Lublin is a city where many famous personalities, not only Polish, were born, lived, created their works and followed their professional and social missions. They weren’t always associated with Lublin throughout their entire lives. This tourist trail was established to remind us about the most famous and well-known historic characters whose lives and activity are associated with our city.
The Lublin Castle, a former residence of Polish kings erected by Casimir the Great and location of various historic events, one of the most important of which was the Union parliament whose sessions were conducted by King Sigismund Augustus, leading to the conclusion of the Polish-Lithuanian Union in 1569. The castle was frequently visited by Polish monarchs who granted city charters to Lublin. Władysław Jagiełło made particular contributions to the city, which also included financing the decorative Russian-Byzantine frescos found in the Gothic Holy Trinity Chapel.
Jan Długosz stayed at the castle in the period of 1473-76, dividing his time between writing and collecting material for the book of endowments of the Kraków diocese (Liber beneficiorum … i.e. the famous book on the lives of renowned Poles and the history of Poland) and raising the royal sons of Casimir Jagiellon; during his reign, our city became the capital of the newly-established Lublin Voivodship (province) in 1474.
During the Swedish Deluge, John Casimir resided at the castle. Unfortunately, the wars in which Poland was engaged in the 17th and 18th centuries resulted in the castle falling into ruin and being demolished and a prison was built in its place in the 19th century. Currently, the building is used by the National Museum in Lublin.
The location related to the life and activity of ‘the Seer of Lublin’, in Podzamcze, in the location of the Jewish district closed down by the Nazis, situated in the former Szeroka Street which does not exist today. Here, house number 28 was the residence of Jacob Isaac Horowitz-Sternfeld (1745-1815), known as the Seer of Lublin due to his gift of clairvoyance and foretelling the future, a religious Jewish reformer and co-creator of Chasidism in the Polish Kingdom.
Great numbers of followers travelled to his house and synagogue, attracted by the great authority of the tzaddik, which consequently also increased the popularity of Lublin. Today, his grave is located in the Old Jewish cemetery, which is visited by Jews from all over the world.
The lodgings of Józef Ignacy Kraszewski are located at 24 Grodzka Street in the Old Town. The tenement house, decorated with a sgraffito portrait of the writer, was inhabited by the student of the Lublin Provincial School and the future most prolific writer in the world, author of several hundred historic novels, among others ‘An Ancient Tale’.
Young Kraszewski did not reside in Lublin for long but the buildings, alleys, and suburbs he remembered from the city became the background of the action and themes of a few of his novels, such as ‘Ostatni z Siekierzyńskich, Morituri’, ‘Pan Walery’ and ‘Maleparta’.
Interestingly, J. I. Kraszewski (1812-87) spent his childhood in Romanów in the region of Lublin Podlasie at a gentry manor of his grandparents, where a biographical museum dedicated to him is now located.
The house at Grodzka 7, the birthplace of Wincenty Ferreriusz Pol (1807-1872), a Polonised son of a German national working for Austrian administrative authorities, a great Polish patriot, participant of the November Uprising, awarded the ‘Virtuti Militari’ Cross, poet, and Professor at the first Faculty of Geography in Poland at the Jagiellonian University.
Wincenty Pol wrote the famous collection of poems entitled “Song of Our Land” (1843).
His patriotic and civic attitude was appreciated by the residents of Lublin who gave him his old family manor in the region of Firlejowszczyzna in 1858, relocated between1969-72 to 13 Kalinowszczyzna Street, where the Museum of Wincenty Pol – Branch of the Museum of Lublin is now located.
The lodgings of Priest Stefan Wyszyński are located in a tenement house at 7 Archidiakońska Street, where the future Primate of the Millennium stayed during his studies at the Catholic University of Lublin between 1925-29.
The bronze plaque features commemorative information with the beautiful words of John Paul II: “Let the memory of the Primate Priest always be the source of renewal for the Church in Poland and the Polish Nation”.
During the occupation, Priest Stefan Wyszyński resided in Laski near Warsaw and the Zamoyski Palace in Kozłówka in the region of Lubelszczyzna.
Between 1946-48 he was a Bishop – Ordinary of the Diocese of Lublin. This is commemorated by an epitaph in the Lublin Archcathedral and a monument depicting his image, located in the area of the Metropolitan Curia in Prymasa Stefana Wyszyńskiego Street (see also Stop 16).
