Great Continental River Journeys Royal Sandomierz (subtitles/napisy)
Ahoy-Boats sponsors Great Continental River Journeys. My name is Steve Walker and I'm Ewa Marcinkowska, and we are embarking on an adventure that will take us through Poland. We'll be using this our Nordic Explorer, which can take us to places that no road or rail traveller could even get to.
We're going to row down the queen of Polish Rivers, the last wild river in Europe, the river Wisła from outside the Krakow to Gdansk on the Baltic coast. During the Cold War, Poland was in the Eastern Bloc behind the Iron Curtain. So I in the West knew absolutely nothing about Poland or its people.
But to me, it was my home and we'll be calling at places that you've probably never heard of. Next stop on the Vistula is the royal city of Sandomierz, which has been invaded three times by Tartars, by Swedes, Lithuanians, Germans and Russians. Two strokes, we'd arranged to meet the captain of this pleasure cruiser Tadeusz, Prokop. Nice to see you in Sandomierz. Yes. Pleased to meet you today. And this is this is Ewa The first notes about the settlement in Sandomierz was found from chrioicles in 8th century 8th century? Yes.
Gosh 700 and something. the knight from Moravia. Sandomier arrived here and he was delighted with the view of the area and he decided he was going to build a settlement here. And the first part of the city was when the Dominican church is, which is the oldest part. Where the vineyard, is. Ah ha I wonder if the vineyard pre-existed his decision to settle here? I don't think so, because the vineyard was from 13th century.
So it took them a while. Yeah. Sandomierz is a beautiful modern city which has so much to offer. We want to find out more about its history. So, Sandomierz, it was for centuries significant trading point on the land trading route from the Western Europe, so Wrocław Kraków, Sandomierz towards even toward Mongolian area. Really? Towards Russia & Mongolia So that was a land route. At another route was the river route 'twas connecting to Gdansk south to north and east to west.
This area is very rich. The soil is extremely rich, is very good for growing grains. On the other shore, on the other river bank there used to be a very deep forest and it was used for timber for wood and also was transferred through the Wisła river to Gdansk and there was used to build ships.
It's no different to steering an 8. Dominic? Dominic Płaza, director of the museum in Sandomierz, we're standing in front of the castle, which, as far as we know, has been razed to the ground and rebuilt several times. so I'd like to know a bit about that.
The first time when Sandomierz was destroyed was around 1259 or 60. when Mongolians army arrived here. That's an awful long way to come. Yes. From Mongolia to here. Yes, that's a huge trip. But it took around 30 or 40 years, but they arrived to Europe and most of the attack was focussed on Hungary.
But they also went north and arrived to Sandomierz, Kraków, Legnicą and other other places in Poland, to stop the help for Hungarians dukes So this is the devastation of Eastern Europe, huge devastation of Eastern Europe, huge devastation in Sandomierz But also this was the beginning of a new open for Sandomierz, because the Dukes decided to move Sandomierz from the CastleHill and San Dominic Hill to this place where today the old town is with... Now? Yeah. With the Optakowska gate and these tunnels beneath the ground.
So one of the stories that we were unaware of in Sandomierz was this one about Krępianka and how she rescued Sandomierz from the Tartars by sacrificing herself. And this is a story we're going to learn about in that dungeons, in the underground cellars that are beneath Sandomierz. But we didn't know anything about this before we came here. So it's going to be quite exciting.
Am I going to go down there now? So we just went up and we're going down again. After the Second World War, there was buses and cars were going in the market square, but suddenly the ground started to disappear and buildings to disappear and then they discover there is a network of underground holes. What's this chair is doing? It's got needles in it. That's for you when you will be... It's for torture.
For Steve, I want to take it with me, home. Ha, ha, ha. In the 60s, there was a young physical education teacher who went to the kiosk to buy a newspaper. And when he got the newspaper, he didn't even get a chance to get his change back because he collapsed 9 metres down. He survived and he's still alive. But that was the signal the city needs to be rescued. Yeah, they need to do something. It's a labyrinth. What is the connexion between this room and the legend? This tunnel is made in a way is remained as a tunnel when coal miners would be using normally and it's to commemorate the coal miners who, like Halina Krępianka, saved the city? So Halina saved the city from the Tartars and the coal miners saved the city from collapse. During the Tartar invasion
she lost her father, she lost her husband. and she decided to take revenge . She went to Tartars and she said to them she knows the underground corridors. On the pictures she she used the finger to to say to tell them follow me.
