The Grunwald Monument – marking the Triumph of King Władysław Jagiełło
A symbol of national pride, the Grunwald Monument commemorates one of the most important victories in the histories of Poland and Lithuania. The battle of Grunwald, one of the largest battles to take place in Medieval Europe, occurred on July 15, 1410 when the joint armies of Poland and Lithuania fought the Teutonic Knights. A German military and a religious order of the middle Ages, the knights of the Teutonic Order were on a mission to Christianise the pagans of Eastern Europe. After some 200 years of crusades, the Order occupied a vast territory in the East, putting Eastern European cultures under threat of being completely Germanised. Knowing that the Order’s forces were too large for separate armies, Poland and Lithuania joined together in the defense against the invaders.
The 24 meter tall monument was inaugurated in front of an estimated 160 000 people on the battle’s 500th anniversary. Representing the battle’s main participants, it displays the King of Poland, Władysław Jagiełło sitting atop his horse and the Grand Duke Vytautus of Lithuania standing proudly at the front, sword pointing down. The Teutonic Order’s Grand Master Urlich von Jungingen who died in battle is shown fallen beneath the Duke. On both sides of the monument are soldiers from the Joint army. Polish sculptor Antoni Wiwulski designed the piece commissioned by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, famous Polish pianist and politician.
The monument standing today is a copy of Wiwulski’s original work, the original of which was unveiled in 1910, but destroyed in the Second World War by occupying Nazis. The still- impressive recreation, (By Marian Konieczny), dates back to 1976.
Grunwald Monument Info Box
Address: pl. Matejki, Kraków
Map ref: 50.066378, 19.942176
Opening hours: All times
Images by Stefanie Auger-Roy for Absolute Tours