Jagiello, Wladyslaw

Reconstruction of a 15-th century pontoon bridge.

The medieval technical wonder of King Wladyslaw Jagiello

This monument showing Jagiello observing the construction of a bridge and the two spans of a reconstruction of the crossing, recalls events which took place more than 600 years ago, when a ‘secret weapon’ was built in Kozienice which was to increase the chances of defeating the Teutonic Knights.

Kozienice and Kozienice Forest played an important role in the victory at the battle of Grunwald in 1409, when preparing for the war with the Teutonic Order, Jagiello made a decision to secretly build a bridge that would enable his knights to quickly cross the Vistula river at a spot which the Teutonic Knights would never have expected. Being in a remote place, having an abundance of wood, and with the local Zagozdzonka river flowing into the Vistula, Kozienice was chosen as the place to build the bridge. A pontoon bridge of such construction was, for its time, a bridge such as had never seen before. It was built within half a year, using repetitive elements making for rapid assembly. According to scholars the bridge was about 500 metres long and floated on 150 boats that were each five metres long, 1.5 metres wide and approximately 1 metre deep. It can be assumed that the labour required to connect the elements was not great and that the bridge was put together along its entire length at the same time.

The bridge elements prepared at Kozienice were set afloat and guided 150 metres down the Vistula. Near Cherwinsk, on june 30, 1410 (?) , the bridge permitted a column of Polish armies 140 km long (?) to cross the river within 48 hours, making it possible for the armies of the Polish crown to connect with those of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. This was an enormous surprise for the Teutonic Order and was instrumental to the victory at Grunwald.

(information on a notice board near the monument)


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