Rynek Główny – the burden and the treasure of history

Prussian_HomageRynek Główny is first of all a historical place.  Among the restaurants, between the people who are enjoying a sun bath while drinking beer, history is everywhere.

Looking at our constant friend, Wikipedia we find out that this place started as a commercial market square around 1257. But as most public and central spaces at that time, it was used also for public executions.  A place of glory and tears, the central square was used for coronations and royal funerals, for victory marches, it is a cherished place of Polish independence but also a place for rebellion and protest (Tadeusz Kościuszko – 1794,  Walenty Badylakthe  – 1980,  or the Solidarity movement protests). A darker part of the square’s history  is its renaming into Adolf Hitler Platz during the Nazi occupation and the destruction of the Mickiewicz Monument.

These human events didn’t leave traces in the square, the Mickiewicz Monument was rebuilt, and the protests are remembered in history books or in people’s memories.

But a question arises: is it ethical to change such a place loaded with significance and memories?

Our challenge is to make this place better but isn’t it a very aggresive attitude the idea of changing something in the way it looks? We feel that we need to make more subtle changes that will preserve the look of the square yet inlcude more people in this place of celebration of Krakow.

So our next step is to see who is included and who is excluded from this square. Who feels at home and who never visits this place?

Text credit: Lavinia

Photo credit: wikipedia