Saturday, May 7, 2016

Day Trip Event # 2 -- A visit to Janów Podlaski Village

About an hour after we left the Flying Fortress Monument we arrived at the outskirts of Janów Podlaski. This is a village in the county (powiat) of Biała Podlaska in the voivodeship of Lublin. It is very near the Bug River, which in this area marks the boundary between Poland and Belarus.

Much of the time spent in the village of Janów related to religious history, so I will write about the odd thing first. 

In this village there remains two gas pumps from the 1920s. 

Notice it says CPN on the top. My guide told me that even though officially the CPN company no longer exists (I think it's Orlen now), people still say they go to the CPN. 

 The picture above shows the inside the pump. One literally had to hand pump gas into the two glass cylinders before being able then to use gravity into a hose to fill the gas tank of a car. 

Now back to the religious history -- and on May 5 I saw the buildings but had to come back and do some internet research to understand the story and implications of what I saw.  The first mention of this geographic area dates back to about 1326. 

The first Roman Catholic diocese was established here in 1404. Over time the church has changed back and forth between Roman Catholic to Orthodox or Uniate/Greek Catholic. My understanding of Greek Catholic is that religious practices of the Orthodox Church were used but allegiance was to the Pope rather than the head of the Orthodox Church. The changes largely related to whatever country had political control of the geographic area.

At times it was known by the diocese name of Lutsk, even as recently as 1925. One Bishop of Lutsk decided there would be more physical safety on the west side of the Bug River and so built a palace there. I believe when it was built it was in Ukraine, but as most know borders have moved back and forth in this part of the world.

That palace deteriorated over time and now is the site of new hotel. 

We went inside and were graciously given a tour that took us to the cellar area of the building where we could see the  brick walls of the Bishop's Palace. And also we could see how elegant are the rooms. I took no photos of rooms, but did take a photo of the bar. 

 Notice how elegant this is. We had coffee there.

Outside there are newly constructed buildings that look like horse stables. Everything about

Janów is "horsey" because of the famous horse stud farm there. More about the horse stud farm will be in the next blog post. These buildings hold additional hotel room for guests, not horses. 

Above is the sculpture on the wall above the reception desk for the hotel. 

A third part of this complex is a building that houses the swimming pool and the spa facilities. I was told there are actually underground tunnels that run between the buildings so guests may dress in a robe and travel to the pool or spa without having to go outdoors. 

Now back to buildings that still exist. 

 This church was the Cathedral with the diocese of Lutsk was active. The priest who gave us a tour said the church now has collegiate status.

Above is the main altar of the church, a church that is now 300 years old. I thought I could see  how it had changed in its affiliations over time, for it had been a Polish Roman Catholic Church all that time the walls would have been decorated as well. 

The priest giving us the tour called my attention to what looks like a balcony window on the left. Notice in the exterior picture of the church there is a building contiguous to the church. This was housing for the bishops and other priests associated with the cathedral. The Bishop could use this window to pray towards the altar or simply see what was happening inside the cathedral without having to leave his room. 

In what was somewhat a small church, there are many side altars. The priest explained this was  so several priests could say Mass at the same time, doing so in whispers. This photo too gives a good view of something unique about this church. It has a wooden floor. The Bishop who led construction of this building thought wooden floors would be warmer than stone floors. The oak we walked on had been there 300 years. 

At one time there had been a seminary attached to the cathedral as well. 

 This building now houses a high school with an agricultural emphasis. 

Also in the village is the Church of St. John. 

Its architecture is unique -- square with two columns in front. We could only drive by this church as it is closed for renovation. 

Thus, you can see I had a marvelous hour in this village, with yet more to come during this day. 


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