Poznań: Public sculptures

Dear tourists, Iif you look to your left, you will see the statue of so-and-so, and on your right there's another statue, and so on Sightseeing tours are always full of statues. In Poznań, like almost everywhere in Poland, there are statues of Adam Mickiewicz (in front of the University named after him), Frederic Chopin, Tadeusz Kościuszko and so on. It's all pretty standard. However, there are some unique statues in Poznań.

Enigma, Stary Marych and Proserpina

However, there are some unique statues in Poznań. And we're not referring to the monument to the victims of the workers' protests in June '56, the scene of various rallies, meetings and occasional masses. This colossal monument stands next to Mickiewcz's statue, outside the university's main hall. Indeed, it's difficult to be in Poznań and miss it.

However, a bit further on, near the entrance to the Poznań Zamek there is a monument to the Polish cryptographers Henryk Zygalski, Marian Rejewski and Jerzy Różycki, that cracked the code of the Enigma machine. It's a triangle made of three sheets of metal, covered in numbers, just like in the film "A Beautiful Mind".

Poznań also funded the statue of a local cult character Stary Marych. This fictitious man is a character from a radio play performed by Marian Pogasz, an actor who died in 1999. He ran popular radio broadcasts in the Poznań dialect called "Blubry Starego Marycha" (The Nonsense Talk of Stary Marych). Now he stands with his bike on Półwiejska near Plac Wiosny Ludów.

Robert Sobociński, who sculpted Stary Marych, is also author of the Latarnik, (Lighthouse keeper) monument near the gasworks building on Ulica Grobla and the one of the billy goats in Plac Kolegiacki in front of City Council. It's clearly visible that they were sculpted by the same hand.

Once, the most important sculpture in Poznań was, at least for students, the Pegasus that decorates the roof of the Teatr Wielki (The Opera). It was a tradition to climb up on the roof after a night of drunken partying to hang ladies' knickers there.

Whether the tradition has died or whether the students are no longer as fit as they used to be, we don't know, but anyway no one climbs up to Pegasus any more. If they climb anything they prefer to climb the two lion statues in front of the opera house. Once an enormous lion also stood in Plac Wolności. It was a monument commemorating the 1866 Battle of Nachód during the Austro-Prussian War. In 1919 the lion was spontaneously thrown off its plinth.

Talking of unique monuments, people in Poznań laugh that the statue of Jesus near the kościół Najświętszego Zbawiciela (the Church of the Holy Saviour) on Ulica Fredry has a lot in common with Jesus Quintana from the film The Big Lebowski, the one who wore pink clothes and was a bowling master. See for yourself what the Jesus in Ulica Fredry is holding in his hand.

Since May 2010 the most famous monument in Poznań is the statue of Proserpina in front of the Ratusz in the Stary Rynek. She lost her hand during the wild celebrations accompanying the first league championship title won by Lech Poznań in 17 years. The poor girl is really unlucky - the fracture is similar to one she suffered in 2004 when Lech celebrated winning the Polish Cup. Kolejorz fans have decided to raise funds for the restoration of the broken arm, and there was even an idea to put a football flare in her hand.

More tips: "Zrób to w Poznaniu. Przewodnik alternatywny. Do it in Poznań. Alternative guide"

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