The Literary Museum of Józef Czechowicz at Złota 3, in a tenement house which used to belong to a distinguished Lublin resident, Jan Riabinin (1872-1942), a historian, archivist and author of valuable works on the history of the city. The Museum commemorates and popularizes the life and works of well-known Lublin writers and poets: Józef Czechowicz, Konrad Bielski, Józef Łobodowski, Kazimierz Andrzej Jaworski, Antoni Madej and many more.
The greatest of them was Józef Czechowicz (1903- 39), considered one of the best Polish poets of the 20th century. His 6 poems, among others the ‘Poem of the city of Lublin’, are full of the magical atmosphere and beauty of the pre-war city.
“In Dominikańska Street, the singing of a choir is heard: girls are praising the Virgin Mary.
Single violin arias accompany them in Archidiakońska Street…”
This avant-garde poet, born in Lublin and a participant of the Polish – Bolshevik war in 1920, was killed by a German bomb near the Lithuanian Square in his glory days (see Station 12).
The house at Złota 2 was inhabited by Franciszka Arnsztajnowa, a pro-independence activist, co-creator – together with J. Czechowicz – of the Polish Writers’ Society Lublin Branch, also co-author of the poem collection written with the above-mentioned poet, entitled ‘Stare kamienie’ (Old Stones), dedicated to the Old Town.
The tenement houses on the Old Town witnessed the birth and creative activity of numerous great Lubliners. The images of famous poets are commemorated by sgraffito medallions on the facade of the Konopnic tenement house (2 Rynek):
Sebastian Klonowic ‘Acernusa’ (1545-1602), poet, mayor and councillor, author of poems such as ‘Pholitron’ and ‘Roxolania’ promoting Lublin, the tourist – dramatic guide entitled Flis, the critical and dramatic work entitled ‘Worek Judaszów’ and the epitaph commemorating the death of Jan Kochanowski entitled ‘Żale Nagrobne’;
Biernat of Lublin, known as the father of the Polish literature and author of the prayer book ‘Raj Duszny’ (Hortulus Animae polonice) – the first book published in Polish (1513);
Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584), the greatest poet of the Polish Renaissance, courtier and royal secretary, eulogist of historic events which took place in Lublin; died in the city after fainting during a Crown Tribunal session (see Station 10);
Wincenty Pol (see Station 4).
The great actor and director, Aleksander Zelwerowicz (1877-1955), was born at 3 Rynek tenement house.
The facade of 16 Rynek tenement house, at the first-floor level, features an image of Jan of Lublin, a 16th-century monk and organist from the monastery of Canons Regular in Kraśnik, who created the organ tablature (Tabulatura Joannis de Lyublyn), the greatest work of its type in Europe, which included compositions by anonymous artists and Polish, Italian, French and Dutch masters. Thanks to his work, about 500 music compositions were saved from falling into oblivion and became the common heritage.
At 17 Rynek tenement house, Henryk Wieniawski was born in his family home in 1835, who was a brilliant composer and a master violinist (see Station 14). Ignacy Baranowski (1833-1919) was also born here, Professor at the Main School and the University of Warsaw, a great patriot, physician, philanthropist and social activist, who donated his valuable book collection to the Public Library named after Hieronim Łopaciński; he was the inspiration for the noble Doctor character in the novel Anielka by Bolesław Prus.
The school named after August and Juliusz Vetter, located at Bernardyńska 14, financed by Lublin’s well-known evangelical industrialists, social activists, and sponsors of art and culture.
The beautiful Neo-Gothic building still operates today as a complex of several vocational and post-secondary schools (see the Multicultural Trail).
The Public Library named after Hieronim Łopaciński, located at Narutowicza 4, which occupies two former Priarist publishing houses from the 17th century and the connecting structure built between 1936-39, was erected upon the initiative of the Public Library Society after the tragic death of H. Łopaciński (1860-1906), on the grounds of the extensive collection of books and old prints of the deceased. The patron of the Library was one of the greatest and most distinguished Lublin residents. As an educated man, teacher, ethnographer, historical researcher, collector, linguist, book lover, co-author – together with Maria Ronikierowa – of the ‘Illustrated Lublin Guide’ published in 1901, as well as the originator of the Museum of Lublin (nowadays National Museum in Lublin) established in 1906, he made priceless contributions to our city, which had a significant cultural and patriotic impact at the dawn of the Polish independence.
