Lublin: historical charm and scars of war
Poland Day 10. Lublin was confirmed into the itinerary because it fitted into my general direction of travel and had a fascinating blend of history, good and ugly. My first afternoon there delivered on both of these fronts.
I got to the bus station ‘nice’ and early for the five hour journey to Lublin. Do widzenia, Kraków. We arrived late morning and I set off to find my lodgings. Called the Grand Hotel, it was indeed that.
My afternoon explorations led down the main street toward the city’s historic core, past plaques at WW2 sites of death and damage.
Lublin was bombed in WW2 but thanks to some rebuild and restoration the Old Town is in pretty good nick. Walking through the gate was like stepping back in time; ahead a small and charming market square lined with colourful buildings and the old town hall in the middle. It was quite stunning, especially with the decorative details on the facades.
Spanning out from the square the interesting bits and pieces kept coming.
Beyond the second gate the path led to Lublin Castle which earlier had made for a very striking landmark on the hill when the PolskiBus arrived in town. These days it’s a museum and includes being able to go up the old tower which looked like a bit of me so I went to buy a ticket. My doubtfulness about forking out extra for the chapel (I was a bit churched out by this time… you know what I’m talking about Dad 🙂 ) must have shown when the lady asked me and she gave me a free ticket. Unexpected niceness!
Within walking distance from here were the old and new Jewish cemeteries which I was keen to check out.
I’d read the cememtery wouldn’t be open but was interested to see what it was like all the same. Completely walled in and overgrown, nothing was visible. Over the centuries it has sustained various damage including partial destruction in WW2 due to its desirable hill location.
The new Jewish Cemetery was also closed. The large site features a striking boundary wall design; inside it also looked overgrown and wild. In a similar tale to other places, it was essentially destroyed by the Nazis in their quest to find materials to pave roads in the local concentration camp. Restoration is ongoing.
I was getting worn out so decided to end the day there, the half hour trek back to the hotel yielding unexpected points of interest. Lublin had been a worthwhile stop already, though the main reason for visiting was still to come tomorrow.
…This is what the area in the above photo looked like pre-war.
Distance walked: 10.83km
Hi Hayley, been avidly reading your daily blog – up to its usual standard of superbness! You’ve certainly been visiting some amazing historical sights and been making the most of your time – meticulous planning pays off. Take care & keep safe 🙂
Hi Glen, lovely to hear from you and really appreciate the comment, thanks! x
Playing catch up on your blog today Hayley as Internet so poor in Beirut. Love the pics, it just looks lovely and you have shown me why it is on my travel list too! Hope you doing ok? X
Thanks very much Sal. Yes am doing great, couple of minor health niggles but managing to keep up with myself :). Looks like you had a great time and saw some fantastic things on your wee getaway! x
Poland is a beautiful country and the cities are unique and charming with so many ancient sites and holy places. The pics are simply great. You must be very fit to be able to walk so many miles in one day. Seems odd that the Jewqish cemeteries have been let go and not kept up very well After all it was the Jews who suffered and who were killed. I realize the prisoners of war are not buried there but none the less….
My guess is that with the vast majority of graves/tombs desecrated during the war, and probably with few people left to actually visit, the cemeteries became kind of abandoned for a time and nature took over.
Sorry I posted before checking for typos. The spelling is “Jewish.” Probably missed more errors, just don’t see them.