Traditional vessels sail down Vistula River

Sailships, rafts, barges, shallow-draft and flat-bottomed bateau, punts and other types of traditional vessels commenced their parade downstream the Vistula River on Sunday as part of the Vistula Festival.

Bound for their final destination in the city of Toruń, having started from the Polish city of Włocławek the boats will call at Ciechocinek on Monday and Włęcz on Tuesday.

“It’s a wonderful event with no equal in the whole of Europe,” said the festival's spokesperson, adding that “60 kilometres, two banks, music, cuisine, adventure” are some words that best describe the initiative.

Although the festival is about developing a bond between the historical Kujawy and the Dobrzyńska and Chełmińska lands bordering with the Vistula River, it also commemorates the Union of Lublin that saw Poland and Lithuania form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on July 1, 1569.

A new boat symbolising the Polish-Lithuanian unity sails along other vessels of the festival. It was made of spruce, harking back to the trees that grew along an old highway connecting Poland and Lithuania.

The event is accompanied by traditional products market and live music in the city of Włocławek. It is also a great opportunity for poets to meet up with their fellows and test their mettle in a poetry slam.

They will cast anchor at Toruń harbour on Wednesday.