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The First World War’s Eastern Front Trail in Małopolska

The First World War’s Eastern Front Trail in Małopolska

The First World War’s Eastern Front Trail in the Małopolska Regionencompasses places, which in the years 1914-1915, were a theatre of keymilitary operations between the Austro-Hungarian and German forcesagainst the Russian army on the Eastern Front of the Great War. Travellingalong the trail, one can see historic monuments dating from that time:forts of Kraków Fortress, Kraków’s Oleandry, the starting point of theFirst Cadre Company, museums, and numerous military cemeteries, designedby eminent contemporary artists. The trail route also includes formermilitary buildings, such as barracks, headquarters of the fightingarmies, and military hospitals. Some locations feature surviving tracesof entrenchments and other field fortifications. However, they are noteasy to find. It is no wonder, as even famous Hungarian writer FerencMolnár, war correspondent from the Eastern Front, struggled with findingthem a year after the fights…
It is worth to begin the journey along the trail in Kraków. Kraków Fortress, which played a crucial role in the battles fought in the late 1914 north and south of the capital of Małopolska, impresses with the grandeur of design until this very day. Kraków also boasts the Polish Aviation Museum featuring examples of authentic military aircraft dating from the First World War.

The famous First Cadre Company set off to war from the capital of Małopolska, and following the company’s traces, one can reach the battlefield locations of the Polish Riflemen’s units and then of the Polish Legions formed by Józef Piłsudski. The trail routes run north of Kraków to the Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska Upland, where battles were fought in the November of 1914, and then south, to the battlefields around Łapanów and Limanowa, and further east to the area of the decisive Battle of Gorlice, which brought victory to the Austro-Hungarian and German forces in the early May of 1915. The picturesque ranges of the Low Beskid Mountains are full of war relics, mostly cemeteries. Whereas Tarnów features buildings dating from the Great War, such as old barracks or garrison hospital. Heading south of Tarnów, it is worth visiting the field of the Battle of Łowczówek fought in the December of 1914, and the charming war necropolises of the Tarnów Land.

An entire century has passed since the outbreak of the Great War and its history has been overshadowed by the memory of another world war. The First World War’s Eastern Front Trail has been created in order to commemorate the events that a century ago shaped the world we know today. 


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