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8th EMAPI Conference Proceedings
pre-conferences pages


Informations about the places of excursions
Pre-conference field trips (choose 3 different trips in the region)

1. The Jurassic Upland

2. The Upper Silesian Industrial District

3. Odra River Valley and "Cistercian Landscape Compositions of Rudy Wielkie"

The long distance excursions
1. Kraków and Wieliczka Salt Mine

2. Białowieża National Park

3. Tatra and Pieniny Mts.



The Jurassic Upland

Jurrassic landscape

The Jurrassic Upland is situated in the northern part of the Silesian region. This is the largest karst region in Poland. Famous for its interesting plant cover (beech and pine forests, xerothermic grasslands, endemic plants) and fauna as well as geological features (limestone rocks and more than 1500 known caves). More than 1000 vascular plant species were recorded here. The Jurassic Upland is also a region known for historical and cultural monuments, such as the castles called "eagle nests", the palaces and manors. The Eagle-nest Castles form a chain of medieval strongholds picturesquely elevated over the thoroughly scenic landscape of the rolling Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, graced with a profusion of romantic limestone rocks, gorges, caves, etc. The most interesting part of the Jurassic Upland is protected as 10 nature reserves and the "Eagle Nests" Landscape Park.

For more informations see: http://www.krakow-info.com/eagle.htm

The Błędów Desert bordering the region, is known in Poland and beyond as a great natural peculiarity. It is the biggest sandy desert area in Poland (32 square kilometres).

The visited places:
Kraków-Częstochowa Upland * Landscape Park "Eagle Nests" (Ogrodzieniec, Pilica, Smoleń) * nature reserves (with limestone rocks, gorges, caves) * The Błędów Sandy Desert

  Ogrodzieniec castle   Smoleń castle   limestone rocks  

  The Błędów Sandy Desert   Sand mine  



The Upper Silesian Industrial District

Settling and washing tanks, water reservoirs - "Żabie Doły" (Bytom)

The Upper Silesian Industrial District (South Poland) is one of the most anthropogenic transformed regions in Europe. Its natural environment has been seriously damaged by the development of mining and the steel industry as well as by urbanisation.
In the past lead-ores with silver admixture (the silver carrier ore), iron-ores, zinc ores and coal were the main ores extracted here.
The "Nikiszowiec" housing estate is a unique example of a workers' estate both in its architectural conception and in its historically advanced living standards.
New anthropogenic forms were created in the Silesian landscape: settling and washing tanks, water reservoirs ("Żabie Doły" at Bytom) and spoil heaps (Przezchlebie near Gliwice town). Also connected with the mining of silver bearing ores is the dolomite washing tank (Tarnowskie Góry - Bobrowniki), the complex of quarries of the Dolomite Mine Bobrowniki-Blachówka S.A. and the disused quarry "Blachówka". Above the limestone quarry in the highest parts of Srebrna Góra (Silver Mountain) at 340 metres above sea level (m.a.s.l.) is situated the "Segiet" nature reserve which protects a fragment of thermophilous beech forest with many thermophilous species and orchids. Signs of previous mining activity (funnels, hollows, rock debris, open-cast workings) can be found there. It is possible to take an underground tourist route (40 m deep and 1700 m long, 270 m taken by boats) which enables the participants to see labyrinths, galleries and underground chambers.

The visited places:
The Nikiszowiec Housing Estate * "Żabie Doły" Natural Landscape Complex * Spoil Mine Heap "Przezchlebie" * Historic Mine Museum (Tarnowskie Góry, Repty) * Dolomite Heap (Tarnowskie Góry - Boborowniki) * Bobrowniki-Blachówka Limestone Quarry and Beech Forest

  Lead zinc waste heap - "Żabie Doły" (Bytom)   Dolomite Mine heap Bobrowniki-Blachówka S.A - Tarnowskie Góry   Complex of quarries of the Dolomite Mine Bobrowniki-Blachówka S.A. - Tarnowskie Góry  



Odra River Valley
and "Cistercian Landscape Compositions
of Rudy Wielkie"

Nature Reserve "Łężczak"

The Cistercian Landscape Compositions are situated in the south-western part of Poland, close to the border with the Czech Republic. They constitute the most precious environmental, landscape and cultural areas located in the Odra River Valley. This is the area where the Order of Cistercians originating from France was established. Over the ages the monks intentionally and purposefully shaped the landscape with natural and anthropogenic components - landscape park, forest-pond nature reserve as well as numerous protected plant and animal species. The material heritage of the Cistercian Order includes - sacred objects, monuments of secular architecture - a palace, a monastery complex as well as cultural and industrial relics. The Moravian Gateway Arboretum is also very interesting.

