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This is an amateur photograph in which an important historical event has been captured. It was made by an unknown author on 3 May 1919 in Kraków.
On the Market Square, the infantry is in the foreground; next, the artillery — set in a double row, back to the photographer. Sukiennice [The Cloth Hall] was decorated with flags and the Polish emblem. Many groups of civilians stand under them. A field mass is taking place, organised by artillery and cavalry. Under the arcades of the central part of the Cloth Hall, on the side of Szewska street, an altar was organised which was decorated with flowers and emblems of national colours. From the side of the town hall there are Kraków units represented by the 13th Infantry Regiment with an orchestra, 20th Infantry Regiment of the Kraków Land and 8th Uhlan Regiment.

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This is an amateur photograph in which an important historical event has been captured. It was made by an unknown author on 3 May 1919 in Kraków.
On the Market Square, the infantry is in the foreground; next, the artillery — set in a double row, back to the photographer. Sukiennice [The Cloth Hall] was decorated with flags and the Polish emblem. Many groups of civilians stand under them. A field mass is taking place, organised by artillery and cavalry. Under the arcades of the central part of the Cloth Hall, on the side of Szewska street, an altar was organised which was decorated with flowers and emblems of national colours. From the side of the town hall there are Kraków units represented by the 13th Infantry Regiment with an orchestra, 20th Infantry Regiment of the Kraków Land and 8th Uhlan Regiment.
On the back of the photo there is an inscription in pencil: “3 May 1919”.
The photograph is a record of one of the first celebrations in free Poland. It was in 1919 that the celebration of 3rd May, commemorating the adoption of the Constitution of 3rd May by the Great Sejm in October 1788, was re-established. The photograph presents the first commemoration of the anniversary in the 2nd Polish Republic. The adoption of this fundamental law was declared a holiday on 5th May 1791. It was the first constitution in modern Europe, and the second, after the American, in the world; it even preceded the French constitution. The National Day of 3rd May was celebrated once again in 1990.
The Main Market Square is covered with paving stones. It is the largest square in Kraków as well as one of the largest in Europe. The picture shows the Cloth Hall. It is a commercial building in which stalls and warehouses were located, usually with cloth. They were usually located in the middle of the market in European cities that lay on trade routes. They were erected from the Middle Ages until the 17th century. The Cloth Hall was first established in the 13th century by Prince Bolesław V the Chaste [Polish: Bolesław Wstydliwy] as part of giving Kraków its city rights. In the years 1380–1400, the block of the Cloth Hall was unified by Marcin Windentolde. There was a fire in 1555. Under the reign of Zygmunt August, the rebuilding of the Cloth Hall was entrusted to Jan Maria il Mosca, known as Padovano. Padovano built an attic, decorated it with flowers and mascarons. On the first floor, merchants and craftsmen who did not have their own stalls sold their goods. In 1601, Joachim Ciepielowski made a transverse passage. In later years, Kraków fell into political and economic decline.  Thanks to Jan Matejko and Józef Dietl, the Cloth Hall was renovated. The renovation works were carried out by Tomasz Pryliński, who began reconstruction in 1875.

The photograph is displayed in the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Photography, surrounded by further memorial photographs taken by an unknown photographer depicting crowds gathered on the Main Market Square in Kraków. 

Elaborated by Małgorzata Kanikuła (Museum of Photography in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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“Main Market Square in Kraków. May 3rd Constiution Day in 1919”

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