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Militaria in the NMK collections

  • The National Museum in Krakow is in the possession of the second largest collection of old weapons and uniforms in Poland. The most valuable exhibits, memorabilia of historical figures and works of decorative art are normally presented at the permanent exhibition "Arms and Uniforms in Poland". This exhibition, however, constitutes only a foretaste of the impressive museum collections. The museum storage facilities house thousands of treasures such as Eastern arms from the territory of Turkey, Persia, the Caucasus, India and Malaysia, as well as Western European weapons from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The most valuable exhibits are displayed in numerous temporary exhibitions or are the subject of research and scientific queries. The holdings are complemented by an impressive collection of phaleristics containing medals as well as military and civilian badges from the entire Europe.


    Text by: Michał Dziewulski - curator of the National Museum in Krakow, Head of the Department of Militaria, awarded the honorary badge "Bene Merito" by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .

  • Helmet and shield made in Persia at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries

    Helmet and shield made in Persia at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries Striking with their exotic appearance, these are examples of the blacksmith's masterly skills, which in that period compelled admiration around the world.

  • So-called

    So-called "calendar" hunting chopper, made by the Munich master Ambrosius Gemlich The blade bears an etched and gilt calendar for the year 1528. An extremely interesting example of the practical use of decorative parade weapons in the 16th century.

  • A double wheel-lock pistol made in Germany c. 1615

    A double wheel-lock pistol made in Germany c. 1615 Although the so-called wheel-lock technology was slowly becoming a thing of the past, placing as many as two mechanisms in the small and beautifully decorated stock testified to the outstanding technical skills of the gunsmith.

  • A double wheel-lock pistol made in Germany c. 1615

    A double wheel-lock pistol made in Germany c. 1615 The cocks of wheel-locks, whose job it was to hold the flint needed to strike sparks in order to cause ignition, were decorated with a pattern of carp scales, reminiscent of legendary dragons.

  • Persian battle-axe depicting Ali and his sons

    Persian battle-axe depicting Ali and his sons Used by the dervishes, today it constitutes one of the most beautiful Persian objects in the collections of the National Museum in Krakow.

  • Iron heads of Persian spears (today's Iran) dating back to the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, made of the famous Damascus steel

    Iron heads of Persian spears (today's Iran) dating back to the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, made of the famous Damascus steel The silver decoration additionally contrasts with the dark grey colour of the wide pointed tips.

  • Persian and Indo-Persian weaponry consisting of a shield , two knives and a steel mace studded with sharp spikes.

    Persian and Indo-Persian weaponry consisting of a shield , two knives and a steel mace studded with sharp spikes. The impressive gold and silver ornamentation implies a festive purpose of this fearsome weapon.

  • Caucasian knives, so-called kama, dating back to the mid-20th century

    Caucasian knives, so-called kama, dating back to the mid-20th century Distinctive traditional weapons of the Circassians, Shapsugs and Georgians. Blades of this type also became popular in the Russian army as well as in Turkey and Persia.

  • Nepalese ceremonial swords: ram-dao and kora

    Nepalese ceremonial swords: ram-dao and kora Used in temples mostly to offer animal sacrifices, these are some of the most interesting examples of ethnographic weapons preserved in museums.

  • Karabela sabre presented to Prince Adam Sapieha in 1868

    Karabela sabre presented to Prince Adam Sapieha in 1868 Decorated with the coats of arms of landowning families residing in Borderlands, this is one of the most beautiful swords in Polish collections.

  • Cartridge-pouch formerly belonging to General Józef August Iliński in the years 1792-1794

    Cartridge-pouch formerly belonging to General Józef August Iliński in the years 1792-1794 Although he contributed to the release of Polish political prisoners (including Tadeusz Kościuszko) from Russian prisons, he was regarded as a traitor due to his acceptance of Russian general's title and honors during the Polish struggle for independence.

  • Hussar breastplate dating back to the mid-17th century

    Hussar breastplate dating back to the mid-17th century Steel protection of the most famous Polish cavalry, decorated with characteristic brass trimmings whose design was based on folk art.

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