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Nature

The Vistula, whose valley dominates the landscape of the commune, is an unregulated major lowland river which is also a very important wildlife corridor. Not far from Kazimierz Dolny, the valley picturesquely turns into a gorge between two steep hills on both river banks.

The spectacular and unique scenery of the Vistula gorge is one of a kind in Poland. The typical elements of this landscape are the remnants of numerous quarries that have been worked along the valley throughout the ages. It is worth mentioning that since the time of the glaciation in central Poland, the Vistula had flowed west from today’s Janowiec (approx. 1.5 km from the town of Kazimierz Dolny). Today’s gorge valley is about 140 000 years old.

There are two tributaries of Vistula within the area of the commune: Bystra and Grodarz. The third scenic stream in the commune is the Witoszyński stream, which is so clean that it is home to trout and beavers.

The Vistula valley is an important place for nesting and passage for numerous species of birds. Krowia Wyspa (lit. Cow Island) fauna reserve (since 1991) on the Vistula, near Mięćmierz village, is a very interesting bird habitat.

The soil of the area is mostly fertile and suitable for agriculture.

The terrain in this part of Poland is very rich and geographically diverse. It includes hills, valleys and gorges eroded in a thick layer of loess, which prevails in the upper ground layer. The bottom layer is mostly composed of limestone.

One can find here remnants of quarries which were used for extracting limestone for the construction industry and hydrotechnical devices.

The hills and gorges are overgrown with vegetation which changes with each new season. The exceptional susceptibility of loess soil to water erosion has considerably enriched the local landscape. Water left its marks here by eroding numerous long loess gorges. The system of gorges is very intricate and it is famous in Europe for its record-breaking density of 11 km/km2. It also abounds in outcrops – specific exposures of bedrock on the surface of the Earth which have considerable scientific and didactic value.

Oaks, hornbeams, lindens and birches dominate the woods around the Kazimierz Dolny Commune. Due to the specific microclimate, the vegetation of the Kazimierz Dolny Commune is very diverse, including rare thermophilic and steppe grassland species.

Local game is plentiful and includes hare, fox, wild boar, roe deer, deer and badger.

The area is abundant in very interesting insects, such as mantises, rare beetles and butterflies, e.g. the Giant Peacock Moth – the largest European moth reaching up to 15 cm (6 in.) in wingspan.

The natural values of the area have led to creating the Kazimierz Landscape Park. It was established on April 27, 1979, and it was the eighth landscape park in Poland and the first in the Lublin Province.

The Park and its protection zone cover the area of 11 communes of the Lublin Province, including almost the entire Kazimierz Dolny Commune. Owing to the exceptional susceptibility of loess to erosion, the terrain of the Park is subject to constant changes. Other important nature reserves within the area of the Kazimierz Landscape Park in the Kazimierz Dolny Commune are “Ścianka Pożaryskich” (the Pożaryski Wall) site of geological documentation, which preserves the unique geological section in the abandoned quarry in Bochotnica, and “Dolina Bystrej” (Bystra Valley) natural and scenic complex.

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