Tuesday, April 19, 2011

108/365: The Kościuszko Mound

108/365: The Kościuszko Mound
April 18th

This hill is an artificial mound erected in 1823 in honour of Tadeusz Kościuszko (Thaddeus Kosciusko for you American types), and it is modeled after the legendary burial mounds of King Krak and Princess Wanda. It's just over a thousand feet above sea level, and you can see the whole city from the top.

When construction first began, most of Poland was under foreign occupation and split into three territories, between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Cracow itself was a Free City, in theory an independent and neutral miniature country, though in reality it remained under the control of the three occupants and was represented by them in all foreign matters. The monument was financed and built entirely by donated money and effort of patriots from the occupied territories- you can see how symbolic the construction would have been to Poles living under foreign rule. Note that among many of Kościuszko's great deeds was the insurrection of 1794, a revolt against the Russian and Prussian occupation. It failed, but was a great and valiant movement of the people.

Soil was brought from many areas to add to the great mound, among them Polish and American battlefields where Kościuszko fought. In the picture you can see St. Bronisława's chapel, the site chosen for the mound being a hill already dedicated to her. A few decades later, the Austrians built a citadel around the mound and used it as a strategic lookout. Part of that citadel still remains and now houses a museum dedicated to Kościuszko.

Cracow, view from the Kościuszko Mound


  1. Well I'll be.

    Also, whenever I next need codenames for something, "King Krak and Princess Wanda" are getting called into play.

  2. Glad to help. ;) Fun fact about Mount Kosciusko in Australia. Wiki sez:

    "It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish national hero and hero of the American Revolutionary War General Tadeusz Kościuszko, because of its perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Mound in Krakow."


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