The Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) and Wanda Mound (Kopiec Wandy) in Krakow are mysterious, prehistoric man-made hills, each about 50 feet high and about 6 miles apart.
Like their distant (and perhaps older) counterparts Stonehenge and Newgrange, the Krakow Mounds are astronomically aligned. Looking from the Krakus Mound on the eve of the Celtic celebration of the sun (May 1), the sun rises exactly over the Wanda Mound. On the Celtic New Year (November 1), the Sikornik Mountain overlooks the sunrise above the Krakus Mound.
Historians and scholars have given differing interpretations of the intriguing grassy humps, ranging from burial sites to fortifications to pagan temples. As of yet, no bones have been found in the mounds.
According to the Medieval chronicler of Kraków, Jan Dlugosz, the mounds were erected to commemorate the legendary first ruler of Kraków - Krak, from whom the city derives its name - and his daughter Wanda, who (another legend says) chose to jump into the Vistula River rather than marry a foreigner.
Modern Krakovians have raised two additional mounds in the city as well. The first was the Kopiec Kosciuszki (Kosciuszko Mound), erected 1813-20 atop Sikornik Hill. Raised during Austrian occupation, it is sacred to the memory of Tadeusz Kosciuszko who fought for the freedom of Poland. The mound incorporates earth from battlefields where the general fought.
The fourth mound is Kopiec Pilsudskiego, near to Kopiec Kosciuszki. It was erected between 1934 and 1937 to commemorate Marshal Pilsudski (1867-1935), the leader of the revived Polish state.
On Sunday afternoons and major holidays many Krakovian families, complete with grandparents and toddlers, and many in their Sunday best, stroll along the walking path that follows the gentle slope of Sikornik Hill.
Quick Facts on Krakus and Wanda Mounds
|Names:||Krakus and Wanda Mounds|
|Categories:||earthworks; astronomical alignments; mounds|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||50.038124° N, 19.958425° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Krakus and Wanda Mounds|
- Fodor's Poland, 1st. ed. (May 2007).
- Cracow's Hallowed Humps - Cracow Life
- Krakow Mounds - Krakow Info
Map of Krakus and Wanda Mounds, Krakow
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