Krakus Mound

kopiec kraka resize

Not far from Krakow, the former capital of Poland, there is a mound called the Krakus Mound. It is not as large as the pyramid of Cheops, but from its top you can see a vast panorama of the city. It is not known when and how it was built, or what purpose it served. There are different archaeological opinions on the time of its construction, some say that it was built in the late 5th and early 6th century BC, others place the time of its construction in the 7th century AD. There is a legend connected with that mound about the former ruler of Poland, called then the country of Lechits, and that name was used much later, when the Eastern tribes invading Poland called that land Lechistan (in the 17th century the king of Poland Jan Sobieski, whose hussars defeated the Turkish army besieging Vienna in the Battle of Vienna in 1683, was called "the Lion of Lechistan").

The mound was named after Krak, the legendary ruler of ancient Poland and founder of Krakow, which was raised by the people after Krak's death to commemorate him. The custom of creating mounds to commemorate a person is quite popular and there are also other mounds built next to Cracow, e.g. Kosciuszko's mound.

The first ruler from the Piast dynasty, whose historicity is not questioned, and whose person is also described by contemporary historians of the Roman Empire, was Mieszko I, who ruled in Poland in the 10th century AD. Mieszko I, who was baptized in 966 AD and introduced the Catholic religion into Poland as the religion of the Polish state.

According to Gaul Anonymus, a chronicler of Polish history who lived in the 11th century AD, Piast's father was Chościsko, about whom virtually nothing is known. Some believe that Chościsko was the name of an old prince, others think that he was a peasant, yet others are of the opinion that Chościsko is a nickname of a person with long hair. Perhaps it is related to the custom of the Merovingians, the first French dynasty, to wear long hair and this trait has been attributed to the first Polish dynasty (because if they were princes they must have worn long hair). The son of Chościsko was therefore Piast, from whose name the name of the Piast dynasty is derived. There are many legends about Piast himself, however, one cannot come across any descriptions of Piast's contemporaries by chroniclers, because also the art of writing was not common in those times and history was passed down from generation to generation as a story told and not written. Then Piast's son was Siemowit, and his son was Lestek (or perhaps Leszek) to whom the beginning of unification of lands under one authority is ascribed. His son was Siemomysł, who was the father of Mieszko.

According to Kadlubek the history of Poland can be traced back even earlier than Piast, to Krak (chosen king by the people), with whom the Krakus Mound is connected. As Krak, so his daughter Wanda. Legend has it that after Wanda's death, the armies of Alexander of Macedon invaded the Lechits, but were defeated and the victorious leader became king as Lestek I. And legends about how after the death of Lestek I (childless) a young man won the horse race and became Lestek II, his son Lestek III and his son Popiel I and his son Popiel II (and after him was Piast). One can get lost. Probably in these legends there are a lot of threads taken from the history of other nations and countries, dates do not stick together, as it happens in legends. And finally there is the legend of Lech Czech and Rus, newcomers from the south, somewhere in the area of present-day Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, where the land was occupied by the Slavs, including the tribe of Karantan, which is not known where they came from, but where Lech, Czech and Rus came from (Lech settled where Gniezno is today, the area was beautiful and where the eagle had its nest - hence the name Gniezno, and what according to historical sources was the central place of later Polan tribes).

However, there must be something about these Lestki and Lechity, since this legendary name was used both by historians from the old times in the Roman Empire, as well as quite modernly, e.g. still in the 19th century the name of Poland functioned in Turkish diplomacy as Lechistan.

(Translated with


Related Articles

Subscribe to the list of subscribers of POLISH STYLE for updates!

Contact form