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E. Lasker Trail
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Barlinek – a town of 15 thousand inhabitants, once referred to as “Crown-jewel of New Marchia” owing to its popularity as a resort, has retained its tourist nature to this day. Apart from numerous hotels and guesthouses, it offers a wide choice of restaurants serving a variety of gourmet foods, including traditional Polish cuisine. It is also here that Emanuel Lasker was born in 1868 – a chess world champion, who ruled the kingdom of chess for 27 years on end.

Barlinek is a highlight on the map of Poland. Here, every tourist is bound to be amazed, not only at the spectacular beauty of its lakes and the surrounding nature, but also at the host of attractions on offer, e.g. yearly events. These include: Ceramics Fair, held on May 1; June’s Barlinek Days – “Barlinek Midsummer Eve Days” with their Barlinek’s Primeval Forest Queen Contest and all-Poland Sailing Races; the Theatre Summer in August; A Farewell to Summer and the Larder Queen Elections; or the Emanuel Lasker Chess Festival. For fans of active relaxation, Barlinek’s angling association organises angling competitions in different seasons of the year, and hunting fans will be happy to find abounding hunting grounds in the Barlinek Primeval Forest that will guarantee unforgettable experiences and tremendous trophies – members of the hunting association “Hare”, genuine backwoods experts, have a lot to offer to those keen on a thrill and adventure in the primeval forest.
To sport lovers, Barlinek offers a wealth of sports and recreational events that make good use of its extensive infrastructure; e.g. Sailing Races organised by the “Storm” Yacht Club, including North Poland Championships in the Omega class.

Barlinek’s history
The first time that Barlinek appeared in history was in the foundation charter of 25 January 1278, signed by margraves Otto V and Albrecht III. The document orders Henryk Toyte to establish the town Nova Berlyn, surround it with defensive walls and have it chartered according to the Magdeburg law. Even today, the medieval street layout can be seen on the town’s street plan. It is formed on two main roads crossed with side roads, thus constituting the so-called “ladder layout”. In accordance with 13th-century principles, a market square was built in the middle of the town, with a town hall which existed as its centre piece until the 19th century. East of the town square, a church was erected whose first records date back to chronicles from 1298. The whole town was enclosed by seven-metre-high defensive walls on an elliptic plan.  In the first half of the 15th century, Barlinek was sold to the Order of Teutonic Knights, who took over all the profit-making goods, for example a number of windmills. When the war with the Order was over (its greatest battle being that of Grunwald in 1410), Barlinek, as a Teutonic town, was plundered by armed groups of Poles and Pomeranians.

The town fell victim to fires and raids by turns. In mid-19th century Barlinek began to develop, mainly thanks to its renown and popularity as a tourist and health resort. The last great fire broke out in 1852 and it destroyed part of the old-town sqare and the church tower, which had to be taken down and underpinned again. It was then that the medieval town hall burned, and in it, a substantial amount of the town’s archive materials. The town hall was never reconstructed, and in 1912 a fountain with a figure of a girl attacked by a gander was built in that place.
The war caused extensive damage to the town, particularly to its old-town square buildings. Nevertheless, it managed to rise from the ruins and today we can admire fragments of the old-town architecture and the surviving monuments.

Nature
As much as 80% of the Barlinek Commune area lies within the Barlinecko-Gorzowski Park Krajobrazowy (the Barlinek-Gorzów Landscape Park), established in 1991. The Park covers 23,928.91 hectares. In its most precious part, the Barlinek Primeval Forest, there are many fascinating cultural and natural objects. The Landscape Park is one of the most captivating areas of north-western Poland in terms of landscape and forest features. One can find here traditional beech forests (Pomeranian beech). In water-logged areas, marshland alder forests grow; at stream and river banks places where hornbeams grow can be found. Low-quality sandy soils are covered by pinewood, and some wet land depressions by marshy coniferous forest. Open ground, woodlands as well as wet areas provide favourable breeding conditions and feeding space for numerous species of animals.

Within the Landscape Park, there exist nature reserves. They aim to preserve the most precious plant communities and animal habitats. These are:
-“Markowe Błota” (“Markowe Swamps”) – a reserve protecting swamps and their typical flora and fauna;
-“Skalisty Jar Libberta” (“Libbert’s Rocky Ravine”) – a reserve protecting a ravine, morainal hills, and West Pomerania’s only instances of sand and limestone conglomerates.

In the northern part of the Landscape Park, there is the Płonia River Valley - exceptionally picteresque, in every season of the year, with its many windings, ravines, steep slopes and an agroforestal landscape. The southern part is a less hilly area, covered by various forest formations; mainly pinewood. Among the Park’s fields and forests one may come across enchanting lakes, small ponds, peatbogs, swamps, springs and streams.

 
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