I head to the Old Town Market down the Szeroka Street. The day is sunny and refreshing, people gleefully stroll down the streets enjoying the weather through the cold. The air is full of fresh pączki aroma, which you can get under the arcades on Różana Street. But I can’t get over the feeling somebody’s watching me (just like in the song!) I continue to walk and wonder to then raise my head and enjoy the architecture. The mystery is solved. Over the gate of the city hall I see who’s been looking: an angel holding a key…
On a few occasions I realized building facades and roofs are decorated with the same Angel holding a key in its right hand over a cachet with three round keeps over half-opened gate. According to the historical information the Angel joined the cachet after the Thirteen Year War in the 15th century. The original sigil was invented by the Teutonic Knights, who started the city in 1233. It showed the same gate with two keeps and Mary with the Child, in a crown made of three lilies, veil on her head and a medallion on her chest but no angel. Fun fact: the same sigil marked the peace treaty in 1411 signed by the king of the Polish Crown Władysław II Jagiełło and the head of the Teutonic Order, Urlich von Jungingen, who lost against the Polish king.
The Battle of Grunwald (called the First Battle of Tannenberg by the Germans), which took place in 1410 was an epic battle. You can read about it here: http://www.kresy.co.uk/grunwald.html
Back to the Angel, it is now an important symbol of the city, so I urge you to look up to enjoy cachet. You could also buy yourself one in a folk art store Cepelia at Żeglarska Street or at one of the souvenir stands.
The power to stop the Sun and move the Earth: about a genius
I think it safe to say Toruń is a place of birth of one of the most important people in the history of the world. Before he surfaced with his heliocentric model it was believed that the Earth was a center of the Universe. I won’t get too much into details about how he came up with it, but a great place to get an idea of what and how he accomplished it can be discovered in a building which is said to be his birthplace. It’s actually pretty tricky to say which house exactly was it since Copernicus family was one of the wealthiest patrician families in town.
The Copernicus house on 15 Kopernika Street is now the best preserved building that belonged to the family of the great astronomer. It is an example of a beautiful gothic building from mid-15th century and the interiors are very well preserved till this day. Even though it’s modestly equipped it is worth seeing. When I saw the sign stating that this was most probably place of birth of the astronomer it gave me goosebumps. It’s like you’re crossing paths with history…
Check out the website to find out more about the short history of the museum: Copernicus House