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760th Anniversary of the Kraków Shooting Society – the Brotherhood of the Rooster

The Shooting Society – Sharpshooters’ Fraternity in Kraków is one of the oldest shooting organizations associated with the city’s defence. The Sharpshooters’ Fraternity in Kraków dates back to 1257, when the city was formally established under the Magdeburg Law.

The duty of the burghers was to defend the city. In order to provide them with proper military preparation, it was necessary to organize training for the city’s defenders and to ensure that they are in constant combat readiness. The Sharpshooters’ Fraternity, also known as the Shooting Society, was subordinated to the municipal authorities, and its members repeatedly defended the city against enemy invaders.

The shooting exercises were carried out in accordance with strictly defined rules. Once a year a ceremonial contest was held in order to select the king of the shooters. The title of Sharpshooters’ King was awarded to the best marksman.

Over time, the importance of The Sharpshooters’ Fraternity increased: it participated in all royal entries and coronations, it organized tournaments and festivals.

To this day, the members of The Sharpshooters’ Fraternity observe the rich ceremonial traditions and participate in numerous cultural and historical events in Kraków. Every year, a shooting competition is organized and the winner is awarded the title of the Sharpshooters’ King. His enthronement takes place at the Main Market Square in Kraków and has been a part of the Kraków Days festival celebrations for many years. The new Sharpshooters’ King receives the nomination from the Mayor of the City of Kraków.

One of the honorary members of The Sharpshooters’ Fraternity in Kraków was Pope John Paul II, and the ranks of its honorary brothers included, among others, the President of the United States George W. Bush and the President of the Republic of Poland in Exile Ryszard Kaczorowski.

Piotr Michał Mikosz