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Where do bory come from?

Punkt na szlaku: On the ruffians’ paths

One of the places worth visiting in Orava and Podhale is the so-called bory, that is the peat land. The legend relates their creation to the sanctuary of the Mother of God, Podhale Gaździna (pl. Matka Boża Gaździna Podhala) located in Ludźmierz, where the forest, faced with sacrilege – stealing the monstrance, turned roots up. read more

One of the places worth visiting in Orava and Podhale is the so-called bory, that is the peat land. Their most interesting part is located between the Wróblówka and Ludźmierz villages. They are: Długopole, Franków Brzyzek, Przymiarki and Bór na Czerwonem located behind the airport in Nowy Targ and going towards Szaflary (area unique in the Europe’s scale).

According to naturalists, the peat land constitutes a territory with a large, stable humidity, covered by plants whose dead elements are gradually transformed into turf. It is a long process, lasting thousands of years. It is covered with various typed of moss as well as a series of plants present only on the turf land, bushes and trees with domination of pine and birch trees.

This small Podhale village is located in the foot of the Tatra Mountains in the Kotlina Nowotarsko-Orawska, near Nowy Targ.

The local monastery and church were constructed between 1235 and 1238. Its material base was founded by the Krakow Voivode Teodor Świebodzic from the Gryfit family, called Cedro. About 1245, that is after the period of ten years, monks left Ludźmierz and moved to Szczyrzyca, where nowadays the abbey of Cistercians is still located. The reason for moving, according to tradition, was the harassment suffered by Cistercians from ruffians. The church belonged to Cistercians until the 1824.

In this church, there is a wooden figure of the so-called Beautiful Madonna type, dated back to the 15th century, famous for graces and worshipped.

The legend about the local bory says that their creation was caused by ruffians. A long time ago the cloister was surrounded by an old forest. One night, ruffians lured by stories about precious liturgical vessels and votive gifts, raided the church. When they collected all precious items to their bags and they were leaving the church by the window, their presence was given away by a dog. They started to escape, but the bells were already tolling and soon they were pursued by the whole village. The ruffians were in a disadvantageous situation as it was raining and the ground was slippery.

The heaviest loot, monstrance with the Sacramental Bread, was carried by the very harnaś. When he was close to the forest, he slipped and fell over. His companions disappeared among trees, the pursuit was close behind. He stood up and ran leaving the loot behind. The Monstrance together with the Sacramental Bread was dropped into the mud. Then, suddenly, the earth quaked, black clouds covered the sky, wind started to howl an in the lightnings everybody saw huge trees, the whole ancient forest to become uprooted and turning roots up, as if they were branches! The storm and wind lasted the whole night, and at dawn, where the forest was rustling, there was only the infinite bog! This was the punishment for sacrilegious ruffians.

The miraculous Madonna Ludźmierska in the folk legends is also referred to in relation to a series of interesting motifs describing among others the care of Podhale Gaździna for ruffians and saving their sinful souls. Allegedly, the reason for this is that in Podhale, even ruffians practiced the cult for the Ludźmierska Mother of God and prayed to her. Therefore legends describe the ruffian’s soul saved from the hell, as the tear of the Ludźmierska Mother of God, whom he worshipped, shoving mercy over him made the Archangel Michael’s scales move at his Judgment. Legends describe twelve ruffians, who at the church fair received a penance – a task to build shrines for Madonna, and when they encountered constant obstacles to perform the task, they stopped looting in order to complete the task and they were granted redemption. Moreover, ruffians experienced miraculous healing of wounds, only if they swore improvement to the Queen of Podhale.

In folk legends passed in the spoken form, the motif of the Blessed Virgin’s care over the penitent ruffians is widespread and present in locations far away from Podhale.

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