drwęca and the surrounding area. A lot of plans were made related to river regulation and drainage of neighboring meadows. At the same time, considerable funds were allocated for the construction of salt and iron warehouses in Brodnica, Golub, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie and in Ostróda. In 1818, the range of transported goods was significantly extended including charcoal, firewood and others. Expanding the possibilities of freight transport mobilized merchants to set up a special company dealing not only in trade, but also in the proper operation and maintenance of the entire waterway. The company also become the host of the marina established in Ostróda, Nowy Miecie, Brodnica, Golub and Lubicz.

From the above it follows that the movement on Drwęca was very lively. However, this route was circular and thus very long. More and more often they looked northwards to Elbląg, which was a much closer point, shortening the road almost five times. However, there was a question how to get there. This thought baffled the minds of many people.

The real project of such a connection fell in 1825, when the engineer of Dutch origin J.Steenke developed a specific project that undermined the existing artery of communication. This project, however, did not suit merchants, who earned serious profits from the already developed waterway. In the initial period of J. Steenke, the existing problem of the difference in water levels between Lake Drwęckie and other lakes lying on the planned route and Lake Drużno tried to solve using sluices, but after more accurate calculations it turned out that it was not possible -104 m difference in water level on the distance of  9.6 km. For several years, Steenke created various projects and finally found a solution. He planned to overcome this difference with a few inclined planes. However, his problems did not end there. No one wanted to support the finished and real project according to him. The Prussian government assessed the project as an unrealistic idea of a maniac and did not want to pay large sums for its implementation. However, the persistence and strong will of this talented engineer managed to overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle. After long procedures, he received an audience with the king and found support for him. However, it must be emphasized that the king was not convinced by economic arguments, but Steenke's statement that no one in the world had a similar construction at that time.

The project was started in October 1848. The preliminary work consisted in lowering the water level of the lakes on the route to the level of 99.5 m at the moment, and digging connections between lakes and building a slipway. Excess water was brought through Lake Drwęckie and the Drwęca River to the Vistula. As a result of these works, the water level in the Lake Bartężek and Lake Ilińsk was reduced by 1.5 m, in Lake Ruda Woda by 1.7 m, and in Lake Sambród and Lake Piniewo by as much as 5.35 m. Across Lake Karnickiego, which water level was lower than the water level in Jeziorak by 2 m, an embankment (aqueduct) was built in which the canal was dug.

The preliminary work was completed in 1852. After covering the hills between Lake Druzno  (0.30 m above sea level) and Lake Piniewskie (99.5 m above sea level), in 1850 five wooden locks were built in the valley of the Klepiny river with a total elevation of 14 m. The difference was overcome with four inclined planes equipped with ship extracts. It was only later, in 1874-1881, that the fifth incline was built in place of the no longer usable wooden locks. The connection between Miłomłyn and Iława was made until 1858, and after two-year finishing works, on October 28, 1860, the first ships sailed this way. The rest of the route, connecting Miłomłyn with Ostróda, was put into use in 1876.

In 1871,  a technical documentation for the canal extension to Lake Isąg and further to Lake Marąg and Lake Narie were developed. There were also projects to connect the Ostróda-Elbląg Canal with the route of the Great Masurian Lakes through the lakes lying near Olsztyn. However, due to huge construction costs, these intentions were not implemented. Only in 1886, a two-kilometer channel connecting Lake Jeziorak with Lake Ewingi  - a side branch (this channel was built by the inhabitants of Zalewo in the years 1311 -1384) was deepened.

During the Second World War, the canal equipment was seriously devastated. Machine rooms, transport cars, locks and outbuildings were damaged. The water fleet was completely destroyed - ships, tugboats, barges, motorboats, and even small boats. In some places the embankments of the canal were interrupted in order to flood the lower areas. Broken bridges and sunken rolling stock, lack of technical staff and qualified service prevented transport along the canal in the first period after the end of the war. The constant and other, more urgent needs of the country destroyed by the war were an obstacle. Nevertheless, already in August 1946 a channel was made available along the whole route for transporting wooden raw materials. The first passenger ship sailed from Elbląg to Ostróda in July 1947, inaugurating the opening of the tourist traffic route.


The distance from Kretowiny - 25 km.
The city is located in the western part of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship on Lake Drwęckie. In the second century AD there was a settlement there. In 1270, a Teutonic watchtower was established on the site of a Prussian settlement. 1329, the granting of city rights by the Dzieżgonski  commander Luther von Braunschwieg.  1340, the capital of the command.  In 1381, the Lithuanians, led by Kiejstut, invaded and burned the Teutonic stronghold.  In  1397, the "Lizard Society" was organized. After 1410, occupied by the Polish troops. In the years 1454-1466 Ostróda belonged to the Prussian Union, and in 1466, the Treaty of Toruń granted Ostróda theTeutonic Knights . 1519-1521 - during the Polish-Teutonic war in the hands of the Poles. In 1628, captured by the Swedish army. In 1657, incorporated into Brandenburg.  From 1701 in Prussia. 1758-1762 - occupied by the Russian troops. In 1807, the castle housed Napoleon's quarters. 1835-1848, the local pastor was H.M.G. Gizewiusz, a well-known Mazurian activist. In 1852, Ostróda received a water connection by the Ostróda-Elbląg Canal.

Monuments: a Gothic urban layout of the city, located around 1270; a fragment of gothic defensive walls from the 15th century with the present church of St. Dominika Savio, the Gothic church of St. Dominika Savio, from the 14th century; rebuilt after the war damage, the Teutonic castle originally in the Gothic style from the second half of the 14th century, then rebuilt several times, was the seat of the Teutonic Knights Command, rebuilt in the 80s and 90s of the twentieth century neo-gothic church under the name of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 1856-1875; Evangelical and Methodist Church of 1907;

Baptist chapel, pseudo-Gothic; Evangelical cemetery Polska Górka - part of the graves from the first half of the 19th century, the pastor Gustaw Gizewiusz has been buried here; an eclectic building of 1907, currently a high school; the former tollbooth at the premises of Primary School No. 1, neoclassical of the nineteenth century; a granary built in the technique of the Prussian wall from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries; neo-gothic water tower from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries; houses of the 19th century.w.

