GB No. 4(19)/95
Rogalin is a small village on the edge of the Warta river valley, near the road Kórnik - Mosina, which lies 20 kilometres away from Poznań. It is located in the surroundings of river marshy meadows and forests and belongs to the most beautiful and most picturesque corners of Wielkopolska. The major attraction of Rogalin is a residence of the Raczyński family in the form of a rococo-classicist palace with a set of auxiliary buildings situated on a high slope, above old-river bed of the Warta. It was a seat of this family for many generations. Nearby, on the hill there is a neo-classicist chapel which is a copy of the Roman temple in Nimes and is a mausoleum of Raczyński family. Horse-chestnuts on the both sides of the road leading to the chapel make this road beautiful W, especially in autumn.
The railway line used for transportation of chemicals is completely not prepared for this purpose. The railway crossings are not protected, the positions of the trains full of deadly liquids is unknown for the brigade which is supposed to deal with the accidents, there are no lightning on the railway line and most of all the closest chemical rescue unit is situated 300 km away. Almost all of the trains are going through the Forest at night, perhaps because the Polish State Railways (PKP) wants to hide the scale of danger.
Nowadays there is a part of the National Museum of Poznań in the palace. Here visitors can admire the interiors of the palace a picture gallery and the collection of old coaches.
A widespread park surrounds the palace. Its first pan, in French style, was founded in the second half of 18th century. Here are: a linden alley, hornbeam walks and many sculptures of mystical figures which are worth seeing. The other part is in English style. There the Warta valley is located and a bit farther, hills - Żabinskie Góry come into view. In this part of the park we find another, not less valuable, attraction of Rogalin. Here begins "D1browa Rogalinska" ("Rogalin Oak Forest"). It includes about 2000 oaks, the largest of them having trunks with a circumfer-circumference of up to 9 meters. Many specimens are hundreds of years old. Most of them are English oak (Quercus robur).
English oaks are huge trees which grow up to 20-30 meters (sometimes even 50 meters) and reach 2-3 meters] of diameter. When growing separately they develop wide crowns, short trunks and thick branches. Their wood is heavy, hard and very durable. After long in water this wood becomes even more tough. In that form it is called "black oak". or "Polish ebony". Oaks are a symbol of durability and longevity. They have the long lives of all our national deciduous trees. English oaks occurs m all of Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor
Not many people know that the oaks in Rogalin are biggest agglomeration of old oaks on our continent. It is the pad of widespread forests which once existed here on fertile soils and flooded from tine to tine. The oaks in Rogalin are regarded as a "monument of nature". All trees with a trunk circumference over 2 meters (including dead specimens) are protected The best known are three, "thousand year old" oaks growing close each other and named after the legendary Slavic brothers: Lech (circumference of trunk - 6,70 meters), Czech (7,30 meters) and Rus (9 meters). In fact their age is to be of 480-590 years. Impressive are also: growing nearby linden "Grażyna" and oak "Edward" ( 6,20 meters of circumference) which is growing on the bans of the Warta.
For some years efforts have been made to include area with these trees Wielkopolski National Park. Moreover, for a long time, attempts are made (not always successful) protection of old trees decay. At present many of the oldest specimens have cement seals and iron bands - the traces of preserving actions n>ade in the past. "Ancient" trees marked by passing years are attacked by "small" enemy - oak beetle (Cerambyx cerdo). "Small" though it is the biggest and the most beautiful national beetle. The oak beetle is a species protected by law. Its cream-coloured larvae reach up to 9 centimetres in 1 and grow inside the oak for 4 - 5 years. They feed on the oak wood and bore the corridors and channels under the bark and in the tree trunk. In spite of a common opinion it is not true that the oaks die due to the feeding of this insect's larvae. The more probable reason of the withering of trees is their age. Perhaps the process has been speeded up by the lowering of the ground water level. The larvae of the oak beetle bore into the wood of trees which have already died so their presence is not the cause but the result of the diminishing vitality of these old trees. Fortunately near the old, dying trees young ones grow. They are not so impressive as their parents or grandparents but within some years... who knows...
Katarzyna Bejenkowska, Sławomir Michalak
PTOP "Salamandra" Office
ul. Ratajczaka 19/60
Phone/fax: 48/61/536511 ext. 200
ul. Umultowska 100/42
phone/fax: 48/61/536511 ext. 200
Student Environmental Club of PTOP "Salamandra"
Al. Niepodlegooci 26/142
phone/fax: 48/61/526076 ext. 142
PTOP "Salamandra" Student Chiropterological Section in Gdańsk
phone (private): 48/58/468505
reprinted from the newsletter of PTOP "Salamandra"