- The oldest landscape park in Poland (established in 1976);
- Its boundaries are fixed by two rivers: the quiet Szeszupa River and the swift-flowing Black Hańcza River (the Niemen River basin);
- Lies in the area of 4 municipalities: Jeleniewo, Wiżajny, Przerośl and Rutka Tartak;
- There are 26 lakes including Hańcza - the deepest lake in Poland.
Special attention should be paid to:
1 /beauty spots:
The Cisova Mountain (Pol. Góra Cisowa) - the highest hill in the Suwalki Region (256 m above sea level) by the road between towns Jeleniewo and Rutka Tartak, known as Suwalki Fujiyama, due to its shape reminding a volcanic crater and similar to the sacred Japanese mountain. Excellent view on Suwalki Landscape Park.
Smolniki - beautiful settings that appeared in Andrzej Wajda's film "Pan Tadeusz"(today - lookout point at "Pan Tadeusz" place); from a declivity (a scarp) in the foreground, it is a view on the lakes: Kojle, Perty and Purwin with scenic peninsulas and bays, underneath hills and visible the Cisova Mountain.
Turtul - a beauty spot from which you may see the valley of the Black Hańcza River, and its backwaters created by a dam. Here lives a unique freshwater sponge - the creature could be found only in very clean waters.
At the foot of the hill there are the ruins of a mill from the 18th century. In a nearby valley the Szeszupa River has its source.
2 / Historical places and shrines:
The Castle Mountain – a hill of 228 m above sea level surrounded by the waters of the lakes: Szurpiły, Kluczysko and Jaglówek. There are ruins of the castle town from the time when Yotvingians (Pol. Jaćwingowie) lived in the area (9 - 13th century). The location of the castle town was excellent in terms of its defence.
A reconstruction of the fortification on Castle Hill; source: http://www.spk.org.pl
Apart from living and defence functions, the place played an important ritual role. On the hills adjacent to the Castle Mountain: there have been discovered cemetery ruins (the Cemetery Mountain (Pol. Góra Cmentarna) and shrine (the Church Mountain, pol. Góra Kościelna).
The Yotvingias culture will be described in a separate column.
Wodziłki - a village founded in 1788 by fleeing Old Believers (Pol. staroobrzędowcy) tsar’s repressions. The Old Believers is an orthodox trend of Eastern Orthodoxy that rejected the changes resulting from the reform with the aim of accommodating Russian Orthodox Church ceremony to the Greek Church (years 1652 - 1656). In Wodzlki there is the oldest church in the Suwalki Region, the temple of the Old Believers (org. molenna), still actives today.
Besides, there are only few buildings left in the village in the middle of meadows and fields, for example Russian baths (org. bania ruska) that still are working.
Udziejek village and The Drumlin tavern - a reconstructed 19th-century farmhouse consisting of a wooden inn with covered with thatched roof and wooden gabled houses.
- evangelical cemeteries (Szeshupka village - turning from the road to the town of Jeleniewo, direction of Wodziłki village and near Udziejek village on the way to the Wodziłki village),
- Old Believers cemetery (in Wodzlki village).
3 / Natural places:
The Lake Hańcza - depth of 108.5 m, through which flows the Black Hańcza River. The waters of the lake are very clean; the water clarity is up to 12 m. Since 1963, the water region and the scarp of the lake Hańcza is a water-landscape reserve.
On the shore of the lake from the side of the village Mierkinie are located a ruins of the 18th-century manor house - Stara Hańcza. From the court that survived the Napoleonic wars and the two world wars, and was destroyed in the flames during socialism time (till this day in unexplained circumstances), not much was left. The only things that survived were a wall base and buried cellars. The stairs once leading up to a porch, are today an entrance to road to the lake. The nature surrounding the minor house was more fortunate.
The manor park with a beautiful linden alley and antique ash tree has been entered in the register of monuments and is protected.
The boulder Bachanowo – the geological-landscape nature reserve of the area about 1 hectare located in the Black Hańcza River valley; a concentration about 10 thousand erratic boulders left by the Scandinavian glacier. The perimeter of the largest boulders reaches up to 8 m.
Boulders located on a variety territory: in meadows, in forest and on riverside which at this stage resembles a mountain stream.
Lakes: Jaczno, Czarne and Białe (near Smolniki village)