Sunday, 30 June 2013

Gnome hunting

Ok so when I posted a comment on Facebook about gnome hunting, along with a few likes I also received a few inquisitive questions as to what I was on about. So to clear it up here is a little more information on the subject. To start at the beginning we must go back to the 1980's when Poland was heavily under Communist control. During this time there was a lot of public protests going on demonstrating their unhappiness of the situation. One of the larger and more prominent groups at the time was the Orange Alternative, who were known for staging mostly peaceful protests using absurd methods, which made it hard for the authorities to intervene. One of the more interesting types of protest methods was painting gnomes over government propaganda, which was later described to the authorities by the leader of the groups as, “The thesis is the anti-regime slogan. The anti-thesis is the spot and the synthesis is the gnome.” Over time the gnome became the symbol of the Orange Alternative showing up in more and more protests in a maner of different and quirky ways. After the fall of communism, the city of Worclaw kept the gnome symbol and as a tribute to the Orange Alternative in 2001 Papa Krasnal, the first gnome statute, was placed on a corner where the group's protests usually took place. In 2005, five more gnomes were commissioned by the city council and placed around the city according to their design. Since then the whole city has gone gnome crazy with local businesses contracting their own artists to create one and at last count the whole city has been over run by nearly 180 of these little guys. One of the more popular ones include Rynek, who even has his own holiday (21st November), blog and Facebook. With so many of these little critters popping up around the city, its pretty hard, even for the locals, to spot them all. So if you are ever in Worclaw and are keen on a spot of gnome spotting be sure to pick up a gnome map from one of the tourist shops, happy hunting.....
- Ryan -

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