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Cultural heritage home

The term 'cultural heritage' is present in social and political debates, EU documents and other important regulations. It refers to traditions, values and customs shared by certain social groups, and perceived by them as important to be recognised and respected by others.

This website is dedicated to Mazury, a region in North-East Poland, in particular to Ełk and the areas nearby.

The word 'culture' can be used either in a reference to activities connected with music, literature and other arts, and also to a set of ideas, beliefs and ways of behaviour characteristic for a particular social group. Polish sociologist Stefan Czarnowski defines 'culture' as the latter, emphasizing its collective aspect.

In the past, components of cultural heritage were being passed from generation to generation. It was a natural process in closed small communities, like villages or small towns. However, nowadays alongside with technology development and mass media, there is observed globalisation of culture. This phenomenon is present both, in cities and in countryside.

Mazury is an interesting region for researchers investigating its cultural heritage. Migrations in last century resulted in interactions between different cultures present and appearing in Mazury. Some cultural components were declining, some were being mixed together and this way created new values. Mainly marriages between people originally from different regions influenced on this characteristic cultural mix, but there were also other factors such as time and globalisation. Therefore, it can be said that cultural heritage of Mazury has its origins in various other cultures and because of that it is a particularly interesting subject for ethnologists.

This website discusses also relationships between religion and culture, as lots of cultural components refer to religious beliefs, for example Christmas traditions and customs. Also talking about cultural heritage we talk about the past, when religion played an important role in culture and was present in everyday life.

The author of this website is Teresa Romanowska, who is an ethnologist. She graduated from Ethnology at University of Warsaw and also from Theology at Catholic University in Lublin.

She has over 30 years experience of working in regional museums in Kartuzy, Suwałki and Ciechanowiec and also in education. Currently she's retired, but still active and passionate about cultural heritage. She lives in Ełk, therefore in articles on this website she focuses mostly on culture and traditions of Ełk and Mazury.