Cultural Centre in Polish village celebrates heritage of the Tatars

A new educational and Muslim cultural centre in Kruszyniany village in Poland is attracting tourists to the area, while preserving the heritage of the Polish Tatar community, one of the smallest ethnic groups in Poland.

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The Polish Tatar Centre of Education and Muslim Culture. © Centrum Edukacji i Kultury Muzułmańskiej The Polish Tatar Centre of Education and Muslim Culture. © Centrum Edukacji i Kultury Muzułmańskiej

" The impact of the project is not limited to the region. It played an important role in tourism throughout the country. Increasing the tourist attractiveness of Kruszyniany and extending the tourist offer of Podlaskie region (which is the home of Białowieża Forest – the last remaining part of the primeval forest in Europe) resulted in an influx of tourists from all over the world which arrive in order to learn about the history of co-existence of cultures and religions in this border region. "

Bronislaw Talkowski

Aside from the construction of the Polish Tatar Centre of Education and Muslim Culture, an educational shed and tourist information office has been built. Old stables have been adapted for tourist recreation and fencing has been installed.  

The centre is increasing the number of visitors by offering tourism services such as the creation of a website and call Centre for reservations and information. The project has led to an increase in the tourism offerings in the village with more accommodation, catering, restaurant and conference facilities available. Two permanent jobs were created with the centre.

Highlighting cultural diversity

Kruszyniany village is on the eastern boundary of Poland, in the Podlaskie Region. It is a place of historical and cultural value for the Tatar, who have been living there since the 16th century. The centre was built near two unique historical sites: a XVIII-century wooden mosque which is still active today and a historical mizar, or cemetery, which the Polish President declared a historical monument in 2012 – the highest distinction given to monuments in Poland. 

The Tartar culture has for centuries been an integral part of Polish culture, evidence of the co-existence of cultural diversity among nations. One of the aims of the project is to preserve the religion, customs and traditions of the people in this region, while showing respect for minority rights. To do this, the project has developed a cooperation programme with the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Warsaw and the Institute of History at the University of Bialystok, where internships and intercultural workshops for students are organised.

An attractive tourist offering

A programme called ‘Kruszyniany – the history of Polish Tatars’ is introducing visitors to the culture of the Tartars. This is being done through educational and information campaigns like workshops, shows, events, festivities, opening Tatar monuments for sightseeing, and sharing stories and cuisine. It has had the indirect impact of creating accommodation, catering and conference facilities in the village for tourists. 

It has increased the number of tourists in the Podlaskie region which is known for its cultural and religious diversity and as the home of the Białowieża Forest.

Tourism season is being extended with indoor and outdoor winter attractions such as cross-country skiing and sleigh rides. A call centre and on-site tourist information facility is also available. 

 

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Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Polish Tatars Centre of Education and Muslim Culture” is EUR 1 203 943, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 805 362 through the “Regional Operational Programme for Podlaskie Voivodeship” for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Social inclusion” and Justice and “Fundamental rights”. 

 

Draft date

12/11/2019