History has a way of repeating itself: in Lublin, unions proved to be this town’s recurring leitmotif. When you wander its Old Town, soaking up the reminders of the past, be certain to bone up on the details in the museums. A rest is always warranted, and Lublin’s restaurants and cafes provide a welcome one. If you plan to go, check out the practical information or book a hotel room in advance.


Round Tower of Lublin CastleA union town, one might say, of this large eastern Poland city that began as a trade route stop-over in the 6th century and grew into the industrial, yet scholarly metropolis that it is today. 3 centuries after its humble beginnings 14 centuries ago, Lublin marked the conversion of the Polish lands into the christianized Polish state in the 10th century by being the first to erect (so they say) a commemorative temple to St. Nicholas. Another 4 centuries passed before the fortified castle transformed itself into a town, but its real claim to fame came in 1569 when the Lublin Unionratified the already 200 year old bond between Poland and its neighbor Lithuania: that moment formalized the largest empire in mainland Europe. Lublin profited from its pivotal position, and continued to prosper — excepting raids by the Cossacks from the east and Swedes from the north — until the Partitions scattered the empire and carved up the Polish state.

Lublin's Old 
TownPoland landed back on the legal map of Europe at the end of WWI, and Lublin celebrated by founding the Catholic University, still going strong to this day. Lublin also fostered other religions, notably Judaism, which showed itself in the pre-WWII 40,000 strong Jewish population. Remnants of that population can be seen along the signs and walls of the Old Town, and more stirring reminders found in the Majdanek concentration camp 3 km out.

Additional infamous events occurred in the war period, critical to Poland’s post-war future: in 1944, a group called the Lublin Committeegathered sufficient strength there to fan the flames of communism, and grew into the post-war party that took up the reins of power for the next 4 decades. But what goes around sometimes comes around: Lublin’s second claim to union fame occurred in May 1980 with an organized workers strike. Said strike beat the Gdansk shipyard shenanigans by 4 months, leaving Lubliners free to boast of their town as once again the birthplace of a union.


Lublin Castle
Lublin  Castle
The imposing steps lead up to the imposing sight of this impressive castle. The hill itself hosted diverse settlements over the centuries, but the Castle is only a century or so old.
Round Tower and Holy Trinity Church
Within the castle walls discover the old bits: an old prison for Poland’s misbehaving upper classes, and the castle chapel with its richly decorated interior. Round Tower and Holy Trinity Church
Town Hall
Mosey on down from the castle and into the Old Town with its still-cobbled paths wandering through the dignified, yet dilapidated buildings of the past.
The Trinitarian
For an excellent birds-eye view of Lublin, climb the belfry built by the Jesuit-replacing Trinitarians: the rooster atop will crow (according to legend) when a virgin walks by. Trinitarian Tower
Krakowska Gate
Krakowska  Gate
A mish-mash of architectural styles lends this symbol of old Lublin a charm of its own: initially built in the 14th century, it was added to, and added to, and added to over the ensuing years.
Grodzka  Gate
Take another gate to lead you back to the castle: rebuilt in the 18th century, the present form of the Grodzka Gate replaced a wooden bridge joining the Old Town with the castle.