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The Copernicus' House

The Copernicus' House

Copernicus' House is a medieval burgher's house which belonged to the Copernicus family in the second half of the 15th century. Many historians point to the house as a birthplace (1473) of the renowned astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who was the first to prove that the Earth was not a static center of the universe but merely one of the planets circling the Sun along their orbits.

However, it cannot be ruled out that the author of the heliocentric theory was born in another house, as the Copernicus family owned in 1473 a part of a house situated in the Old Town market square. Due to the fact that only the house at Kopernika street, formerly called St. Anna's street, has remained up to the present time, it is customarily referred to as the Copernicus' birthplace.

The present appearance of the Copernicus House comes from the 15th century. The façade features an ogival arch portal, brick friezes and vertical niches adorned with painted two-colored patterns characteristic for medieval Toruń. The house, like houses in other Hanseatic League towns, served simultaneously as a residence and a storehouse. On the ground floor from the side of the street there was a high hall with a kitchen corner, staircase and a suspended small wooden chamber. In the back of the house there was a smaller room with a lower ceiling situated under yet another chamber which commonly served as a bedroom for the entire family. All the other chambers , including the spacious cellars, were used for storing food and merchandise.

Currently, the house and the adjacent Gothic building house a branch of the District Museum called Nicolaus Copernicus' House. The house, which in the 15th century belonged to the astronomer's parents, displays a medieval layout, interior decorations and furnishings typical for the period from the 15th to the 18th century. Among the particularly precious features are wooden beam ceilings and the ornamented walls, some of which date back to Copernicus' times. The other section of the museum presents the stages of the great astronomer's life. Apart from the Copernicus family artifacts, it features a collection of various editions of Copernicus' groundbreaking work called "De Revolutionibus" and objects documenting the diverse interests and activities of the great scholar in the first half of the 15th century. The extensive cellars house an interactive exhibition called "The World of Toruń Gingerbread". Visitors can see the baroque gingerbread baking forms, and get to know the original ingredients used for gingerbread. They can also try their hand at baking gingerbread cakes. Another attraction is the model of medieval Toruń displayed in the annex to the house together with a sound and light presentation about the youth of the great astronomer ant the history of his medieval hometown. Copernicus' fame is a magnet which continues to attract to his birthplace thousands of visitors every year.