The other weekend my son decided to take his two children on a trip to the Mazurian Lakes in Poland. It was a spur of the moment thing, he asked if we would like to join him and of course we jumped at the idea. We stayed over a couple of nights and in that time found many attractions to visit which I will eventually get round to telling you about but one place I want to write about now is a small village called Srokowo in the province of Warmia and Mazury. The county is Kętrzyński.
We actually found this village on the way home as we changed the route going back to Warsaw, a good thing as we went through some very attractive lake side villages. Srokowo isn’t near a lake but there is water in the village in the form of the River Omet which passes through the town.
Srokowo goes back in the history books as far back as 1397 but hasn’t always been known by this name. Until 1950 it was called Dryfort and then the village took the name from a geographer and author, called Stanislaw Srokowskiego who wrote articles on East Prussia.
Where the market place is situated there used to be very pretty arcaded houses but these were destroyed in the First World War along with other buildings. The town was rebuilt only to be destroyed again in the Second World War by the Red Army. After World War II the town was so small that it officially became a village and was incorporated in the province of Olszytn which had been newly formed at that time. It wasn’t until 1998 that the province changed to Warmia and Mazury and even nowadays there is only a small population of 1,400 people living in this village.
The building that drew my attention and made me ask my son to stop the car was the City Hall. I am used to seeing Gothic style City Halls in Poland so this one came as a surprise as it looks like a house and not an official building. Walking around the village was such a peaceful experience, I only came across two chaps walking out of the cultural centre which is at the side of the City Hall and further up near to the Church of the Holy Cross I passed a lady walking into the church. Perhaps the rest of the inhabitants were inside the church although I couldn’t hear any singing. They could have been praying, I guess.
Srokowo is one of those villages that is well maintained, every piece of lawn is immaculately cut and containers holding flowers like the stone basket filled with pansies are beautifully planted. Streets adjoining the market place are interesting to look at, dating back from the 19th century. One street is named after Chopin, the other after the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. The most attractive houses are the half-timbered buildings and the Granary that is close to the City Hall. One building near to the Holy Cross Church has been turned into a sklep (shop) with its sign swinging in the gentle wind and stone steps leading to the shop door. The building would look even prettier if the shop owner hadn’t attached a steel frame to cover the door, this is obviously to keep burglars out but a bit of an eye sore really on such a nice building.
Is there anything else to do besides walk around the town, visit the church, cultural centre and City Hall? Yes, there is a hill at the back of the village which is a good viewing point to look at the area and close by there are two nature reserves, Kalecki Mud and Bajory.
I am glad we stopped on our way home to Warsaw to look at this small but very pretty village. I enjoyed taking photos of the buildings, loved the peace and tranquillity and the compactness of the buildings and well-manicured trees and gardens.