Last year, a few of us embarked on a long weekend trip to northern Poland. Along the way, we made a stop in Toruń. Poland has good and modern freeways. But a rule to not exceed 300 kilometers in a day, especially when you’re behind the wheel, is recommendable. That’s why we chose Toruń, renowned for its historic old town.

The local parking system, consisting of separate private lots where you have to pay individually, proved to be quite daunting for me. Consequently, I received a parking ticket. What is more, the entire afternoon and the following morning it was raining, and despite it being only September, it felt chilly. I managed to snap a few photos. My travel companions, with my baby niece, retreated to the hotel. Still, my evening was salvaged by a restaurant at the heart of the historic city. Fresh mussels and an exceptional tiramisu amidst the backdrop of historical buildings.

That night, I captured just one photo. A monument of Copernicus, who was born right here in Toruń.

Nicolaus Copernicus was a renowned Polish astronomer and mathematician who made significant contributions to our understanding of the solar system and the concept of a heliocentric model.

Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473, in Toruń. He came from a well-to-do family and received a comprehensive education in various subjects, including mathematics, astronomy, and canon law. He is best known for his work on heliocentrism, the theory that the Sun is at the center of the solar system, with the Earth and other planets revolving around it. His major work, “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), published in 1543, presented this heliocentric model.

Copernicus made meticulous observations of celestial bodies and carefully analyzed the existing astronomical data available during his time. He proposed a model where the planets move in circular orbits around the Sun, with the Earth also rotating on its axis. His heliocentric model challenged the prevailing geocentric model proposed by ancient Greek astronomer Ptolemy. His work laid the foundation for the scientific revolution and had a profound impact on the field of astronomy, paving the way for future discoveries and advancements. Copernicus’ ideas faced considerable resistance from the religious and scientific communities of his time. The heliocentric model contradicted the traditional beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church, and his work was initially met with skepticism. However, his theories gradually gained acceptance and helped shape our modern understanding of the universe. Copernicus’ work revolutionized the field of astronomy and laid the groundwork for future scientific advancements. His heliocentric model formed the basis for subsequent astronomical discoveries by scientists such as Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei.