Blonia Meadow

Krakow, Poland

 
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Krakow
Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Poland
A massive and inexplicably undeveloped tract of greenery, directly to the west of the Old City, Blonia is a huge, triangular open space measuring almost 50 acres. Technically a park, although lacking any trees or other characteristics, the Polish name ‘Blonie' means ‘meadow' – something of an amiable linguistic redressing the Blonia is true and unchanged historical function: it is a cow pasture. The ability to survive in the modern era as the largest city centre open space in Europe can be accredited to a perfect storm of boggy taking into account the risks, the centuries-long ownership dispute, and finally a medieval legislative wrinkle. Used by locals to graze cattle even midway into the 20th century, when the Cracovia Hotel was built next to it in 1965 the city moved to permanently deny old-fashioned cattle in Blonie, only to find themselves obstructed by an apparently still legally binding 14th century decree by Queen Jadwiga which they would have to settle with Warsaw. Warsaw not being the most co-operative, or practical, bureaucratic partner in these moments, the city council has decided to maintain the status quo, which makes it perfectly acceptable for you to air old Bessie on the Blonia to this day. If a great idea for an end of week annual event (called ' Bovines on the Blonia," said the mayor to contact me for more details), these days, you will find the green triangle is mainly become the favorite pastime of the space of dogs and their frisbee chasing, ball playing owners, while the perimeter is a popular track for cycling, running and rollerblading. Protected as a National Heritage Site since 2000, the Blonia is ideal for large outdoor events, hosting numerous concerts, rallies and – most notably – historic open air masses by the Pope Jean-Paul II, and more recently, the Pope Francis during the 2016 celebrations of the World Youth Day.
Wikipedia

Blonia Park is a vast meadow with an area of 48 hectares directly adjacent to the historic centre of the city of Krakow, Poland.

The history of the park began in 1162, when a wealthy nobleman Jaksa z Miechowa – founder of the Polish branch of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre – donated the land between Zwierzyniec and Łobzow to Norbertine Nuns. His intention was to receive a blessing prior to his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. For the next two centuries the meadow belonged to nuns, who in 1366 exchanged it with the city's authorities for a manor at Florianska Street. The meadow was used by peasants from neighboring villages to graze their cattle.
Until the 19th century Blonia Park was largely neglected, and often flooded by the Rudawa river in the spring turning it into wetland with small islands, probably contributing to the spread of epidemics. After draining the swamps, Blonia became perfectly suitable to host large gatherings. In 1809, when the city was incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw, Blonia was a place of salute of the troops of Napoleon, organized by Prince Jozef Poniatowski and General Jan Henryk Dabrowski.
Today Blonia is a recreation area, frequently hosting large events like concerts and exhibitions. The place is best known for great Masses celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1997 and 2002. Pope Benedict XVI also celebrated the Mass there during his journey to Poland in May 2006. The opening Mass of the 2016 World Youth Day was held at Blonia Park in July 2016, however the main events, including the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, were held outside the city.
Blonia Park is also used to host popular culture events, such as concerts organized by a local radio station or the Iuvenalia student festival. Pop star Celine Dion's Taking Chances World Tour concert on June 28, 2008 performed to nearly 55,000 people The vast meadow was also used for politicized promotion of the Malopolska region farming industry by PSL in 2011 with a herd of 150 sheep trucked in from hundreds of kilometres away for one month, and the city permit worth 3,200 zloty. The last cattle was grazed at Blonia in the 1970s.

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