Down the drain, by Wojciech Kosc
A large, shallow lake in Poland could disappear if an open-cast mining project goes ahead.
Lake Goplo is Poland's ninth largest lake. It covers an area of 21.8 square kilometres and has an average depth of 4.4 metres. The Lake Goplo Nature Park, part of the Natura 2000 network, spreads out over more than 2,300 hectares, while the expanded protected area is more than 10,000 hectares.
The lake is also linked to the very beginnings of Polish statehood. There's some, albeit feeble, archaeological evidence that a Slavic tribe which settled around the lake might have later progressed to become the leading force in bringing together what is now the territory of Poland under more or less unitary control.
An old legend has it that a rogue king residing by the lake treacherously poisoned his power rivals and threw their bodies into Lake Goplo. He didn't get away with the crime, however, as thousands of rats emerged from the lake, cornered the king atop the castle tower and ate him.
Thus Poles thinking about Lake Goplo entertain quite a mix of factual and cultural information. But it isn't the lake's stuff of legend that made newspaper headlines recently.
image © Ula Wiznerowicz