The city of Czestochowa in the south of Poland is well known for the Shrine of the Black Madonna on Jasna Gora Hill - one of the most important sites for Roman Catholics in Poland. But Czestochowa is also a city where an industry is striving to make Christmas a bright experience for everyone. We went to meet the makers of Christmas tree decorations, which sell like hot cakes all over the world.
This is one of the busiest times for the Komozja factory, situated in a lovely vine-grown building on the outskirts of Czestochowa. The factory was first created after the Second World War and because it was operative and popular, it was nationalized... twice. Some years ago the four children of the original founders of Komozja restarted the business. So, what is the business? Hand-blown and decorated Christmas ornaments. Wanda Muszynski is from Komozja:
"In the early 1990's when the transformations came, Komozja connected with a large importer of Christmas ornaments in New York - Kert S. Adler Ink and from there developed a brand called Polonaise that really took America by storm."
So, what otherwise popular patterns for export and for Poland?
"I'd say there are so many different things you can do in glass, and we have things that we do for the folks at Kert & Adler under the brand name of Polonaise that are very American. You know everything from Elvis Prestley to Marlyn Monroe to Wizard of Oz, to Coca Cola to a lot of traditional Santa figurines but, we also do work for a company associated with Kert & Adler called 'Joy to the World' in which we do university colleges. We do fashion items, we do a wonderful series of different pets and pet breeds.
Then, of course, we have our own brand which is called the Mostowski brand which is really meant to be the Rolls Royce of all glass. It is works of art, really works of art under glass. In fact, this year we've done a special custom design piece for Harrods, Harrods of London, and it is a wonderful little Harrods bear under a glass dome and it is Mostowski for Harrods."
Lisa Kelechava represents Joy to the World...
"Well, in the industry Komozja is known as being best in the world at creating Christmas ornaments. They definitely created the most innovative designs and we're very fortunate to be able to work with them exclusively and to create collections for the United States. The one big collection that we have that, I think, has international appeal, as well as a huge draw in the United States, is our pet set collection, where we actually do very detailed breeds, specific dogs and cats.
We also work with a woman named Betty White who's a very well-known television actress and an advocate for animals as well. And we raise a lot of money for a charity called Morris Animal Foundation in the United States by selling the dogs and cats. And that has done extremely well."
Remnants of medieval wall dating back to 1041 unearthed in Břeclav
Measures taken as over 60 percent of Czech Republic hit by extreme drought
Beer, schnitzel and mushroom picking – unique set of emojis captures Czech soul
Barbora Strýcová, 33, in “best form” ahead of Wimbledon semi-final against Serena Williams
Prague flats most expensive in Central Europe, in terms of average earnings