Yes. And they will be able to get in the middle of the city without fighting. Right. And they believed her.
And then what happened? There is a dove. She was holding it below her coat. And when they came to the market square, she managed to release the dove who went up the ground. Yeah, that was the sign for the Sandomierz citizens to start to block the entry. So they sealed them in and they all died, including Halina sacrificed herself. All the army died. But the city survived. Wow. It's a big story.
It's it's it's probably true. But we're discovering all sorts of amazing things that we didn't know. Flint. Flint, yes. Banded Flint. Sandomierz is the world capital city of Banded Flint.
There's a ... What is that? ... a unique. Flint, which is only in one place in the world in Krzemionki, that's around 40 kilometres from here. And there was a mine which was dug into the ground around four thousand five hundred years ago.
Four thousand five hundred Yes, they were miners, miners like modern miners, that they made drill holes around ten metres down and then corridors. How, how did they do that?.. with? with antlers? Yeah, with horn antlers and bone antlers and wooden stuff and stone antlers as well. Yeah. And they take from the ground, beautiful flint with stripes, lines.
You will see it in the museum and then they make the axes, flint axes and mostly put them to the graves. Also it is called as an optimistic stone and give lots of optimism all the time. And I'm smiling. Yeah, I'm happy. I don't mind about some problems and troubles. We need... And that's the reason the banded Flint. Very good, right?
We need more of that. King Kazimierz, one of our most important kings, decided to build this brick and stone castle. So what did it mean before? Was it wood? Yeah, that was a wooden structure, defence structure. After this, Sandomierz was not destroyed.
Again, of course, the castle had had trouble in seventeenth century. So that was another Swedish. Yes, the Swedish the Swedish army arrived to the southern part of Baltic Sea and for several years they were travelling around Poland, we can say, and make travel. Yes, it was a travel I think and in sixteen fifty six they, uh, moved from this building.
but they put lots of dynamite or some, I don't know gun powder probably. Yes and when the Polish army arrived here and they was very happy that they won with Swedish army there was a huge blow and lots of people were died and almost whole castle was destroyed the decision of rebuilding it was made by the king Jan III Sobieski whom you may remember from our Krakow episode was the Great Grandfather of Bonnie Prince Charlie so it wasn't really a garrison any more. Yes. Yeah. Jan Długosz was the 1st Polish historian And he was also a priest and a diplomat and a soldier a very accomplished man, much like Copperincus was and well connected Długosz house is one of the best preserved Gothic buildings in Sandomierz The houses was founded in 1476 by the historian Jan Długosz for missionary priests of the cathedral When German came in 2nd World War they bombarded the railway station and marina and the museum has been closed. They haven't bombarded the old city but they've taken 3 items from this museum this exquisite cross containing a relic of the Holy Cross was donated to Sandomierz by King Jagiełło after the battle of Grunwald, the most significant victory of Poland over the Tuetonic order Oh yes. The Tuetonic missionary knights. I think we're going to learn more about them, the further north we go on our travels the other two items taken were Mother of God with child and St Catherine of Alexandria by Lucas Crannach, German renaissance painter and adoration of three kings by an unknown artist the museum was closed and the object was assigned as a private object and Germans respected it. How did the centre of Sandomierz, with all its beautiful architecture, survive WWII largely unscathed? There was Russian officer, Wasyl Skopenko and he actually led his army around the city the not bombed the old town he moved with Russian army to Wrocław and died somewhere and then he was celebrated in Sandomierz he had the monument even though but due to the, it was Russians and communists it was cut from our history but the frontier between German and Russian was here on the Vistula river and many older people said that sometimes the German and Russian army was very close to each other around few hundred metres and they stand for a few months and then was decision Germans (to go) run away - and Russians follow forward to Berlin so yeah, that was their story OK so that's how this castle survived the second world war also... and the city... yep
