Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Copernicus Museum and Gizycko ~ Wednesday, June 18, 2014

After breakfast we left Folwark Lekuk and drove to Olsztyn.  Our destination was the Copernicus Museum, housed in an old castle with its beautiful red brick baroque architectural construction.  Walking toward the entrance we were greeted by a bronze statue of Copernicus pondering.

Look at that schnoz!

 The statue’s nose is frequently rubbed by visitors on their way into the castle, claiming it brings good luck.

Hanging like a pagan

In the museum’s courtyard we stood before an original statue of a deity from the local religion before the residents converted to Christianity.  It showed us one more layer of history in this land.

We navigated through the group of Polish school children to learn about the life of Copernicus and his contribution to the world.  A man of incredible academic prowess who studied all over Europe, he moved to Olsztyn and worked for the government and Catholic Church.  He solved problems in currency, defense, and property ownership.  He still found time to gaze at the night sky and notice the elliptical orbits of stars and planets.  Primarily using calculus, he constructed the theory that the earth was not the center of our solar system.  He knew his findings would be controversial, so he delayed publication and in fact died before it was finally published as On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres.

Astrolabe with mustache detail

Authentic documents in Copernicus’s handwriting were on display.  Neat rows of careful script, occasionally interspersed with line drawings, were partially translated and explained.  He never married or had children, and one exhibit took pains to explain that his “friendly” relationship with his housekeeper Anna was merely platonic.  Hmm. . . sure. 

The creaky wood spiraling staircase led to a second-floor exhibit of farm tools, furniture, beautiful clothing and colorful textiles from the 19th century.

"She should get a refund for that painting!"
Muppety Jada Do Hollywood

Another floor displayed a plethora of paintings ranging from religious figures to kings and queens (sometimes the kings and queens were not so easy to tell apart). The top floor of the castle housed a recent exhibition of Polish posters of movie films familiar to us but presented in a very foreign style. 

We ate in the Olsztyn town square and eventually headed to our new lodging in Gizycko.  This town is situated between two lakes, and our hotel was near the waterfront that was cluttered with hundreds of boats of all sizes.  We all got settled in our rooms and then strolled through the quiet town, enjoying a leisurely evening.

Gizycko viewed from the water tower. How beautiful!

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