Idea #726 – Visiting the historical city of Toruń
Thorn, later Toruń is a city in Poland located on the Vistula, founded by the Teutonic Knights around 1231. The Knights of the Order intervened at the request of Duke Conrad of Mazovia, to pacify the pagan Prussians living in the land of Chełmno . Around 1260, the order built Toruń Castle. A suburb developed rapidly and became an important commercial center. In the 14th century, due to its port location on the Vistula, the city was part of the Hansa, an association of merchant towns in the Baltic and North Sea region, including Chełmno, Elbląg, Danzig and Königsberg.
Little by little, the interests of the inhabitants diverge from those of the Order. During the war against Poland, the city got closer to the Polish king Ladislas II Jagiello. After the defeat of the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, the Peace of Toruń confirming the border between the two states was signed there on February 1, 1411. In 1454, the city revolted against the Knights, while Toruń Castle is captured and destroyed by the forces of the Prussian League.
The Thirteen Years’ War which followed ended in 1466 with the Treaty of Thorn: the crown of Poland annexed the regions on the lower Vistula which were once under the authority of the Teutonic Order, with the exception of the future Duchy of Prussia. The city was included in the list of the Seven Wonders of Poland in 2007. It has kept the majority of its historic Gothic buildings intact, the city having been spared from the Second World War. Toruń has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997.
Nicolas Copernicus, astronomer, also canon, doctor and mathematician, was born in Torun on February 19, 1473. He is famous for having developed and defended the theory of heliocentrism, according to which the Earth revolves around the Sun, supposed to be at the center of the ‘Universe, against the then accepted opinion, that the Earth was central and motionless. The consequences of this theory, having caused profound changes in scientific, philosophical and religious points of view, are referred to as the “Copernican revolution”.
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