There’s a lot of history, often weird and dark, surrounding the capital of the Lubelszczyzna voivodship, Lublin. Still quite underappreciated touristically, this region is home to many magical tales and legends, some of them causing laughter but more often sending chills down the spine. Lublin Legends are guaranteed to delight, inspire and terrify all in one!
Discover all of the Lublin Legends
Every city in Poland has its tales, stories, it’s urban myths that keep children and adults up at night. But what are the ones that keep people in the Lublin area awake looking over their shoulders…what are the Lublin Legends?
Here are some of the most interesting ones, so that you can feel the atmosphere of this strange and mysterious place that is Lublin.
The Devil’s Paw
Probably the most famous of all local Lublin legends is that of the devil’s trial. It was 1637 at the Lublin Crown Tribunal. The case was being held between a poor widow and a rich magnate who bought the judges and won the trial unfairly. Hearing the verdict desperate woman exclaimed, that even devils would have passed a fairer judgment.
This same night a strange group dressed in crimson robes entered the courtroom and announced they’ll revise the case. The terrified tribunal writer noticed, that their features were devilish and that horns could be seen from between their raven hair.
The trial had started and the prosecutor tried to entice the judges with false words, describing the case favourably for the magnate, but he didn’t manage to fool them. To the bewilderment of everyone present, the mysterious visitors passed the verdict in favour of the widow and then quickly left the room. But before they left, their chairman put his hand on the table and burned its mark on it as a warning and a reminder of the day, when God sent the judges straight from hell and they turned out to be fairer than the noblemen.
The devil’s paw handprint can still be seen to this day, burnt into the table in the Lublin’s Castle Museum. How is that for a Lublin Legend!
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Lublin Legends – The Stone of Misfortune
On Jezuicka street in the centre of Lublin, there’s a rock, lying innocently and smiling to the by-passers with its crescent-shaped scar. Conveniently placed it might tempt you to approach and sit on it to have some rest, but you shouldn’t do that – unless you’re looking for trouble.
In its past life, the stone used to be a base for the trunk, where the condemned laid their heads before they were cut off by the executioner. One time he swang his axe particularly hard while killing an innocent man, the wood split in two and the blade chipped the rock beneath.
After that, the stone was moved to a place called The Dog’s Hill (the name will become clear in a second) where its first attack happened. A woman was passing by and spilled some soup all over the rock. A group of dogs came, licked it off and then… dropped dead.
Over time the stone kept taking its deadly toll. A baker used it to build his oven – shortly after he’d finished, his wife and her lover closed him inside and burned him alive. A bricklayer hit it with his hammer in rage – the tool backlashed, making him blind. Then it was used as a part of the foundation for the powder tower. It exploded shortly after.
At last, the stone found its home on Jezuicka street. During the war, it was that neighbourhood that suffered the most damage during the German bombing. The cursed stone lies there to this day for everyone interested, but maybe it’s better to take your photo from a safe distance.
The story of Ruszel Priest
In 1342 the Dominicans built a beautiful monastery in Lublin, which was witness to mysterious events over the years. There was a cleric living there, known for his kindness, mercy and benevolence – Priest Ruszel. It was said that the angels themselves were lighting up an olive lamp in his room. That’s why when Priest Ruszel died the grief and sorrow were great, but they turned into even bigger bewilderment when during the mourning, his body suddenly disappeared from his cell.
It was inexplicable. The body simply evaporated overnight, even though it was constantly guarded by the monks. With time people said that priest Ruszel was taken straight to heaven and they started to worship him as a saint. And that’s when even stranger things started to happen at the monastery.
Suddenly a weird phantom was strolling through the corridors. The organs were playing in the chapel by themselves. A shadow was seen behind the altar – a shadow with the shape of the dead priest. Father Ruszel appeared to have come back from the beyond. People were terrified but also quite puzzled – why would he come back? Isn’t that something that only condemned souls would do? What interest could this saint of a man have in coming back to the mortal world if he was taken away by the angels?
250 years passed by and people got used to the friendly ghost. Then the church, as well as the city, was taken by the Russians. One of their soldiers, scared as he saw the spook, started shooting at him and he saw the priest disappearing inside of a wall. Intrigued, the guard started tapping at it and heard a hollow sound, as if there was something on the other side. The wall was torn down and behind it, they found a skeleton. Skeleton with father Ruszel’s rosary on its neck.
Apparently, the monks wanting to improve the reputation of the monastery decided to hide the beloved priest’s body and make a saint out of him. These Lublin legends say, that this righteous man couldn’t stand being part of such a dishonourable trick, so he kept haunting them until the truth came out. After his body was discovered his ghost was never seen again. Is this the top Lublin Legend?
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The drunken coat of arms – Lublin Legends
At the beginning of the XIVth century, the people of Lublin were aspiring to obtain city rights. A delegation was sent to Cracow in order to talk with the king, who greeted them very hospitably and listened to their plight. During the meeting, he was told the story of a miraculous goat who survived the invasion of the Tartars and managed to feed lots of children during these hard times when food was scarce.
The king promised the committees that he’ll grant their wish and, as he really liked the goat story, he suggested they should incorporate the animal in the coat of arms of the new city of Lublin.
Happy with the outcome of their mission, the delegates decided to hire a reputable Cracovian crest-creator, Mikołaj. They explained to him, that they want a goat and a grapevine to be part of the coat of arms, cause at that time Lublin was quite well-known for its wine.
What they didn’t know was that Mikołaj liked to keep his glass empty and so when he handed them the final result, all wrapped up, they just took it thankfully and headed home. It was only when they were already on their way, that they opened a package and turned pale. A new coat of arms of their beloved city of Lublin could have only been described as a skeleton of an ugly old goat, the grapevine all forgotten in the drunken haze.
The committee was terrified that their people will linch them for that disgrace, but frankly, everybody was too happy about obtaining the city rights to pay attention to the ugly crest. Over time the coat of arms was changed and now it probably looks much more like what was originally intended by the delegates. Lublin Legends or Lublin mistakes for this one?!
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The goldsmith’s daughter
There was a girl of uncommon beauty living with her father in an old tenement house on Złota street. Every morning all the men from the neighbourhood were waiting for her window to open, hoping to catch a glimpse of her silky golden her and hear her pearly laughter. She was an apple of her father’s eye, but the poor goldsmith didn’t know that his innocent daughter was well-known for receiving quite a lot of men, married and not, in her room during the night.
She was letting them in by the backdoor and then letting them out by the other gate. That way she was able to keep her visitors’ identities secret and never get caught by her father, who chose not to believe his neighbours’ calumnies.
The only eye-witness to this Lublin Legends mischiefs was the old golden cockerel perched upon the top of the Trinitarian Tower. This Lublin legend has it, that it will only crow when the passage at the bottom of the tower is crossed by a faithful husband. Let us tell you, that it doesn’t crow too often!
These are just a few stories taken out of the rich book of Lublin legends. To experience them in a whole other way you can visit the city in the middle of June and take part in the Festival of Lublin Legends, filled with magic and street theatre. You can also take a walk with one of the Guides of Inspiration – more info about that on the official Lublin city’s website:
Lublin is a great place to visit in Poland
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