There are only few men like Tadeusz Kościuszko in the World's history. Before raising a valiant Insurrection against foreign rule in Poland, Tadeusz Kościuszko fought with distinction in the American War of Independence. This relentless freedom-fighter was described by Thomas Jefferson as "the purest son of liberty that I have ever known".
When Kościuszko died, his body was placed in the royal crypts, but the people demanded a more public monument. With the approval of the Norbertine Sisters who granted the land, city authorities began developing an artificial burial mound to be constructed atop Bronisława Hill in Zwierzyniec. Funding was provided by Polish residents from all over the country and other outlying Polish settlements, and people came from all over, bringing dirt from their towns and villages to add to the mound.
In the 1850s the occupying Austrian military authorities built a brick fortress around the Mound, which they used as a strategic lookout point. Demolishing a chapel of St. Bronisława at the site, the thoughtful Austrians actually built a new chapel, incorporating it into the stronghold. By contrast, the Germans later threatened to entirely level the Mound and surrounding fortifications during their WWII occupation. Though parts of the fortress were destroyed, the complex has been restored and significant engineering improvements have been made to the Mound to ensure its longevity.
Over the years, the iconic hill has been damaged by weather and erosion but each time it has been repaired by local citizens and government who see the mound as a powerful symbol of Polish independence.
Climbing to the peak is tiring work, but the panoramic views of Kraków are a worthwhile reward. The neo-Gothic Chapel of St. Bronisława, which contains a medley of objects connected to Kościuszko's life, can also be visited and the surrounding fortifications also house two cafes, a radio station, restaurant, and four additional historical exhibitions - one of which is wax museum of famous Poles. Admission is included with the mound to all exhibits.
Kosciuszko Mound (Polish: kopiec Kosciuszki) in Krakow, Poland, erected by Cracovians in commemoration of the Polish national leader Tadeusz Kosciuszko, is an artificial mound modeled after Krakow's prehistoric mounds of Krak and Wanda. A serpentine path leads to the top, approx. 326 metres (1,070 ft) above sea level, with a panoramic view of the Vistula River and the city. It was completed in November 1823. The location selected for the monument was the natural Blessed Bronislawa Hill (Polish: Wzgorze bl. Bronislawy), also known as Sikornik, situated in the western part of Krakow's Zwierzyniec District.
Kosciuszko Mound is one of Krakow's four memorial mounds, consisting of two prehistoric mounds, Krakus Mound and Wanda Mound, and two modern ones, Pilsudski Mound and Kosciuszko Mound.
The founding ceremony of the Kokiuszko Mound took place on October 16, 1820. The construction was financed by donations from Poles living in all territories of Poland under foreign occupation. For three years, people of all ages and class voluntarily constructed the Mound to the height of 34 metres (112 ft). Work was supervised by a Committee for the Construction of the Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument. At the base of the Mound, the Founding Act was deposited in a glass and marble case. At the top, a granite boulder, brought from the Tatra Mountains, was placed, bearing the inscription “Kosciuszce” (To Kosciuszko). Inside the mound, urns were buried with soil from the Polish and American battlefields where Kosciuszko fought. In 1860, on the 30th anniversary of the Polish November Uprising, the top of the Mound was crowned with a boulder (545 kg) of granite from Tatra mountains which had engraved upon it: TO KOSCIUSZKO.
Between 1850 and 1854, the Austrian authorities built a brick citadel around the Mound and began using it as a strategic lookout. As compensation for an earlier historical church that had been demolished, a neo-Gothic chapel of Blessed Bronislawa was also built. However, the Austrian fortifications, including the gateway and the southwestern rampart and entrenchment were eventually dismantled following World War II, between 1945 and 1956.
Next to the Mound there is a museum devoted to Kosciuszko, that displays artifacts and mementoes of his life and achievements. In 1997, heavy rains eroded the Mound, thus threatening its existence. It went through a restoration process from 1999 till 2003 in which state-of-the-art technology and modern materials were used. The Mound was equipped with a drainage system and a new waterproofing membrane.
Kosciuszko Mound inspired Count Paul Strzelecki, Polish patriot and Australian explorer, to name the highest mountain in Australia Mount Kosciuszko, because of its perceived resemblance to the Kosciuszko Mound in Krakow.