Posted on November 25, 2007 by rodney
Tags: wrocław

Early in November I went to Srebrna Góra. It is a small town close to the Czech border. A friend’s brother was going there to look at blocks of land to buy and they kindly brought myself and an English dude from the hostel along for the drive.

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After about an hour’s driving, during which I was reaquainted with the thrill that is Polish country roads, we arrived in the little town of Srebrna Góra (the silver mountain). Martin dropped us off more or less at the bottom of a big hill.

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We walked to the top of the hill, where there was a fort called the “Donjon”. There was a lot of information printed on various signs about silver mining in the town, and the history of the fort, the napoleonic war, etc, etc, and it was all helpfully translated into German and English. However I neglected to educate myself, so unfortunately I can’t share the facts with you.

We had a look around some of the rooms in the fort, then took the rampart walk. Alas, it was so misty that day you couldn’t see any of the view.

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Martin came and picked us up, with his friend, and then we went to look at some blocks that he was interested in. On the way, we passed by a town called Ząbkowice Śląskie, formerly known as Frankenstein. Occurences in this town, according to Marcin’s guide, formed the basis of Mary Shelley’s novel.

The three legends he told didn’t exactly correlate with the historical authorities and repositories of truth that are Wikipedia and Other Websites Found by Google. But they are interesting nonetheless:

  1. A particularly glum looking abandoned cottage in the middle of a field was the former residence of a mentally retarded man who was much taller and stronger than normal. Though stupid, he was a good worker and kind in general, even though the villagers weren’t particularly nice to him. Then one day something snapped in the head of this gentle giant and he went on a murderous rampage. Eventually the townsfolk caught him and burnt him.
  2. Some enterprising grave diggers in the town decided to drum up business by infecting most of the town with the plague. Their method was to make a powder from corpses and spread it to where people would touch it. Justice prevailed in the end, and they were caught, punished, and burnt.
  3. A scientist in the area was notorious for his experiments on bringing creatures back to life using electricity. After some success with frogs legs, he moved onto people’s legs, raiding the local cemetry for experimental materials. I wasn’t told what happened to this man, but you could safely assume it involved burning…

My mind was on fire so to speak with thoughts about the gruesome history of this town. However I quickly forgot all of that when we arrived at Martin’s guide’s wooden cottage to have tea, coffee, and cake with his family. After that we looked at more blocks, and for refreshments went to a pub and had pizza, beer, and grzaniec. They put peas and corn on the pizza. (!)

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Foreground – one of the blocks. Cottage not included.

On the way home we stopped at a cemetry for a squiz. Nov 1 is the day of the dead in this very catholic country. So on this day traditionally Polish people go to the graves of their relatives and place there flowers and candles, etc etc. This looks very spectacular at night – like as if the cemetry is on fire.

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You can see a few more photos from the day in my gallery.