The visited places:
Rudy Wielkie * Nature Reserve "Łężczak" * arboretum "Obora" near Racibórz

  Landscape park in Rudy Raciborskie   Old oak tree - monument of nature - with Hedera helix   Landscape park in Rudy Raciborskie  



and Wieliczka Salt Mine

Church of St Mary in Cracow

Cracow is a historical town in the South of Poland. During the 12th to 17th centuries Cracow was the capital of Poland and a royal residence. Now it is an important centre of science, culture, art, business and industry, with over 700, 000 inhabitants. It is also an important centre of local and foreign tourism, as it is visited by more than 2 000 000 tourists each year.
The first Polish University - the Cracow Academy, the second oldest University in Europe (now the Jagiellonian University) was founded here in 1364. Many architectural relics from that time have been preserved.
In 1978 the historical architectural section of Cracow was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Cultural Commission of the European Union designated Cracow as European City of Culture 2000.

The most important attractions of Cracow are:
* the Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral with graves of kings, national leaders as well as famous poets,
* the Old Town with Main Market Square, the Cloth Hall, Gothic St Mary's Church with the famous altar carved by Wit Stwosz, other old churches and old burgher's houses.the Jagiellonian University with Gothic Collegium Maius with mementos of its most famous alumnus - Nicholas Copernicus,
* remains of medieval fortifications: the Florian Gate and several towers along with Barbakan,
* the National Museum's collection of paintings with Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine and Rembrandt's Landscape with Good Samaritan (the Czartoryski Museum),
* Kazimierz - former Jewish town with old synagogues.
For more informations see:

One-day trip to Kraków
Timetable of the trip:
10.00 - 11.00 - visit to the Collegium Maius (the oldest building in the Jagiellonian University)
11.00 - 12.30 - walk around the Market Square with the Town Hall, Cloth Hall, Church of St Mary, to Florianska Street with Matejko House, Jama Michalika Café and St. Florian's Gate, the Barbican and walk around Planty and Kopernik Street
12.30 - 14.30 - visit to the Institute of Botany of the Jagiellonian University; the Botanical Garden and its Museum, the Paleobatanical Museum
14.30 - 16.00 - Lunch at the Botanical Garden
17.00 - 19.00 - the Wieliczka Salt Mine
20.00 - 21.00 - return to Katowice

Please note that on the way back to Katowice the bus will stop (on request) at the airport at Kraków-Balice.

  The Barbican   Jagiellonian University - the Collegium Maius   St.Kinga Chapel in the Wieliczka Salt Mine  



Białowieża National Park

Białowieża NP

Białowieża National Park, located in north-eastern part of Poland, is the oldest national park in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded as reserve forestry in 1921 and officially established as a national park in 1932. Since 1977 it has been included in UNESCO Programme of "Man and Biosphere" Reserves and inscribed in the World Heritage list. Due to coniferous and broad-leaved tree forests which have survived in an almost unaltered form, Białowieża National Park can be considered the most valuable natural area in the lowlands of entire Europe. The main feature of the Park is its forest. The Park protects a part (4 747 ha - a strict reserve) of the last and one of the largest surviving areas of European primeval lowland mixed forest (pine, hornbeam, oak, linden, alder and spruce). The forest dates back to 8000 BC and is the only remaining example of the original forests, which once covered much of Europe. Since 1996 total area of the Park is 10 502 ha. Flora here is extremely diverse (over 1200 species) with many unique species including the exceptionally interesting mountain arnica (Arnica montana). The Park's animal life totals 11000 species, including 62 species of mammals and 200 species of birds. These wilderness areas are inhabited by some 300 European bison (a species which has been reintroduced into the Białowieża Forest in 1929), elk (moose), red deer, roe deer, wild boar, lynx, wolf, fox, marten, badger, otter, ermine, beaver and numerous bats. It is also a place reserve for tarpan (the Polish wild forest horse). Bird species include the black stork (Cioconia nigra), Pomeranian eagle (Aquila pomarina), tawny owl (Strix aluco), crane and raven. Białowieża is a very important scientific and educational as well as culture centre.

