Polska Organizacja Turystyczna
American Society of Travel Agents
RDA International Coach Tourism Federation e.V.
Polska Izba Turystyki
Wigry Lake

Wigry Lake Wigry National Park, located in the north-east part of Poland, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, was created on January 1st, 1989. Its northern part lies within the East Suwalki Lakeland, while the southern part within the Augustow Plain. The total area of the Park is 15,085 ha. Forests (63 %) and surface waters (19 %) cover the major part of its area. 623 ha which consists of 120 ha of forests are strictly protected. Agriculturally managed areas are encompassed by landscape protection.

Wigry map The Park landscape was shaped during the Baltic Glaciation period, when for a long period of time, the glacier covered the north part of what is now the Wigry National Park. The northern part of the Park is built of clays, gravels and sands with stones of various mineral composition. The southern part is more flat and covered by a thick layer of sandy outwash. Numerous lakes and small water basins are remnants of the glaciation periods. They have various shapes, areas and depth. The Park is a site of 42 lakes, the largest being Wigry Lake of 2,187 ha of area and up to 73 m in depth.

The region of Wigry National Park can boast with the almost untouched nature. The main river of the Park is the Czarna Hancza, which is also a well know canoeing route.

Almost 1000 species of vascular plants (including about 60 protected species), over 200 species of bryophyte and liverworts, as well as 300 species of lichens were found in the Park. The flora is characterised by a presence of many species associated with northern climatic zone. Forests, which cover most of the Park area represent almost all types of forest communities found in the north-east Poland. The most natural are alder carrs and marshy coniferous forests.

The most representative species among mammals is beaver (Castor fiber) which lives along river and lake banks in large numbers. At present its population was estimated at about 250 animals. Because of its quantity, beaver became the symbol of the Wigry National Park.

Human activity in the area goes back to the Old Stone Age. It is proved by findings from over 184 archeological sites. The most interesting historical sites include among others monastery complex built in the years 1694 to 1745, that remained after the Wigry Camaldolite Order, and is very attractive for tourism, especially popular during summer season.

With the monastery is contained many various legends.

The most popular one tells about the cook of the Camaldolites, a monk called Barnaba. He could not satisfy the prior who was of Italian origin.

The prior didn’t like the fish of the Wigry Lake and he was always complaining of it. Barnaba was depressed and once he said: „I would sell my soul to the devil if I could get the Italian fish”. Indeed at the same moment, the devil flu in through the window. He offered Barnaba to bring the fish in one night, in exchange for Barnaba’s soul. The cook agreed but on condition that the devil would return with the fish before dawn. Barnaba thought that it would be impossible for the devil to do that. But as soon the devil has gone for the fish, Barnaba understood his mistake and started to pray for his soul. At last he decided to confess his sin to the prior. He went to him and told about it. The prior began wondering of how to save Barnaba’s soul but he was not able to invent anything. The sky was getting brighter. The prior heard a noise and went to the top of the monastery tower. He saw the devil coming back from Italy and was sure that Barnaba’s soul was lost. But at the moment he heard a voice saying: „Ring the church bells”. He did so at once. The devil heard the bells and was sure they were the daybreak bells. Having thought he lost the bet the devil was furious. He hurled the Italian fish into the Wigry Lake and ran away. That is the reason why the Italian fish has been living here till nowadays.

This is also a heaven for hikers and bikers, who will find here about 190 km of trails. Sailors and anglers have camping sites and the largest lakes at their disposal (with some restrictions, however). In the Park proximity many holiday centres are located. The above mentioned monastery complex from the 17th Century, overlooking the Wigry Lake, enjoys special interest from the Park visitors.

[ ]