TRANSFORMATION AND GENIUS LOCI OF HOLIDAY RESORTS IN THE OTWOCK RANGE FROM THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY, IN THE 20TH CENTURY AND NOW

AGNIESZKA WOŚKO-CZERANOWSKA

ABSTRACT

At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the landscape, climate and spa values of today's Otwock Region became important factors influencing the dynamic development of spa or summer housing estates in the vicinity of Warsaw. Cities and towns were created mainly in the vicinity of the railway lines implemented at that time, especially in the areas of railway stations and stops: the Drogi Żelaznej Nadwiślańskiej - commonly known as the Vistula Railway - and the narrow-gauge commute railway, Jabłonowska Kolejka Dojazdowa. The enthusiasts to whom the Otwock Region owes its existence and development were land owners, entrepreneurs, residents, and vacationers coming from Warsaw to rest. Many of them were visionaries who promoted previously unknown forms of business or investment: professor Józef Geisler - a doctor and specialist in the treatment of lung diseases, land owners: Michał Elwiro Andriolli in Brzegi (Świder), Ksawery Branicki in Anin and Karol Jakub Hanneman in Falenica. In 1924 Otwock was recognized as a health resort. To the north of it, there were rural communes with a holiday character (Wawer Commune, Letnisko Falenica Commune). In the following years, these cities and towns developed dynamically. They became a summer home, lodging and leisure base for the inhabitants of Warsaw quickly gaining more and more popularity. Buildings that are inextricably associated with the Otwock Region are buildings known as świdermajer. Currently, this term mainly applies to residential, holiday homes and guesthouses, and some public buildings (less common), representing common features related to the body, building material, structure, architectural detail, etc., which were built in the years 1880-1939 in towns located along the Otwock railway line. During their construction, a wooden structure was used, usually using commonly available pine beams, square timbers and boards. World War II decimated the inhabitants of the Otwock Region, mainly of Jewish origin. The infrastructure and numerous objects, especially wooden ones, were destroyed. The following years brought many changes: of an administrative and territorial nature, the emergence of new housing estates, the introduction of other than traditional forms of development, its intensification, urbanization encroaching on forest areas, settlements merging into one organism, deforestation of plots, introducing secondary divisions, reducing the biologically active area, air pollution, development of underground and communication infrastructure, etc. Nevertheless, the identity and genius loci of the Otwock Region are still tangible. Forest areas, sandy dunes, the Świder and Vistula rivers, numerous contemporary and historical sites, especially the świdermajer ones, still remain attractive.

Keywords: genius loci, Otwock, Falenica, Wawer, świdermajer

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