Evolution of Science and Technology / Mokslo ir technikos raida, Vol 2, No 2 (2010)

Commemoration of Grunwald Battle in 1910: Political and Cultural Aspects

Henryka Ilgiewicz


July 15, 1910 marked the 500-th anniversary of the Grunwald (Ţalgiris, Tannenberg) battle, where the united forces of Polish Kingdom and Lithuanian Grand Principality defeated the Order of the Knights of the Cross. Polish society decided to celebrate this anniversary in Krakow, which was included that time into Austro-Hungarian Empire. Approximately 150,000 guests from all the territories of the former Rzeczpospolita, along with delegations from the UK, the US, France and Russia, visited Krakow during the celebrations, which were held on July 15-17. The anniversary was initiated by a solemn church service in the Church of Our Lady, after which a new monument created by Antoni Wiwulski was unveiled in Matejko Square. At the same time, an exhibition of remains from the Jagiellononian epoch was opened. Excursions around Krakow and its environs were organized as well as sporting events and various forms of entertainment, such folk ensemble performances, banquets, and plays and shows in Krakow’s theatres.
On Sunday July 17 all participants of these celebrations paraded through the Krakow old town to Wawel Cathedral to lay a wreath on the sarcophagus of Jagiello. Using this occasion, merchants, and representatives from cultural and educational spheres organized meetings in Krakow to discussed current issues.
Grunwald’s 500th anniversary was also celebrated in Warsaw, Lvov, Vilnius as well as in Paris and Washington, where the Polish émigré community organized their own congress. This celebration showed the cultural and spiritual unity of all the Polish lands, which were at that time divided among Russia, Austria and Prussia. Foreign guests attending the celebration had the opportunity to experience the originality of Polish culture and the creative potential of the Polish people in their determination to fight for political independence.
At the same time, however, noticeable differences had arisen between the various former member nations of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Representatives of Lithuanian organizations refused to participate in the Krakow celebrations, accusing the Polish organizers of ignoring Lithuanian national aspirations.
Despite this, they agreed to attend a solemn church service in Vilnius Cathedral church and lay wreath at the portrait of Grand Duke Vytautas. They also encouraged Lithuanians to offer one day’s pay in support of the House of Lithuanian Science and Arts in Vilnius.

Article in Lithuanian

Article in: Lithuanian

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Keyword(s): Grunwald; Battle of Grunwald; 500-th anniversary of battle of Grunwald; Grunwald memorial in Krakow; Matejko square in Krakow; Antoni Wiwulski

DOI: 10.3846/est. 2010. 29

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Mokslo ir technikos raida - Evolution of Science and Technology ISSN 2029-2430 eISSN 2029-2449