Warmia and the Area
The Bike Kingdom of Warmia and the area comprises of the western part of the historical land of Warmia, and [so called] Lower Prussia - divided by the Polish Russian border after 1945. The name of Warmia derives from the name of the Prussian tribe of Warmowie, who just as with the other Prussian tribes, were defeated by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. Unlike the rest of Prussia, Warmia retained its Catholic beliefs due to the fact that it had belonged to the Republic of Poland until 1772. Lidzbark Warmiński the region’s capital is famous for its impressive castle of the bishops of Warmia, who ruled this land for ages.
A lot of settlements in the region can be dated back to the Middle Ages and their long history is evident in the walls of brick churches, gothic castle towers and old noble manors. As far as landscape and geography is concerned, the two different areas of the kingdom are quite easily to distinguish from one another.
The picturesque Górowo Hills lie in the sparsely populated eastern part of the region between Pieniężno and Lidzbark Warmiński. The region was peopled by a large Ukrainian community who came from the Bieszczady Mountains and the Lower Beskids after World War II. There are no large towns or rivers in the area, but here and there small lakes lie in hollows. Vast open spaces prevail and the landscape is diversified by the red roofs of the villages and the remains of manor estates. In this part of the kingdom the two small towns of Pieniężno and Górowo Iławeckie are the most remarkable. Between them they contain interesting museums, the remains of mediaeval and gothic buildings and 19th and 20th century technical heritage sites. The village of Żywkowo – the European Stork Village situated near the Russian border and a little way off the trail, is well worth visiting. There live about 160 storks sitting on 40 or so nests and only 30 human inhabitants.
In the western part of the kingdom is the flat and barely forested Sępopol Lowland. The valley of the Łyna River - the biggest in the region - forms its axis. The river is 264 kilometres long and makes for an exhilarating canoe trail. In this part of Warmia, sections of Lidzbark Warmiński, are conveniently marked.
Lidzbark Warmiński is the capital of Warmia and also the most interesting city of the kingdom. Sights include the majestic castle of the bishops of Warmia, the Old Town, the attractive catholic churches, the Orthodox church, and the conservatory pavilion of Ignacy Krasicki. In the city, the Green Velo trail follows local bike paths, which partially run along the Łyna River.
There are a couple of interesting historical sites between Lidzbark Warmiński and Bartoszyce, most remarkable of which are the baroque shrine to the Virgin Mary in Stoczek Klasztorny and the mansion estate of Galiny with its stud farm. Bartoszyce is of mediaeval origin too and in spite of destruction during the war, some gothic building remains have been preserved. The town boasts a historical urban layout and gothic churches, as well as the 18th and 19thcentury granaries. The little town of Sępopol, with its dominating gothic church, is the last town in the kingdom of Warmia and the area. Admiring visitors can examine the remains of the old defensive walls once surrounding this little town.
East of Sępopol the kingdom of northern Mazury begins but there is no visible border between this region and the Warmia area. To encourage you to explore this historical land from your bicycle seat, a few other interesting bike routes have been laid out around Lidzbark Warmiński and Bartoszyce. And just like most places along the Green Velo trail, it is worth taking extra time to explore this area further.