Krakus Mound is one of the oldest monumental structures in Poland, which puzzles archaeologists until nowadays. Researchers debate on whether this was an astronomical site, a burial or a pagan ritual location.
Once you reach its summit, the panoramic view from the 16-meter high Krakus Mound reveals the charms of Cracow that captivates every visitor. Krakus Mound is located on Lasota Hill, about 3 km away from the city center.
According to the legend, this was the burial site of the founder of Cracow, King Krak, constructed by noblemen and peasants in order to honor his memory. However, a bronze belt that was unearthed, supported the theory that this mysterious structure was created by prehistoric Slavs sometime between the latter half of the early-Middle Ages (7th century) and the early 10th century. Nevertheless, no bones were found in the tombs. Another hypothesis supports that the structure was constructed by the Celts during the 2nd to 1st century BC. As a result, no one can be certain about its age and purpose.
According to Polish historian Leszek Paweł Słupecki pagan people, who inhabited the area along the Visla River, constructed this mound in the very center of their state as a response to the spreading Christianity. Krakus Mound was excavated in 1934-1937 in a major excavation project. The first archaeological excavations in the famous mound with a diameter of 60 meters revealed a solid wooden core covered with soil and turf. The upper layer of the mound was removed, exposing the three main layers that formed the mound, but the overall project had a disappointing outcome.
Another strange fact about the famous Krakus Mound is its interesting location. When seen from Wanda’s Mound*, another similar structure, located 6 miles further, the sun sets right behind it on June 20th or 21st on the day of Beltane, the second-largest Celtic feast day. This means that Wanda and Krakus Mounds are astronomically aligned, which can hardly be considered accidental. According to a theory, it might have been built with astronomy in mind, in a similar way to Stonehenge.
Four smaller mounds that originally surrounded Krakus Mound were demolished in the 19th century in order to build a fortress. The burial mounds for Kościuszko (1813-20) and Piłsudski (1934-1937) that were constructed in modern times were inspired by the monumental Krakus Mound, which still remains one of Poland’s greatest archaeological mysteries, attracting hundreds of visitors every year.
* Wanda’s Mound: According to legend, Wanda’s Mound was named after King Krakus’ daughter Wanda, another character of the Cracovian myths, who jumped into the Vistula River to avoid marrying a foreigner.