The monument to Jan Kochanowski, situated in Narutowicza Street next to the Church of Our Lady the Victorious, created by Franciszek Strynkiewicz, originally erected in 1931 outside the Crown Tribunal in the Old Town to celebrate the 400th birth anniversary of the poet. This great Polish poet (1530- 84) was a frequent visitor in Lublin, especially as a courtier of the Lublin Governor Jan Firlej, while as the Royal Secretary he observed the liege homage paid in Lublin to King Sigismund Augustus on 19 July 1569 by Prussian Duke Albert Hohenzollern. Kochanowski made huge contributions in the preparations of parliamentary sessions in Lublin which resulted in the conclusion of the Polish-Lithuanian Union and he praised those events in his poems. For those reasons the Nazis ordered the monument to be destroyed, but fortunately it was hidden by Polish patriots, Eng. H. Zamorowski from the City Hall and a stonemason, S. Lis. In 1951, the obelisk was taken out of its hiding location and placed in its new spot.
The Old Lublin Provincial School at Narutowicza 12, the current location of the Faculty of Education Studies at UMCS, was erected between 1857-59 thanks to the efforts of the Principal of the institution, Józef Skłodowski (1804-82), a valued educator and patriot, grandfather of Marie Skłodowska-Curie – future Nobel prize winner and Patroness of the University of Lublin (see Station 16). His students were great future writers e.g.:
Aleksander Głowacki (Bolesław Prus), a great prose writer, author of the Notes from Lublin (Notatki z Lublina) – a chronicle of the cultural and social life, and The Doll novel (Lalka), which also contains Lublin themes; Aleksander Świętochowski – a well-known novelist and editor; Julian Ochorowicz – who inspired the character of Ochocki in The Doll – philosopher, psychologist (author of the work entitled ‘Psychology – Pedagogy – Ethics’), also the poet (pseudonym Julian Mohort); Aleksander Jaworowski – a Lublin physician and social activist.
They all completed school in 1866 – in the last year of tuition in the Polish language before it was prohibited by the Tsarist occupier.
While the Russian lower-secondary school was in operation, it was attended by Tadeusz Gałecki (1871-1937), a Siberian exile, PPS member, legionnaire, prose writer and publicist, who created his works under the well-known pseudonym of Andrzej Strug, author of the novels ‘Dzieje Jednego Pocisku’ and ‘Pokolenie Marka Świdy’. At 25 Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, the house where T. Gałecki was born still stands, while the manor of the Gałecki family is located in the district of Konstantynów.
The monument to Józef Czechowicz is located on the square named after him adjacent to Krakowskie Przedmieście, opposite the Lithuanian Square. The granite monument created by Tadeusz Skwarczyński was built around the 30th anniversary of the death of the poet, who was killed here on 9 September 1939 by a German aerial bomb.
Czechowicz was not only a famous poet and prose writer and a great eulogist of Lublin and its idyllic countryside and provinces but also a soldier and participant of the Polish-Bolshevik war, an educator, an activist at the Polish Teacher Association, editor of children’s magazines ‘Płomyczek’ and ‘Płomyk’ as well as co-founder of ‘Kurier Lubelski’ (see Station 6).
The square is located in front of the palace of the Czartoryski family which is the seat of the Lublin Scientific Society. In 2011, it was named after Prof. Mieczysław Krąpiec. With his tenure lasting from 1970 to 1983, Prof. Krąpiec was the longest-serving Rector in the history of the Catholic University of Lublin. He was born on May 25, 1921 in the village of Mala Berezovytsia in the Podolia region, now in Ukraine. After graduating from secondary school in Ternopil, he joined the Dominican Order in Cracow. Throughout the World War II, he secretly studied philosophy and theology in Cracow, Warsaw and Lublin. In 1951, he started his teaching career at the Department of Philosophy of the Catholic University of Lublin, where he taught metaphysics. He was appointed associate professor in 1963 and full professor in 1968. His scholarly achievements include over 30 published books translated into English, French, Russian, and some four hundred research papers. Having established the Lublin school of classical philosophy, he is considered one of the most outstanding contemporary Polish philosophers. During his term as Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin, he greatly contributed to both academic and material development of the university, initiating the construction of the new facade of the main building and of the ten-storey building of John Paul II Collegium. He died in Lublin on May 8, 2008.
