Freedom Arrived from Podgórze

Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 3:00 PM - Sunday, March 24, 2019

  • Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 3:00 PM - Sunday, March 24, 2019

Although we celebrate Independence Day on 11 November – the date of the Armistice that marked the end of the First World War – the truth is that Poland was liberated gradually throughout the autumn of 1918. In the early morning of 31 October in Kraków, soldiers stationed at the barracks at Kalwaryjska Street in Podgórze were ordered by Lieutenant Antoni Stawarz to disarm the Austrian garrison, with similar orders being carried out at the barracks at Wielicka Street. Wearing white-and-red ribbons pinned to their uniforms, the soldiers then marched towards the centre of Kraków. As they liberated government and military buildings along the way, they were joined by rejoicing Cracovians. When it turned out that the police officers summoned to quell the unrest had actually declared themselves subordinate to the Polish Liquidation Committee, founded just days earlier on 28 October, the Austrians were forced to surrender any authority over the city. At the same time, the division seconded by Lt. Stawarz took over the main garrison guard stationed at the Town Hall Tower in the Main Market Square. A white-and-red flag was raised over the guardroom next to the main building. Kraków was free! We will learn more about those electrifying moments at the exhibitions Freedom Arrived from Podgórze at the Podgórze Museum and the Tower of Remembrance at the Town Hall Tower, organised by the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków. The latter also recalls the day of the Unification of the Armed Forces on 19 October 1919, marked by a parade received at the Main Market Square by Józef Piłsudski and marking the symbolic culmination of the formation of the new Polish Army. (dd)

Podgórze Museum

ul. Limanowskiego 51, Kraków


In 2018 Podgórze, an independent city since its 1784 charter, and a district of Kraków since 1915, opened its own museum. Its establishment involved local cultural institutions and locals who participated in the development of the exhibition by sharing and donating objects and accounting historical events they had witnessed. The main exhibition entitled In the Shadow of Krak’s Mound presents the history of Podgórze from the earliest times to contemporary days. It emphasises the role of a meeting place of nations and cultures that the right-bank in Kraków has assumed today, tells a tale of spectacular industrial success, and introduces us to the realm of Podgórze legends. It also highlights the figures of people who have contributed to the development of Podgórze, built its identity, local government, and cultural heritage. The questions that the exhibition focuses on have been divided by subject and are presented in four rooms: Between the Vistula and St Benedict’s Hill, The Royal Free City of Podgórze, Towards Freedom, and The Time of Podgórze.

The exhibition In the Shadow of Krak’s Mound engages the visitors thanks to its multimedia promotion which is helpful in investigating the themes presented in the exhibition. The descriptions of the individual zones and objects are complemented with recorded audio commentaries and accounts of witnesses in the so-called repositories of knowledge, also available in video versions. Each room offers curios, puzzles, and interactive fun to make visiting attractive for children.

The Podgórze Museum is housed in a historic building, originally the Inn Under St Benedict, taking its name from the patron saint of the nearby church. The original development on the site dates back to 1780–98, yet the buildings later underwent repeated reconstruction. Until the First World War, the building of what today is the museum was used for a number of functions, as it was first owned by a Podgórze merchant Józef Haller, later used for a military hospital, and operated as part of a military barracks in the late 19th and early 20th century.

On 31st October 1918, the soldiers of the Austrian army stationed here were disarmed by a group of Polish soldiers under the command of Second Lieutenant Franciszek Pustelnik, who cooperated with Lieutenant, Antoni Stawarz, who was carrying out a parallel action in the barracks at Kalwaryjska Street, in the exact location of today’s Independence Square (in Polish: Plac Niepodległości). The takeover of military facilities in Podgórze by Polish soldiers marked the beginning of the campaign that finally liberated Kraków from the hands of the occupiers.

Tickets PLN 12/9, group members PLN 6/5, family PLN 24; admission free on Thu

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