we forgot to count the steps Ewa on the way down Opatowska gate is last of 4 towers and entrance gate to the city it was built in the 14th century during the reign of King Kazimierz the Great wherever we go we seem to have to climb a tower and usually it's 365 steps besides the Opatowska gate and 3 other main town entrances there were also 2 small gates the city walls they allowed those who were late to enter the city after the main gates were closed the needles ear.... yes in England we call it the eye of the needle and in Poland you call it the ear of the needle Yeah we all know that it's easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a camel to one of the things I have struggled with is understanding how castles work are they defensive structures that you all go into because to me that just sounds like setting yourself for a siege you know, which you're going to lose because the people who are besieging you are all out there harvesting whatever the countryside the food you know that they can get and you're in there starving or is it used as a Police station as a something for a local lord to dominate the local population are they protecting or are they dominating of course that was both sides in the beginning of Sandomierz this purpose of gathering people in some troubles yeah it could be in this wooden castle yeah but later when the King Kazimierz decided to build... stone castles... yeah real castle yeah it start to be the like office we've got around, I think, 70 or maybe more information about visits of King Władysław Jagiełło with his wife these gloves belonged to the queen Jadwiga who was the first of two female kings of Poland Jadwiga presented her gloves as a symbol of gratitude to the citizens from the area of Sandomierz who helped the queen's coach to find a way during the heavy winter storm all the time he went probably from the castle to the church which is on the opposite hill yeah and they spent all the time they really liked Sandomierz we've just come out of the Sandomierz cathedral and it's breathtakingly beautiful inside but unfortunately it's undergoing a major renovation at the moment well I say unfortunately fortunately for you it's going to be fantastic and you'll be able to see it when you come when you come to Sandomierz hopefully in the not too distant future I'm really excited to see it being done the colours are amazingly vibrant and er there's a beautiful baroque organ it's going to be terrific so make an effort come to Sandomierz what made you decide to go into public service I was a teacher at school sports teacher so was I yeah? once upon a time and I was 8 years a member of council OK? council oh the council right OK yeah for 8 years as a councillor that's very similar the story of my mayor in in Chester first of all she started as a councillor like you and then she became the Lord Mayor of Chester and Admiral of the Dee you know, big chain round her neck grand titles and it starts with small beginnings so you started as a councillor but what made you decide to do that. Why did you want to be a councillor? why it is a good question why? oh I'm glad I've thought of a good question it's a really really good question to make something new for the people who live in Sandomierz for the tourists who visit and there are a lot of tourists ja ja, a lot of I think I am the right age do you have a plan I mean when you said you wanted to lead what did you want to achieve with Sandomierz? speaks Polish and I wanted to do something for citizens who could see that the historical part of city is developing but they might be feel a little bit aside left aside OK so what sort of things did you want to do for the people who lived in the outer parts of Sandomierz the citizens not only wanted to have beautiful and attractive city for tourists but they want to have attractive city for themselves Yes speaks Polish Oh you want to build one? to create yeah centre of culture also centre of education and conference big centre like in Katowice Ja oh Perfect in the communist time everything was grey and boring and people didn't smile and you can see the transformation we've witnessed it everywhere we've been buildings being painted and renovated and new tiles on the roof things like that it makes a huge difference to your feeling when you're... you feel happier you feel warmer
speaks Polish the same is happening in Sandomierz yeah the old post communist buildings are being renovated and are being transformed so it's happening the same in Sandomierz yeah great what is the biggest challenge that you face I want to build a new bridge on uh huh by the river by the Vistula but it is not only my decision there are two bridges both for cars and but the older one has been closed in 2011 after the big flood and the cost of fixing it is 3 times bigger than building the new one oh really so to build the new one next to it right it happen now hope it'll happen on your watch the time is now so one final question do you know why the city claims to be a royal city because or THE royal city I don't know there seems to be Krakow is a royal city and er Warsaw is a royal city and it seems Sandomierz is also a royal city so how did that happen that you've got so many royal cities speaks Polish we've got the royal castle that has been built by Kazimierz the Great and apart from building it he also resided Oh he was a resident there and after Kazimierz the Great next Polish king Władysław Jagiełło he visited Sandomierz 50 times Fifty 50 50 mmm he liked it ha ha Sandomierz was on the road from Krakow to Vilnius to Vilno Oh Vilnius where that King Jagiełło was coming from because that was Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth now this is some... that's something that we have't really talked about with anybody is the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth because of a relationship with kings there was a king who married somebody Polish Queen Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło her husband was Lithuanian right so then it naturally became