Crooked Forest – Gryfino, Poland - Atlas Obscura
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Gryfino, Poland

Crooked Forest

Countless stories attempt to explain Poland's mysterious J-shaped trees. 

Blending science fiction and ecological abnormality, a group of 400 trees in Poland’s Krzywy Las or “the Crooked Forest,” are mysteriously and identically bent. Hovering just inches above the ground, the trees dramatically take a sharp turn toward the sky, rounding into little J shapes as they make their ascent.

There is no definitive answer for these pines’ bizarre shape, and the stories about them run the gamut from the practical to the bizarre. The most grounded explanation among those seeking answers is that the trees may have simply been buried beneath a terrible snowstorm in their infancy. Others still believe the gravitational pull in that area has morphed their trunks.

The most intriguing explanation suggests that local foresters manipulated the trees after planting them in 1925-1928. Apparently, the foresters hoped to make furniture from the bent shapes and intervened when the trees were only 10 years old. Refusing to let the trees grow upwards, the foresters severely stunted their growth. Likely abandoning their efforts after the start of WWII in 1939, the foresters left a lasting ecological mark 80 years later.

Every tree in the Crooked Forest has the same haunting bend, but despite bent beginnings, they have all grown to be tall and seemingly unhampered by their C-shape curves. Trees are resilient, and so they continued to thrive, relying on the one branch they had left to take over complete function and grow upwards. Whatever damage occurred to one tree must have happened to them all because they remain uniform in deformity.

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to get to the Crooked Forest is by taking a taxi or bus line 1 from Gryfino.

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