The 15th Anniversary Gala of the Best Tourist Product - POT Certificate competition is over. The Polish Tourism Organisation honoured ten best tourist products of the year with special awards and presented the most important prize – the POT Golden Certificate.
The Polish Tourism Organisation (Polska Organizacja Turystyczna - POT) honoured ten best tourist products of the year with special awards and presented the most important prize – the POT Golden Certificate.
On 23 November, in an uplifting atmosphere and amidst flashing cameras, winners of the Best Tourist Product - POT Certificate competition gathered at a gala held at Marriott Hotel to receive awards from President of the Polish Tourism Organisation Robert Andrzejczyk and Director of the POT Department of Tourist Products and Regional Cooperation Jacek Janowski, Chairman of the Chapter.
During this year’s already 15th edition of the prestigious competition the Chapter conferred ten equal POT Certificates and a single distinction. In a secret ballot tourists also awarded the Internet Users’ Certificate.
The Golden Certificate — a major distinction of the Polish Tourism Organisation — was also presented at the gala.
The anniversary edition was assigned an exceptionally high rank. A total of 45 products, earlier honoured by regional tourism organisations, competed for the esteemed Certificates. The products were proposed in five categories - cyclical event, tourist package, venue, trail, and region.
The Chapter also devoted much time to selecting this year’s POT Golden Certificate. This special prize may go to products earlier distinguished with the POT Certificate and known for having expanded their activity in the course of five years. Three such products — the Magicians’ Carnival, the Bania Thermal and Ski Complex, and the Living Museum of Gingerbread — took part in the finale.
Ultimately, the key award of the Polish Tourism Organisation went to the third competitor - the Living Museum of Gingerbread in Toruń, a truly exceptional venue. As befits a contemporary tourist attraction, the Museum features an interactive sui generis theatre spectacle, in which visitors take part in a show staged by experienced animators.
For the duration of the spectacle they become apprentices of Master Baker and the Spice Witch, and enjoy a chance to bake their own gingerbread. Each apprentice can make the dough and, by using wooden cutters, give it the desired shape to produce the famous Toruń specialties, which he then can take home as a treasured souvenir. The ambiance of a sixteenth-century bakery is evoked not only by the interior design, the costumes of the hosts, and all-pervading fragrant aromas but also by the opportunity to learn about gingerbread and the town of Toruń while listening to a story told in stylised Old Polish.
This year’s POT Certificates in the competition for the Best Tourist Product went to:
- Zoo Safari Borysew
Borysew is reigned by King Sahim - the first white lion in Poland, accompanied at his unique royal court by white tigers, white wolves, African buffalos — the first of their kind in Poland — zebras, antelopes, and a merry flock of crocodiles and alligators. But this is not all!
A tapir together with lamas and alpacas as well as several species of parrots arrived straight from South America. And as if this was not enough, there are also camels, pythons, and charming Vietnamese pigs. A Mini Zoo, where visitors may stroke and feed friendly creatures, is open to those who enjoy close contact with Nature. The youngest animal lovers will certainly not miss a pony ride, while time spent in the Play Room — a magical land of fun and games, containing slides, a dry pool with balls, and a gigantic turtle suitable for climbing — is simply a must. The Zoo is open all year and it matters little if the weather is not up to mark as you can tour it from a small-gauge train.
- Zamość Fortress of Attractions
Bastions, curtain walls, ravelins, and other stronghold components, which for centuries halted enemy armies attempting to capture the fortress, have become a magnificent attraction for visitors touring the town.
Today, exhibitions, projections, tourist trails or models occupy space once used for storing ammunition or stationing soldiers. Former battlefields are now the sites of concerts or happenings, as well as increasingly popular historical reenactments, held several times a year in Zamość.
- Chęciny Royal Castle
A dungeon, a treasury, exhibitions of artefacts, a photo gallery, and a display of heraldic shields, mediaeval weapons, and knights’ armour — these are only some of the attractions offered at Chęciny Royal Castle. The stronghold erected at the turn of the thirteenth century was granted a new life after revitalisation conducted in 2013-2015.
Every season Chęciny bastions offer an opportunity to admire the extraordinary panorama of Świętokrzyskie Mts. The Castle constitutes the exceptional historical heritage of the region, and passing through its gate we travel in time. All visitors are welcomed by persons manning the fortress and wearing historical costumes, while the background resounds with the clatter of swords and the clamour produced by knight’s skirmishes and arrows shot from medieval handguns. In the lower castle courtyard an armourer crafts solid armour for the knights.
- River excursion on the San
A one-day excursion down the River San is an excellent alternative to traditional sightseeing. The outing begins with a 12 km-long kayaking trip (2-2.5 hours) following the river current. Afterward, the organisers propose to enjoy a regional meal at a riverbank inn. Next, tourists are invited to take a walk to the ruins of a Barefoot Carmelite monastery, the largest in Poland and featuring a 22 m-high observation tower, and to take the opportunity to tour Skansen Sanok - Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok.
The excursion ends with a boat trip across almost the entire Lake Solina, all the way to Olchowiec, i.e. along a 50 km-long route. Accompanying attractions include listening to the history of Lake Solina, wine tasting, and sampling a variety of cheese from the Bieszczady Mts.
