|OFF the BEATEN TRACK|
Hidden in the Sudeten foothills, Glogowek is one of a number of small medieval towns which have preserved their original layout complete with town square, church and old houses. The black Virgin Mary with Child in the replica Italian shrine here is a magnet for pilgrims. There is a small hotel and a youth hostel which opens in summer. Trains connect through Nysa to Kraków and elsewhere.
Two hundred kilometres south of Gdansk, Torun is the birthplace of Copernicus, the man who 'stopped the sun and moved the earth'. It's a beautiful town dating back to the 13th century when the Teutonic Knights set about transforming it into one of their early outposts. The town became a Hanseatic port in the 1280s, garnering wealth which spurred the construction of the elegant Gothic buildings you can see today. If you spend a few days wandering around munching on the local gingerbread your only problem will be OD-ing on picture-postcard perfection.
Designed in its entirety four centuries ago, Zamosc was built in one swoop at the behest of Jan Zamoyski, the chancellor of the time. Zamoyski intended to create a perfect city which would be an important cultural and trading centre and an impregnable fortress. The experiment proved successful, since the town was situated at the intersection of major trading routes, and it soon attracted capital and immigrants, and developed a vigorous intellectual tradition. The town also proved capable of defending itself, being one of only three Polish cities to withstand a Swedish siege in 1656. Today it's a charming place, well off the tourist trail, but with reasonable cheap accommodation and some good bars and clubs. Transport links are mostly through Lublin, 120km north-west.
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