Today we’re having a special version of the RWPs—vacation shots of Leon and his staff, Elzbieta Wierzbicka and Andrzej Marciniak. (The humans took the photos.) All three are vacationing in a little-known region of Europe called Lemkivshchyna, which includes the region where Poland abuts Slovakia. A map is below, with areas identified by the dialects spoken by of their inhabitants.
Nominally, Leon and his staff went there to do the final paperwork on the wooden house they bought, which will be dismantled, transported to near Dobrzyn, and then re-erected. But they’re also taking a hiking vacation before school starts again (Elzbieta and Andrzej are teachers). Elzbieta posted some lovely photos of the area on her Facebook page, which I reproduce with permission.
It’s a lovely area, and probably one that few tourists frequent. We’ll see the hilly landscape, the beautiful old wooden structures, the pervasive signs of Catholicism, and, of course, Leon hiking! I’ve put sections of the Wikipedia entry on the area in between the pictures; those sections are indented. Enjoy!
Lemkovina (Polish: Łemkowszczyzna; Rusyn: Лемковина/Lemkovina; Ukrainian: ЛемківщинаLemkivshina) is a region in Europe that is traditionally inhabited by the Lemko people. While the Lemko are a distinct ethnic group, they consider themselves to be part of the broader Rusyn and/or Ukrainian communities. Lemkovina mostly stretches along the border between Poland and Slovakia covering some western territories of Ukraine.
The region forms an ethnographic peninsula 140 km (87 mi) long and 25–50 km (16–31 mi) wide from the Ukrainian border within Polish and Slovak territory. The Lemko region occupies the lowest part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains—most of the Low Beskids, the western part of the Middle Beskyd, and the eastern fringe of the Western Beskyd. It includes the higher elevations of the Carpathians of modern-day Poland, extending to around the Poprad River to the west (see: Ruś Szlachtowska), and extending to the east as far as the region around Sanok, where it meets the Boyko region. The corresponding latitudes of the adjacent highlands of present-day Slovakia are also included by some in the description of Lemko-land.
Previously a frontier area under the nominal control of Great Moravia, Lemkivshchyna became part of Poland in medieval Piast times. It was made part of the Austrian province of Galicia due to the First Partition of Poland in 1772.Parts were briefly independent under the Lemko-Rusyn Republic, and later annexed to Poland.
After the deportation of Lemkos from the northern part of this area in 1946, only the southern section, southwest of the Carpathian Mountains, known as the Prešov region in Slovakia, has remained inhabited by Lemkos.
Leon (and Andrzej) on the trail!
The landscape is typical of medium-height-mountain terrain, with ridges reaching 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and sometimes 1,300 m (4,300 ft). Only small parts of southern Low Beskids and the northern San river region have a low-mountain landscape. A series of mountain passes along the Torysa River and Poprad River—Tylych Pass (688 m (2,257 ft)), Dukla Pass (502 m (1,647 ft)), and Łupków Pass (657 m (2,156 ft))—facilitate communications between Galician and Transcarpathian Lemkos.
Leon on the trail, leading Elzbieta:
That is not Polish language!
A lovely old wooden church:
And our hero, resting his paws. Sometimes he’s carried in the backpack, which has a mesh Cat Compartment: