Lublin

Lublin is a city in eastern Poland and the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 351,000 (2009). In the Middle Ages Lublin played an important role in the life of the Polish state as a trade center and as a city with military significance. Today, most travelers to Lublin will be there to visit the Majdanek concentration camp.

Lublin's very own royal castle.

Understand

First mentioned in 13th century, Lublin reached its "golden age" in 16th century, when - due to its central location between Kraków (capital of Poland) and Vilnius (capital of Lithuania) - it was chosen as the place where the Union of Lublin was signed, effectively uniting the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for several centuries. Due to its location at a crossroads between the rest of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, the city was always a melting pot of different cultures - an important center of Judaism as well as of the Christian reformation movement. From the 17th century onwards, together with the rest of the country, it suffered a gradual decline.

During World War II the Jewish and Polish populations suffered heavy losses with many people being interned and killed at Majdanek, a Nazi concentration camp. In 1939, the city's Jewish population numbered 42,380, nearly a third of the total population. The war and Nazi crimes reduced the Jewish population to a mere 4,553 by 1945. After the war, the city developed to be an important university site, with six state universities and a number of smaller ones. As well, the city served as Poland's post-war capital city for approximately six months after the Soviet occupation forces installed a puppet regime.

Today, Lublin is an beautiful mid-size city with its own particular Renaissance style, called the Lublin Renaissance. That said, its easy to see that the city has fallen on hard times with shuttered buildings in the heart of its old town. If you're coming from Warsaw, a slightly-less-than-thorough day trip to Lublin can be achieved, if you rely on taxis versus public transportation. Most of the major sites are not that far from the train station by car, so taxis can be a fast, cheap, and efficient way to traverse the city.

Get in

By plane

Lublin opened its own airport (Port Lotniczy Lublin LUZ) in December 2012, with a train station inside the airport terminal providing quick and easy access to Lublin's rail network. However, destinations are so far limited, with routes to Dublin, Oslo, Liverpool, Stockholm and London available so far from low-fare carriers Wizzair and Ryanair. Lufthansa offers flights to Frankfurt Airport, where you can connect to their vast short-haul and intercontinental network.

You can also fly in to either Warsaw, Kraków or Rzeszów. From there, you need to take a train or a bus to come to Lublin. From both Warsaw and Kraków airports, you can take commuter trains to the respective city's central railway station, where you can in turn change to a train to Lublin. Landing in Rzeszów, you need to rely on buses and coaches.

By train

The Polish State Railways have services from Warsaw and other major Polish cities (Wrocław, Kraków, Poznań, Łódź and Gdańsk). There aren't any fast InterCity connections provided to Lublin, but the train journey from Warsaw takes only 2.5 hours.

By car

You can easily get there by car:

Lublin, like other Polish cities, doesn't have a ring road, so to transit the city you must use Trasa W-Z Route: Warsaw17 , E372  - aleja Warszawska - aleja Solidraności - aleja Tysiąclecia - aleja Witosa - Lviv (UA). There's is also south-north route: Svidnik (SK)  E371  - Rzeszów19  - aleja Kraśnicka - Sikorskiego - aleja Solidarności - aleja Smorawińskiego - aleja Spółdzielczości Pracy - Białystok - Hrodna (BY)

By bus

Many international connections - from the Main Bus Terminal (Dworzec Autobusowy Główny) with Birmingham, Bradford, Bremen, Cologne, Flensburg, Freiburg, Geneva, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, London, Lviv, Lutsk, Mannheim, Paris, Rotterdam, Rome, Stuttgart, Venice, Vilnius and Zurich. Southern Bus Terminal(Dworzec Autobusowy Południe) is located right across the square from the Main Train Station. It is dedicated to regional lines.

Get around

By bus or trolleybus

In the city center or the Old Town you can easily reach every place worth seeing on foot. You can also use the public transport. It's worth to try a trolleybus ride, especially the "tourist" route  156   from the Majdanek Concentration Camp, near Old Town and Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. The city has 50 bus lines and 8 trolleybus lines (served by MPK). There's also commercial city transport (buses with Komunikacja prywatna or AKL signs).

To use the public transport you should buy your tickets in a "kiosk" - such "kiosks" are usually situated near bus stops - or on the bus (exact change required). The price system for MPK (municipal) buses is following: a single ride ticket costs 2.40 zł, students with ISIC identification pay 1.20 zł. You must validate your ticket immediately upon getting on the bus. In the private buses, marked as AKL, you pay for the ticket in the bus (1.50 zł full fare and 1.00 zł for student with ISIC). Children below 4 can use public transport for free. When changing buses, you need to validate another ticket (they are valid only for one ride each). Of use to tourists, there are also 24-hour tickets (11 zł / 5.5 zł). Timetables for both can be found at the link above.

Routes to/from the Railway Station and the Central Bus Terminal are prone to pickpockets.

Trolleybus line for tourists

Every summer local city transport company runs special tourist trolleybus line. It's served by unique Soviet trolleybus ZIU, popular in 70s and 80s in former communist countries in Europe. Tours start every Sunday from bus stop near Kraków Gate (Brama Krakowska 02) at 14:00 and 15:30. During those journeys the passengers will see Majdanek Nazi Camp, Cathedral, some interesting sights in the Old Town and other attractions (all with virtual guide comments). Price: 5 zł for one ride.

By taxi

Taxi services are quite cheap, but it's good to know the local prices:

Charges are higher after 10PM, on Sundays and public holidays.

