Poland | 99 Years of Independence

TRAVEL

Poland has plenty of public holidays. A consequence of these holidays is that all shops, malls & most restaurants close their doors to join in celebrations – bringing business to a halt.

This was the case on November 11th 2017 when Poland celebrated its National Independence Day to commemorate the recovery of Poland as a sovereign state.

Taking a brief look into the history of Poland; the First Polish Republic [Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth] lasted a period of 226 years before 1795. The First Republic was a dualistic state [bi-confederation of Poland & Lithuania] ruled by a common monarch.

A Partitioned Poland existed from 1795 to 1918 [123 years], partitioned amongst the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia as well as Habsburg Austria. Four years towards the end of this period, World War 1 commenced and ended with the cessation of a Partitioned Poland.

From 1918 to 1939 the Second Republic of Poland [Polish People’s Republic or inter-war Poland] was in session, until the Second World War took place in 1939 to 1945.

A Communist Poland took up reins in the aftermath of World War 2, from 1945 to 1989.

Post 1989, Poland’s government ended its 44 years of “one – party rule” as per the Second Polish Republic, and began a democratic transition which led to what we now know as the Third Polish Republic [Post Communism – Democratic Republic of Poland].

To answer the question of when Poland gained its independence, it was in the year 1918, making the country one year short from a century of independence on November 11th 2017.

Saturday November 11th was a wet and cold day that had me in bed blogging away, waiting on the hour that my friends and I had planned to go and watch the Independence parade in Poznan’s Plac. Mickiewicza and despite the harsh weather, people were out in numbers.

To try and keep warm, my friends & I headed for the Zamek, a castle cultural center were we viewed photographs and historic depictions of Poland’s history. In the process of touring the Zamek, we stumbled upon a group of people getting ready for the parade.

Our first contact was with some lovely ladies robed in white gowns & red capes, both colors a representation of the bi-colored Polish National flag.

The moment was so intriguing I asked whether I could take picture of them. Upon agreeing, they suggested we join the group pictures and ultimately offered to dress us as they were dressed.

After completion of costumes and once it had been decided that we too would partake in the parade, we went ahead to see soldiers adding finishing touches to their costumes and chanting amongst themselves. They were to parade a historical reconstruction of Polish soldiers who had fought in the war that led to the country’s independence. It was a delight to be in the midst of such a joyous celebration.

The parade began.

Stepping into the drizzling rain, the crowd was enormous! They waved and smiled as the parade party passed by. The experience was exhilarating – celebrating the National Independence Day of Poland alongside the Poles, waving to children in the crowds and taking so many pictures along the way.

The day could not have been any more special, all thanks to the lovely ladies in white gowns and red capes.

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View of the Zamek Castle Cultural Center from Plac. Mickiewicza

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Statue performer

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Wall art depicting a time-line of Polish history | Zamek Castle

 

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Getting ready for the parade

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It was a joyous occasion!

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A historical reconstruction of Polish soldiers who fought the war towards the country’s independence

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Red capes and white gowns

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Polish street cuisine

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Poznan, Poland | City Blog

TRAVEL

A question I’ve often found repeatedly directed at foreigners residing in Poznan is; “How do you find it?” And so often I’ve come to find that not only do I give the same response with the change in inquisitors, but I also receive the same answer whenever I extend the same question to other outsiders.

Poznan is a city on the Warta River, in Greater Poland. This city is best known for its renaissance old town and is amongst the largest & oldest in Poland. It has been my home for just over three years now, and O’ so often I’ve answered the above question with “It grows on you”, and this is true.

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I had no previous knowledge of Poland before settling to study in Poznan, let alone the culture or cuisine of the Polish people. The detail I was certain of, which seemed to have given me false confidence concerning geography, was that I could easily locate the country on a map & like most people I had often confused it with Holland [the Netherlands].

Appreciation & understanding of a place, I believe arises from ones views & knowledge of where they come from, as well as knowledge of the place they’re trying to gain an understanding and appreciation for.

Places are uniquely different. Molded by historic influences on culture, economy, architecture and so forth, I’ve often found that society progresses and builds itself to make provision for dominant habits whilst attempting to stay rooted in cultural norms. Certain differences may prove inconvenient, while others may proof beneficial to outsiders.

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Stay long enough in a place and you’ll soon come to see the cracks & imperfections in systems. You will get critical as you get accustomed. On the other hand, I’ve come to realize that the things I most appreciate about living in this city have remained a constant over time.

Poznan is bigger than I’ve explored. In the little corner of the city where I live, which is the Grunwald dzielnica or neighbourhood, silence and lack of disturbances in the neighbourhood is what I’ve come to appreciate the most.

Coming from a country where simply carrying your purse the wrong way or leaving it unattended could have it snatch in the blink of an eye, I’ve quiet grown accustomed to my mother’s constant reminders of holding my purse close to my chest anytime I walked the town. Living in Poznan, I’ve noticed that there are times when chivalry shows up. I’ve come to appreciate this notion the day I unknowingly climbed aboard a tram with an open handbag and had somebody lightly tap on my shoulder and advise me to close my bag. Mind you, I’m on no attempt to paint a perfect picture of this centrally located polish city – as there are things I often observe in Poznan, that are not common where I come from. Second hand public smoking is something one often runs into more often than not. You’re likely to find yourself walking behind someone strolling with a cigarette in hand ahead of you.

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Old Market Square

One thing I can comment on, for both the city I hail from (Windhoek) as well as for Poznan, is the beauty in their sunsets. Now, of course this sunsets are subject to seasonal change – but when the opportunity presents itself and one takes a glance at the horizon from a good point of view, you are bound to find an astonishing sunset that will make you appreciate the dance of colors from lighting produced by sun beams during the summer & autumn seasons.

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Old Market Square

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Plac Wolnosci

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Fredry Street

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Jordan Bridge | Most Biskupa Jordana

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Archcatherdral Basilica of St.Peter & St.Paul

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Lake Malta

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Poznan, Poland | Keeping Faith Away From Home

TRAVEL

The Poznan International Church [PIC] is a community of diverse individuals with vibrant personalities & kind heart from all walks of life. PIC has attendees from all over the world & it so happens to be my home, away from home. The church is a family of individuals with hearts hungry for God, ready to serve, educate & lighten the burdens of others where they can – whilst celebrating the very name that bring us all together, “GOD”.

The PIC slogan is COME|GROW|SERVE|GO

The people I’ve met at PIC are warm & inviting. People have come & gone, friendships formed & flourished. Being part of a group so diverse & resilient in its quest to glorify God, being surrounded by individuals so eager to carry out His will & make it known to all – Is truly humbling.

In the church, we continue to experience each other by sharing culture, testimonies, cuisine & celebrating special holidays together.

One gets to participate in activities organised by the church, share meals with other members, take group trips, and you learn from everyone around you.

Be you a guest just passing through town or a regular attendee at PIC, no one is left out – the ambience at PIC glorifies a God that is impartial to all.

If you ever find yourself in Poznan Poland, visit PIC & experience how the vast spectrum of nationalities in this church makes you appreciate the very fact that the presence of GOD is visible & celebrated all around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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