Błonia

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Błonia Park is a vast meadow with an area of 48 hectares directly adjacent to the historic centre of the city of Kraków, Poland.

Błonia Park as seen from the Kościuszko Mound

The history of the park began in 1162, when a wealthy nobleman Jaksa z Miechowa – founder of the Polish branch of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre – donated the land between Zwierzyniec and Łobzów to Norbertine Nuns. His intention was to receive a blessing prior to his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. For the next two centuries the meadow belonged to nuns, who in 1366 exchanged it with the city's authorities for a manor at Florianska Street. The meadow was used by peasants from neighboring villages to graze their cattle.

Until the 19th century Błonia Park was largely neglected, and often flooded by the Rudawa river in the spring turning it into wetland with small islands, probably contributing to the spread of epidemics. After draining the swamps, Błonia became perfectly suitable to host large gatherings. In 1809, when the city was incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw, Błonia was a place of salute of the troops of Napoleon, organized by Prince Jozef Poniatowski and General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski.

Today Blonia is a recreation area, frequently hosting large events like concerts and exhibitions. The place is best known for great Masses celebrated by the Pope John Paul II in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1997 and 2002. The Pope Benedict XVI also served the Mass there during his journey to Poland in May 2006. Furthermore, Błonia Park was the location of pop star Celine Dion's concert "Taking Chances" in June 2008.[1]

References[edit]

  • Andrzej Kozioł, Wielka Łąka, Jagiellonia Publishing, 2005.
  • Krakowskie Błonia at www.krakow4you.com, 2009

Coordinates: 50°03′34″N 19°54′37″E / 50.059508°N 19.910145°E / 50.059508; 19.910145