Etnographic-geographic characteristics

Kujawy (Cuiavia) is historical Polish region. Its name is derived from the folk name of the northern wind "Kujawy". In the nineth century the Piast dynasty incorporated Kujawy into the newly born kingdom of Poland. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries duing the times of feudal divisions Kujawy was an autonomous province divided into four principalities. In the years 1327 and 1363 it was re-incorporated into Poland and divided into two provinces: the western part belonged to the Inowroctaw province, the eastern to Brzesc. From the end of the 13th century and after 1466 the region bordered with the Teutonic Order State being the defensive foreground of the Polish territories. Two important Polish Kings were born here: Wtadystaw Lokietek (Ladislaus the Short) (1260—1331) who re-unified the Polish territories divided into feudal provinces, and his son Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) (1210—1370) who continued his father's policy. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Kujawy as a very fertile region considered to be the "granary" of Poland. The wars with Sweden in the first half of the seventeenth century and the
Northern War (1700—1721) however, brought about the economic downfall of the region and depopulated the cities. After the partitions of Poland (1772—1775) the eastern part of the region (Brzesc Province) was annexed by Russia and the western part (Inowroc+aw Province) was indegrated with Prussia. Still, despite more than a hundred years of cultural supression and Germanization, the inhabitants of Kujawy retained its Polish identity by cultivating regional and national traditions. In the years 1818—1819 together with the rest of Poland they fought for their independence both diplomatically as well as militarily. Kruszwica is situated on the lake Gopto, one of the biggest and most beatiful Polish lakes. First settlements on what is now the territory of the town appeared as early as the Old Stone Age 520—1900 B.C. At the begnning of the Iron Age, in the years 500—400 A.D. on an island (today's Rzepowski Penninsula), the Lusatian culture community built a wooden fortress which was later burnt by the Scythes. In the eighth and nineth centuries A.D. Kruszwica was most probably the center of the state of the tribe of Goplanie. The state is mentioned in an anonymous code from the mid-nineth century, called the
Bavaria Geographer. According to the local legend Kruszwica was the place of residence of the evil king Popiel, who was eaten by mice thought he tried to escape and hide in the tower on the island. His successor was a poor peasant named Piast who came from Kruszwica. The legend is partly based on the family tradition of the Piast dynasty. The original version from 1112—1116 appeared in the chronicle written by Gallus Anonymous. The history of Popiel and Piast probably took place around the mid-nineth century and not in Kruszwica but in Gniezno, according to the information found in the chronicle. There is a hypothesis that Popiel, expelled from his country could have taken a refuge from the enemy at Kruszwica, which belonged to the Gniezno territory. He was finally assasinated there. In the tenth century, at the base of the Rzepowski Penninsula, an old island, a wooden fortress was built. Kruszwica was considered to be one of the major towns in the Piast kingdom (sedes regni principales), which was the basis for further Polish expansion into the pagan territories at the Baltic sea. Most probably in the second half of the eleventh century Kruszwica was also the center of the episcopal mission that carried
out Christianization of the pagan tribes in Pomorze (Pomerania). This can provide the explanation for bringing to Kruszwica the Benedictine order from St. Trond Monastery. In 1096, the citizens of Kruszwica rebelled against the king Wtadystaw Herman (Ladislaus Herman). They lost the battle and the town was thoroughly plundered and destroyed. Consequently, the monks from Benedictine order left the town. In the years 1123—1125 Wtoctawek become the capital of the bishopric. In the church that the monks left, the canon chapter had its quarters.
From the thirteenth century Kruszwica slowly re-gained its economic status. A new fortress was built on the ruins of the burnt one, and it become the residence of castellan Kruszwicki. In the forurteenth century Kazimierz Wielki (Casimirthe Great) ordered a stone and brick castle to be built. The castle became a very important line of resistance against Teutonic Order Knights in the frontier territories. It was also the residence of the court and local royal administration. In 1657 the Swedes destroyed the city and burnt the castle. Further destruction was brought by the Northern War in the years 1720—1721. In 1772 during the first partition of Poland Kruszwica was annexed by the Prussian kingdom. In the eighties of the nineteenth century owing to the sugar factory in Inowroctaw and the development of crafts and trade Kruszwica became an important base of supplies for the region famous for its excellent agricultural products. Populated mainly by Poles, the town was also a very strong center of national traditions functioninig symbolically as the pre-historical cradle of Poland. During the uprising of 1919, in the night of January 2nd the citizens of Kruszwica liberated the city from the Prussian occupation.
In the 20th century Kruszwica became a strong center of food processing industry, with the largest fat producing plant in Poland. Tourism is also an important branch of the towns industry. Kruszwica Travel Agency of the Polish Tourist Assocation offers individual tourists and groups complete service: accomodation and full board as well as tours of Kruszwica and the Kujawy region. St. Peter and Paul's church is a five apsyda basilica with three naves and a transcept, on the western side closed by a tower added around the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is a Romanesque church whose presbitery was built in the eleventh century and the nave in the years 1120—1140. The interior is famous for its Romanesque altar mensans, baptismal fonts and tombs, among them those of Kruszwica bishops, founded in 1614 by Wawrzyniec Gembicki the Bishop of Wtoctawek. The Mouse Tower is situated near the Lake Gopto. In the vincinity of the tower there are the remains of the defense wall surrounding the old town. Both belong to the Gothic castle founded by Casimir the Great and destroyed in 1657. Beneath the tower there are older fundaments of the defense walls and a wooden castle of the first rulers from the Piast dynasty. The old part of the town has mostly ecclectic buildings from the nineteenth century. In the market square there is a neo-classical church of St. Theresa on the site of an older St. Klemens church in 1922, designed by a famous architect Stefan Cybichowski. The interior has many baroque and rococo pieces. The Millenium Gopto Park (Nadgoplanski Park Tysiaplecia) was founded in 1960—1967 to commemorate the Millenium of Poland. It occupies the territory of of 12 683 hectares. The Gopto Lake is 25 km long, 2,5 km wide and 16-.6 m deep. Together with the surroundings it forms a game preserve. Almost 190 species of birds live there, among them: heron, swan, crane, cormorant, mudguard, bittern, pewit, duck, goose, gull and eagle. Some other places of interes in the region are: Polanowice with the church built in 1838 in classical style, Rechta with a wooden church built in 1753 with folk decorations of the interior, Koscieszki with a wooden church built in 1766, with the rococo interior, and Warzymowo with the ruins of a castle and a Gothic church from the second half of the fifteenth century. There is also a ferry harbor which has been runnig ferries for almost a hundred years now. At Mietlica there are ruins of a nine or tenth century settlement. In Ostrowo there is a Gothic church from the fourteenth or fifteenth century and an eighteenth calssical century palace. A places of interest is also Kobylniki with an ecclectic palace from 1900 surrounded by a large park with many old beatiful trees. Parts of the palace have been turned into a hotel. If you are in the region all of the above places would be worth visitning.