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Marian Marcinkowski is dead. A man has died without whom there would be no Poznań goats

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To impress the employees of the Poznań City Hall, he decided to fund new billy goats. It ended with a double success – he won the heart of his beloved, who became his wife, and the symbol of the city has been pleasing residents and tourists for 30 years. Marian Marcinkowski died at the age of 84.

In the 1980s, the symbol of Poznań – the goats from the town hall tower was in a deplorable state.

– At one point, they were so bad that I had to go to the tower almost every day and repair something in them – Piotr Mikołajczak, a watchmaker from Roosevelt Street in Poznań, who took care of the goats for years, told me in his book “Stories Worth Poznań”.

Unruly somersaults

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These regularly refused to obey. Mostly they blocked right after the show. – They were finishing trimming and instead of folding, as they stood, it began to suck them in. And the gears were such that they could lift a car! So the engines pulled them in with force, as a result of which everything broke away. Every now and then something had to be welded and reassembled, said Mikołajczak.

There were days when they did not want to show up at all, or, like on New Year’s Day 1989, when they went out as usual at 12 o’clock and would probably have been bothering themselves forever if a watchmaker had not been called in in the afternoon to tidy them up – Magdalena Warkoczewska, the long-term manager of the Museum of the History of the City of Poznań, wrote in the Chronicle of the City of Poznań in 2004.

Mikołajczak first pushed for the replacement of the mechanism, then the museum authorities. The two then deputy mayors of the city also knew about the problem.

People looking for Poznań goats in 1978CYRIL

In 1989, it seemed only a matter of time. Piotr Mikołajczak was given a task – to find an engineer who would design new mechanisms. – My choice fell on Stefan Krajewski. When I presented it to the city authorities, they told me that I had to find a contractor and not worry about the money – the money would be found – he said in “Stories worth Poznań”.

But the Polish People’s Republic collapsed, and soon both vice presidents lost their positions. Their successors said directly: the city does not have such funds.

– We heard that we were to find a sponsor – recalled Mikołajczak.

Rugby player and the king of meats

That’s when Marian Marcinkowski appeared. Older Poznań residents who were passionate about sport associated it with rugby.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, he played for Posnania, AZS WSWF and Polonia, with which he won gold medals in the Polish Championships four times and won the Polish Cup twice. He also played 13 matches for the national team. After his career ended, he was activist of Posnania and member of the board of the Polish Rugby Union.

Goats in the seventiesCYRIL

However, in the 1990s it was associated with meat and cold cuts. He was a co-owner of the “Władysław Marcinkowski” butcher shop. – The company was famous mainly for the production of sausages for export to England he told me in 2015.

One of the company stores was located near the Old Market Square, on Wrocławska Street. Many times at high noon, Marcinkowski passed a crowd of goats waiting for a show. And he repeatedly saw the sad faces of children when another technical failure blocked the somersaults.

– This was the first signal for me that it would be worth doing something about it – he recalled. The second was love. Mr. Marian fell in love with Elwira Modlibowska, who worked at the City Hall, and later became his wife. – It became an inspiration for me to first renovate the trestles and then build new ones – said Marcinkowski in “Stories worth Poznań”.

The new goats were created in workshops at the Poznań University of Technology. – From what I heard, Marcinkowski paid partly in money and partly in sausages, a scarce commodity in those days – said Piotr Mikołajczak.

A secret taken to the grave

How much did the somersaults cost him? Marian Marcinkowski took this secret to his grave. He died on August 30.

On February 14, 1993, the new goats were delivered to the City Hall. We had to wait another three months for their installation. Until then, they could be seen up close. The museum activated it several times a day in the Renaissance Hall, and the curious could see how the mechanism would work, which would soon land on the town hall tower. New bucks arrived there at the end of May. They clashed for the first time on June 12, 1993, at the opening of the St. John’s Fair.

Marcinkowski was supposed to admire the show. He was at the town hall, but just before 12 o’clock he left. He was afraid something would go wrong. However, the goats did a great job.

– I wished that on the day of my funeral the goats would come out dressed in black. The museum manager promised me that the words of my will would be fulfilled, he told me in 2015.

They were restored by the Prussians

The history of goats dates back almost 500 years. They first appeared on the tower in the mid-16th century. – It is not known how long they were on this tower and how long they appeared to the city’s inhabitants – said Dr. Magdalena Mrugalska-Banaszak, head of the branch of the Poznań History Museum, in 2013.

Why was it decided that these particular horned animals would mingle there? This is described in legend. On the occasion of the reconstruction of the Town Hall, a great feast was to be held, attended by many distinguished guests. The evening’s dish was supposed to be a leg of venison, but unfortunately it slid off the grill and into the fire. To save the celebration, one of the cooks brought two goats to pretend to be venison. However, they broke free and ran straight to the town hall tower. The gathered guests saw a strange sight: two little goats were carelessly fighting on the ledge, which aroused general hilarity. To commemorate the above-mentioned event, this painting was immortalized.

We do not know how long the mechanism of the butting goats worked. However, it is known that in 1675 a lightning strike destroyed the tower and the clock.

Later, everyone forgot about them, until the Prussian conservators, when they were preparing the Town Hall for general conservation, discovered in the city records a contract for the construction of a clock with goats and then, based on these descriptions, they recreated the clock that we still see today.

Koziołki returned at the beginning of November 1913, in the incarnation we know today.

It is known that in many cities, the towers of churches or town halls house so-called chime clocks that play certain melodies. And our Poznań town hall was equipped with a similar mechanism, only with the difference that it does not play any melodies, but depicts two fighting goats. This mechanism, in the form of a small house, is located below the central gable tower on the side of the main façade of the town hall. At the stroke of 12 noon, the door of the house opens and a black and white goat appears on the platform in front of the house and stands pompously on the edge of the platform. Then the second door on the left opens, and a red and white goat comes out and takes a seat opposite the first one. Now the attack on the horns begins, which is repeated four times, then both goats slowly return to the house.

During the fighting for Poznań in 1945, the Town Hall and its goats were destroyed. They were reinstalled in 1953.

Somersaults from the town hall in 1951 in the cleared recess of the turret destroyed during the war.In .Maisel, MKZ / CYRIL

In 1993, the entire mechanism, including the trestles, was replaced with a new one. The “old” items were added to the collections of the Poznań History Museum.

In 2002, residents chose names for the goats. One was named Pyrek, referring to the dialectal name of the potato, and the other Tyrek from the word “tyrać”, meaning to work hard, which is also apparently associated with Poznań.

Double show

Currently goats butt not only at noon, but also at 3 p.m. All because of the renovation of the Old Market Square.

– The space where you can admire the goats is now limited. People try to get to the Town Hall, but they don’t always succeed. During the May long weekend, some people got stuck in the streets around the Old Market Square, they were unable to get to the stage and the show missed them – explained Jan Mazurczak, president of the Poznań Local Tourist Organization, in June 2022.

Double shows take place from June 29, 2022.

The Poznań goats are 100 years old (material from 2013)06.11 For a hundred years, Poznań’s goats have been attracting crowds of spectators to the town hall at noon. Exactly a century ago, “Kurjer Poznański” reported that, following trends visible in other cities, Poznań would also be equipped with a “clown device”.TVN24 Poznań

Main photo source: Poznan.pl



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