The family home of the Blessed Kazimiera Wołowska, situated at 62 Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. The sidewall of the building features a bronze plaque with information about this dedicated servant of God and the people. Kazimiera Wołowska was born in this house, on 12 October 1879, the blessed sister Marta of Jesus and Immaculate Conception.
Her martyr’s death was caused by the German occupier on 19 December 1942 in Słonim, for saving Jews as well as her patriotic and charitable activity.
She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 June 1999 in Warsaw, among 108 martyrs of the Second World War. Anno Domini 2003.
The monument to Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880), located outside the Lublin Philharmonic named after H. Wieniawski, in Skłodowskiej Street, was created by J. Pastwa; it is dedicated to the composer and master violinist born in Lublin at 17 Rynek Street, whose fame spread over the entire European continent as well as to the United States.
Initially, he played concerts together with his brother Józef – an excellent pianist – performing, among others, in Warsaw, Lublin, Russia, Vienna, Kraków, Gdańsk, in Germany, and subsequently, he performed together with Anton Rubinstein and Alfredo Piatti. In 1860, he played a concert in Lublin to celebrate an agricultural exhibition.
Within 8 months of 1872-73, he played 215 concerts in the USA with great success and in subsequent years he toured all over Europe. For his talent and hard work, he received a range of awards, distinctions as well as prestigious national distinctions in several countries.
As such, he was an ambassador of Polish culture and a citizen of the world, which was highly significant in political terms in the period of the Polish loss of independence. The monument is located near the Philharmonic of Lublin, whose patron is Wieniawski. The Music Society of Lublin is also named after him. Both institutions organise the International and Polish National Competitions for Young Violinists, promoting both H. Wieniawski and the city of Lublin.
The Monument to John Paul II and the Primate of the Millennium Stefan Wyszyński, situated in the courtyard of the Catholic University of Lublin, is dedicated to two Great Poles whose academic, educational, and pastoral activity was linked to Lublin and the University. Priest Stefan Wyszyński, while residing in lodging in Lublin between 1925-29 (see Station 5), studied at the Catholic University (KUL) and obtained his doctoral degree there. As a Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Lublin between 1946-48, he also held the post of the University Chancellor. Cardinal-Priest Karol Wojtyła, Doctor of sciences and subsequently Professor, lectured at the Ethics Faculty from 1954 until he was elected Pope on 16 October 1978. For 24 years he would travel from Kraków to conduct classes with students; he was also very active in the scope of science and social work extending beyond the scope of the University. As John Paul II, he paid Lublin and his Lublin Alma Mater a day-long pontifical visit on 9 June 1987.
The images of both Poles featured on the monument’s plinth were created by the artist-sculptor, Prof. Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, captured in a “fatherly-filial” embrace which we can recall from the moving meeting between the Pope and the Primate during a pontifical mass. The Catholic University of Lublin was erected in 1918 upon the initiative of father Idzi Radziszewski in the old monastery complex of the Observant Dominican Order, which was converted into military barracks by Austrian and Russian invaders.
The Monument to Marie Curie-Skłodowska, the Patroness of the University, is located on the square named after her, surrounded by key education and administration buildings. The monument to Marie Skłodowska-Curie, created by Marian Konieczny, was unveiled to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the scientist (1867-1934), whose family had connections with Lublin and the region of Lubelszczyzna. Her father was Józef Skłodowski, Principal of the Lublin Provincial School (see Station 11); his brother Jan was a judge in Opole Lubelskie, and Jan’s son – also called Jan – rented land in Kamionka near Lubartów. Marie’s uncle, Zdzisław Skłodowski, as an adjutant of Colonel Marcin Borelowski- Lelewel, fought in the region of Lubelszczyzna during the January Uprising. Marie would travel from Warsaw to spend her holidays with her uncle Ksawery, who was renting land in Zawieprzyce. In 1930, she visited Lublin and left her autograph in the memorial book at the cathedral.
The life and scientific activity of the University’s Patroness is an excellent example not just for the Polish scientific community. Marie, as a graduate and employee of the Sorbonne, gained worldwide recognition by publishing the revolutionary results of many years of research on the radioactivity of chemical elements. As the discoverer of plutonium and radium, she received the Nobel prize twice in the field of Physics and Chemistry: in 1903, together with her husband Pierre, and in 1911 individually. Their daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, together with her husband, Frederic, received a distinction in 1950 in the form of an UMCS honorary doctorate.