Penpalling & Letters

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The legend of "Baszta Dorotka" in Kalisz

Welcome to a new adventure belonging to the Travelling around the World sharing Cultural Heritage, Folklore and Background section. This time we are in Central Europe to meet Justyna. The shoreline of Justyna's country is bathed by the Baltic Sea and extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk, while the Tatra Mountains (the highest mountain range of the Carphatian Mountains) form a natural border in the south of this land. Neighbouring countries are Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. Let's visit Poland then!

Justyna is very good at crafting and she presents her creations in her own Blog: "Handmade by Just-in", which I highly recommend! It is very interesting and full of great ideas!

Hello Justyna! Welcome to Penpalling & Letters! Where do you come from in Poland?

I come from Kalisz, which is the oldest town in Poland; it has about 100,000 inhabitants nowadays. It is located in the southern part of "Greater Poland" ("Wielkopolska"), which is a region in west-central Poland. It is famous for being a part of the "Amber Trail", has numerous bridges and some popular factories like "Big Star" (jeans and other clothes), "Hellena" (juices and drinks) and "Kaliszanka" (cookies and sweets). Some of the factories are now part of bigger corporations like "Jutrzenka" or "Nestlé". For more info you can visit: "Kalisz".

How did you discover penpalling and how long have you been into it?

When it comes to penpalling, I used to have a penpal (or rather an e-mail pal) a few years ago, but we somehow lost contact with each other. After I found out about Postcrossing (a few months ago) I thought about going back to writing letters and meeting people from all over the world so I put an ad on the "forum" and now I have several penpals (from USA, Finland, Australia, France, Canada and Netherlands).

Have you been into Postcrossing for a long time? How did you get to know Postcrossing? How did you get interested in postcards? Are you collecting them for a long time?

As I mentioned, I got to know about "Postcrossing" a few months ago, at one of the Polish forums: "". I liked the idea of getting in touch with people from other countries, so I'm on Postcrossing more for exchanging ideas and getting to know other cultures than getting postcards. I don't collect them (although I used to when I was a child and I still have quite a collecion - now getting bigger and bigger...;)) but I like getting nice ones, especially those showing something connected with other cultures. I'm also thinking about decorating my house with some of the great postcards I got :)

Are you interested in stuff related to letters? Pens, stationery, stickers? Do you also collect any other things?

I love cute stationery, as it makes writing letters even more enjoyable and I like everything that's pretty and useful, so yes, all kinds of pens, pencils and stickers. I used to collect many different kinds of things when I was a child, but now I feel I don't have enough space for that... Instead I'm really into crafts and if I can say that I collect anything, that will be craft magazines. Or crochet hooks! ;)

And here it is the "Legend of Baszta Dorotka in Kalisz".

Once upon a time there was a rich "starost" (from Polish "starosta") who had a beautiful daughter. Her name was Dorotka. She didn’t like sophisticated and expensive dresses, but she loved elegant shoes. For that reason, her father employed a shoemaker who visited the castle once a month to prepare the shoes especially for Dorotka. After some time, Dorotka and the shoemaker, whose name was Marcin, fell in love with each other. When "black death" came to Kalisz and Dorotka couldn’t come out of her room, Marcin stood outside her window every day. He also tried to remove all the dead bodies that were lying in the street, so that she didn’t have to watch them.
Her father was against their relationship, of course, as he thought that Marcin was not good enough for his daughter and forbade them to meet. That didn’t change Dorotka’s feelings and the young couple was trying to meet whenever it was possible. Unfortunately, one day, when Marcin was in Dorotka’s room, someone came in and he had to escape. He wanted to jump out of the window, but, sadly, he fell down and died. Dorotka was very sad and still refused to marry any of the other candidates. "Starost" got very angry and said that if she didn’t stop crying for Marcin and was so stubborn, he would lock her in one of the towers with no food and water. He was hoping that it would make Dorotka change her mind, but it didn’t. She still wanted to be faithful to her lover, Marcin. Seeing that, her father carried out his threat and locked her in the tower, where she died of thirst and hunger. In the end, "Starost" regretted very much being so strict, as he loved his daughter a lot.
Later, they used to lock other disobedient girls in the same tower and call them "Dorothies". Finally they called the tower itself by the name of Dorotka: "Baszta Dorotka". It can still be seen in Kalisz, right next to the park and St Joseph’s church.

Although this legend is a bit sad and gloomy, I like it as it teaches us not only being faithful till death but also that we should never get too angry with those that we love and try to understand them.

Hope everybody enjoyed this story and getting to know Justyna! See you soon again to share a new and interesting topic from somewhere in the world!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and Hi to Justyna! I owe you a LETTER!!