Suwałki Landscape Park is a synonym of one of the most beautiful spots in Poland. There’s no coincidence that in 1976 a new form of protection - landscape park was established in order to protect this place. Therefore it is the oldest landscape park in the country.
Suwałki Landscape Park charms with multitude of elevations and hillocks separated from each other with deep river valleys and numerous lakes, among which the deepest Polish Hańcza Lake dominates. Last glaciation created this landscape, when melting ice sheet masses and postglacial waters formed moraine elevations, kame mounds and eskers shafts. Due to mass and strength of flowing water tunnel of Hańcza Lake was grooved and deepened.
Long after glacier withdrawal there were still dead-ice blocks lying in extensive river Szeszupa basin (which is within present Park grounds), that after melting down created picturesque lakes complexes: Kleszczowieckie and Szurpilskie, and other lakes that Szeszupa flows through. Other postglacial relics are large boulders transported here with the ice sheet all the way from the Scandinavian mountains and the bottom of Baltic Sea that form extensive rock fields.
Beyond diversified relief, northern Suwalszczyzna is characteristic of extremely harsh climate with long, snowy and frosty winters – and consequently short vegetation period. This region is also known for strong and gusty winds.
Mosaic of habitats and climatic conditions are conductive for plant and animal diversity. We can find here, next to each other, northern (boreal), southern and montane species and habitats. Some rare plant communities occur in the forests: boreal spruce growing on peat, marshy coniferous forest or alder carr on vauclusian springs nearby Jaczno Lake. Open spaces in the Park are covered by flowery meadows, among which appears singularity in form of thermophile plant habitats. Among 700 herbaceous plant species, plenty are rare and under protection, often also as postglacial relicts e.g. great horsetail, Jacob's Ladder, Liparis loeselii (fen orchid), Cladium mariscus (saw-sedge).
Very interesting animals can be found in deep, clean and well-oxygenated Hańcza waters. These include typically riverine (!), rare fish species: Alpine bullhead, European bullhead, Common minnow and also postglacial relicts: amphipod Pallasiola quadrispinosa and Taylor’s spire snail. Moss animals (Bryozoa), which require very clean, well-oxygenated water and Spongilla lacustris – freshwater sponge that’s considered as a biological indicator of water quality can be found in the Park’s rivers. Reed beds at lakesides and marshes are an emplacement for many wetland birds species, inter alia, Eurasian bittern, great crested grebe, Eurasian reed warbler and Savi’s warbler. However, the real king of this land is mammal – European beaver.
Together with glacial withdrawal and climate warming human appeared and his activities had an impact on Park’s present landscape. Agriculture and pasturage caused reduction of forest areas and their transformation to open agricultural spaces and settlements. Yotvingians history, Baltic people that lived in this area in the Middle Ages, is very interesting and still mysterious. They were enslaved by Teutonic Knights at the end of 13th century and forced to leave their land. Not much evidence of Yotvingians existence left as traces of settlements and forts, among which the most interesting and the most beautifully situated is Castle Hill in Szurpiły. Other remarkable places are for instance post-manorial park in Stara Hańcza, village of Old Believers Wodziłki or Evangelical Cemeteries in Szeszupka and Łopuchowo.
September - June
Monday - Friday - 8.00-16.00
July - August
Monday - Friday 8.00-19.00
Saturday - 10.00-17.00