The world has hundreds of natural wonders and mysteries worth exploring, and Poland's Crooked Forest is one of them.

Krzywy Las, known as the Crooked Forest in English, is one of the strangest attractions in the world and is located near Gryfino, a small town in West Pomerania. Gryfino is fascinating, and not just because of the existence of the world’s natural wonder. All the pine trees growing in this peculiar forest are bent 90 degrees from the base and are mostly healthy despite the curves. Farmers planted the trees in this small forest in the 1930s, and in the 20th century, they grew in a completely strange, yet similar manner. Of course, there are forests around the world with strongly bent plants, such as Hoia Baciu in Romania and Drunken Trees in Subarctic Taiga. But none of them are as neatly arranged as those found in Poland's Crooked Forest.

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Visiting the Crooked Forest

The fact that the Crooked Forest is in a remote corner of Poland is the reason why most travelers never tour to experience this mystery. While it isn't easy to reach here, travelers who want to have the experience can surely make it happen. To get to the forest, one needs to drive to the town of Gryfino in Pomerania province. At Gryfino, there are some interesting historic sites to have a look at, including the Banska Gate, believed to have once protected the town from its previous enemies. The Crooked Forest is, of course, the main attraction, and it's found just a few miles from the town.

Visitors can't find any airport here. The trick is to get to Poznan city then take a 3-hour train to Gryfino. Once in town, one can use a bus, which usually takes about 10 mins, a taxi, or an uber service for a more comfortable ride towards the forest.

Exploring the northern polish countryside in Pomerania, including the beautiful towns of Stargard, initially referred to as Stargard Szczecinski and Torun is worth every traveler’s time!

What to Do Before You Get There

Visitors can have a fascinating travel experience in Northern Poland during the last months of the summer season – thanks to the low-mid temperatures and cooler nights. Traveling there during spring still works, although it gets quite rainy.

Tips

  • The forest is isolated, so travelers should bring drinking water and some snacks to curb hunger and thirst while on a trip.
  • Put on proper shoes, preferably sneakers, to avoid being splashed with mud when traveling during spring.
  • It is a wooded natural wonder, so insects are going to be a problem if one doesn't come with an insect repellant. Sunscreen would be great if one is traveling during summer.

What Led to This Mystery?

The mystery behind the occurrence of the Crooked Forest has risen so many questions. The trees are 50 feet high and it is possible that they were damaged at their early stages of growth. While no one knows the reality of this world's natural wonder, there are some theories explaining this ecological abnormality.

Some people claimed that gravitational pull led to the peculiar shape of trees in this forest. There is, however, no evidence supporting this theory. Others suggest that the cause of the crooked growth was a heavy snowfall, which similarly does not tell why other pine trees grew straight and are not bent. There is another explanation suggesting that enemy tanks ran through the forest during the second world war and caused the mystery. Is it logical that heavy tanks can run over plants and cause a certain odd but uniform growth? The theory falls short of proper explanation on how this mystery occurred and whether younger trees would survive in this strange environment.

Some curious minds speculated that the nature of the forest is a result of genetic mutation. In his studies, William Remphrey, a retired Canadian scientist discovered genetic mutation causing curved growth among aspen trees, but he can't tell exactly what happened to the Crooked Forest. According to him, the genetic mutation would have led to continued growth beyond the trees' base. He suggests that an environmental factor is probably the cause of the strange growth.

Related: 10 Best Places to Visit When You Travel to Poland

Others suggest that the local farmers who planted the trees between 1925 and 1928 manipulated these trees. They intended to grow the trees for furniture, and that’s when they bent the trees, which eventually led to stunted growth. The second world war began in 1939, and they had to abandon the trees leading to the formation of the crooked forest. Because this theory gives a simple explanation of why the trees are curved, it is the more likely one, although it doesn't tell what happened to the surrounding area.

No one is certain of what caused the trees’ curvature. No matter what one believes, the Crooked Forest is a natural wonder worth exploring.

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