Gietrzwałd is located halfway between Ostróda and Olsztyn, surrounded by small hills on the Giłwa river, a right tributary of the Pasłęka river. The settlement act was published 650 years ago by the Warmian Cathedral Chapter. It happened a year before the city of Olsztyn was established.

At first, a wooden chapel was erected on the hill, gently falling towards the river where Jan Sterchen was the priest. During the Polish-Teutonic wars, the village and the chapel were destroyed. In the 15th century, a single-nave temple was erected on a stone foundation. Consecrated it in around 1500, under the invocation of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, auxiliary bishop Jan Wilde. The cult of the Mother of God developed at once. It survived to our times. Towards the south, single houses are concentrated over the river. Some of them are small, others bigger. The religious Warmian people lived in them, always Polish, they came here from the land of Chełm and Mazovia lands. They mixed with the local Prussians. After the wars and epidemics, the administrators of the Chapter settled these areas, including Nicolaus Copernicus. "Everyone was Catholics here," wrote Fr. Augustyn Weichsel, besides the gendarme and two men. There were eight villages in the parish. Trade fairs were held every Thursday.  The church has been rebuilt many times.

The first renovation was made in the 16th century, then in the Baroque period, the church was equipped with new altars. In the mid-1790s, bishop Ignacy Krasicki gave the church two new titles: Saint John the Evangelist and Saint  Apostles Peter and Paul. Then in the nineteenth century, the then parish priest Józef Jordan led to the expansion of the church. He strengthened the foundations and walls. The present shape of the Roman cross in place of the old rectangle took the temple directly after the apparitions, when the parish priest was Augustyn Weichsel. At that time, the wooden tower was pulled down and the brick one was erected with a Gothic finial. The roof of the church was covered with tiles, and the tower - with sheet metal. On the 13th of August 1945, the Custodians of the Gietrzwałd sanctuary were regular Lateran canons from Krakow. Thanks to them, the church bypasses were renovated, and before the celebrations of the centennial of the apparitions of the Mother of God, the interior of the temple was renewed, among others a new marble floor was placed and the former glitter of the polychrome was restored. The extension of the church in Gietrzwałd was always carried out with caution, without violating the peculiar character of this temple. Although its surface was considerably enlarged, a calm and regular layout was maintained. Equipment has not been compromised. Old paintings and renovated paintings help pilgrims come in prayer and reflection. There is genuine modesty here.

Above all, the image of the Holy Mother of Gietrzwałd is stretched out in the form of Madonna nanny, holding Jesus' child in her arms, dressed in a silver dress. The first mention of this painting comes from 1568. Then it was renewed many times. The Child blesses with his right hand and the left hand rests on the book, over the crown of Madonna two Angels support the ribbon with the Latin inscription: "Hail, Queen of Heaven, be greeted, Lady of the Angels". Gietrzwałd became famous thanks to the revelations of the Mother of God. The city took over the pilgrims after the monastery in Bratsiańskie was closed in 1875,near Nowe Miasto na Drwęca, where the famous statue of Our Lady, crowned in 1752, was favoured. Since in 1876 the Prussian authorities forbade the faithful from Pomerania to come to Łąki, they also made pilgrimages to the distant Gietrzwałd. Gietrzwałd revelations took place nineteen years after Lourdes and lasted from June 27 to September 16, 1877. The main visionaries were: thirteen-year-old Justyna Szafryńska and twelve-year-old Barbara Samulowska. Both came from poor Polish families. The Mother of God spoke to them in Polish. The Mother of God appeared to Justyna for the first time when she returned with her mother from the exam before joining the First Holy Communion. The next day, "The Bright Lady" in the form sitting on the throne with Baby Jesus among the Angels above the clone in front of the church during the recitation of the Rosary was also seen by Barbara Samulowska. On the girls' request: Who are you? She replied: "I am the Virgin Mary Immaculately Born!" To the question: What do you ask for, Mother of God? The answer was: "I wish you to pray the rosary every day!" Then, among the many questions about the health and salvation of various people, the children submitted: "Will the Church in the Polish Kingdom be liberated?" "Will the orphaned parishes in southern Warmia soon receive priests?" - In response they heard: "Yes, if people are zealous to pray, then the Church will not be persecuted, and orphaned parishes will receive priests! ". The validity of these questions confirmed the persecution of the Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Poland after the January Uprising by Tsarists and limiting its influence in the Prussian Partition during the Kulturkampf period. The Holy Mother's responses brought consolation to the Poles. In fact, they have been fulfilled. Hence the Poles from all districts visited Gietrzwałd in such large numbers. As a result, the Prussian authorities immediately reacted negatively to the revelations. The local administration, the German press and partly the clergy, regarded them as a political manifestation, as a Polish national demonstration, as a fraud and superstition allegedly dangerous to the state, progress and social peace. In relation to Polish pilgrims, to Polish priests, first and foremost to the local parish priest, Fr. Augustyn Weichsl, various punishments were imposed: with imprisonment, imposition of fines and suspension in the possibilities of fulfilling pastoral ministry. The then director of the diocese, Bishop Filip Krementz was interested in the  Gietrzwałd’s acts. First, he demanded a detailed report from the parish priest, and then he delegated to Gietrzwałd canons of the Cathedral Chapter, to participate in rosary services, observe the condition and behavior of the visionaries during the apparitions and made reports of their testimonies and collected observations of pilgrims and clergymen. Reports from episcopal delegates confirmed that in revelations there can be no question of deceit and lies, and the girls behave normally. There was no bigotry or willingness to gain a profit or fame in their behaviour. They were distinguished, as it was written, by modesty, honesty and simplicity. The influence of revelations on Warmia was enormous. First of all, there was a revival of moral life and raising religious awareness of the faithful. In the village on the Giłwa River, the parishioners prayed a rosary in the church three times a day: in the morning, at noon and in the evening. In addition, there have been numerous conversions and frequent joining the Holy Sacraments.

