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    “Vistula, the Queen of Polish Rivers” exhibition open now

    The National Museum in Cracow opened a new exhibition dedicated to Vistula – the longest river in Poland. It contains maps, documents and prose excerpts describing the Vistula River from as far ago as the 16th century. The exhibition is open until September 4th, 2022 in the Hutten-Czapski branch of the National Museum.

    The Vistula starts on the Ram Mountain in the Silesian Beskid and has two water springs – Little Black Vistula and Little White Vistula. The river measures 1,047 kilometres (651 miles) and falls flows through the most important cities in Poland – Cracow, Warsaw, Torun and Gdansk. It ends with a braided delta (six main branches) and empties into the Vistula Lagoon and the Baltic Sea.

    Since the early stages of Polish statehood Vistula has been the backbone of transport and communication, but also the place of urbanization and relaxation. We can find numerous documents made by merchants, historians and bodies of local administrations describing the Vistula River and its uses. However, it also inspired poets and noblemen to write poems and journal entries about it. The oldest traces are in the works of fundamental Polish poets from the 16th century, Jan Kochanowski and Mikołaj Rej. In “The Bestiary” published in 1573, Rej wrote:

    “Flow, dear Vistula mine, down to the seaport, and save by any means you may the Kingdom of Poland.”

    The exhibition contains 39 historic books mentioning the Vistula, mostly dating from the 16th to 19th century. The genres vary from journal entries to poems and historical records. There are also 34 maps, plans and atlases, as well as illustrations of the river and panoramas of the cities made by various techniques: drawings on paper, lithographs, woodcuts, and copperplate engravings.  

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