This College of Wizardry in Poland is as Close to Hogwarts as You’ll Ever Get

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The College of Wizardry, a recent event organised by Denmark’s Rollespils Fabrikken and Poland’s LARPing communities, gave Potterheads the opportunity to experience the world of Harry Potter by actually being a part of it. This, they claimed, was a whole lot more fulfilling and exciting than visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, in Orlando.

Through the event, they brought Potterheads from 11 different countries together to celebrate their love of the wizarding world. Close to 200 live-action role players (LARPers) participated in the first session of the fictional Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry – it was the largest and most intricate J.K. Rowling-themed LARP adventure in history. The LARPers played the role of teachers, students and other characters from Hogwarts.

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Veterinary Student Stitches ‘I Love You’ into the Skin of Dog He Operated on

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In a bizarre display of love, a Polish veterinary student recently stitched the words ‘I Love You’ on to the skin of a dog that he operated on. The fourth year student at the University of Warmia and Mazury, in Olsztyn, then posted the image on to his girlfriend’s Facebook wall, so she could admire his handiwork. The grisly picture was immediately criticized by the couple’s friends and college mates for being grotesque and unethical.

The girlfriend, who is a member of the student council at the same university, defended the photograph: “What’s so unethical about it? He learnt to sew in order to help and is just showing his skill.”

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Zalipie – Poland’s Fascinating Painted Village

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People all over the world love decorating their homes, but few are as good as the villagers of Zalipie. Home décor is a centuries-old tradition in this secluded village of southeastern Poland.

The women of Zalipie paint their homes, not with a single color, but a range of vibrant floral patterns. These patterns adorn the external walls, doors, windows and even the roof. The entire village looks pretty in a riot of colors.

It isn’t clear when the tradition began exactly. Local legend says that it originates from a time when smoke from stoves would escape through little holes in the ceilings. Women tried whitewashing  to cover up the tiny spots of soot on the walls, but that didn’t work. So they switched to paintings of beautiful flowers instead.

Zalipie-painted village

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Poland’s Knight Fighting League Looks Like a Brutal Medieval Version of Fight Club

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The awesome-looking Polish Knight Fighting League has medieval enthusiasts put on full body armor and do battle in one-one duels or team matches, using actual (although blunt) weapons like swords, axes and spears.

The Polish Knight Fighting League is no scripted medieval battle reenactment. It’s more like a Dark-Ages-themed tournament for people who share a passion for shiny helmets and medieval martial arts. Participants put on full protective armor and try to land as many hits on their opponents as possible. They can strike with their metal weapons and shields, or simply use punches, kicks or headbutts. Matches are judged on points, like fencing, where the knight with he most connected hits wins the game, or by knockdown, where the first man to touch the ground with more than a third of their body loses. Would-be knights can participate in one-on-one duels, or team matches where the ultimate goal is to knock-down as many opponents as possible. The team with the most people left standing when time is called wins the day. Sounds like a fun time if you’re into this sort of thing, but judging by the promo video below, it can get pretty brutal. Apart from hitting an unarmored opponent and landing hits to the spine, neck and back of the knees, everything else is apparently permitted.

knight-fighting-league

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Man Answers Iron instead of Phone, Burns Half His Face

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Yes, apparently this kind of thing can happen. At least according to Tomasz Paczkowski, from Elbag, Poland, who while trying to help his wife with house chores, accidentally picked up the hot iron instead of the phone and ended up burning half his face.

