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How do you imagine the towns of Warmia and Masuria? Do you expect being close to rivers and lakes? Do you see a landscape full of forests? If yes, your thoughts are in the right direction. Olsztyn perfectly fits such a vision.
Even as the biggest city and the capital of the voivodeship, Olsztyn is still a city which perfectly integrates with the natural environment. No matter in what part of Olsztyn you will find yourself, you will always feel the closeness of nature.
A vastness of lakes to the West
Within the borders of Olsztyn lie 11 lakes and 4 smaller water reservoirs. They are mainly situated in the western part of the city. More than a half of the overall area of lakes is constituted by Lake Ukiel, which is also called Krzywe (412 ha). It has a 22 km long coastline, along which is located a year-round sport and recreational infrastructure. Via Lake Czarne (1.3 ha) it is connected with Lake Długie (26.8 ha) around which runs a popular cycling and hiking path. Between the bays of Krzywe lies the lake of Sukiel (20.8 ha) and to the north from Długie - Lake Podkówka (7 ha).
The second biggest lake is Kortowskie Lake (89.7 ha) which is close to the smallest Lake Modrzewiowe (0.2 ha) and Lake Starodworskie (6 ha). The nethermost is Lake Redykajny which is located near Lake Tyrsko (18.6 ha) and Żbik (1.2 ha).
The uniquely picturesque East
The eastern part of Olsztyn has only three lakes, close to the very border of the city. Lake Skanda, which adheres to a pine forest, attracts people with its several natural beaches. To the north from Skanda lies Lake Track (52.8 ha), which is the only artificial, human made lake in the city, and Lake Pereszkowo (1.2 ha).
The North – overgrown with forests
Between the eastern and the western part of the city, the City Forest expands along its northern border. It has approx. 1300 ha, which makes it one of the largest municipal forest complexes in Europe. It has a long history, since it was given to the city together with the incorporation charter in 1353. In the second half of the XXth century, the forest became an interesting recreational area and performs this role till this day. The marked-out hiking trails and the system of bike trails are favourable for tourism and sport.
The forest, 70% of whose stand of trees is pine, is crossed by two rivers – the Łyna and its tributary of the Wadąg. The fauna is widely presented here – boars are the most eager to have contact with people, and one can very often see them on the city streets. Nature, in its original state, is represented here by two nature reserves, founded as early as in 1907. The "Redykajny" Reserve protects the green boreal plants which are rare to this region, while the "Mszar" Reserve – the mid-forest peat bog.
The centre full of green
The City Forest adheres to the Jakubowo Park, which was already formed in 1862, with the small Lake Mummel (0.3 ha). The complex makes use of its park and holiday potential – just like the largest park in Olsztyn, the Castle Park, which stretches along the Łyna and the Old Town, and the Park of J. Kusociński with a separate sports and recreational zone. And it is not all – instead of a new residential area, there has been built Park Centralny (the Central Park), so there is even a new area with greenery at its heart.
A real virgin forest to the South
The southern part of Olsztyn adjoins a real primeval forest, which is not a common feature among large cities. Part of the Napiwodzko-Ramudzka Forest used to be a forest complex called Winduga which was given to the city already in 1378. Nowadays, there are 11 reserves and nature and educational paths formed within its area. And this is still not everything! Around Olsztyn, there is the Promotional Forest Complex "Olsztyn Forests". It is 34,000 ha large and is to give the society access to the high natural values of these lands.
The landscape of the city is formed by an immense network of lakes surrounded by a ring of forests. These forests, together with other greenery, cover as much as 27.5% of the whole area of the region's capital, while lakes (725 ha) stand for another 8%. Thus, Olsztyn does not need any other recommendation – nature is its best showcase.