Idol in Krakow's Museum of Archeology.
boasts the world’s only known representation of a Slavonic
deity. The 8-foot-tall limestone idol was found in the Zbruc
river – once eastern Poland, now western Ukraine – in
1848. Brought to Krakow in 1851, nowadays it ranks among the
most treasured exhibits of the city’s Museum of Archeology
at 3 Poselska St. Experts date the idol to the 9th c. or later
and believe the square column 2.57m tall, 0.32m long, and 0.29
m wide, shows pagan cosmology of some forgotten Slavic tribe.
All four sides are sculptured, yet obscure carvings on them
differ. Still they fit into four layers with the four-faced
god Swiatowit on the top, the underworld at the bottom, and
mortals in between. Four sides, four godheads, four levels of
the universe... For some Slavic tribes Swiatowit (a.k.a.
Swietowit, a.k.a. Svantevit) was the leading god of their
pantheon, the one responsible for war and harvests. Some
scholars identify him with the thunderbolt-wielding Perun of
eastern Slavs. Since the religion of ancient Slavs is shrouded
in mystery, Krakow’s Swiatowit idol proves both a unique
curio and an invaluable if cryptic source on beliefs of
peoples that once ruled over the eastern half of the European
of the Swiatowit idol stands at the foot of the Wawel Hill
east of the Royal Castle.
Other Krakow Curios:
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