Since ancient times, places for rest and relaxation have been established in Europe. The Romans founded public baths not only on the Italian peninsula, giving rise to a spa culture. The “invention” of leisure in the 19th century meant that leisure was no longer the elitist pleasurable pastime of the upper classes, and the curative trip “to the waters” gradually democratised and become more accessible.
The Oder, although one of Europe’s longest rivers, has not engendered its own myths and stories like the Vistula. For years it remained the uglier sister of the Rhine, deputized to do the hardest work.
In the Kharkiv-themed issue of Herito, we delve into the history of the city, we ask about its Ukrainian DNA, which was so clearly manifested after the Russian invasion a year ago, we check what makes it unique. We show the tangible and intangible heritage of the city, which we often looked at before through the lens of stereotypes fuelled by foreign propaganda.
Romani Culture in Central Europe
In this HERITO, we look at the history of the Roma, but above all at their present, and especially at how “Romaness” in its broadest sense manifests itself in the architecture, culture and art of our part of the world.
Spirit of Georgia
Archaeological research conducted in Georgia, in the ancient region of Colchis, confirms 3400-year old, uninterrupted existence of the city of Kutaisi. According to Greek mythology Colchis – a dangerous land, inhabited by witches and dragons – is the place where the Argonauts, led by Jason, travel to find the Golden Fleece. Georgian culture dates back to ancient times, but we as Poles know very little about it.
Europe on a Plate
Are dumplings, bigos, or ordinary beetroots elements of our cultural heritage? Certainly, yes. "Our tables and menus reflect the entire history that swept across the continent as well as its cultural changes" writes Professor Jacek Purchla in his introduction to the recent issue of “HERITO” magazine. The potato decrees of Frederick II the Great had the same importance for our heritage as the Turkish expansion in the Balkans.
We look at Austria through rose-coloured glasses, as a country where everyone loves waltzes, Mozart, Sacher cake, coffee, schnitzel and beer, albeit in a different order. Meanwhile, we are forgetting how varied the country is in terms of its geography, culture, and identity, stretched between two lakes – Neusiedl and Constance. Austria did not emerge ready-made on the map of Europe, but gradually built its identity and shaped its image.
Invisibility is not an empty concept or a neat rhetorical device from the margins of Italo Calvino’s book, but the lived experience of Central Europeans.
Belarus is much closer to us than it appears to be at first sight: not only because of our shared history or the still ongoing democratic uprising, vividly reminiscent of the events of the 1980s in Poland and other Central European countries.
In spite of the stereotypes established in Poland – those of the pagan Lithuanian forest or the tropes of Mickiewicz and Miłosz – the authors look at Lithuania from an unusual side, from the sea. That is why they write more about the Curonian Spit, Palanga, Nida and Klaipeda. Having reached Vilnius, they suggest a different journey – in search of less known monuments than those along the beaten track to the Gate of Dawn, choosing Jan Krzysztof Glaubitz, Wawrzyniec Gucewicz and Mikalojus Vorobjovas as their guides.
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