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The charm of Torun's Old and New towns is that they feel like a living Gothic theme park. There are innumerable statues and minor museums for you to make pit stops at. It's one of the best Old Towns to explore with kids since it's quite compact.

You Made the Earth Move under My Feet?

Nicolaus Copernicus, or Mikoaj Kopernik in Polish, is Torun's most famous son and the precursor of the archetype Renaissance man. During his lifetime, he served not only as a priest, but also as a physician, classical scholar, jurist (church law), governor, military leader, diplomat, and economist. However, he is first and foremost remembered for De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), in which he presented his theories of the Earth revolving around the Sun. The Church initially viewed it as blasphemy. Copernicus died shortly after De Revolutionibus was published, though he probably never saw it in print. His work paved the way for a series of astronomical breakthroughs in the 16th and 17th centuries, including the work of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Sir Isaac Newton. Learn more at the House of Copernicus (Dom Mikoaja Kopernika; Kopernika 15/17; tel. 56/622-70-38; www.muzeum.torun.pl), which has some of the oldest editions of De Revolutionibus.

Hands On

Make your own decorative gingerbread at the Gingerbread Museum (Muzeum Piernika) [kids] (Rabianska 9; tel. 56/663-66-17; www.muzeumpiernika.pl). In a hall emulating a 16th-century abode, the cheerful English-speaking crew here gets you to chant an oath to keep the secrets of gingerbread crafts before allowing you to play dough. Sessions start every hour on the hour, with a minimum group size of 5. The House of Copernicus also has a similar program.

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