Romantic wanderings of Poles across Saxon Switzerland
The history of Polish tourism in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains as well as the literary and artistic reception of the landscape and culture of Saxon Switzerland have never been discussed in detail. The present article is a research reconnaissance. The beginnings and development of tourism in the region came in the late 18th and early 19th century. The 1800s were marked by the emergence of the first German-language descriptions of Saxon Switzerland, which served as guidebooks at the time. From the very beginning Poles, too, participated in the tourist movement in the area. The author of the article seeks to follow the increasing interest in Saxon Switzerland and the appearance of the first descriptions of the region in Polish literature and culture. She provides a detailed analysis of Polish-language accounts of micro-trips to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains by Andrzej Edward Koźmian, Stanisław Deszert, Antoni Edward Odyniec, Klementyna Hoffman née Tańska and a poem by Maciej Bogusz Stęczyński. As the analysis demonstrates, in the first half of the 19th century Poles liked to visit these relatively low mountains in Central Europe and tourism in the region is clearly part of the history of Polish mountain tourism. Thanks to unique aesthetic and natural values of the mountains, full of varied rocky formations, reception of their landscape had an impact of the development of the aesthetic sensibility of Polish Romantics. Direct contact with nature and the landscape of Saxon Switzerland also served an important role in the shaping of spatial imagination of Polish tourists, encouraging them to explore other mountains in Europe and the world, including the Alps. On the other hand thanks to the development of tourist infrastructure in Saxon Switzerland, facilitating trips in the region and making the most attractive spots available to inexperienced tourists, micro-trips to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains marked an important stage in the development of mountain tourism on a popular-recreational level. Polish-language accounts of trips to Saxon Switzerland from the first half of the 20th century are a noteworthy manifestation of the beginnings of Polish travel literature.