Do not take taxis which are not on the taxi stands, especially near the Bus Terminal and the Railway Station. There are often non-regulated taxi drivers who overcharge. It's better to call one of taxi companies or take a taxi with one of above phone numbers displayed on the roof.

By bike

Lublin has well developed system of cycling infrastructure. There are over 80 km of segregated cycle lanes and paths in the city. The most common are bike paths independent of road traffic, hovewer most of them are outside the Old Town and the city center. You can rent a bike from early spring to the end of autumn (24/7) in a self-service system Lubelski Rower Miejski. It consists of 40 automatic rent stations and 400 bikes. First 20 minutes of a rent is free of charge. Charge for next 40 minutes is 1 zł, the second hour is 2 zł and every consecutive hour is 4 zł. To use the system, you should register online to get an account, make pre-payment (min. 10 zł) and then can rent bikes at any station (you must have a mobile phone to do it). As similar systems exist in other major cities in Poland you can use one account in any of them.

See

St. Joseph Church, in the style of Lublin Renaissance

Main sights

Religious buildings

Museums

Majdanek State Museum

Do

Cinemas

There are 8 cinemas in Lublin. The biggest - Cinema City - has 8 screens (in Galeria Plaza, Lipowa 13 Street. Single normal ticket 16-20 zł) Alternative cinema "Bajka" (pron. Bayka), only one screen, but has often sophisticated repertoire, located at Radziszewskiego Street. Single normal ticket 12 zł, on Mondays 10 zł.

Events

Parks

Sport

Learn

You can study in one of the universities in Lublin. It's possible in all public high schools thanks to international cooperation (e.g. Socrates-Erasmus):

Buy

City shopping

The Old Town district offers plenty of small shops with souvenirs. Many shops with clothes, shoes, souvenirs are situated in city center on Krakowskie Przedmieście St. There are also Main Post Office, local divisions of biggest Polish and global banks. There is also trade city center on Tomasza Zana St.

Shopping Malls

Eat

Most restaurants are situated in Old Town and in the city center: Krakowskie Przedmieście St. (pedestrian zone called Deptak), Narutowicza St., Okopowa St. and Chopina St. You can choose among regional, Polish, Jewish, international, Spanish, Czech and Italian restaurants (the last one are especially common). There are also a lot of kebab bars with Turkish and Arabic fast food. Nadbystrzycka St., near Technical University is a center of this type of bars. Also in every shopping center you can find many restaurants, bars and fast food.

Traditional local food

The most known local food speciality is cebularz, a small, oven-baked flat bread topped with onion mixed with poppy seeds. The tradition of preparing it has existed since Middle Ages and is connected with Jewish cuisine. Cebularz probably originates from wheat flatbreads known in the Middle East which were brought to this part of Poland by Jewish immigration and modified afterwards. It is a very popular snack: One can buy it in every bakery or grocery in Lublin (it is uncommon to taste it in a restaurant or bar). Since 2014 cebularz has been registered within European Union as a product with Protected Geographical Indication. The Lublin region is also famous for various kinds of pierogi. The local type is known as pierogi po lubelsku (or pierogi wiejskie). It is stuffed with a mix of cottage cheese, buckweed groats (kasha) and mint. Look for restaurants with regional cuisine to taste them (Sielsko Anielsko, Rynek 17, Old Town). If you want to try Lublin regional alcoholic beverages (or buy Lublin-related souvenirs), you can choose among vodka, mead and beer. The most famous vodka produced here is Żołądkowa Gorzka, vodka with "bitter" (gorzka) in the name, but sweet in taste. Just like Żubrówka, it's a unique Polish product and definitely a must-try. The APIS company in Lublin is the oldest Polish mead-making factory in Poland. Among more than ten varieties of mead which are produced there, one (Staropolski Tradycyjny trójniak) is marked with a EU Traditional Speciality Guaranteed sign. Lublin also has a longstanding brewery tradition. The local beer, called Perła Chmielowa (Hop Pearl) is a very tasty pilsner-type lager. You can also try beers in a micro-brewery situated in Old Town (Grodzka 15 Restaurant).

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

For drinking, head to the Old Town and its vicinity. That's where the most popular pubs are located. Even there, prices are low because of a large student clientèle. Pubs offer one or two varietes of draught beer (draft beer), usually only pilsner-type lagers. Unfortunately, in majority, pubs sell not local beer. If you want to taste regional one ask for Perla. Prices: Big one (duże; 0,5 liter) costs 6-10 zł, small one (małe; 0.3 liter) is at 1-2 zł lower price.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Tourist information in Lublin provides current information on the sightseeing, tourist, cultural and recreational attractiveness of Lublin and the Lubelski Region. Contact with Tourist Information Center: infotur@loit.lublin.pl or +48 81 532 44 12. See also the web page: . There are three offices in the city center:

Internet

Access to Internet by Wi-Fi:

Help for foreigners

Stay safe

Lublin is generally considered a very safe city, both at day and at night, with police patrols frequent throughout the Old Town and in the city's student areas. Violent crime is quite rare in the city and elsewhere in Poland. Car theft has been an issue in the past, though common sense precautions can be easily taken. If an emergency should materialize, visitors can call the all-purpose emergency number 112 on their phone. For a better specification of the kind of emergency service being requested, people can dial 999 for an ambulance, 998 for a fire emergency, and 997 for the police.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 06, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.