Great changes have taken place in social and political life. The revelations of the Mother of God were considered as the awakening of the national consciousness of the local Warmian people and the rebirth of their sense of unity with the Poles from other districts. "Since the Blessed Virgin spoke to the Warmian children in Polish, it is a sin if anyone renounces the mother tongue as a gift from God!" This argument was used by nationalists from southern Warmia, when in 1885 a petition was organized and organized rallies regarding the restoration of the Polish language in folk schools, then repeated many times in "Gazeta Olsztyńska" and before the elections to the Prussian parliament, when the votes for the Polish candidate were sought. It was, however, a justification strongly affecting the peasant imagination. The cult of the Mother of God strengthened and radiated more and more. Every year to Gietrzwałd on June 29, August 15 and September 8, there were crowds of Polish pilgrims from all partitions. There their paths converged, there they sought for encouragement. Traditional moose arrived from various parts of Polish Warmia. The Germans also made pilgrims. The inflow of pilgrims incited more parish priests, the nephew of Fr. Augustyn Weichsl, Juliusz, Jan Hanowski, Hieronim Nahlenz, and Franciszek Klinek to expand the sanctuary. Still during the revelations, on September 16, 1877, in the place where the Virgin Mary appeared to the children, a chapel with a statue of the Virgin Mary was placed. It was made in Munich. It was renewed many times, the last time in 1977. Leading to the spring, the Rosary Avenue was planted with hornbeam trees. Fifteen Rosary Chapels were placed next to it, so as many as the secrets of the Rosary. The old ones were replaced in 1977. It was made by a sculptor from Myślenice, Julian Kasprzycki, designed by architect Sylwester Kwiatkowski from Bialystok. From the spring blessed by Mother of God on September 8, 1877, in the evening, pilgrims have been drinking water for 127 years, bringing a relief to the suffering and numerous healings. The act of blessing itself has been immortalized by the figure of the Immaculate Virgin in the gazebo. The water was then carried to stone chambers in the form of bowls. They are supported by standing angels about the faces of shepherds. In 1946, Fr. Franciszek Siłakowski, coming from Gietrzwałd, told that during the performance of sculptures, he herded cows together with three colleagues and an unknown artist invited the boys to pose. They, in turn, at the spring expressed the resolution that after graduating from the gymnasium they would enter the seminary. It also happened.  Apart from the priest who died in 1971 in Germany, they could be: Józef Wrona from nearby Naglad, Edmund Hinzmann and Alojzy Junker from Woryt. Above the spring there are three marble bas-reliefs showing Moses touching a rock with a stick, from which water gushed and Israelites drinking water in the desert. The construction of the Pilgrim House began immediately after the revelations. Fr. Augustine Weichsl’s supported the pilgrimage in this work. However, the first buildings turned out to be too small. In 1910 a new house for pilgrims was built. It was led by Catarinas nuns. Currently in Gietrzwałd there is a Pilgrim House named after the pope Jan Paweł II with more than one hundred accommodation places. The local inhabitants and visitors of the pilgrimage sanctuary gave the publicity and importance to Gietrzwałd. Thanks to them, the village became the spiritual center of southern Warmia in the second half of the 19th century. Warmians from Olsztyn, Wartemborka, today's Barczewo and Biskupiec, came here for spiritual and national nourishment . Common Warmians met there well-born and educated Poles, whom, to their surprise, they could communicate freely. The greatest merits in the dissemination of the message of The Lady from Gietrzwałd should be attributed to the parish priest Augustyn Weichsl (1830-1909), who had been priesting there for almost forty years. Bishop Jan Obłąk wrote about him that he experienced the events of Gietrzwałd very deeply, he devoted all priestly zeal to the service of pious pilgrims, he tried to observe the events diligently. Father Weichsel came from a German family who had lived in Pieniężno for years, but he supported Poles in their attachment to the faith and language of their fathers. During the apparitions he took care of the visionaries. He directed them to the House of Saint  Józef in Pelplin. He was arrested several times, he was brought to trial for propagating Marian cult. He never doubted the truthfulness of Justyna Szafryńska or Barbara Samulowska. Both visionaries first placed at the Sisters of Mercy in Lidzbark Warmiński, then in the house of Saint Józef in Pelplin, where they completed their education. In 1880, both joined the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy. Samulowska made religious vows and adopted the name of Stanisława. She stayed in France for some time. In 1895, she was sent to work in Guatemala, where she was a long-time superior of the Main Hospital. She placed great merits there during the earthquake, she built barracks on her initiative, took care of the local population. He gave special significance to the Gietrzwałd revelations and related them to the situation of the Polish nation. Blessed Capuchin Father Honorat Kożmiński from Zakroczym (1829-1916) in his speeches he emphasized that the events of 1877 are proofs of the blessing and grace granted to the Poles. "It has never been heard that so long and so  accessibly the Mother of God appeared in such a solemn way." Finally, Bishop Filip Krementz must be credited with some merit in the credibility of the revelations. It was he who is known to have appointed commissions to investigate the authenticity of the revelations, and finally, in 1878, he published a study in German and Polish of Fr. Franciszek Hipler’s "Revelation of the Mother of God in Gietrzwałd for the Catholic people according to official documents". One cannot ignore the parish priests of the Gietrzwałd sanctuary, so the nephew of Fr. Augustine Weichsl, Juliusz, who in 1909-1912 pastorated there, then Fr. Jan Hanowski in the years 1912-1924, after him priest Hieronim Nahlenz until 1935 and Fr. Franciszek Klink, who died in 1946. 

