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Accommodation and tourist attractions in Ełk and closest regions

Ełk is the third largest city in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship after Olsztyn and Elbląg. The location on the Ełckie Lake and the Ełk River makes the city a center for rest and recreation in the Ełk Lakeland. Currently, the biggest tourist attraction of the city is the Ełk Narrow Gauge Railway.

The origin of the name of the city of Ełk is controversial. Most probably, the city took its name from the river on which it was founded. In Polish, the city's name appeared most often in the form of Łek or Łyk. Form Ełk arose from the locality "in Łku", with time transformed into "in Ełk". In German, in turn, the name of the city took the form: Licke, Lik, Licce, Lueck, finally established itself as Lyck. The word Łek / Lyck probably comes from the Yotvingian word "medicine", which means white water lily or from the Polish word "łęg", which was defined as a coastal meadow. The ruins of the former Teutonic castle testify to the medieval history of the city. The castle in Ełk was built at the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by the then commander Bałga Ulrich von Jungingen, later the grand master (the same who fought at Grunwald at the head of the Teutonic army). The castle was built in a strategically important place - right next to the border of the Teutonic Order with Poland and Lithuania. A very good place was chosen for its construction - the island on the Ełckie Lake, which was connected with the mainland by means of wooden drawbridges. During the 13-year war (1454-1466) the castle was conquered and destroyed. The original Gothic castle was rebuilt in subsequent centuries. In 1810, he was a marshal of the Napoleonic army Ney, and in 1813 a Russian Tsar Alexander I. In the years 1888-1970 the castle served as a prison.

In addition to the ruins of the castle, here we can see a nineteenth-century church. Sacred Heart of Jesus (once evangelical) and a temple erected in the same century for Catholics, whose patron is Saint. Wojciech Biskup and Martyr. Today, this church is the cathedral of the Diocese of Ełk and the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. Albrecht Hohenzollern was the last grand master of the Teutonic Order in Prussia - he liquidated the monastic state, making it a secular duchy. Albrecht created the first Lutheran state in the world (cuius regio eius religio). Throughout Prusia Książęce, existing Catholic churches have been transformed into evangelical churches. That's what happened in Ełk. The present church. The Sacred Heart of Jesus until 1945 was an Evangelical church.

In the place of the present temple, the church has been standing since the fifteenth century. Initially, it was a wooden object, then a brick one. For centuries, he changed his appearance, appeals and denominations - however, he always constituted the center of the city with his surroundings. It was here that the main street expanded, creating a vast square where the city's life took place.

After the secularization of Prussia, Prince Albrecht paid particular attention to the development of science and literature. In this way, Jan from Sącz, also known as Sandecius, arrived in Ełk in the 16th century and took the name Malecki. Jan Malecki and his son Hieronim founded the first printing house in Mazury and the first high school, the completion of which gave the right to study at universities. The Ełk school enjoyed wide fame - students  from Prussia, Poland and Lithuania learned in it. Numerous religious writings in Polish appeared from under the Malecki pen. Stamping the Maleccy prints, the first used the font, which - because it was brought from Krakow - was called the "Krakow sheriff." Prints intended for Masuria in the 20th century were printed in the same font.

In the city center is the Solidarity Park, the former park of Queen Luisa. The Queen Luisa Square was considered the most beautiful place in Ełk. It was founded at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries at the initiative of the Society for the Embellishment of the City. In 1913, the park received the name of Queen Luisa, who was the wife of the Prussian King Frederick William III. During her lifetime, Queen Louise was considered one of the most beautiful women in the European courts. Queen Luisa Pruska was the mother of the first emperor of the United Germany, Wilhelm I Hohenzollern. In the mid-19th century, the City Beautification Societies were established in many Prussian cities. In Ełk, such a society was founded in 1844 thanks to the then mayor. The aim of the company was to beautify the city, its tree planting, building walkways alleys, parks and promenades.

In Ełk, it is also worth taking a look at the former water tower, where today there is a unique Museum of Water Drop, in which everything revolves around the water.


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