Friday, 17 June 2016

Grunwald Monument

This giant statue is very impressive and worth popping across the road from the Barbican for a closer look. It is found on Pl Matejki and commemorates what is often quoted as being one of the greatest battles to ever rage in medieval Europe - The Battle of Grunwald. It was fought between the combined armies of Polish/Lithuanian Alliance against the Germanic Teutonic Knights on July 15, 1410. This is such an important battle to the Poles that it is actively commemorated to the present day. 

The monument was unveiled in 1910 on the 500th anniversary of the battle and is said that an estimated crowd of 150,000 people gathered to watch this. This is probably because it embodies the romantic belief of the brave Polish/Lithuanian forces ridding the land of the evil invaders. Created by Antoni Wiwulski, the original statue suffered tragically during the Nazi invasion of Kraków in WW2 as the vile heathens could not abide such a period of history glorified and they destroyed it! What you see on this spot today is a copy of it dating to 1976. It is however said to be a faithful reproduction of the original using surviving sketches.

The large figure casts arranged around the monument are grand and realistic, albeit super sized. Sitting on the top is the King of Poland Władysław Jagiełło on his horse with his sword pointing downwards. Adorning the front is his cousin the Lithuanian prince Vytautas (Vitold). He is in turn flanked on either side by victorious soldiers from the joint army. Some of these look more like they are sneaking a peak around the corner at the solemn Lithuanian Prince as if he is a mighty celebrity. The large dead bloke at the front is Urlich von Jungingen, the Teutonic Order’s Grand Master. Apparently he lost his life during the battle and he is now lying prone for eternity at the feet of Vytautas.

Want to find out more about attractions in Krakow? Visit the Attractions page.

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