Poznan

Sightseeing

Pranger (Pręgierz)

Just outside the Town Hall, near its southeast corner, you’ll find the proudly protruding Pranger, a 16th-century punishment device funded by fines placed on servant women, wet-nurses, and barmaids who dressed up too frilly or wore jewellery deemed inappropriate for their social standing (the outrage!). Topped with a severe statue of a sword-wielding executioner in a Crusader’s outfit, unlucky criminals would be chained to this octagonal column and whipped, or - if the executioner was feeling fancy or the crime warranted it - have his ears or fingers chopped off.

Sadly, the contraption no longer elicits deserved fear, as evidenced by repeated vandalism by drunken students and football hooligans - an offence which would surely be more creatively punished in the Pranger’s heyday than in our current times. Luckily, the original isn’t actually in any danger, as it has long been moved to the Historical Museum and replaced with a copy.

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