Each of them looked after the pilgrims coming to Gietrzwałd and tried to expand the sanctuary. On April 6, 1878, thanks to the poet Andrzej Samulowski , a Polish bookstore was opened in Gietrzwałd. He led it at the beginning together with Stanisław Roman. He, in correspondence to the newspapers of Pomerania and Greater Poland, encouraged his countrymen to help in the national work in Warmia. Together with Jan Liszewski and Franciszek Szczepański, Samulowski found the "Gazeta Olsztyńska", which specimen, dated March 25, 1886, was printed in Gietrzwałd. He founded there also, in 1892, the Folk Society dedicated to Saint Wojciech, he was involved in the fight for votes for the Polish candidate in the Prussian parliament elections. In their national work they faithfully accompanied Samulowski: Antoni Sikorski, a librarian of the People's Reading Society, also running a bookshop and writing poems, Jan Biegała, whose children asserted in 1906 to say a prayer in Polish at school, organist Jan Klatt, who was also imprisoned by the Prussian authorities, because during the memorable revelations he did not reveal the names of Warmian priests who supported the pastor of the local parish priest, Władysław Chróścielewski  an active activist of the local People's Society, Augustyn Klimek, who in 1920 ran a Polish school, Polish preschoolers Otylia Tesznerówna, Maria Preyłowska and Maria Zientarówna, also the author of several poems, written in honor of The Lady of  Gietrzwałd. The round anniversaries of the Gietrzwald revelations were always solemnly celebrated. In 1927, on the fiftieth anniversary of September 8, many pilgrims arrived. In the Warsaw Archives of Modern Records, the notification dated on September 18, 1927,  of the consul of Olsztyn Filip Zawada has been preserved. It contains information that over 1500 people came from Poland at that time. The Pomeranian pilgrimage was accompanied by Fr. Franciszek Rydziewski, then a prefect in the male gymnasium in Tczew. The Primate of Poland Stefan Wyszynski gave a great honour to the Lady of Gietrzwałd. He had visited the sanctuary many times. For the first time in 1950, then during each visit to Warmia. On September 10, 1967, on the 90th anniversary of the revelations, he crowned a miraculous picture. While laying the crown, he said: "We put on your temples, Holy Mother of Warmia, golden crowns, that being the Mother - reigning, we kneel before you in a spirit of full devotion to you in your motherly bondage, if only to secure Poland peace and spirit of unity. We ask you to teach us always to submit to the imperious powers of the Gospel, the love of God and people, all the requirements of a fulfilled love. We want to come to you, trusting that you always watch, always accept, always listen. " At the same time, the Holy See authorized the establishment of the Feast of the Holy Mother of Gietrzwałd for the diocese of Warmia on 8 September with a special wording of the mass and the breviary. Because of illness, the Primate did not take part in the celebrations of the centennial of the Apparitions of the Mother of God here in Gietrzwałd on September 11, 1977. During the ceremony, the decree of the bishop of Warmia, Józef Drzazga was read. Earlier on February 2, 1970, Pope Paul VI gave the church in Gietrzwałd the title and dignity of the Minor Basilica. Without knowledge of Gietrzwałd, it is difficult to understand the soul and mentality of the former inhabitants of southern Warmia. Their customs were strongly inscribed in the church calendar, they were distinguished by authentic piety and extraordinary devotion to the Mother of God. This is confirmed by numerous shrines blended into the landscape and Marian sanctuaries in Stoczek, Święta Lipka and precisely in Gietrzwałd with its message rich in spiritual and national content.

Distance from Kretowiny - 45 km.
This is a unique open-air museum, inasmuch as its origin dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Originally, it was located in Königsberg, and with the change of borders, collections came to Olsztynek. Folk architecture objects from Warmia, Mazury, Powiśle, Barcja, Sambia and Little Lithuania, also known as Prussian Lithuania, are extremely architecturally diverse, creating one of the most interesting open-air museums in Poland. They present various functions: residential houses, livestock and economic, sacred and "industrial" buildings, for example a water mill, 4 windmills, an oil mill, a forge, a smokehouse and a potter's shop.

The resources of the collections and their diversity are the most significant of the Museum's substantive value. They were collected in four sections: Architecture, Material Culture, Folk Art and Folklore, and in the Library and Archive. MBL collections consist of: - folk architecture (including small architecture) - over 50 objects - exhibits presenting material culture - over 8,000 objects, - works of folk artists and crafts - over 2000 objects, - library collections - over 6000 volumes.

And quite simply - it is the oldest and one of the most beautiful collections of the wooden constructions in Poland, perfectly maintained and interestingly exposed.

The distance from Kretowiny is about 50 km. On the fields of Grunwald (15.VII.1410) one of the biggest and most famous medieval battles between the Grand Teutonic Knights led by Ulrich von Jungingen and the army led by Władysław Jagiełło took place, composed of the Polish and Lithuanian troops as well as Ruthenian, Czech and Tatar units .

