The ‘Celestat’ in Kraków
The King of the Kurki (cocks) is elected every year during a wooden hen shooting competition. This tradition gave rise to the name of the Brotherhood, which has been operating in Kraków since the 13th century. In order for the members of the Brotherhood to have a place to train, a building now known as the ‘Celestat’ was built. Thanks to the initiative of the king of the Kurki, the Kraków merchant Józef Louis, the Brotherhood purchased the so-called Steinkeller's Garden. Shortly thereafter, the Garden was called the Shooting (Strzelecki) Garden and has continued to operate under that name to this day. A long wall was built along the western boundary of the property, and in the south-western part of the Garden, the headquarters of the 'Bractwo Kurkowe' was erected in four months and was given the name ‘Celestat’ after the first seat of the organisation, a name which it still bears today. In addition to its function as a shooting range, the Garden also became a meeting place and a place for walks for Cracovians. At the shooting range, the Kurkowi Brothers practised shooting and organised shooting competitions, with the most important one being the annual contest for the title of the King of the Kurki. At their headquarters, the brothers received among others Emperor Franz Joseph I and the heir to the throne Archduke Rudolf. It is the only exposition and research facility of its kind in Europe exploring the history and customs of 'Bractwa Kurkowe' Rifle Brotherhoods in Poland and Europe. Inside, visitors can admire the Collection of the Kraków Rifle Brotherhood: portraits of Kraków's kings, insignia of the authorities of the Shooting Association and the king and marshals, a collection of medals, shooting trophies, shields and paintings as well as documents, photographs and books. ‘Celestat’ is a branch of the Historical Museum of Kraków.