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The 600th anniversary of links between Poland and the Ottoman empire is celebrated in Cornucopia 51, with wonderful illustrations and commentary by Jason Goodwin, author of the Yashim series of detective novels. For connoisseurs of Ottoman art, Poland is the place to see some of the best Ottoman tents surviving anywhere in the world. On display in Wawel Royal Castle, they were captured in the second Siege of Vienna in 1683 when Polish-Lithuanian forces joined the Holy Roman Empire to defeat the Ottomans who were besieging the city. Diplomatic ties between Poland and Turkey were established in 1414 when King Ladislaus Jagiello sent two envoys to Sultan Mehmed I in Edirne, and for centuries trade between the two countries flourished. In spring 2014 two exhibitions mark the 600th anniversary of the relationship: the Polish Archives in Warsaw are displaying some of its 1,471 Ottoman documents, while the Sakip Sabancı Museum in Istanbul shows 350 items from Poland from or about the Ottomans.
In a nutshell, beautiful cities, lush countryside, vast plains of tamed and fertile arable land, that becomes increasingly wild on the edges, spectacular country houses, a fascination with the past, and scrumptious food and drink.
For international flights Warsaw’s Chopin Airport is a mere 20-minute drive from the centre of town and the idea arrival point. There is a direct connection to the Central Station. Ryan Air, if you must, uses Modlin Airport, an old military airstrip way to the north. The taxi fare is £35 compared to Chopin’s £12.
A mixture of train and car hire recommended. The high-speed train service between in Gdansk and Krakow via Warsaw is superb. A 30% discount applies for seniors (sixty and over). Book online here. When picking destinations note that Głowny (pronounved Gwovny) means Main, as in Central. All the cities connected to Warsaw by high-speed train are withing a 3 to 4 hour radius.
Bartholomäus Schachman, mayor of Gdańsk (Danzig), travelled throughout the Ottoman Empire in 1588-9, collecting artefacts and commissioning invaluable illustrations depicting the costumes and lives of the divers peoples.
Home to the finest collection of Turkish tents in the world as well as a century-old Turkology department.
In many ways one of Europe’s most civilised capitals: certainly its greenest, with broad avenues, 80 odd parks, a lovely, miraculously restored old town, and just the right number of tourists.
One of Poland's most handsome cities, with a distinctly Germanic feel. Also a great base for exploring chateaus such as Rogalin and Kornik, in the lush surrounding countryside.
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