32-year-old Tomasz Paczkowski had taken a week off from his job, and one morning he decided to prove to his wife that he could be a real asset around the house. Before going off to work, she asked him to iron some clothes, and Tomasz was more than happy to oblige. But, as we men know, ironing can get pretty boring after a while, so the young Pole got the “brilliant” idea to multitask. ‘Women are always going on about multi-tasking, so I set up the iron, opened a beer and turned on the TV to watch boxing’ Mr. Paczkowski said. Everything was going great, and he was actually starting to enjoy doing housework, only at one point he got so involved with the boxing that he wasn’t really thinking about what he was doing. That’s when the phone started ringing…

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Polish Artist Builds Mind-Blowing Matchstick Church Models

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Children are generally not permitted to play with matchsticks, but nothing could keep Wieslaw Laszkeiwick away from the tiny sticks of wood. Ever since he was a child, building models out of matchsticks has been more than a pastime for the self-taught master. He treats the activity like a prayer. And what he likes to build most are houses of prayer. Now 58 years old, this Polish folk artist works with hundreds of thousands of matches, pieces of cardboard and microscopic slides for several months at a time, creating beautiful replicas of churches around the world.

Laszkeiwick lives in a wooden house with his son, where one of the rooms is used as a workshop. It’s in this room that he spent over 40 years creating detailed structures using matches. One of Laszkeiwick’s most notable works was a replica of the 17th century monument, the Church of St. Nicholas in Zamosc. The completed structure stood almost 5 feet tall and was intended to be a gift to Pope Benedict XVI. What pleased him so much about the St. Nicholas church was its spherical dome. To create the replica, he used almost half a million matchsticks bound on to matching paper. After the building was complete, he covered it with several coats of varnish and special glue that prevents the matches from warping after they are attached. He also mounted a bulb inside to illuminate the intricate stained glass windows, made from hundreds of pieces of glass. Elements such as doors and gates were carved, and a he fashioned a bell out of specially prepared matches. It took him a whole year to complete the project.

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Woman Lies Upside-Down for 75 Days to Save Her Unborn Babies

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Child labor is arguably one of the most painful experiences in the world, and women who endure a few days of it are considered heroes. Going by this, a woman who went through 75 days of labor has got to be nothing short of super-human. I guess it goes to show how just much pain a woman would be willing to withstand, to save her babies.

31-year-old Joanna Krzysztonek was pregnant with triplets when she went into labor at just 21 weeks. When the first baby came out prematurely, it was too weak to survive. In a bid to save the other two babies, doctors at the neo-natal clinic in Wroclaw, Poland, decided to act fast – they stopped the contractions with medications and got Joanna to lie down on a tilted bed at a 30 degree angle, to avoid them starting up again. The umbilical cord was tied up and placed back in the uterus. What followed for Joanna were probably the toughest two-and-a-half months of her life. She had to remain upside down 24×7 with no break whatsoever, not even to use the bathroom. She wasn’t allowed to move one bit, and the hospital staff made sure she was bathed and fed everyday. “I had to be very disciplined as I was not allowed to move out of the bed for the whole 75 days,” she says. “This was very uncomfortable, but the staff kept me going.”

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Szopka Making – A Colorful Polish Tradition

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The beginning of December each year sees the transformation of Rynek Główny (Main Market Square)  in the Polish city of Krakow, into a beautiful Christmas market. Arts and crafts, ceramics, sweets and more are put up for sale. Excellent food in the form of grilled oscypek cheese and Polish wine are available too.The szopka, a crèche competition, is of course the major event.

On the first Thursday of December, crèche masters from around Poland and other parts of the world display their szopki at the history museum in the Krzysztofory Palace. The winning models are placed on display throughout the Christmas season. The szopka is a traditional Polish folk art that has its origins in the Middle Ages. The tradition is a rich and colorful one, having evolved over the ages. The szopki depict the Wawel Cathedral, which is a part of Krakow’s Wawel Castle with a Nativity scene set inside its doors. Some of the models are as small as 6 inches while others are around 6 feet high.

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Wieliczka Salt Cathedral – Poland’s Underground Wonder

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The Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland have been used for several centuries to extract salt, but are now in the news for a different reason. Through their excavations and adventures, Polish miners have left behind something unique in these underground spaces, little known to the world until recently. 

It has been over ten years since any salt has been extracted from the Wieliczka Mines, and yet, people still pay a visit. Though an ordinary-looking mine from the outside, just 200 meters down below, lies an astonishing spectacle to behold. The salt mine has actually been converted into a cathedral, art gallery and it also contains a lake.