On a small hill, the so-called Victory Hill, from far away you can see the metal banners rising above the fields. Near the monument, a mock-up showing the positions of the troops before the battle was set. In the area of the monument there is also a museum that allows you to trace the history of the battle on boards, maps and engravings and view archaeological excavations.
"... in this place, in memory of descendants, T. Kościuszko's  1 Division soldiers swore an oath to loyalty to the homeland on the 30th anniversary of the oath in Sielce and on the 563th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald ... GRUNWALD July 14, 1973."
"... granite blades saved from the Grunwald Battle monument destroyed by the Nazis in Krakow, funded by Ignacy Paderewski on the 500th anniversary of the battle, with traces of Antoni Wiwulski's sculptor - transferred to the Olsztyn community by the Krakow authorities on the 40th anniversary of the Polish Armed Forces, an unforgettable memory of generations about Grunwald - October 1983 ... "

Each year, to commemorate the battle of Grunwald on the Grunwald fields, a costume and battle show takes place during which this memorable battle is staged.

Distance from Kretowiny - 85 km, a city in the eastern part of the Pomeranian province, on the Nogat, in Żuławy Wiślane. 40.2 thousand residents (1994). The original settlement developed around the castle, the construction of which began in 1274. In 1276, the town was granted city rights. 1309-1457 the capital of the Teutonic Order (Teutonic Knights), the seat of the Grand Master. Attached to Poland after the Torun peace treaty (1466). In 1626 and 1656 conquered by the Swedes. In the pre-partition period, the capital of the province and the seat of the eldership. From 1772 under Prussian rule. In the second half In the 19th century, it received a lock in Malborkup, a railway connection with Berlin and Królewiec. Malbork is a well-known tourist center. There is a Teutonic fortified castle, comprising: High Castle (1276-1280, extension 1334-1344) with a chapter hall, a vault, a refectory, a chapter-house and a chapel of the Virgin Mary. Middle Castle (late 13th century), with the Grand Master's Palace, the great refectory, the chapel of St. Bartholomew. The Low Castle (przedamcze, 14th century), with an arsenal, a bell house and a church of St. Lawrence. Fortifications (1330-1350) with towers and the Bridge Gate. New external fortifications (1416-1420). The castle was devastated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, partially demolished to obtain a brick, reconstructed in 1882-1921. Monuments in the city: the town hall (1365-1380 and 1457-1460), church of St. Jana (XIV / XV cent.), former mill (XV century), former Jerusalem hospital (XVI / XVII centuries), church of St. George (1711-1712).

Distance from Kretowiny - 70 km, a city in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, on the Vistula Lagoon, on the edge of the Warmian Plain. 2.7 thousand inhabitants (2000). Fishing port, passenger harbor, regular connections with Krynica Morska. It fulfills the functions of a holiday resort. Well-developed accommodation facilities. The town was given a settlement in 1310, which developed around the stronghold of the Warmian bishops. From 1466 within Poland. Place of work and death of M. Copernicus, who lived in Frombork in 1512-1516 and 1522-1543. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the development of trade, the creation of a port and glassworks. During the partitions under the Prussian rule. In 1945, significantly destroyed, he returned to Poland. The richly equipped cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Andrew (gothic, 14th century), the palace of Warmian bishops (late Gothic, XVI century, reconstructed), defensive walls with towers and gates (XIV-XVI centuries), the church of St. Nicholas (XIV century), a former monastery of the Antonians (XV century), water tower (XIV century). Frombork Castle, actually a cathedral complex with defensive fortifications, founded on the site of the Old Prussian town. Placed on a high hill. Approx. 1278, the Warmian Chapter moved its headquarters here from Braniewo destroyed by Prussians. At that time, the first church was built there, the appearance of which is unknown, presumably surrounded by fortifications made of wood and earth. The today's cathedral church was built in the years 1329-1388. Then, probably, the construction of brick fortifications began. In the years 1510-1543, with a four-year break, Nicolaus Copernicus, who was a canon of Warmia, worked here. In 1626, the Swedish army under Gustav Adolf won and plundered the city and the cathedral from all the treasures, the cathedral library and Copernicus' collections were taken to Sweden. Brick perimeter walls were built on the plan of an irregular pentagon conforming to topography of the hill. They were erected in stages up to the 16th century. From the east  the access to the castle, was protected by the dug moat, from the west and north - the natural form of the terrain. The main entrance gate (built in the 15th century) is located in the southern part of the walls and is placed between two semi-cylindrical towers, in 1537 the front gate was built, no longer existing, and in the 14th century the gate was rebuilt. Moving along the walls towards the west, we encounter a semi-cylindrical bastion added in the 15th century. Further in the south-west corner there is an impressive octagonal bastion built before 1448. On it, a belfry of the Radziejowscy was erected in the 17th century. Further, in the high tower, there is a so-called smaller gate, built at the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the north-west corner is the tower of Copernicus, and behind it, in the northern line of the walls, another entrance to the castle. From the north you can see the custody of the 15th century. The defence of the eastern part of the walls was strengthened, adding 1526 Ferber's cylindrical bastion, which was extended beyond the walls, connecting with the entire brick passage. Within the walls the dominant building is the cathedral, in the eastern part there is a bishop's palace, the chapter house also survived. At present, in the episcopal palace there is the museum of Nicolaus Copernicus, while the belfry of Radziejowscy houses the planetarium.

Distance from Kretowiny - 100 km. Święta (Saint) Lipka is a famous Marian sanctuary from the Middle Ages, attracting crowds of pilgrims not only from Warmia and Prussia, but also from the farthest corners of Poland.

Święta Lipka - is also a historic object of extraordinary value, considered one of the finest specimens of late Baroque in Poland. The architectural complex consisting of a church, a cloister and a monastery, has a rich and varied decoration preserved in perfect condition. It consists of sculptures, frescoes, paintings on canvas, goldsmiths and works of artistic blacksmiths rarely found in such abundance. In recent years Święta Lipka has also become a place of rest and recreation. Forests and lakes attract more and more tourists.

