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With Napoleon Bonaparte in Elblag


“Today it is difficult to find any traces of the French Emperor’s three stays in Elblag. It is only mentioned from time to time that in the cemetery in Sadowa Street there is an impressive oak which has long been called Napoleon’s Oak…”

(Read the full article Elblag traces of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte at –,Elblaskie-slady-cesarza-Napoleona-Bonaparte.html#axzz4vr8oMS2H)

It is bizarre sometimes how people come across certain things in life. By people I mean Me and Peter, who are constantly looking for lifes connections and circumstances. If you look, you will find .  We are currently staying in Elblag, and… we unexpectedly ‘crossed paths’ with Napoleon here.  After Egypt (Peters trip to Philae) – Napoleon headed to Jaffa (Our trip to Israel earlier this year), but long before us.  Then  Les Invalides in Paris (Our trip to France last year) – the location of Napoleon’s tomb.  It was a spiritual experience to stand there  and believe that you are in the presence of his soul.  Then Warsaw.  No, we never thought about Napoleon when we were in Warsaw.  As a matter of fact it is not our intention to follow Napoleon Bonaparte. (He was a military man and we are Pacifists. But give him his ‘due’ – He was a great figure in history. A greatlittle man.  And additionally we just happened to be in  the apparent random far flung places where he had been.   Anyway, there was  no intention to stalk him ).

Let’s be honest.  Paris is an obvious one.  I never knew about Jaffa  – only to mention here that history is not a love of my life.  Nevertheless I knew Napoleon travelled.  I was aware of Warsaw and his love of a Polish woman, too.  But Elblag?  Yes…  In fact he was in Elblag three times in 1807 – 1813. They were short visits and mostly for military purposes. Elblag is situated very close to the Russian border and obviously Russia was on Napoleon’s bucket list .

Grafitti in Egypt (Philae) by Napoleon soldiers and Jaffa (another ‘haunt’), the old part of Tel Aviv


There is no monument, no notice or other paraphernalia to highlight and commemorate properly Napoleon Bonaparte’s presence in Elblag.  There is however – this  majestic Napoleon’s oak.  We went to search for it on one beautiful Sunday afternoon in October.  We followed the instruction from the old map we found on a website and here we go:  The map and Napoleon’s Oak.


To find the tree you need:

  • Visit Elblag (a town in Poland).
  • Find the old evangelical cemetery in Sadowa street where to our surprise… Angela Merkel’s Great grandparents’ grave can be found.
  • Pass the graves and walk along the whole cemetery to the right hand corner.
  • The Great Oak is there and it cannot be missed because it is the only tree there old enough to remember Napoleon’s era.
  • However there is no board or acknowledgement of what it is. Just believe….. (strange but true!).

By the grave mentioned above

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