Krasnystaw


Krasnystaw is a small town in rural Lubelskie. Krasnystaw has a dairy produce factory, and it is common to see it's products in Lublin's shops. Krasnystaw has a small park now where the main market used to be, and onto this park face some of the best buildings in the town. I have a stove tile from a 1928 stove on my desk, made by a company called 'Compel' in Krasnystaw. Sad to say, I also have a similar tile from the same period and made in Lublin, and the Lublin one is better quality. Still, the stove owners had no complaints about the stove and I like the town - I bought my first Polish Galoshes there.

The old part of the town is on the west side of the river, but it has since expanded across the river and encompasses what were once a couple of local villages. The first mention of anything here seems to come from the 13th century when there was a small wooden castle here - it was very much in the borderlands of Poland in those days. You can tell that there is a significant local source of clay, as in the middle of the 16th century there were 140 houses built of brick, a remarkable number for a rural town.

These days there are three Roman Catholic parishes int he town, but no obvious sign of any other religions until you examine the cemetery. Here there is a mysterious open brick structure with a small iron Orthodox cross on it. The cemetery chapel looks like it was originally Orthodox and nearby are quite a few graves of priests with the writing in Russian. Perhaps once the cemetery had Orthodox and Roman Catholic parts, but if so the RC have long since encroached on the Orthodox sections. There is a church nearby which stands within older walls and could well once have been the site of the Orthodox church. Also near the church is a new church, one of the ugliest I have ever seen. Of the Jewish population there are again no really obvious signs, except in some of the town architecture.

Each time we visit there seems to be a funeral at the main church, and as this is a small town in the country this means a procession of mourners walking up the street to the chrch following the hearse. This no longer happens in Lublin, probably because the streets are so busy. Up the same street, Pilsudskiego, there is also the former Communist paramilitary organisation XX, which these days seems to exist only as a driving school but in former times also arranged courses in many adventure sports. XX and also the Polish motoring organisation Polski Zwiazek Motorowy are strange in that neither have ever bothered to put a crown on their Polish eagles. Even further up the same street is what looks like a former palace, still with its original outbuildings. For a long time, at least since the 1940's, it has been an agricultural college, which seems a common fate since the 19th century for many palaces in the region.

Although Krasnystaw is not small and has regular markets, it is difficult to find anywhere to eat. On Matysiaki street, just off the main square there is a hotel, but the restaurant there is only open at certain hours. A much better bet is the Parkowa restaurant, also on Matysiaki street but actually on the square. It would not win any awards for the interior, it has a very pre-1989 feel, but while the range of food is limited it is actually quite good. The service is very good for rural Poland and next time we visit I don't suppose we will bother going elsewhere.

When we visited in September 2002 it was Chmielaki time, chmiel meaning 'hops' as in beer. This annual 2 day festival occurs when the hops have been harvested and although there are events such as a mini marathon and music, it is mainly about how many beer tents can they fit in the town centre alongside stalls selling cheap toys for children. There are some stalls that sell various crafts goods, but the air is mainly full of grilling sausages and lager. People come in from the neighbouring villages and while it is all very interesting in the morning, by the afternoon it is a town full of drunks - male and female. Music pours out from many of the beer stalls and it is youthful and with a strong beat. Walking behind these stalls after about midday is not recommended as by this time many drinkers have realised that what goes down too rapidly must come back up even more quickly. Down by the river there were at least three funfairs of varying sizes, including a regular visitor to Lublin, 'Lunapark'

The mini-marathon was a worthwhile event, there were many categories to choose from including one for disabled in wheelchairs. The local scout and guide groups kept the course clear, which wound through the streets and park in the older part of the town. As the runners became spread out it became difficult to cross the course, especially as some of the scouts and guides took their jobs very seriously and shouted at anyone who dared stray onto the course if there was a runner within about 50 yards.

On the Saturday evening a concert had been arranged, with T Love headlining. T Love has been a very popular band in Poland, although we do not know of any direct connection with Krasnystaw. They are a big draw, though, but we did not stay to see them as the venue being located close to one of the funfairs there is bound to be some trouble.

This is the old town hall, most of the council offices now having moved to a larger building further round the market square.

This is the current town hall.

Just off one corner of the square is the twin towered parish church.

A 19th century building on the market square that has had a difficult history. Built of a mixture of brick and limestone, it has the look of a house that was built, and then later extended to the side, ruining the proportions. Who knows what the history is of the steps as they fail to reach what was obviously another door on the right of the building, as well as being lop-sided. This building is slowly being restored, in his 2000 picture it has no roof, but by 2002 it had a tiled roof but no other obvious changes.

This is the roof of one of the market square buildings. It is a Mansard type and the lower part is covered in asbestos 'eternit' tiles, while the upper appaers to have been covered over with tar at some point.





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