February 2013
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Poland – The Augustow Canal : a cross-border canal – Part 1

Poland is a country located in Central Europe. It has a long Baltic Sea coastline. It is bordered by:
• Belarus
• Czech Republic
• Germany
• Lithuania
• Russia
• Slovakia
• Ukraine

The Augustow Canal is a cross-border canal constructed in the 19th century in Poland.

Overview of The Augustow Canal

• It was built in present Podlaskie Voivodeship of northeastern Poland and the Hrodna Voblast of north-western Belarus.
• It was termed as a technological marvel.
• It has numerous sluices which is part of its charm.
• It was the first summit level canal in Central Europe.
• This has a direct link between the two major rivers.
• These two rivers are Vistula River through the Biebrza River and the Neman River.
• The former river is a tributary of the Narew River.
• The latter is built through its tributary the Czarna Hancza River.
• This provides a link with the Black Sea to the south.

The path passes through the:
• Oginski Canal
• Daugava River
• Berezina Canal
• Dnieper River

It uses a post-glacial channel depression. This forms a chain. The chain includes:
• Augustow lakes
• The river valleys of the Biebrza
• The Netta
• The Czarna Hancza
• The Neman

It made possible to perfectly integrate the Canal with the surrounding elements.
• The construction of the Augustow Canal was done for both political and economic reasons.
• In 1821 Prussia introduced repressively high customs duties.
• This was done for transit of Polish and Lithuanian goods through its territory.
• These customs blocked the access of Polish traders to the Baltic Sea through the Vistula River.
• In the years 1823–1839 a waterway was constructed.
• This bypasses the Prussian territory.
• The completed part of the Augustow Canal remained an inland waterway.
• This was used for commercial shipping and to transport wood to and from the Vistula and Neman Rivers.
• The canal is currently a conservation protection zone which was proposed by Poland and Belarus.
• It is waiting for inscription onto the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
• The canal utilizes a postglacial depression and numerous valleys in the Masurian Lake District.
• These valleys were shaped by the Pleistocene ice age.

Facts about the Canal

• It is based in the long natural chain of Augustow lakes and the adjoining rivers.
• The canal integrates with its environment to about 101.20 km length.
• The watershed area of the canal on the Polish side of the border is 74.25 km² and on the Belarusian side, 8.42 km².
• That makes a total of 82.67 km².

Best time to visit / climate

• The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country.
• The climate is oceanic in the north and west.
• It becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east.
• Summers are generally warm.
• It is with average temperatures between 18 °C (64 °F) and 30 °C (86.0 °F).
• Winters are rather cold.
• There are with average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the northwest and 6 °C (21 °F) in the northeast.
• Precipitation falls throughout the year.
• The warmest region in Poland is Lower Silesian that is located in south-western Poland.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get to Poland?

1. By plane
• Most of Europe’s major airlines fly to and from Poland.
• Poland’s national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines.
• There are also a number of low cost airlines that fly to Poland. These include:
– WizzAir
– EasyJet
– Germanwings
– Norwegian
– Ryanair
There are also direct flights from United States and Canada. LOT operates direct flights from:
– Toronto
– New York
– Chicago
– Non-direct flights from other cities
International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw (WAW). Other major airports in Poland are:
– Krakow
– Katowice
– Gdask
– Pozna
– Wrocaw
– Szczecin
– Rzeszow
– Bydgoszcz
A new terminal has been opened at the Warsaw Chopin airport which will significantly increase the airport’s capacity.

2. By Train
Direct connections with:
• Berlin
• Amsterdam, via Koeln, Hannover
• Kiev via Lviv
• Vienna
• Prague
• Moscow

3. By Car
You can enter Poland by one of many roads linking Poland with the neighboring countries.

4. By Bus
There are many international bus lines that connect major Polish cities.
• Voyager
• Eurolines
• Ecolines
• PolskiBus.com
• Simple Express

5. By Boat
• From Sweden
– Ystad by Unity Line
– Karlskrona by Stena Line
– Nynashamn
– Visby
– Ystad by Polferries

• From Denmark
– Copenhagen
– Bornholm

• From Finland
– Helsinki by Finnlines

• From Germany
– Rostock by Finnlines

6. By Yacht
There are more and more ports along Polish coast. Bigger marinas are located in:
– Szczecin
– Eba
– Hel
– Gdynia
– Gdask

7. By plane
– Polish national carrier LOT has daily connections.
– These are between the biggest cities with a hub in Warsaw.

8. By train
– In Poland, the national railway carriers are PKP InterCity and Przewozy Regionalne.
– There are few local carriers that belong to voivod ships or major cities.
– Train tickets are quite economical.
There are new InterCity routes such as:
• Warsaw – Katowice
• Warsaw – Krakow
• Warsaw – Pozna
• Pozna – Szczecin
Train types
• E-IC (ExpressInterCity) / EC (EuroCity) / Ex (Express)
• TLK (Twoje Linie Kolejowe)
• RE (RegioEkspress)
• IR (InterRegio)
• REGIO / Osobowy
• Podmiejski
• Narrow gauge

Some Travel Books on Poland

Poland Lonely Planet Poland Poland: A Unique Country & Its People

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.in
Hotels at staypoland.com
Hotels at travelpoland.com

Blogs / Sites about Poland

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at suwalszczyzna.pl
Blogs at trav whc.unesco.org
Blogs and reviews at belarus.by

Images and photos of Poland

Images at google.com
Images at wikipedia.org
Images at e whc.unesco.org
Images at belarus.by

Videos of Poland

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