The Kościuszko monument represents Tadeusz Kościuszko riding a horse into battle. Tadeusz Kościuszko was a great hero in the fight for freedom in Poland and in the American Revolution. Throughout his life, he fought on two continents for his belief in freedom for all. The monument is located just outside the Wawel Cathedral.

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Tadeusz Kościuszko

Tadeusz Kościuszko was born in 1746 from noble parents in a now non-existent village within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1765 Tadeusz was shipped off to Warsaw to enroll in the Cadet Academy. There, he trained as a military engineer, achieved the rank of a captain, and was sent to Paris to continue training.

Soon, Poland was taken by Prussia, Russia, and Austria. Finding his country enslaved, he returned there and worked as a teacher to the children of a wealthy man.  Eventually, he returned to Paris. The government of Paris helped Tadeusz to decide to join the struggle for independence in America.

He arrived in Philadelphia in the middle of the war. The war started out poorly, but in 1777, the Americans won the battle of Saratoga, in large part because of Kościuszko’s defensive planning. After this success, Kościuszko spent two years building a fortress, which became the military academy of West Point.

After the war, he returned to Poland. But, that was not the end of adventures for Kościuszko. In 1792, the Russian Army crossed the Polish border, starting the Polish-Russian War.

Unfortunately, during the next year, the second partition of Poland occured.  Kościuszko, in an effort to defeat the Russians and save Poland, declared an uprising in the Krakow Market Square.  He surprisingly won several battles after that with a small but determined army. He and his army were defeated and he was taken prisoner to Prince Orlov’s marble palace in Russia. He was finally released in 1796 and spent the rest of his life in France, the U.S., and he died at the age of 71 in Switzerland, the 15th of October 1817.  He will always as a great hero that fought for freedom on two different continents.

The Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument

The Tadeusz Kościuszko monument represents Tadeusz Kościuszko riding a horse. The statue is made out of bronze, and is standing on a pediment made out of reinforced concrete. The statue was designed by Leonardo Marconi before his death in 1899 and was put in place on Wawel Hill in 1905.  The statue was originally meant to be placed in the Krakow Main Square, but it was decided there was not enough space for it there and it was placed on Wawel Hill. The statue that we see now is not the original statue. The Nazis destroyed the original statue in 1940 during World War II. In 1960, the people of Dresden, Germany asked Leonardo Marconi’s son-in-law, Antoni Popiel, if he could build a replica of the original statue. He agreed and gave the finished work as a gift to the city of Krakow. The statue can be seen outside of Wawel Cathedral and is a very popular tourist attraction.  

Tadeusz Kościuszko
The Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument
The Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument from Wawel Hill
Tadeusz Kościuszko and His Horse
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