Visitors inevitably ask the question: why does not such a magnificent church stand in a big city, but in a small village and why it has not been raised on a hill so that it can be seen far away, but is located below, wooded hills, so that it can be see only from a very close distance? Even more astonished is the fact that the church was built in complete wilds; the village was created much later, and that the foundations were partly located on boggy and marshy terrain. The choice of such an unusual place to build the church can be explained by its extraordinary history ...

Legend and history of Święta Lipka

The church stood on the site of the once-growing lime tree, which gave the beginning and name of the village. According to old stories, a convict in Kętrzyn Castle expected a death sentence. On the night before the execution of the sentence, the Mother of God appeared to him and instructed to carve a figurine. In the morning, a miraculous figure was found next to the convict, depicting the Mother of God with the Child in her arms. The judges considered it a sign that God had pardoned the villain, so they also let him go. He set the figurine on a roadside lime. Soon the place began to be famous for miracles.
Historical transmissions in their oldest version do not specify the time of described events. It was only in later editions from the nineteenth century that it was supposed to happen in the first half of the fourteenth century.

Saint Lipka appeared in documents written only in the second half of the fifteenth century, when it was already a famous pilgrimage site. In 1482 a chapel was in Święta Lipka, and a priest of the Teutonic Order took care of her. Inside the chapel was a linden tree, whose branches protruded above the roof. Even in the Middle Ages, the custom of coming here to obtain indulgence and in the hope of gaining the necessary favours has been established. Also the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Albrecht von Hohenzollern took in 1519 on foot and barefoot pilgrimage to this miraculous place. However, a few years later, the same Albrecht changed his religion, and as a secular Prussian prince paid tribute to the Polish king in 1525. For his example, a significant part of Prussian residents accepted the Lutheran faith. Soon, the Catholic faith was banned in the Prussian state. The cult of saints was considered a superstition. Images of saints were destroyed. Unpleasant fate did not spare Święta Lipka. The tree was cut out, the figurine was destroyed.

Distance from Kretowiny  - 130 km. There were several headquarters of the Leader of the Third Reich in Europe. Most of the wartime quarters, like Wilczy Szaniec, were located far away from large cities, inside large forest complexes, surrounded by lakes and swamps, which made it easier to hide the pilots' eyes and almost impossible access by land. The location of the Wolf's Lair was determined by many factors, including:

In July 1940, the creator of "Organization Todt", 50-year-old Major Maj. Dr. Eng. Fritz Todt was tasked with building a secret facility in Die Görlitz (Gierłoż). Todt’s engineers were excellent specialists in the construction of military fortifications and bunkers. That is why it was him who was commissioned to prepare one of the most famous and most secret objects of World War II - Kętrzyn's quarters named "The Wolf's Lair" - "Die Wolfschanze". 

In the early autumn, under the guise of the construction of the "Askania" chemical plant in Gierłoż, work began. In the spring of 1941, the road surfaces were strengthened, the railway siding was founded, and an airfield was built on vast meadows. Bunkers and fortified buildings were built under the trees. The main bunkers did not have windows and shape resembled rectangular concrete blocks slightly tapering upwards and a few doors led to them inside. From photographs taken in bunkers, it is clear that there must had been undergrounds with several storeys. The floors were provided with lifts and other special security features. The Wolf's Lair was marked by an extremely complicated security system that failed only once when Colonel Claus Count Schenk von Stauffenberg smuggled the bomb. 

The strict area of the accommodation was 250 ha, the forest 800 ha. The whole was secured with barbed wire barriers and minefields with a width of 50 to 100 m. The entire area of the quarters consisted of air-conditioned concentric zones. The first zone was located north of the railway line. There were shelters here for Hitler, Keitel, Dr Dietrich, Bormann and the telephone exchange. There were also reinforced concrete and brick buildings of Jodel, Göring, personnel department of land forces, personal adjutants, doctors and the personal battalion. In addition, in the first zone there were two tea rooms, two casinos, a boiler room and a sauna. Before entering this zone, the passes and identity of the most well-known personalities, ministers and generals were checked carefully.

The second zone, located south of the road connecting Kętrzyn and Węgorzewo, housed the staff departments of the Wehrmacht armed forces and the premises of Hitler's personal battalion. There was also a teletype station there, and in it built in 1911 a rest house (Kurhaus) - officers' casino. To enter this area, also we needed authorized passes, but less frequently changed. In the eastern part of the second zone, there were objects belonging to the delegations of the Navy Commands, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the most powerful object of the entire complex - a general-purpose anti-aircraft bunker. -The third zone included buildings near the highway and on the outskirts of the quarters, as well as guard rooms and anti-aircraft defence bunkers. Guarding over the security devices was entrusted to the elite "Leibstandarte" - Hitler's personal guard and selected soldiers from the elite "Großdeutschland". In addition to the strong anti-aircraft batteries in the forest of the third zone, an armoured battalion, mortar posts and three 88-m high batteries were accommodated. The Soviet and Allied intelligence has never managed to locate the location of the quarters. Even the local population of Gierłoż, intrigued by the busy life in the nearby forest, did not know what was really hidden there. There was a famous attack on Hitler in Wilczy Szaniec. On Thursday, July 20, 1944 at exactly 12:42, a powerful explosion shook headquarters, window frames and broken branches flew in the air. The bomb with delayed ignition was brought by the colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who had come from the conference in Berlin. However, the explosion did not kill Hitler. He suffered only minor injuries and was able to accept the arrival of Mussolini on the same day.

Forest reserves

Niedzwiedzie Wielkie (Great Bears)
The reserve is located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in the Małdyty commune, in a forest located nearly 3 km to the east of Małdyty. The distance from Kretowiny is 27 km. The southern part of the reserve adjoins Lake Miedziane and  Lake Dolny Staw. The reserve occupying the area of 0.31 km 2 protects the stand of Pomeranian beech forest, 150 years old. The species prevailing in the reserve are beech, alder and birch, and as spruce species there are spruce and oak, as well as linden, elm, fir, birch, pine, ash and aspen. At places, tree stands form a two-story structure. The species forming the understory are mainly beech and hornbeam, and in a small amount of lime and coral lilac. Ground falls take up a small swamp. Among the rich fleece, there are many species of protected plants. There are 83 lichen species found there.  

