About Warmia and Mazury

The beauty of Warmia region

Warmia is a historical region in northern Poland, located in the Masurian Lake District. It is widely known for its picturesque nature, being filled with rolling hills, lush forests, and tranquil lakes. The region is dotted with medieval castles, churches, and monasteries, providing visitors with a glimpse into the area's rich history.

Warmia has a long and eventful history dating back to the 9th century. It was once a part of Prussia, and the Teutonic Knights made their home here. They built many castles, churches, and monasteries which still stand today. Warmia was also home to a large Jewish population until World War II, and some of their synagogues still remain. After the war, the region was annexed by Poland and the population was largely replaced with Poles. Today, the majority of modern Warmia inhabitants are immigrants (mainly from former borderlands, Mazovia or Ukraine).

Currently, there are no linguistic, religious or cultural differences between Warmia and Masuria. However, the Catholic traditions of Warmia, absent in Masuria, have been preserved in the architecture and appearance of villages and towns, including roadside shrines and baroque churches. The historical distinctiveness of Warmia has also been respected in the name of the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship established in 1999.

Today, Warmia is a popular tourist destination, boasting a variety of outdoor activities and cultural attractions.



The city of Olsztyn – tranquil nature and scientific legacy of Nicolaus Copernicus


The historic city of Olsztyn has a population of about 170 000 and is located in the heart of Warmia in northern Poland, and serves as the region's cultural and administrative center of the province. It is located by the Łyna River, includes 15 lakes in its borders and a large part of the city’s area is occupied by a forest, accessible in walking distance from the Old Town.

The history of Olsztyn dates back to the 10th century when it became the capital of the Warmia region. In the 13th century, the city was conquered by the Teutonic Knights and remained under their control until the early 15th century. During this time, Olsztyn became an important religious and educational center. Today, Olsztyn is a vibrant city with many attractions. It is home to numerous museums and galleries, as well as cultural and historical sites. It is also known for its beautiful parks and gardens, while its Old Town is a popular destination for tourists. The city is surrounded by picturesque lakes and forests, making it a beautiful destination for active recreation.

Olsztyn is the house of the University of Warmia and Mazury, which was established on 1 September 1999. The core structure of the university was based on an agreement between the academic senates of three institutions of higher learning already established in the city of Olsztyn: the Academy of Agriculture and Technology, the Pedagogical Institute, and the Warmia Institute of Theology. The university has 16 faculties, out of which eight hold full academic rights and therefore entitle the university to operate as an autonomous unit. The university’s campus, Kortowo, is one of the most beautiful academic campuses in Poland and Europe. The university town with its lakes and ubiquitous greenery is a beautiful showcase of Warmian nature. In a symbolic dimension, it also reminds of the relationship between the University and the region.

Undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of Olsztyn was the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who resided at Olsztyn castle in the years 1516–21 as the economic administrator of Warmia. When Olsztyn was besieged by the Teutonic Knights during the Polish–Teutonic War, Copernicus directed the defence of Olsztyn and Warmia by Royal Polish forces. He also represented the Polish side in the ensuing peace negotiations. During his stay at the castle Copernicus conducted astronomical observations and mathematical calculations, which became the basis for his heliocentric model of the universe. In the castle there is a preserved astronomical table, made in 1517 by Copernicus, which is the world's only preserved astronomical instrument he made and used. Today, there is a bronze statue of Nicolaus Copernicus just outside the castle. Its form allows to sit next to Copernicus or on his lap, which is a popular tourist attraction in Olsztyn.







Frombork – The Jewel of Warmia

Frombork is a town in northern Poland, situated on the Vistula Lagoon in Braniewo County, within Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. It was founded as a defensive stronghold on an Old Prussian site. Today it has a population of just over 2000 people.

The city is known for its Cathedral Hill, which for hundreds of years was one of the most important places for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warmia. Nicolaus Copernicus lived and worked here as a canon in the years 1512–16 and 1522–43. In 1519 Copernicus wrote to the King of Poland, asking for help against the Teutonic Knights who were threatening the city. The letter however was intercepted, and the Teutonic Knights took and burned the city (Copernicus and other canons had left the city shortly before).

The renowned astronomer wrote his epochal work, De revolutionibus orbium cœlestium in Frombork. In this work (written in Latin), Copernicus used the Latin name of the town and region - Frueburgo Prussiae. Shortly after its 1543 publication, Copernicus died there and was shortly afterwards buried in the town's cathedral. The grave of Nicolaus Copernicus was thought to have been found by archaeologists in 2005, when the body was exhumed and subsequently confirmed in November 2008 with the results of DNA tests on fragments of bone and hair found on the skeleton. The body was then reinterred on Sunday May 23, 2010 in Frombork. His grave inside the cathedral is accessible for visitors. 

There are numerous traces of Copernicus life in Frombork. In the northwest corner of the cathedral grounds there is Copernicus' tower, and in the southwest corner an octagonal building with a square bell tower, a small planetarium and a Foucault's pendulum. From atop the tower you can survey the town, its harbor, the panorama of the Baltic Sea, and much of Warmia's countryside.