Augustow Canal

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Would you like to know some interesting facts?
  1. The waterline of the Augustów Canal consists of 45 km of artificial ditches, 35 km of regulated riverbeds, and 22 km of lakes.
  2. General Ignacy Prądzyński designed 11 locks, and after the war in 1831, were added 7 more to slow down the flow of water and facilitate navigation.
  3. 18 locks in total were made, 14 of which were located within the borders of Poland, 1 in the border area and 3 on the Belarusian side.
  4. The Augustów Canal route includes 12 lakes: Mikaszówek, Mikaszewo, Krzywe, Paniwo, Orle, Gorczyckie, Swoboda Pond, Studzieniczne, Białe and Necko.
  5. The locks had a beautiful architectural design in national colours. The chambers were lined with red brick but the tops were white. Each lock located at a road crossing had a drawbridge and a stylish water guard’s house was built nearby.
  6. Each lock has a stone plaque embedded in the wall with the date and name of the construction manager. Many of these tablets have survived and they can still be read today.
  7. The differences in water levels between individual reservoirs range from 0.8 to 9.8 m.
  8. In 1968, the Augustów Canal was added to the list of historic monuments, and in 2007, it became a Historical Monument by the decision of the President of the Republic of Poland.
How does it work?

Thanks to the operation of locks and sluices, the water line overcomes a total difference in the level of 54.04 m (from the peak calculation to Biebrza – 14.81 m and to Niemen – 39.23 m). The water demand is at the top of Serwy Lake.

In addition to using the scheme of the system’s operation, the course and division of the locks along the route, the location and principles of the construction of damming structures (locks and sluices), and even the profile of the ditches, not subject to major changes from the moment they are built. System devices according to engineering systems of the 19th century.

You can still pay attention to the work of the lock operators, who – similarly like a century and a half ago – raise the gates with manual levers, opening the gaps in the turns, but the water fills the chamber until it is level with the reservoir located above, and then they open the strong wooden towers, pushing the drawbars with their arms.

The constant navigability of the Augustów Canal in Poland is maintained.

Important character

Ignacy Prądzyński (born 1792, died 1850)

The author of the construction project of the Augustów Canal.

He was born in Sienniki in Wielkopolska in a noble family. He studied in Dresden. He was in the army since 1807 – he took part in the most important battles and military expeditions of his time. He received the most remarkable Polish war decoration, the Golden Cross of the Virtuti Militari Order. He was also made a knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour. He authored about 60 works in the field of military and extensive memoirs. He was one of the most outstanding Polish strategists of the first half of the 19th century.

Augustow Canal Fot. Andrzej Sidor / FORUM
Foto: Jarosław Chyra / Białowieski Park Narodowy


Called in Polish: Żubr

Żubr - the only one like this 😊

Europe’s largest land mammal. The Białowieża Forest turned out to be the last refuge for the lowland bison. Here, too, the process of its restitution, i.e. restoring it to nature, has already begun. Currently, the largest free-ranging European bison population in the world lives in the Białowieża Forest. In its Polish part, it has about 800 individuals.

Bison King of the Forest

More interesting information about the bison can be found in the text Bison Emperor of the Forest