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Old Writing website

The dawnepismo.ank.gov.pl website is a place for fans of old writing, lovers of the artistry of scribes and illustrators as well as for all those who like to decipher writing from the past.

The Old Writing project has been carried out by the National Archives in Krakow since 2013, including the preparation of a website acting as an interactive guide to the science of deciphering old writing, which we are gradually complementing with new content.

The website consists of:

  • a theoretical part – presenting subjects connected with the history of writing
  • a practical block – allowing you to try exercises in deciphering historical documents
  • an education through fun zone – offering a set of games and fun activities connected with old writing

Our goal is to pass on our knowledge concerning writing in a user-friendly manner, differing from the methods used in textbooks, and, above all, to help you to independently acquire practical skills through exercise and fun activities.

The project is targeted at:

  • users of archives, including amateur genealogists and historians, who are presented with the task of “deciphering” writing from centuries ago in their searches
  • students and teachers searching the mysteries of the past, as well as those who research the history of writing
  • history fans.

The practical exercises and fun activities have been prepared based on documents created from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. They include royal privileges, private letters and entries in record books. The texts present various levels of difficulty, thanks to which it is easy to choose tasks which are suitable for you. The project is entirely based on archival materials from the resources of the National Archives in Krakow.

We invite you to visit https://dawnepismo.ank.gov.pl/, a place where you can not only independently decipher a royal document, but also write your name using the hand of a medieval scribe or complete a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of an old map.

The project is carried out with the financial support of the Supervisory Director of the State Archives.