Lasoty Square


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Lasoty Square (in Polish: Plac Lasoty) is one of the most picturesque corners of Kraków. Situated on Lasoty Hill close by Podgórski Market Square, Bednarski Park, and King Krak’s Mound, yet at the same time hidden behind the Church of St Joseph, it lies outside the trails trodden by most tourists. The square is surrounded by art nouveaux and modernist villas from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In one of them (at No. 3,) Lieutenant Antoni Stawarz, initiator of liberation of Kraków from the Austrians in 1918, rented quarters from the Wisłocki family. This activist of the Polish underground gathered together a small group of Polish soldiers with the intention to disarm the Austrian army stationed in Kraków. On 31 October 1918, he left his apartment and went to the Austrian barracks in Kalwaryjska Street (today’s Independence Square, in Polish: Plac Niepodległości), to take over the building with a handful of fellow conspirators. Earlier, however, he had handed a certain sum of money to his hostess, Maria Wisłocka, for the purchase of red and white ribbons. Wisłocka secretly gathered together a group of women she could trust, and had them work all through the night to prepare many ribbon bows in the Polish national colours for the people who were to join in the liberation of the city from the oppressor’s power. The stay of the lieutenant at this address is commemorated by a plaque on the front door of the house. The building is today private property, and can only be seen from the outside.

Standing above the villa, in a little square by Lasoty Square, is a plinth with a bust of Edward Dembowski: one of the organisers of the failed Kraków uprising of 1846. That patriotic effort, issuing from the atmosphere of the freedom movements intensifying throughout Europe, linked the cause of Polish independence with the question of enfranchisement of the peasants and persuading them to join the uprising. The peasants, however, would not join the fray, and Edward Dembowski, who rallied them to patriotic activity, was killed by the bullet of an Austrian soldier while leading a patriotic religious procession in Podgórze. He was buried in the Old Podgórze Cemetery at 1 Powstańców Śląskich Avenue.

The two charming little streets branching from Lasoty Square were named after Stawarz and Dembowski, the Kraków heroes fighting for independence.


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