SAVING NATIONAL HEIRLOOMS FOR POSTERITY... ON SOCIAL ACTIVISM DIRECTED TOWARDS MONUMENT RESTORATION IN KRAKÓW IN THE 19TH CENTURY (Ocalic dla potomnych narodowe pamiatki...O spolecznym ruchu odnowy zabytków w Krakowie w XIX wieku)
At the beginning of the 17th century the capital of Poland was moved from Kraków to Warsaw causing the former capital of the Kingdom of Poland to fali into ruin. At the end of the 18th century Kraków, a smali town of approximately 11 000 people, was in a severely deteriorated state. The author of the paper recalls the history of activities undertaken by so-called 'burzymurkowie' (demolition men, literally 'wall-destroyers') who at the turn of the 18th century took charge of the process of demolishing the walls of the City of Kraków and who devastated many historic temples and secular buildings. However, in the first years of the 19th century, such defenders of historic monuments as Feliks Radwanski and Florian Straszewski started to act in Kraków. Their contribution was to save the remaining walls of the town and many of its historic edifices. Very soon a host of other 'old Kraków' lovers joined the afore-mentioned group. In the second part of the 19th century defenders of the monuments began to be active in a number of organizations. At the beginning of the 20th century these organizations, as well as some cultural and artistic associations, entered into 'The Union of Eleven Cultural Associations' which became spectacularly successful, for example saving the 'Pod Krzysztofory' Palace and two historic houses near the Saint Giles church. In this way the organization, which was concerned with the protection of city heirlooms, was created in Kraków before World War I. The organization was unique in Europe at the time, bringing together scholars, artists, and publicists.
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