Trail of Copernicus
There are many ways in which Nicolaus Copernicus, the famous astronomer who “stopped the Sun and moved the Earth”, is remembered in Poland: he has his streets, monuments, and even a tourist trail that will take you back to the 16th century. The latter is the main tourist route of the region of Varmia and Masuria.
The Trail of Copernicus starts near the High Gate in the city of Olsztyn. It was in Olsztyn that Copernicus was administrator of the Varmia chapter estate. The trail wends its way through the Province of Varmia and Masuria to reach Lidzbark Warminski, which is home to the castle of Varmian bishops. In 1503-09, Copernicus served here as a bishop’s secretary and physician.
Leaving behind Braniewo, the trail leads further to Frombork, a town where Copernicus spent many years of his life, died and was buried. Frombork is known for its Archcathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Andrew, and the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum. Next, the trail takes you to the Province of Pomerania and the town of Malbork, where Copernicus is known to have called on the historic Gothic town hall in what is now the Old Town, and was received at the summer refectory of Malbork Castle. The Trial of Copernicus comes to an end in the astronomer’s birthplace – the town of Torun in the Province of Cuyavia and Pomerania.
The route’s longest section is 237 kilometres long and runs through the Province of Varmia and Masuria. The trail is dotted with cities and towns which will appeal to tourists thanks to memorabilia that bear witness to Copernicus’ non-astronomical activities, i.e. as Varmia Chapter canon, physician, administrator and bishop’s secretary.
Within cities and towns associated with Copernicus the trail is meant for pedestrians, but you can go from one town to another by bike or car.