What’s your first association with the name Nicolaus Copernicus? A great astronomer? “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”? Or perhaps the city of Toruń? All these associations are accurate, but as a real Rennaissance man, he was also a mathematician, a physician, an economist, a cartographer, a polyglot, and a canon. Let’s set foot on the Copernicus Trail to take a look at some of the places that are connected to his life.
It was here, at the turn of 1495 and 1496, that Nicolaus Copernicus (or Mikołaj Kopernik, as we call him in Polish) came to the court of his uncle, Bishop Luke Watzenrode, to try to become a canon of Warmia. From 1503 to 1510, he was a resident of the castle and fulfilled the duties of the bishop’s secretary and physician.
The history of the town itself is also interesting. Between 1350 and 1795 Lidzbark Warmiński was the capital of Warmia, and the above-mentioned Gothic castle is still one of the biggest attractions of the town. The Castle of the Warmian Bishops was built in the middle of the 14th century by the estuary of the Symsarna River to the Łyna River.
Currently, the castle is home to one of the branches of the Museum of Warmia and Masuria, and an exclusive four-star hotel. It is also a well known place for cabaret lovers because of the annual Lidzbark Evenings of Humor and Satire. (And if you’re going on the Ultimate Poland Tour, lucky you! You’ll have a chance to spend a night in this magnificent castle).
Another point on the Copernicus Trail is Frombork, where the great astronomer lived from of 1510 until the end of his days (with a short break when he stayed in Olsztyn). The tomb of the great astronomer is located on the Cathedral Hill, in the largest church of Warmia, the Archcathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Andrew the Apostle.
Nowadays Frombork is a very pleasant tourist destination, located just two hours’ drive from Gdańsk. What’s worth visiting? The Bishop’s Palace, the Copernicus Tower, the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum, the Planetarium and the Astronomical Park with an observatory on Crane Mountain.
It is an enchanting city located on eleven lakes and the Łyna River, and rich in Gothic monuments. One that really stands out is the Castle of the Warmian Chapter, where Nicolaus Copernicus lived between 1516-1521. A remarkable remembrance of the the great astronomer is the astronomical board that he drew on one of the walls and that has been preserved in the castle until today, The purpose of this board was to present the apparent movement of the sun in the days close to the spring and autumn equinoxes.
In the Old Town, there’s a monument of Copernicus sitting on a bench. Don’t forget to rub his nose, as it is believed to bring luck.
The picturesque Olsztyn is also a fantastic destination for those who like to stay active. You can take a walk or cycle on a path along the shore of Lake Długie or a take trip to Lake Ukiel.
Those who are deeply interested in the life and work of Copernicus can visit many other places on the trail, including Elbląg, Tolkmicko, Braniewo, Pieniężno, Orneta, Dobre Miasto, Dywity, Olsztynek, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Kurzętnik and Truszczyny.