The Copernicus Statue is a notable landmark of Krakow, Poland, and shows astronomer and mathematician, Nicolaus Copernicus, who came from Krakow and studied in the city over 400 years ago. The four-sided bronze statue is located on the west side of the Krakow Planty Park, near the university building, Collegium Novum. It was originally located in the courtyard of Collegium Maius, the oldest college in Krakow/Poland.

Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was a famous, Polish astronomer, known for heliocentrism*, Gresham’s law* and quantity theory of money.  Nicolaus Copernicus changed his name, Koppernigk to its Latin version, Copernicus, since at his university Latin was a common language.  His father Nicolaus Copernicus came from Krakow and died when Nicolaus was 10, and his mother, Barbara, came from Torun and died at the same time as his father. He had 3 siblings, Katharina, Andreas, and  Barbara Copernicus. Nicolaus was the youngest of all his siblings, he was born on February 19, 1473, in a city on the north-central Torun on the Vistula River. Copernicus was then adopted by his uncle Lucas Watzenrode, who was a wealthy and powerful man, from Warmia.

At the age of 19, Copernicus was sent to the University of Krakow. His wife Barbara married him in Torun, and they had 4 children – Andrew, Barbara, Catherine, and  Nicolaus, but not everyone believes that he had a real wife and kids. Some people believe his wife’s name was Anne, and that he had no kids. He died of a stroke on May 24, 1543, in Frombork.  He was buried in the Archcathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Andrews church in Frombork, they were not sure where he was buried, and found his body in 2005, and confirmed its was him and buried him in the same place. Copernicus studied at the  University of Padua 1501-1503, the University of Ferrara 1503-1503, Alma Mater Studiorum – Universita di Bologna 1496-1500, and the Jagiellonian University 1491-1495. In Krakow, Copernicus studied: Mathematics, Greek, Islamic, and Astronomy. He spoke German, Polish, and Latin, and understood Greek, and Italian. He was a mathematician, astronomer, a church Jurist, physician, a translator, an artist, a Catholic cleric, a governor, a diplomat, an economist, and had a doctorate in law.  In Copernicus’s theory of heliocentrism, the Earth and planets orbited the center, which was close but not exactly the sun.

The Statue

The Copernicus Statue was designed in 1899 by Cyprian Godebski and was completed in 1900.  The statue is made out of bronze and is decorated with gold details. The statue shows Nicolaus Copernicus dressed in period clothing with different patterns and a coat hanging down from his shoulder. Copernicus is wearing boots. He is holding a globe in his left hand, many believe that it’s meant to represent, his theory about the earth revolving around the sun. The statue originally stood in the courtyard of the Jagiellonski University, Collegium Maius.  In 1953 it was moved to the Planty Park next to Uniwersytet Jagielloński, on Gołębia street, where it now stands. The statue is supported by four small pillars the statue stands on a cement plinth. The monument is a notable landmark of Krakow. It’s a memory of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who studied in the Krakow Academy, Collegium Maius, and whose father came from Krakow when it was still the capital of Poland. The statue is located on ulica Golebia 13, 33-332 Krakow next to Collegium Novum.  There are more statues of Copernicus around Poland in places like: Warsaw, Torun, and many other sites around the world.

There are inscriptions on all four sides of the statue.


Front side:   

Latin: Qui natus es tharunayA.D1473 Frauenburg acquietet.

English: In the memory of Nicolaus Copernicus from Toruń, who enrolled at the university in 1491. The most famous student of the school.


Back side:

Latin: Nicolaus Torufi memoriae studio et schola discipulus adiit Cracoviense.

English:  Born in Toruń in 1973, Died in Frombork in 1543


Right side: 

Latin: De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium

English: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres – this is the title of Copernicus’ best-known work.


Left side:

Latin: extra processit longe flammantia moenia mundi atque omne immensum peragravit mente Animoque.

English: and that the entire outside of the walls of the world Beyond the fiery traversed the boundless mind and soul elevated.

The view of the Copernicus Statue from the front
Inscription of side 1
Inscription of side 2
Inscription of side 3
Inscription of side 4


(n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2019, from

30 Interesting And Awesome Facts About Nicolaus Copernicus. (2018, June 06). Retrieved June 4, 2019, from

Diep, F. (2013, February 19). 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Copernicus. Retrieved June 4, 2019, from
Nicolaus Copernicus Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2019, from
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