The mysterious story of the name “Trzy Korony” (“Three Crowns”)

The mountain had three different names in its history. At first it was called simply “Pieniny”, then, thanks to the hermits from Czerwony Klasztor – “Korona” (the Crown). read more

The mountain had three different names in its history. At first it was called simply “Pieniny”, then, thanks to the hermits from Czerwony Klasztor – “Korona” (the Crown). 150 years ago as a result of an error it was renamed “Trzy Korony” (Three Crowns). Its strange structure deluded excursionists. At the beginning there was a name “Pieniny” and nobody knows exactly where it came from. Perhaps it is a trace of Celtic settlement from nearly 2500 years ago. The similarity between this name and the Apennines testifies to this hypothesis - in one the Celtic vernaculars the root "pen" means "mountain". A little glade below the peak of Trzy Korony was called Pieniny by local people since a long time ago. Naturally the name was extended to a mountain massif and then to the whole mountain range.

But with the arrival of Camaldolese monks at Czerwony Klasztor in the early 18th century the mountain was given an alternative name. As the monks came from an Italian congregation from Perugia, they used to name all the new centers “Eremus Conventus Montis Coronae” (Pustelnia Góry Koronnej i.e. The Crown Mountain Hermitage). The monks settled in the former Carthusian monastery at the top of the mountain which resembled the shape of a crown and they started popularising the new name of the peak. In the 19th century this name was extended to the whole Crown Mountains (Góry Koronne) i.e. Pieniny.

The name “Korona” (the Crown) was widely used on the maps, in descriptions and in local people's speech. And then suddenly, nearly 150 years ago, a competitive name appeared: “Trzy Korony” (Three Crowns). Nobody knows exactly who hit on the idea of renaming this well-known mountain and when it happened. The new name was disseminated thanks to an important publication - the first Tatra Baedeker. This popular guidebook published in 1860 (Przewodnik w wycieczkach na Babią Górę, do Tatr i Pienin), written by a pioneering excursionist Fr Eugeniusz Janota, already included new version of the name. Whether it was an error of the author himself or a variation on the already existing name - nobody knows. Thanks to authority of Janota the name began to catch on, supplanting the old one. The most interesting, however, was the fact that many acclaimed geographers, describing the Trzy Korony massif, kept making other mistakes. Local highlanders and travelers were justifying the new name, giving a special symbolic meaning to the number "three". Although, if you take a close look, you'll see that there are no less than... 9 spires on the top of the Crown!

Comments
Login required. Sign in or register now!
Images