“So what exactly are you doing in Mysliborz?!”, my Polish friend asks me, quite surprised. “Not off to Warsaw, Krakow, or Gdansk?”, he seems to be adding, naming the much more well-known travel destinations in Poland. My EuropeTour mission about developing sustainable cultural tourism in the rural areas of Europe has once again led me off the beaten track, and this time it’s near the German-Polish border, only about an hour away from Berlin. It is here that, thanks to the German-Polish assocation of monasteries “Klosterland“, I have once again discovered quite a few hidden gems for you.
Just near the border between Germany and Poland, you may visit two extraordinary cultural gems: The monasteries of Chorin & Angermünde in the cities of the same name.
Following the age of secularization, many of the area’s originally religious buildings have seen alternative uses, such as stables, warehouses, houses, as well as other dwellings. Fascinating for me as an Austrian, where this kind of secularization never happened! I am thus much more used to see pompous-looking, castle-like monasteries and abbeys. Yet here, in the far north of Poland or Germany, you may well see huge (and above all, empty) churches, which are mainly used as event and exhibition spaces.
Back to Poland now, and the small town of Mysliborz. Perhaps some of you know by its historic (German) name, “Soldin”?
For many centuries, the city was called that way, and was part of German territory. During our visit, we ask the mayor of Mysliborz, whether it would be worthwhile to keep this well-known name in Polish? The answer, however, is a difficult and complex one, since it would involve many events in the recent history of Germany and Poland. We listen and learn how to better understand part of the sometimes difficult history: Through the miracle of Sister Faustina Kowalska (“Holy Mercy”) for instance, who served here about 100 years ago. The parish church of Mysliborz even shows a film teaser about her (inside the church!), complete with a flat screen TV hanging by the altar. Now that’s what I call a kind of modern church congregation!
Want to see even more travel photos from Poland? Here you go:
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