Monthly Archives: June 2011

Travel tip: Trzęsacz, the church swallowed by the sea

Trzęsacz by Tomek Witan via Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence
No, I haven’t chosen today’s destination only because of its tongue-twisting nature. Trzęsacz is also a very unique place which shows the destructive power of the Baltic Sea.

1. What is it?

Trzęsacz is a tiny village on the Polish coast famous for its disappearing church (see below).

2. Where is it?

North-west Poland, on the coast, sandwiched between other (bigger) holiday resorts like Rewal or Pobierowo. It’s easy to get there by car, local narrow-gauge train or, if you’re adventurous, you can also go for a very long walk along the beach if you’re staying in any of the nearby resorts.

3. Why bother?

Several centuries ago the village of Trzęsacz had a church which was built right in the middle of it – some 2 kilometers from the sea. Over the centuries though the unstoppable process of coastal erosion has ‘swallowed’ much of the land separating Trzęsacz from the sea and by late 19th century the church was emptied of its fittings and artwork and was left to its own devices. The first part of the church collapsed into the sea at the beginning of the 20th century. Now only the southern wall survives – but it’s become a major tourist attraction in the area.

4. And you don’t want to miss…

The recently-built long viewing platform rises above the beach and allows you to admire the ruins from an elevated perspective, but hey, it’s a beach too! Jump into the sea or admire the sunset. It can be as spectacular as in the Med (the sunset, that is, not the sea itself). The whole area is also a heaven for extreme sports enthusiasts.

5. Want to know more?

You can find tourist information about Trzęsacz on Google, but if you want a detailed scientific analysis of the coastal processes in the area, have a look at the Messina Project which also contains very old images of the church before it collapsed into the sea.

 

Vrots Love

Wrocław is one of five Polish cities – along with Katowice, Lublin, Gdańsk and Warszawa – vying for the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2016. So far only one Polish city – Krakow – enjoyed this privilege in 2000.

Each city is obviously trying its best to impress the world and Wrocław doesn’t even need to try hard. After all, it’s a beautiful, vibrant city, full of history and fantastic architecture.

In its latest promotional video it’s trying to make it easier for foreigners to pronounce the name Wrocław by splitting it into two easy-to-remember (and pronounce) bits: Vrots and Love. (And presumably trying to imply that Wrocław is a city you can easily fall in love with; not sure what Vrots is meant to do though;) ) At the same time, the video shows everything the city is proud of – from its culture to its architecture and lovely people.

So here it is, does it work? I’ll let you be the judge:

Test your knowledge of Polish slang

Wow. I never thought I would say this, but I’m really impressed by the latest attempt by the Polish Foreign Ministry to promote Poland. They have just launched a website called “Do you know Polska?” which is a cross between a quiz, a social media-powered photo- and language-sharing site and a promotional hub aimed at English-speaking audiences.

Through a series of large-format images of Poland with superimposed words and their definitions the Ministry is clearly hoping to promote Poland as a young, vibrant and cosmopolitan destination. The opening screen asks you whether you “know Polska” and if your answer is “yes”, you take a short test. You are then able to add new words and images, share the existing words and phrases through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or simply browse the (hopefully soon to be expanded) library of mostly slang or at least informal words and phrases. Linguistically the site is probably of limited use as it doesn’t explain for example the difference between the infinitive and other cases and therefore may be a bit confusing.

I have to say, many of the words and phrases there have surprised me – I clearly need to watch more MTV Polska.

So far I’ve counted 24 words and their definitions on the site, which seems very little, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this project develops. It’s clearly aimed at a younger audience and the simple and sleek design should help. It looks like the site nicely complements other promotional activities which so far have either focused on some traditional aspects of the Polish culture or on mass tourism, or were aimed at foreign investors. This, although a bit niche, reaches out to the younger audience for whom social media is second nature. Therefore it’s likely to reach more people worldwide.

Have you played with the site yet? If so, what do you think? Czaisz bazę?