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
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
For more informations see:
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
The Upper Silesian Industrial District
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
Odra River Valley
and "Cistercian Landscape Compositions
of Rudy Wielkie"
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
and Wieliczka Salt Mine
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
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
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
- * 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
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.
Białowieża National Park
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
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
Tatra and Pieniny Mts.
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).
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
First day: Katowice * Zator * Skawina * Głogoczów * Myślenice * Nowy Targ *
the Tatra Mountains (Chochołów, Kościelisko, Zakopane, Poronin, Bukowina
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.