Marshal Józef Piłsudski Street


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The achievements of Józef Piłsudski in Kraków and in Poland have been commemorated in the city with many commemorative plaques, sites named after the Marshal, as well as a mound that the people of Kraków built in his honour. Standing out among these memorials is the street that connects the Planty Garden Ring to Błonia Common which was named after Marshal Józef Piłsudski, emphasising the link to the nearby Oleandry and its historical significance. This is precisely the road that the First Cadre Company took to march out from Oleandry.

Walking Piłsudski Street towards the city centre, you can stop at No. 27, which was the seat of Falcon, the Polish Gymnastic Society. Such sports organisations, known as Sokoły (“Falcons”), were set up in large numbers in the partitioned territory of Poland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the Kraków branch being established as early as in 1885. Participation in sports activities and work on physical culture was at the time perceived as a bond to the fatherland and the idea of fighting for national liberation. Its best example was the 5th Rally of the Falcons in 1910, which accompanied the unveiling of the Grunwald Monument in Matejki Square. The event became noted in the history of Kraków as a mass demonstration of patriotic feelings, with active participation of members of the Falcons. The young athletes also played an important role in the fight for independence. It was from their ranks that the first soldiers were recruited to be incorporated into the Polish Legions.

Slightly further on you can find an extensive sculpture composed of a statue of Józef Piłsudski, the Four Legionnaires, and a flag post: a memorial for which Kraków had to wait for a long time. The idea of building a monument to Piłsudski in Kraków’s Błonia Common was already hatched in 1922, that is in the lifetime of the Marshal, yet it was never brought into effect. The monument by Czesław Dźwigaj was finally put up on the small square on the corner of Wenecja, Garncarska and Piłsudskiego streets, and unveiled on 10 November 2008, on the eve of the 90th anniversary of regaining independence.

There are also two commemorative plaques in the vicinity that bring back the memory of the first years of independent Poland. The one on the house standing on the corner of Piłsudskiego and Czapskich streets is devoted to the Marshal and the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, and the one on the house No. 2 (by the Planty Garden Ring) was erected in 1933 to commemorate the change of the original name of the street (Wolska) to that of Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

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