Located in Wroclaw, Poland, the Raclawice Panorama is a massive painting that, when mixed with technical effects, allows visitors to “experience” the events depicted in the painting in intense detail. This attraction is not only fascinating because of its artistic merit, but also because of its significance as an example of nineteenth-century culture.
Created by painter Jan Styka and Wojeciech Kossak in 1894, the Raclawice Panorama memorializes the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Raclawice, a successful battle in Poland’s fight for independence during the Kosciuszko Insurrection. Displayed originally at the 1894 National Exhibition in Lviv, the Raclawice Panorama enticed visitors from all over Europe, with an estimated 75,000 viewers per year.
The painting was then transferred to Wroclaw after World War II. The Panorama was reopened in June 1985 and continued drawing in huge crowds of visitors, this time to Wroclaw. It soon became the main tourist attraction of the city. Since then, the attraction has brought famous guests, such as Pope John Paul II, Franz Joseph I of Austria, and Beatrix, the Queen of the Netherlands, to Poland to view the spectacle.
The Raclawice Panorama contains several permanent exhibits, with the Panorama itself at the center. These exhibits are divided between the rotunda, the panorama, and the main hall.
Little Rotunda – Accessible through the main hall, the rotunda includes a representation of the area in which the Battle of Raclawice took place; colored lights denote the movement of Polish and Russian troops during this battle. Additional historical information, as well as period-appropriate weapons, is displayed in this area as well. Finally, this information is accompanied by over 100 figurines that show Polish and Russian soldiers in uniforms from the eighteenth century.
The Raclawice Panorama – This area contains the Panorama itself with a viewing platform for visitors to stand upon. Through the special perspective of the painting and the provided lighting and terrain, visitors can be swept up in the illusion of the Panorama and experience entertainment as it was presented in the nineteenth century. Viewers will be entranced by the sheer size, craftsmanship, and spectacle that is the Raclawice Panorama.
Main Hall – The Main Hall contains four separate areas that provide visitors with supplemental information about the Panorama.
Annex One: This area includes a map that shows the movement of troops throughout the Kosciuszko Insurrection. This is the insurrection in which the Battle of Raclawice occurred.
Annex Two: This area shows presentations about other panoramas, both of Polish and broader European origin. Presentations also focus on the lives of the creators of the Raclawice Panorama. These presentations are given in Polish.
Annex Three: In this area, a movie is shown that details conservation efforts for the Panorama. The movie is shown in Polish.
Annex Four: This area plays the same presentations that are shown in Annex Two, but in English rather than Polish.
Tickets are available online through the Panorama’s website or in person at the Raclawice Panoramaticket office. Group reservations should be made by phone or email.
During the school year, the Raclawice Panorama offers a selection of lessons for school-age children.
The main museum lessons feature an informative introduction and an overview of the Panorama given by a known art historian. School groups can call the Raclawice Panorama Acquisition Department to make an appointment at least one week in advance. Groups must have no more than 30 people.
For students ages 6 through 12, the museum offers special classes on Sundays that combine problem-solving, story-telling, and artistic talent. Children should be accompanied by their parents. Interested groups must register for the event by phone.
Aside from educational opportunities, the Raclawice Panorama offers few special events for visitors. In general, the marvel that is the Raclawice Panorama, alongside the fascinating historical information that surrounds it, is often considered special enough.
However, each summer, the Panorama does present their “Summer Mornings with the Raclawice Panorama” program to children ages 6 through 12 and their parents. Visitors will learn about the various artists involved in the painting’s birth, as well as the actual process of creating it. After viewing the Panorama, children and parents alike will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the painting itself.
Dining and Shopping
There are no dining or shopping options available at the Raclawice Panorama, but there are several restaurants within walking distance in the city of Wroclaw. Guests may want to plan their visit around meal times.
Although unavailable within the attraction itself, gift shops are also available throughout the city to commemorate one’s visit to the Raclawice Panorama.
Jana Ewangelisty Purkyniego 11, 50-155 Wroclaw, Poland, Phone: +48-7-13-44-16-61 or 7-13-44-16-62