Taborskie Pines
The reserve is located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in the commune of Łukta. It stretches on both sides of the Łukta-Ostróda road, just behind the village of Tabórz. Distance from Kretowiny - 18 km. The 0.96 km2 reserve includes an old, 230-year-old tree stand with the majority of taborskie pines giving wood of excellent technical quality. In 1576, the Danish queen bought pine wood in the taborskie forest, treating it as the best boat-building material. The cross-sections of pine wood were put up under the name "Bois de Tabore" at the world exhibition in Paris in 1900 and advertised as the best pine raw material in the world. Currently, in this reserve with rather fertile soils, pine, due to natural selection, gives way to deciduous species.

Oaks in Kruki Pasłęckie 
This reserve is located in the Pasłęk commune, near the village of Kwitajny, about 16 km from Morąg. The distance from Kretowin is 26 km. Reserve with an area of 9.66 ha is a natural oak forest with oaks of 270 years old. It was established in 1960. The broad-leaved forest stand is characterized by powerful, age-old stem oaks with a height of approx. 35 m. In addition to oaks, the forest stands small-leaved limes with an admixture of hornbeam at the age of about 100 years. The undergrowth is very rich, composed of representatives of over 50 species.

Floristic reservations

Zielony Mechacz
The reserve is located in the Małdyty commune, 1.5 km from Małdyty from the Ostróda - Gdańsk road. You can get there through the forest to the west. The distance from Kretowin is 25 km. The reserve with an area of 95.39 ha was established in 1962. It includes a peat bog with the richest glacial relic in the country, namely cloudberry raspberry, which belongs simultaneously to the disappearing components of our country's flora and high bog. The species prevailing in the reserve are primarily pines. In pine stands, the admixture species are birch and spruce, and also aspen and willow. The species forming the understory are mainly buckthorn, birch, rowan and singly beech, black lilac, hazel, etc. The cover is heavily mossed and mossy. In addition to the cloudberry that is the main subject of protection, there are also some other species of protected plants. Cranes nest in the reserve.

Jezioro Czarne (Lake Black)
The reserve is located in the Ostróda commune, 2 km northwest of the Ostróda railway station, between the southern drought of Lake Drwęckie  and the PKP railway track to Miłomłyn. The distance from Kretowin is 32 km. The reserve was established in 1957 and has an area of 9.28 hectares and is a dystrophic lake with the lake isoetes station.

Jezioro Francuskie (Lake French)
The reserve is located in the commune of Ostróda, at the foot of Mount Dylewska, 1.5 km east of the northern end of Wysoka Wieś. Distance from Kretowiny - 44 km. The reserve with an area of 15.03 hectares was created in 1963. It is a mid-forest lake with a transitional bog with a blue-green willow on its edge. From the east, old beech trees grow there.

Jezioro Martwe (Lake Dead)
The reserve is located in the Górowo Iławeckie commune. A forest road with a length of 2 km leads east from the village of Galiny. The reserve is located 2 km south of the state border. Distance from Kretowin - 55 km. The reserve was established in 1979 with an area of 17.73 ha is a dystrotic lake surrounded by a peat bog, with a rich cloudberry raspberry stand. A significant part of the bog was covered with coniferous stands.

Fauna reserves

Sanctuary of beavers on the Pasłęka River
The whole river is protected, from the sources to the borders of Braniewo, along with the Sarąg, Isąg and Lake Pierzchal Reservoirs. The reserve with an area of 4258.79 hectares was created in 1970 to preserve the beaver's stands. This species in Poland has emerged from the threat, but in the reserve also open waters, peat bogs and forests are protected. The Pasłęka River, which is the axis of the reserve, has a very varied coastline due to the considerable waviness of the areas through which it flows. Favourable conditions for the life of beavers are found along the shores of Pasłęka and its tributaries, the richness of water and marsh plants, willow, birch, aspen, alder and ash thickets. A typical place of living of beaver is the valley of rivers and banks of water reservoirs, around which there grow trees with soft wood. It is a herbivorous animal, and its food during the growing season is water and coastal plants with non-lignified shoots (water lily, cattail, reed, sweet flag, etc.). With the advent of the end of the growing season, the beaver is forced to switch to another type of food. It feeds on the bark of tree branches (poplars, aspens, willows, and also does not despise oak, pine and spruce). The beaver spends almost all his life in water and needs a favourable environment. It achieves this by sinking the land on which it settles. He lives in burrows dug in steep banks of water or builds lodges from branches covered with slime. Lodges reach up to 3 m in height and have approx. 20 m in circumference. The exits from the burrows or with the reeds are under the surface of the water. Beavers builds dams and cascades to stack water, dig feeds to facilitate the transport of branches. Beavers live in permanent pairs about 15-25 years old. Pregnancy lasts about 105 days, and in a litter 2-5 pieces are born. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 4. In the reserve there are also species such as otter, American mink, fish duck, trout,etc.

Lipowa Island on Lake Marąg
The reserve is located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in the commune of Łukta, 3 km north of Łukta. You can get there on the Łukta-Świątki highway to Ramot or Morąg - Olsztyn to Ramot and then 1 km through the pastures. Distance from Kretowin - 9 km. The reserve with an area of 0.05 km, in which there are colonies of cormorants and grey herons. In 1987, 465 cormorant nests were counted, or about 1,800 birds of this species. In addition, there are more than a dozen species of other birds. Mammals are forest marten, hedgehog, polecat, forest mouse, etc. Black cormorant lives in Poland for about 5 months during the breeding season. It lives on the seacoast, at estuaries of the rivers, over large lakes. Nested in colonies, very often with grey herons. It builds nests on tall and spreading deciduous trees that allow for a large concentration of nests. Breeding period from April to July. It consists of 3-4 eggs, of which young are hatched after 23-24 days. It feeds on fish.