2,5 day trip (app. 600 km NE from Katowice; close to the Belorussia border)
First day: 8.30 - departure; lunch break and tourist tour in Sandomierz upon Vistula river (historical town); late afternoon arrival to Bialowieża
Second day: visit to Bialowieża National Park; a horse-drawn vehicle tour, bonfire
Accomodation: 4 star hotel Żubrówka (app. price 150 Euros)

Please note that on the way back to Katowice the bus will stop in Warszawa at the airport and at the main railway station (about 14.00); return to Katowice 18.00-19.00

  Tarpans in Białowieża NP   Forest in Białowieża NP   European bison in Białowieża NP  



Tatra and Pieniny Mts.

The Tatra NP

The Tatra National Park was established in 1954. In 1992 the two parts of the Tatra National Park, in Poland (TNP) and in Slovakia (TANAP), were jointly declared by the MaB Committee as the Tatra Mountain International Biosphere Reserve. TNP is situated in the middle of the Western Carpathians Range. The highest mountain peak on the Polish side is Rysy, 2400 metres above sea level (m.a.s.l.). Five climatic-vegetation belts have been distinguished in the Tatra Mts. Viewing the differentiation with rising altitude: (1) the lower montane belt (up to 1200 m a.s.l.) - with beech-fir forest vegetation type (Dentario glandulosae - Fagetum); (2) the upper montane belt (1200 - 1550 m a.s.l.) - dominated by spruce forest (Vaccinio-Piceetalia); (3) the subalpine belt (1550 - 1800 m a.s.l.) - with Pinetum mughi carpaticum association; (4) the alpine belt (1800 - 2300 m a.s.l.) - with montane grassland predominant; (5) the subnival belt (above 2300 m a.s.l.) - with bare rock sites dominating, covered only with low vegetation plant communities rare in the Polish mountains.
The Tatra Mts. constitute a centre of high-elevation montane vegetation types in Poland. Out of nearly 500 montane vascular plant species known in that region more than 90% occur in this particular range; 20% are classified as rare and these are mostly relict species. Among these vascular plants 35 occurs as Pan-Carpathian, West-Carpathian and Tatra endemic or subendemic species e.g. Saxifraga wahlenbergii, Delphinium oxysepalum, and Cochlearia tatrae.
In addition there are some renowned species of fauna in the TNP such as marmot (Marmota marmota) and chamois (Rupicarpa rupicarpa).

Pieniny NP

The Pieniny National Park (PNP) was founded in 1955. It is almost entirely composed of the lower mountain belt of forest-type vegetation. The largest area is occupied by the Carpathian fir-beech forest (Abieto-Fagetum pieninicum). Apart from that there is the rare north-facing association type of Phyllitido-Aceretum, including Phyllitis scolopendrium which is nowadays rare in Poland. Another type of plant community found there is Seslerietum variae which is distributed across scree and rock debris with the lowland grass Festuca pallens and the montane species Sesleria varia predominating.
The magnificent Dunajec river Gorge is also on the priority list of places to be seen there with high and jagged calcareous pinnacles, lush with forest cover.

For more informations see: http://www.pieninypn.pl/


2 days tour
The main study feature: the establishment of invasive species in different biotopes in the principal geobotanical units of the Carpathians:
* the Vistula Valley * the Carpathian heights * Beskidy Mountains (Babia Góra mountain, the Gorce mountains) * the Orawsko-Nowotarska Basin * the Tatra Mountains * the Pieniny Mountains;
The route passes 4 national parks: the Babia Góra National Park * the Gorce National Park * the Tatra National Park * the Pieniny National Park.
First day: Katowice * Zator * Skawina * Głogoczów * Myślenice * Nowy Targ * the Tatra Mountains (Chochołów, Kościelisko, Zakopane, Poronin, Bukowina Tatrzańska).
Main topics investigated:
The alien plants of the Tatra Mountain and their penetration into the Tatrzański National Park (TNP).
The first part of the Kościeliska Valley (TPN)
- the establishment of species escaping from gardens;
- the history of alpine species in the Tatra Mountains;
Accommodation is in Zakopane; in the evening there will be regional attractions: a bonfire with a group of regional musicians.
Second day: Zakopane * Spisz * Pieniny * a raft ride in the Dunajec River gorge * Kraków * Katowice.
Main topics investigated:
- Białka as one of the natural big rivers in the western Carpathians;
- the region of Spisz - the penetration and establishment of invasive species in relatively well preserved regions;
- the Pieniny National Park (PPN) - alien plant invasions into the PPN.

  Impatiens glandulifera the Carpathian heights   Morskie Oko lake in Tatra NP   the Dunajec River gorge in Pieniny NP  



update 7.11.2005 top