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Tatra Lapidarium - the Tatra Mountains in miniature

They have a magical power in them. We love them for their beauty, amazing views and primeval wildness. For many, a trip to the mountains is the best medicine for everything – for the blues, lack of energy and even a cold. Going to the mountains, communing with nature, we recharge their internal batteries and are ready for further challenges. Whether you prefer to admire their beauty from afar or wander along trails, the mountains always provide a full range of emotions. Because such views as the slightly snow-covered peaks of the Tatra Mountains, bathed in the morning sun, are long remembered and their memory always makes us smile. Those who walk in the mountains say that nothing gives such satisfaction as hurting legs after a whole day of hiking. We love the Tatra Mountains especially and, like the Slovaks, consider them to be our national treasure. But, despite this love, most of us know relatively little about them. We can name a few peaks and popular tourist places, we know that there is a cross on the Giewont peak and maybe we can even say something about chamois which in the Tatras are counted twice a year. And here comes the educational role of the Tatra National Park (TPN). And it is huge – it is not without reason that the Park’s motto is "For love of the mountains". There are various exhibitions devoted to the Tatra Mountains, their history and nature, beautiful calendars showing their glory, and countless materials, competitions and educational workshops for children. Finally, there is an extraordinary Tatra lapidarium – the only such place in Poland. It was created within the framework of the project of the same title "Tatra Lapidarium" and it tackles the geological aspect of the mountains which is not easy for a layman. The lapidarium is a kind of the Tatra Mountains in miniature. In a relatively small space, probably all kinds of rocks that make up our Tatra Mountains are gathered. But not only that – in the rock garden also planted are species characteristic of a given type of rock and occurring in the Tatras at different altitudes. This is a result of close cooperation with the Slovak National Park because it is the Slovaks who grow the Tatra vegetation. Some of the boulders also come from the Slovak Tatra Mountains, others were collected from excavations carried out, for example, during the renovation of the road to the Morskie Oko Lake.

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The lapidarium contains granite, limestone, dolomite and sandstone rocks – all minerals from which the Belianske, High and Western Tatras and the Siwy Wierch group of mountains are built. The boulders are arranged in the way they occur in the natural environment. In the High Tatras there is the characteristic Lomnický štít peak, on which there is even a miniature cable car station cast in bronze. In the part devoted to the Western Tatras, among others, the Kasprowy Wierch and Giewont peaks were built up of boulders, the latter, of course, topped with a miniature cross. Everything is complemented by educational boards in three languages: Polish, Slovak and English with descriptions of the rocks and photographs of places from which they come. They also contain information about the effects of glaciation, tectonic evolution and Tatra fossils.

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The Tatra Lapidarium is a perfect place to prepare for going out into the mountains. But it is also a place for those who cannot go to the mountains alone. The Lapidarium is adapted to the needs of disabled people. It is also a place where blind people can “see” at least a substitute of the Tatra Mountains. Especially for them a plastic map of the Tatras was prepared. They can also touch rocks from the Rysy or Giewont peaks without entering the Tatras. And on the educational boards, the information is also in Braille.


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Blog prepared in the project entitled: "Cooperation that enhances and develops as a key to a positive image of Poland on the international arena", co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as part of the competition "Public Diplomacy 2020 - a new dimension".

Project co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development
Fund under the Republic of Poland - Slovak Republic Cross-border Co-operation Operational
Programme 2007-2013 and from the funds of the Malopolskie Voivodship