Hello dears! I had a great opportunity to discover Toruń on my mid-term training for ESC volunteers. Volunteers from different organizations and countries with 2 trainer-facilitator spent 1 week in Toruń. We have been supper lucky, since our facilitators were oriented to meet our needs and to assist on our way of development, to recognize our competences so far and plan next steps. Also I have met interesting volunteers and they shared their experience as well as their challenges, which is priceless for me. This have been the most interesting week full of most valuable experience and the best for me while being a volunteer for 6 months.
I have to emphasize how amazing city is Toruń and to advise everyone to visit, since it is the hometown of famous Polish renaissance polymath, active as a mathematician, astronomer Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus), whose well-known theories are Heliocentrism, Quantity theory of money, Gresham–Copernicus law. So, we can say that he was macroeconomist as well.
Did you know that Toruń is a hometown of pierniki (Gingerbreads) as well?! Since the 13th century, Toruń gingerbread was made in Toruń, then State of the Teutonic Order (now Poland). It gained fame in the realm and abroad when it was brought to Sweden by German immigrants. It was a favorite delicacy of Chopin when he visited his godfather, Fryderyk Florian Skarbek, in Toruń during school vacation.
Toruń in northern Poland is a remarkably well preserved example of a medieval European trading and administrative center, located on the Vistula River. Toruń was founded in the period when Christianity was being spread through Eastern Europe by the military monks of the Teutonic Order, and when rapid growth in trade between the countries of the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe was being spurred by the Hanseatic League. Toruń became a leading member of the Hanseatic League in the territories ruled by the Teutonic Order.
With good reason, it’s also known as a city of peace: two peace treaties ending Polish-Teutonic wars were signed right here in Toruń, in 1411 and 1466. Under the latter treaty, Toruń became a town belonging to the Kingdom of Poland.
Now I would like to share some tips and tricks while visiting Toruń. Near the Town Hall, you’ll find frog fountain (not real ones). Don’t leave without giving their backs a stoke – it’s a small price to pay for, according to legend, happiness. Why risk it, right? Standing near the fountain, look upwards and around until you spot the black cat, on the roof of one of the tenements. It’s said to be the defender of the city. Then there’s the donkey. Many a visitor is surprised to stumble upon the figure of a donkey standing near the market square. Its symbolism is actually quite dark: it’s a reference to a former punishment site. In the olden days, unruly guards were seated on a donkey’s back, with a metal rod to inflict pain and weights tied to their feet to make the punishment even worse. A statue with a nicer story is found on the other side of the square. Filuś the flappy-eared dog, sits playfully next to a lamp post, its master’s bowler hat in its mouth. They say that if you stroke its head, you’ll get wiser, and if you grab its tail, you’ll be lucky in love. Why choose? Do both!