- Palace and Grange Galiny
Galiny is a splendidly restored landed estate with a Palace from the sixteenth century, a nineteenth-century Grange, a Romantic park, and more than 350 hectares of woodland, meadows, pastures, and ponds. This is not merely a hotel in historical buildings, but also a functioning country estate, a stud farm, and a fully equipped modern conference centre. Almost 70 horses bred and kept in historical stables and beautiful scenery offer perfect conditions for a riding school to suit all levels of horsemanship.
The Galiny trademark is excellent cuisine. Specialties from the Galiny tavern are notable for their captivating regional features and the flavour of truly natural ingredients, guaranteeing both freshness and supreme quality.
Unlimited space, picturesque hillocks, and twisting ravines create ideal settings for recreation in the Mazury region. Unique ambiance, magical locations, sophisticated interiors, exceptional natural conditions, magnificent cuisine, and the charming hospitality of the hotel staff always await guests at Palace and Grange Galiny.
- Hortulus Spectabilis Gardens in Dobrzyca
A total of 28 gardens laid out in 2003 and opened to the public in 2014 are maintained in different styles: Japanese, French, Mediterranean, rock and water, herb and kitchen, and sensual: colour-light-and-sound. In addition, Hortulus Spectabilis contains a hornbeam maze, the largest in the world, with a 20 m-high observation tower constructed to resemble DNA threads. Other attractions include the Magic, Energy, Time and Space gardens, Stone Circle, Celtic Calendar, rose, grass, and Four Seasons gardens as well as vast perennial beds.
- Museum of Soap and the History of Dirt in Bydgoszcz
In this exceptional museum we can learn everything about dirt by starting with a hand washing “ritual”. How did people deal with dirt in the past? Who was the filthiest person in history? Visitors are also presented with a great variety of laundry equipment spanning from the washboard to the “Frania” washing machine, a truly breakthrough invention from the Polish People’s Republic era. This is a museum unlike all others – entertaining, scented and interactive – allowing each visitor to make his own cake of soap and take it home so that recollections of an extraordinary tour will remain for longer.
- Museum of Coal Mining - the “Guido” Coal Mine in Zabrze
Opened to tourists in 2007, the “Guido” Coal Mine will take us on an expedition to the history of Polish mining. A descent in a mineshaft brings tourists to the level of 170 or 320 metres below ground in order to learn about the development of the mining industry, the work performed by mining machinery, and the cult of St. Barbara. The length of the routes totals about 3.5 km. A special trail makes it possible to reach 355 m below ground level. Subterranean chambers are used for conferences, concerts, theatre spectacles, etc. The “Guido” offer is adapted to all age groups and foreign tourists, and the majority of the trails are accessible for the disabled.
- European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk
The European Solidarity Centre (Europejskie Centrum Solidarności - ECS) is not only a museum promoting knowledge about the Solidarity trade union movement and the anti-communist opposition in Poland and Europe, but also a centre of dialogue focused on the contemporary world. The characteristic building in the shape of a ship hull, situated next to the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers and the historical gate no. 2 to the Gdańsk Shipyard, became one of major sites on the cultural and tourist map of Poland.
The seat of the Centre offers space to people and ideas serving the establishment and development of civic society, and acts as a meeting point for those who hold dear the future of the world. ECS realizes undertakings addressed to assorted milieus in Poland, Europe, and the world: conferences, debates, projects intended for children and adolescents, theatre spectacles, film screenings (also in 3D), and temporary exhibitions.
A total of 17 interiors in the ECS building house NGOs working for the sake of common good, freedom, and human rights. A winter garden arranged for artistic events, meetings, and leisure is open whole year round. From spring to the autumn a roof terrace offers a magnificent panorama of the former Shipyard as well as the Old and Main Town.
- Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw
Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw inspires observations, experiments, the posing of questions and a quest for answers. It is composed of six permanent interactive exhibitions, a temporary exhibition, four educational laboratories, and the Heavens of the Copernicus Planetarium.
In its capacity as one of the largest European interactive education centres Copernicus allows visitors to conduct independent experiments and, in this way, to learn about and experience assorted phenomena, as well as to become acquainted with laws ruling the world. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to spend free time in a highly original and ambitious way.
Apart from the Certificates the competition awarded a distinction to the Royal Garden of Light in Wilanów.
Tourists voting with the assistance of a form on the Polska Travel web portal presented the Internet Users’ Certificate to Niemodlin Castle.
The over 700 year-old Ducal Castle in Niemodlin is one of the most valuable, largest, and mightiest castles in Poland.
Built by the family of Duke Bolesław I to protect the land of Opole, captured, laid waste, set on fire, and seized by European powers, the Castle stands proudly and, despite centuries of warfare, up to this day keeps guard over the Opole region.
The Castle is a reflection of Polish history, a pearl for which Germans, Bohemians and Poles waged battles, a chronicle whose pages recorded the history of the region, Poland and Europe. Each brick and fragment of the walls recounts a distinctive story illustrated by architectural styles.
The Castle has always been a source of inspiration for men of culture and letters, artists, painters, and poets. Here, Jan Jakub Kolski, intrigued by the magic of its surrounding, made his acclaimed film Jasminum.
Recently, Niemodlin Castle once again found itself in the hands of Polish owners, who bought it back from their Italian predecessors and now intend to restore its former brilliance and, first and foremost, to open it to the public