Topics of coins

Relics of the palace and religious complex in Ostrów Lednicki

Ostrów Lednicki – the biggest island on Lake Lednica – is the most significant location associated with the historical origins of the Polish state. From the second half of the tenth century to the first half of the eleventh century it hosted an extensive residential and political centre of the first Polish rulers: Mieszko I, Bolesław the Brave and Mieszko II. Within the fortified settlement, originally surrounded with very high walls, there are relics of the palatial buildings and the chapel with baptismal fonts, which have been preserved to the present times. In the fifteenth century Jan Długosz wrote that (...) the Gniezno Metropolitan Cathedral was once founded [there] (which is confirmed by the ruins and remains of the walls), but with the passage of time [it was] moved to Gniezno due to access difficulties. Many researchers also claim that it might have been the location of the baptism of Mieszko I in the year 966 (?), which marked the symbolic baptism of Poland and its entry into Christian civilisation. Pope John Paul II referred to this tradition in 1997, speaking of Ostrów Lednicki as the baptismal font of Poland. In the year 1994 the island, which remains under the curatorship of the Museum of the First Piasts at Lednica, was included on the list of historic monuments.

The coin depicts relics of extreme importance to the Polish cultural heritage and national identity: the palatium (on the obverse of the coin – the layout of the palatium and its reconstruction) and the palace chapel with baptismal fonts from the 960s (on the obverse – the layout of the chapel and its reconstruction and on the reverse – the authentic relics, view from the east), and also one of the most valuable eleventh century monuments of this type in Poland, the staurotheke, that is the reliquary of the True Cross (in the foreground of the reverse).

Andrzej M. Wyrwa