By John Halford
The land that lies between Katowice and Krakow is hardly the most beautiful in Europe. It is frozen and bleak in winter, a swamp in summer. It is now part of southern Poland, although it has changed hands several times in the ebb and flow of history.
At the end of the last century it was known as Galicia, a region of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. But it had by then more or less reverted to Polish control. The decision to build a new barracks for a cavalry regiment in this unprepossessing area went unnoticed by the rest of the world, for it was, indeed, a singularly unremarkable event.