a common-wealth because of the two of them that's what all the kings were doing in those days they were all trying to marry other queens and other daughters of.. to try and increase their power I asked Marcin, what would you say to invite tourists from abroad? speaks Polish apart rich history and beautiful architecture Sandomierz is atmospheric city very safe city and charming small town that is inviting for tourists and we definitely felt that when we came have you got a question that yo'd like to ask us? ha ha ha speaking Polish Marcin said he want to congratulate us and thank us and congratulate us for what we do because it is interesting and charming thank you very much you had a big flood here recently well tell us about it and previous floods what's transpired here of course the previous floods the most dramatic was in 2010 when there was lots of terrain was flooded the river burst its banks got through the dyke yes yeah and fortunately they protect our local business, the Pilkington the factory of glass there was a huge fight with water to protect this because if it would flood also these huge ovens for glass it would be very bad I suppose that in history also was many times floods but people in middle age they knew where is the over flood terrain we can say yeah or flood terrain flood plain so if you are going south the first settlement are situated on the first dry hill yes there is no people, no, in the valley so we are now quite crazy I think when we decide to build our house or our factories roads we have to build in that part but a lot of work was done in the 18th & 19th century with willow yes so that must have been a huge undertaking to put a dyke down the whole river on either side yep but fortunately in my opinion Vistula River is also very wild river still if you look on some western European rivers where are all concrete like channels here are really wild in middle age especially 15 16 17th century that was the gate for Europe for Sandomierz yeah and lots of crops was transferred from Sandomierz from this port which is beneath the castle the Gdansk and then to Amsterdam and then to the rest of the world yes exactly because it's amazingly fertile country just everything is just growing at a fantastic speed yes and we had lots of information about winery industry in 12 13th century we didn't know anything about this in the west Poland was unknown our idea of Polish people is that they drink vodka and it's not associated with wine at all and yet we have discovered quite a lot of vineyards in our travels and at our next destination downriver we will be calling in at a vineyard and actually tasting some Polish wine there is around I think five six regions in Poland where it's quite well developed Sandomierz is one of them because of the soil yes of course the soil, the loess soil is very good for and I'll tell you something else we discovered yesterday the cider yes is very nice it's like champagne yes now in Sandomierz is also the centra of apple industry alright and they make also very tasty juices and then cider as well so you can't stop cider from making itself once you make apple juice yes ha ha ha ha this Sandomierz cider is the nicest cider I've ever tasted it's just delicious it's nicer than champagne fantastic and there's a mosquito just about to go up your armpit.. ooooh! when we are now travelling through Poland I see Żabka shops almost everywhere and we just went there to buy milk and cereal for tomorrow morning for breakfast I'm really pleased to see it they are growing they seems to be more and more popular they've got limited supply but you know that's how it used to be before the big supermarkets with 150 different sorts of pasta or 25 different butter and and we went to a big supermarket and there was only one cashier in the whole supermarket yeah massive supermarket with a huge amount of stock and it was empty empty yeah and the car park was empty Żabka is even smaller than Aldi and Lidl yes because it's part of the building there's restaurant there's hotel and there's Żabka there is a shop with shoes and there is someone's house it's all a part of small shops small convenient yeah six o'clock in the morning you can come and get fresh bread you know eleven o'clock you can come and get some wine if you just coffee whatever Steve what do you think about Sandomierz what's the most beautiful place in your opinion the market square but the most interesting thing to me was discovering this underground world that we knew nothing about and the legend of Sandomierz so that was a revelation there's a variety of architecture and it's all very nice not communist in the least so we you know yes we love we love the way it looks and I hope you keep it like this so make an effort come to Sandomierz Ahoy-Boats sponsors Great Continental River Journeys the next stop on our journey is the picturesque village of Kazimierz Dolny if you enjoyed this episode of our documentary series then please give us the thumbs up and leave a comment they really help and sharing that helps even more and finally subscribed to this channel so that YouTube can let you know when the next episode is going to be available oh and if it is to become available then we really need your support which you can provide by becoming a patron of ours so if you 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