Peat bog reserves

The reserve is located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in the commune of Mrągowo, about 2 km north of the village of Bagienice, located at the Biskupiec-Mrągowo highway. Distance from Kretowin - 82 km. The reserve was created in 1958, with an area of 205 ha, it includes a highland continental raised bog resulting from the lake's landings. There are black crowberry, iris, sundew etc. The bog is rarely covered with dwarf pine, a more compact marsh coniferous forest grows on the edge.

The reserve is located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in the Braniewo commune, 5 km west of Braniewo, between the villages of Cielętnik, Podgórze and Czarna Grabla. Distance from Kretowin - 79 km. Reserve established in 1959 on the area of 3.38 hectares, peat bog, with one of the largest clusters of the low birch,orchid speckled, violet peat etc.

Landscape and geological reserves

The valley of the Wałsza river
The reserve is located in the Pieniężno commune. The northern boundary of the reserve runs near Pieniężno, and begins at the intersection of the PKP line with the Wałsza River, and the southern one is 4.5 km down the Wałsza River, near the village of Wojnity. Distance from Kretowin - 36 km. 
The reserve established in 1957 on the area of 220.47 ha has been protected in order to preserve the picturesque landscape of the section of the Wałsza valley, deeply cut into moraine hills overgrown with mixed old trees. The flora of the reserve has about 300 species. Among the protected plants, there is red helleborine, habenaria bifolia , etc. The area's denivelations reach 60 m, the average river drop is 5.13%. Rapidly flowing waters splash on the rubble of boulders washed from moraine. The area of the present reserve – the valley of the Wałasz River, it was once the property of Pieniężna (city). The reserve was already recognized in times before World War I, as evidenced by its description made in 1907. by H. Conwetz. In 1949, the message is given by prof. Dr. Roman Kobendza in the monthly “Let us protect our native nature”. It is therefore one of the oldest reserves in the Masurian Lake District. The reserve has 220.47 ha area. The watershed of the Wałsza river starting under the ruins of the castle in Pieniężno until World War II was a recreation area for the residents of Königsberg and neighbouring towns, and rested in a restaurant next to which there was a pitch, courts and a swimming pool. The second restaurant was located at the shooting range. Today, only the outlines testify to the former destiny of these areas. Near the shooting range archaeologists discovered traces of an early medieval Prussian settlement dating back to the 11th-12th centuries. Situated on a gentle hill, surrounded by natural watercourses on all sides, it served as defence and observation functions, allowing to control the tribal border between Warmians and Pomezanians. Before the First World War, the Germans built many social facilities in the valley of Wałsza. There was a swimming pool by the forester's lodge, a bit further a forest restaurant with a concert bowl, shooting range and a bowling alley. There were specially bred trouts in Wałsza, pheasants strolling in the forest, a real land of happiness. The so-called Berlin elite was coming there for recreation. After the Second World War, the buildings were demolished. Today, it is rare for anyone to know that such a thing has ever happened in the valley of Wałsza.

Reserve today
The reserve grounds lie on both banks of the Wałsza river, which flows from the foothills of Góra Zamkowa, 216 m above sea level from Lake Czysta Woda . The estuary of the river to Pasłęka is located at 38.6 m. The average fall is so large that it is possible to speak of its mountain character. The reserve is carved by the river at a depth of 48 to 60 m and a width of 200 to 1000 m. The Wałsza river together with its tributaries collects water from an area of about 420 km2. Today's vegetation is a resultant of the climate, production possibilities of soils and human activities. Currently, in the reserve, besides boreal elements such as Norway spruce and birch, there are sub-Atlantic elements such as: English oak, ash, elm and beech growing already beyond the limits of their natural range. The largest area was occupied by spruce till 1981, which was almost completely destroyed by hurricanes from 1981-1982 and the invasion of insect pests. There are many plants that can be found in the forest undergrowth. The permanent residents of the reserve include: wild boar, roe deer, hare, badger, hedgehog, marten, squirrel, polecat and raccoon dog. Periodically they stay in the forests of the deer and moose reserve. The Wałsza gorge is inhabited by numerous species of birds.

Marked bicycle routes

1. Yellow trail "Pan Samochodzik" (“Mr. Car”) (about 110 km)
Morąg - Bogaczewo - Piłag - Kretowiny - Żabi Róg - Florczaki - Zawroty - Ruś - Prośno - Tarda - Miłomłyn - Bynowo - Wielowieś - Boreczno - Śliwa - Rąbity - Dobrzyki - Jerzwałd - Witoszewo - Zalewo - Barty - Zajezierze - Wilamowo - Dobrocin - Morąg .
2. Blue trail "Raj" (“Paradise”) (about 40 km)
Morąg - Silin - Raj - Bożecin - Prośno - Tarda - Kudypy - Jędrychówko - Morąg.
3. Red trail "Narie" (about 40 km)
Morąg - Bogaczewo - Gubity - Niebrzydowo Wielkie - Narwia Młyn - Swarms - Ponary - Boguchwały - Wilnowo - Lusajny Małe - Kretowiny - Piłag - Dury - Morąg.
4t. Green trail "Śladami Dohnów" (“Following Dohns’ tracks”) (about 43 km)
Morąg - Nowy Dwór - Chojnik - Kępa Kalnicka - Złotna - Markowo - Strużyna - Niebrzydowo Wielkie - Jurki - Morąg.




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