Torun is one of the oldest cities in Poland; it was given civic rights in December in 1233. Through the centuries Torun’s architecture has survived leaving a rich history, that’s why in 1997 the medieval part of the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but in 2007 the Old Town in Torun was added to the list of Seven Wonders of Poland. Even National Geographic Polska rated the old town market and the Gothic town hall as one of the “30 Most Beautiful Places in the World”. Besides the medieval old town of Torun is the birthplace of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who stopped the sun scientifically proving that the Earth moves around the Sun and not vice-versa, oh, it was more than four hundred years ago…
This city is famous also because of the gingerbread (pierniki)! According to the legend it has been produced since 13th century in Torun. Yes, the legend, but not the most romantic one:
Even the oldest men in Torun doesn’t remember who first started to mix rye flour and honey with spices. What we know for sure, is that in town lived lots of masters of baking ginger bread. But there was one, that did it especial good. He was the one that baked best ginger bread with various shapes and additionally was very modest and good man. He had one, beautiful daughter – Catherine which he loved very much. She was helping him with work in bakery.
One day Catherine’s father felt ill. From that time, nobody was baking and poverty started to bother them. Then, the father asked his daughter to try to bake ginger bread on her own. Catherine agreed and started to prepare everything what is needed for baking. She only couldn’t find a pan, made by her father. Because she wasn’t able to make new ones, she take a tin cup and started to make circles from paste and put them into an oven. When they were ready, she put them out. But they weren’t the same as baked by her father, they sticked together. Catherine was sad, thinking that nobody would buy such strange ginger bread. Unnecessary. They tasted even better than once beaked by her father, and people liked their shape, so the next day she sold them all.
After this, people were wondering what was the secret of such good ginger bread. Old hucksters said that except all what is needed to bake ginger bread; Catherine added her heart and love for her ill father. People liked that and from now on, started to name six circles sticked together Cathrines (there is also another legend about this, where it’s said that this form reminds about two loving hearts and two rings baked in gingerbread form). And so is nowadays, walking around Old City you can taste ginger bread named Catherines (Katarzynki).
And here are more legends; it’s a very good literature before sleep (it helps to create amazing dreams!).
See you around!