Sebastian Bielak - Podróż po Alasce

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View of the Bieszczady Mountains, in the background the highest peak Mount Tarnica (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)
View of the Bieszczady Mountains, in the background the highest peak Mt. Tarnica (photo by S. R. Bielak)

The Bieszczady Mountains of Eastern Carpathians

The Bieszczady Mountains are located in south-eastern Poland. By many people they are recognized as the wildest part of this country and one of the most precious natural corners of Europe. As a part of Eastern Carpathians these mountains extend on the borderland of three contries: Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. They are not very high mountains as the highest summit located on their Polish side is Mount  Tarnica reaching 4416 feet a.s.l. (1346 m a.s.l.). Nevertheless, local wildlife is really wild and the environment is barely changed by men. Here occur the most numerous in Poland populations of brown bear, Eurasian lynx and grey wolf. In the borders of Polish side of the Bieszczady Mountains there is one national park, two landscape parks and over a dozen of wildlife preserves which encompass an area of over 270 000 acres (1100 km2). The dominant component of local landscapes are deciduous forests which are completely natural, however at the turn of nineteenth and twentieth century they were intensively exploited... [more]

The Biebrza River Valley is a vast, flat and wet terrain covered by peatlands (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)
The Biebrza River Valley is a vast, flat and wet terrain covered by peatlands (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)

The Biebrza River Valley – a land of wild wetlands

The Biebrza River Valley is located in north-eastern Poland and undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful places in this region. Here occur vast and quite natural lowland peatlands with fragments of raised bogs, which are considered to be the greatest in Poland and one of the biggest in Europe (acreage of almost 250 000 acres which equals 1000 km2). During last century these wetlands luckily have resisted numerous attempts of draining peat soil for agricultural purposes. In a scale of the whole continent the Biebrza River Valley, and especially its Lower Basin, is a unique refuge for migratory water birds and birds of prey. Most of 280 bird species seen in the valley nest here and some of them are very rare or even endangered. In 1993, because of high natural values of the valley, the Biebrza River National Park was established. With the acreage of 140 000 acres (600 km2) it is now the biggest national park of Poland. As an area of global importance in wildlife conservation the Biebrza River Valley has been registered in the... [more]

Panorama of the Table Mountains visible from the summit of Mount Szczeliniec Wielki (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)

Panorama of the Table Mountains visible from the top of Mount Szczeliniec Wielki (photo by S. Bielak)

The Table Mountains – a geologic unique in Poland

The Table Mountains are located in south-western Poland and as a middle part of the Sudeten Mountains they stretch on the borderland of Poland and the Czech Republic. This mountain range is 28 miles (45 km) long and several miles (a dozen or so kilometers) wide and consists of four smaller mountain chains. On Polish side the first and the most popular are the Specific Table Mountains with acreage of 24 square miles (63 km2), protected as a whole by the Table Mountains National Park. Here is located the highest peak of the range which is Mount Szczeliniec Wielki rising 3013 feet a.s.l. (919 m a.s.l.). In turn, the most charming fragments of Czech Table Mountains are Adrspach-Teplice Rocks and Broumov Walls. The Table Mountains are the only mountain chain in Poland and one of very few in Europe that is characterized by a slab structure with particular layers of rocks laying almost perfectly flat one on another. These rocks are build of marls and jointed sandstones, however the name of sandstones comes from numerous and vertical cracks... [more]

Postglacial Corrie of the Little Cirque Lake, in the background Mount Sniezka (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)
Postglacial Corrie of the Little Cirque Lake, in the background Mount Sniezka (photo by S. R. Bielak)

The Giant Mountains – the Montane Spirit's domain

The Giant Mountains are located in south-western Poland and as a highest part of the Sudeten Mountains they stretch on the borderland of Poland and the Czech Republic. In terms of natural and cultural values this mountain chain is considered to be one of the most interesting fragments of the Lower Silesia region. The highest summit is Mount Sniezka reaching 5252 feet a.s.l. (1602 m a.s.l.). Here occur two national parks and a dozen of wildlife refuges which protect flora and fauna both on Polish and Czech side of the mountains. Also, the Giant Mountains are listed as UNESCO Biosphere Preserve with acreage of almost 150 000 acres (over 600 km2). Here are numerous remnants of the last Ice Age, including three postglacial montane lakes located in the eastern part of the mountains: the Great Cirque Lake, the Little Cirque Lake and Snowy Cirques. These cirques emerged inside the corries of local glaciers thousands of years ago, on account of ice melting caused by the climate change. Glaciers were surrounded by moraines so the... [more]

Mount Golica located in Slovakian part of the Pieniny Mountains, view from the summit of Mount Sokolica (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)
Mount Golica located in Slovakian part of the Pieniny Mountains, view from Mt. Sokolica (photo by S.Bielak)

The Pieniny Mountains of Western Carpathians

The Pieniny Mountains are located in southern Poland where, as a part of Western Carpathians, they extend along the borderline shared with Slovakia. These mountains are rather small as they are 22 miles (35 km) long and 4.5 miles (7 km) wide, while the highest summit is Mount Wysoka reaching 3443 feet a.s.l. (1050 m a.s.l.). Despite these modest facts nobody would deny a typical montane character and authentic beauty of these mountains. Main reason of their unusual charm is activity of the Dunajec River that flows across them. For hundreds of thousands of years this river has been furrowing a narrow passage through limestone rocks, finally creating a picturesque gorge which divides the whole mountain chain into three separate parts: Specific, Little and Spiskie Pieniny Mountains. Although the acreage of these mountains is quite small local wildlife is extraordinary varied. Here live about 13 000 species of animals, which is over one third of all species occurring in Poland. Unique values of local wildlife had been appreciated over... [more]

In the Bialowieza Primeval Forest there is a lot of small sylvan rivers and creeks (photo by Sebastian R. Bielak)
In the Bialowieza Primeval Forest there is a lot of small sylvan rivers and creeks (photo by S. R. Bielak)

The Bialowieza Primeval Forest

The Bialowieza Primeval Forest is a huge sylvan complex located in north-eastern Poland where it extends along the borderline shared with Belarus. With acreage of almost six hundred square miles (1500 km2) contemporary primeval forest is a remnant of old and natural wood covering huge areas in Middle-East Europe. About 40% of this acreage belongs to Poland and among others it contains the Bialowieza Primeval Forest National Park which is one of the oldest national parks in Poland. Here live over 12 000 species of animals and this is one third of all species occurring in this country. Because of its excellent biodiversity the Bialowieza Primeval Forest, as the only area of protected wildlife in Poland, has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Until the beginning of 20th century main role in the progress of local forests played nature so the characteristic feature of local tree stands is complex, multispecies structure and high age differentiation of trees. For example, in the strict protection zone of the national park average... [more]