My hometown, Lublin, lies on the eastern side of Poland (towards Ukraine) and now has over 350,000 inhabitants, dates back to 6th century (very first settlement) and the city started developing in earnest in the 14th century when the castle, holy tinity chapel and the moat & fortifications were built. 16th century saw the union of Poland and Lithuania and the heyday for the city came during Renaissance, which is visible in the beautiful decorative fronts of the old town houses.
Climbing up the Trinity Tower (‘Wieza Trinitarska’) in Lublin (highest viewing point in the city) was an interesting feat – the narrow winding staircase is not for the fainthearted (those with claustrophobia and fear of heights – like me!) and very steep! But the view at the top is wholly worth it. As you climb up, there are also religious sculptures along the way, information about the tower and the main bells of the tower. You stand above the old town and the main square, the castle (‘Zamek’), cathedral on one side and the Krakow gate on the other side… and the view stretches out into the forests and fields that surround Lublin! And at 7zl (£1.40) it’s a good bargain. Interestingly if you get there one of the 1st Sundays of the month, it will be free!
I also timed my visit well to the interesting museum of city of Lublin with it being free of charge on Saturdays! (each museum is different so make sure to check) It’s also a bit of a climb up a few flights but it’s an interesting view of the history of Lublin from its beginnings in the 13th century to the post war years. It’s full of photos from the 19th and 20th century, maps & paintings of Lublin borders and how it grew throughout the centuries, posters announcing curfew time from the 2nd World War occupation well as letters smuggled out from prisoners in the Majdanek concentration camp (worth a visit – a short bus journey on the outskirts of Lublin). The views from the top floor of the museum are also good over Lublin, if not as high as the Trinity Tower.
The old town (Rynek, Stare Miasto, Krakowskie Przedmiescie) is well prepared for tourists with the streets being full of cafes and restaurants spilling out into the streets with their tables and umbrellas (often branded with a beer brand – Tyskie, Zywiec, Perla). There are also plenty of ice cream huts ( choose from ‘wloskie’ – ice cream from a machine, or ice cream in various flavours by the scoop); waffle huts (‘gofty’ – have them with whipped cream, fruit, sugar or chocolate) and the odd kebab place for some fast food.
The tourist office is located just past the Krakow Gate (Brama Krakowska) in the old town, you’ll find plenty of information here with guidebooks about Lublin and the area in English (as well as other languages), maps, souvenirs and information about local hotels, theatres and of course museums (they will tell you which one is free when – very useful).
Read more about Poland, Lublin and its traditions on my website http://www.inlovewithpoland.com/city-breaks/lublin-breaks.html