What’s all the more beautiful and intriguing about this place is that it has been built over the years by miners themselves. During the course of a few centuries, generations of miners left behind pieces of art, religious and historical figures, and even built their own cathedral down under there, to be able to pray. The huge cathedral is perhaps the most astonishing of the wonders that lie below the ground. Remarkable religious carvings can be found, of scenes such as the Last Supper and Jesus appearing to the apostles after crucifixion.

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Do Body-Painted Models Make Coffins and Death Look Sexy?

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Lindner, Poland’s biggest coffin manufacturer, certainly thinks so, since they’ve been using scantly clad models to market their products for the last three years. For the 2012 edition of their controversial sexy-morbid calendar they’ve used body-painted models.

The first edition of the Lindner Calendar appeared in 2010 and featured artistic photos of female models dressed in sexy outfits posing with coffins. It sparked quite a controversy, with members of the church calling it tasteless and shocking, but Lindner sold 3,000 copies and decided to release a second edition, the following year. the 2011 Lindner Calendar featured drop-dead gorgeous ladies wearing lingerie performing famous scenes from movies like James Bond, Reservoir Dogs or The Godfather alongside more of the company’s high-end coffins.

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Giant Frosty the Snowman Built in Poland

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It has been snowing for quite some time in Poland and with all that “raw material” at hand ,three inhabitants of  Trzebnica city, Poland started building a snowman. The problem is they didn’t know when to stop.

The 31ft giant, named Milocinek, was finished after 6 days of work and is now the pride and joy of the city, which is pretty normal, if you believe the rumors that this is not just the largest snowman in Poland, but  also the largest in the world. I hate to break it to them, but this doesn’t even come close to beating the record for the world’s largest snowman.  Milocinek is so large they had to use a barrel for a hat and a traffic cone for his nose, instead of the usual carrot.

Although the three men who built Milocinek started of out of pure boredom, they became more and more enthusiastic as their work progressed., and didn’t stop until they realized their snowman was taller than pretty much all the surrounding houses. In fact, Milocinek is so large they had to use a barrel for a hat and a traffic cone for his nose, instead of the usual carrot.

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The Krzywy Domek – Poland’s Crooked House

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Looking at these photographs you have to wonder whether  this is real or the result of an optical illusion.

The Krzywy Domek, as it is originally called, is part of the Rezident shopping center in Sopot, Poland. It is three stories high, has a total of about 4,000 square meters and is now the “residence” of a pub called the Wonky Pub. Although it’s architecture is similar to that of the surrounding buildings, this Crooked House seems weary or melting. Ever since it was built, in 2004, the Crooked House became Poland’s most photographed building.

This unusual house is the result of Polish architect’s Szotynscy Zaleski  imaginative mind, who was inspired by Jan Marcin Szancer‘s fairytale illustrations and also by Per Dahlberg’s art, whose drawings you can find inside the Krzywy Domek. (video).

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Dog Beer – Because Dogs Like to Get Wasted Too

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Polish pet owners have been storming through local pet shops looking for a radical new product – dog beer. You may thinks it’s weird, but I think it’s nice owners want their beloved dogs to enjoy a nice hops-based drink.

Jerzy Dilyk, a pet-store owner from Widzew Lodz, says he was reluctant to sell Dog Beer at first, but seeing clients returning for more of the magic canine ale convinced him to stock up on it. He even offered his own dog a bottle, and he went through the whole thing in one go.

Dog Beer has a gold color and smells of hops, an odor known to appeal to canines, but what’s more important is hat it’s based on beef extract. The beer has no gas, and Dilyk believes it has a positive effect on dogs’ urinary tract. He added that clients are most thrilled that they can have their pets join them for beer on Friday and Saturday Night.

Normal beer is hazardous to dogs’ health, because of its alcohol content and its high carbohydrates value, but vets can’t yet form an opinion on the new Dog Beer, because they haven’t had a chance to test it yet.

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