Poznań a capital of Wielkopolska province, is the fifth biggest city in Poland with population of 580 000. It is a dynamic economic, academic, scientifical and cultural centre. Thanks to its excellent economic performance and International Fair the city is often called the economic capital of Poland.
The beginnings of Poznań date from the 9th century when on a isle among backwaters of Warta river a medieval city was founded. In the 10th century it was the capital of Poland. After the baptism of Polish nation the first bishopric on Polish land was founded in 968 AD in Poznań. In 1038 the city was completely destroyed by the Czech duke Brzetysław and the capital was moved to Kraków (Cracow). From 1138 on, as a result of district breakage Poznań became a capital of Wielkopolska duchy.
In 1253 Poznań as a new city located on the left bank of Warta obtained city laws and became the main city and the capital of Wielkopolska province. In the 15th and 16th centuries, thanks to the location on the cross-roads of many trade routes and the growth of craft, it developed considerably. From the second half of 17th century a poorer period for the city began. It was, among others, caused by numerous wars that Poland waged at that time, plagues and floodings.
At the end of 18th century it was a time of some reforms in Poland and in 1791 the first written, modern constitution in Europe was enacted. Nevertheless, after the second partition of Poland, since 1793 until 1806 Poznań fell under the Prussian rule. After the Vienna Congress (1815), there was founded Great Duchy of Poznań with the capital in Poznań, and under the Hohenzollern monarchy. In 19th century Poznań was a small provincial town near (60km) the border between Prussia and Russia. Apart from a considerable number of Prussian civil servants, the city hosted a large military garrison serving the fortress built around the city. At the turn of centuries, a rapid development of industry resulted in considerable growth of the city.
In 19th century, in particular after incorporation into German Empire (1871), in Poznań and also the whole Wielkopolska district there was pursued a germanization action. Polish culture and language were persecuted. The city was the center of independence movements against Prussian occupation. At the end of World War I, Wielkopolska Uprising (1918-1919) brought freedom to the city.
During the World War II there was the extermination of Polish population. The occupator wanted to destroy all signs of Polish patriotism. In the final phase of the war, in the fights for freeing the city from the Hitler occupation, the city was damaged in 45%. Since 1946 a fast reconstruction and expansion of the city began. In 1956 in Poznań, there took place demonstrations against comunism brutally crushed by the army.
Poznań is a city rich in monuments both in quality and quantity. Most of them are in the city centre and they date from all époques from Romanesque to eclecticism and modernism.
OUTSIDE THE OLD CITY
Poznań's Cathedral is situated in the oldest part of the city - Ostrów Tumski and at the same time it is the oldest monument of the city. The first, three-nave pre-Romanesque cathedral was built by Mieszko I and it was destroyed in 1039 by the Czechs. Until 1058 a new, two-towered Romanesque basilica was built. In the years 1636-1650 it was rebuilt in the Baroque style. After the year 1790 the front elevation was rebuilt in classical style. After the destruction of the World War II the Cathedral was reconstructed in the gothic form from 14th and 15th century. Poznań's cathedral is a necropolis of first kings of Poland (Mieszko I and Bolesław the Brave).
WITHIN THE OLD CITY
The Old Market Square is a central square of the Old Town on the plan of a square of the side of 141 m. It is the third biggest market square in Poland. From each frontage there are three streets; four of them used to lead to town gates. Apart from tenement houses in the central part of the market square there are administrative and trade buildings: town hall, scales, and guardhouse. At first, there were only wooden buildings which were subsequently replaced by brick buildings, especially after the great fire in 1471. During the World War II almost 60% of the buildings from the Old Market Square were destroyed but they have been restored according to the old documentation.
The Town Hall is situated in the central part of the Old Market Square. It used to be a seat for town council, and now it is one of the most precious monuments of Renaissance architecture in Europe. It was constructed at the turn of 13th and 14th centuries, and then rebuilt in the middle of 16th century in Renaissance style by an Italian architect John Baptist Quadro. During the World War II the Town Hall was seriously damaged and it has been reconstructed in a close form to the Renaissance picture. On the small platform in the front of the building every day at noon (since 1551) there appears a pair of striking billy goats. It is connected with a legend telling about goats that were to enter the building. The Town Hall has got very interesting interiors with, among others, so called Great Hall.
Działyński's Palace is situated on the eastern side of the Old Market Square. It was constructed in the 70s of the 18th century for the great Lithuanian marshal Władysław Gurowski. It owes its name to the Działyński's family who were in possession of it in the years 1808-1872. It was restored after the year 1945 when it was burnt. The front façade is embellished with antic scenes, and the attic is topped with a sculpture of a pelican - a symbol of sacrifice and dedication. The most splendid room in the palace is the Red Hall on the first floor, where the sculptures of Polish kings are: Władysław Łokietek with Kaziemierz Wielki and Władysław Jagiełło with his brother Witold.
Parish Church of St. Stanislaus is one of the most precious Baroque monuments in Poland. It was built by the Jesuits. The construction took more than 50 years and it was consecrated in 1649. In 1798 the church became Parish Town Church. The church has got a very rich, spacious, three-nave interior. It is well known from the organs made in 1876 by Friedrich Ladegast. During weekends there are held organ concerts.
The Museum of Musical Instruments is the only museum of such kind in Poland. In its collection there are about two thousand items from all over the world.
Franciscan church was erected in the Baroque style in the years 1674-1728. The three-nave temple possesses an interesting interior with stuccowork, paintings by a local monk Adam Swatch, a high altar and richly ornamented stalls, as well as epitaphs and portraits of the monastery's benefactors.
City walls surrounding medieval city were built about the year 1280 in the place of wooden and ground fortifications that were established immediately after the location. The height of the walls used to reach 11 m and its thickness used to be - 1-1.2 m. There used to be also about 35 towers and 4 gates. Nowadays, there are only some small remnants of former fortifications: a restored square tower at the former Dominicans' convent or a corner tower - a relic of the exterior line of fortifications.
Bernardine Church (outside but very close to the old city) is one of the characteristic features in Poznań's panorama. The monastery was founded in 1455 but the present-day edifice is Baroque and comes from the years 1658-1668. The characteristic twin façade was created in the years 1730-1737 and was adorned with numerous figures of saints.
WITHIN THE CITY CENTRE
The Great Theatre - Opera House neoclassical building was constructed in the years 1909-1910. Characteristic are six massive columns and the statue of Pegasus in the front façade. Nowadays, it is one of the best opera houses (there are 900 seats) in the country.
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (different from Poznań Unversity of Technology) was established in 1919 under the name "Wszechnica Państwowa" (State University) and in 1920 it was renamed Poznań University. Since 1955 it bears the name of Adam Mickiewicz. The rector's office is situated in the Collegium Minus - a building in Dutch Renaissance style that was constructed (1905-10) for the Prussian Royal Academy.
The Monument of Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855 - famous Polish poet) is situated next to the building of Adam Mickiewicz University. This is the third monument of the bard erected in 1960. The former ones were: since 1859 in the garden of St. Martin church and since 1904 on the yard of Polish Society of Friends of Science in the Mielżyński St.
The Monument of Poznań's June 1956 is located on the Mickiewicz's Square, between the Castle and the Collegium Minus building. It was erected to commemorate bloody scuffles with security forces with the toll of 70 killed and many more injured. At that time citizens of Poznań demonstrated against poor social conditions during hard times under communist rule in Poland.
Emperor's Castle was built in the years 1904-1910 as a residence of emperor of Germany, Wilhelm II. Between the two World Wars it was the residence of the president of Poland and in the part of it there was the Poznań University. During the War, the castle was seriously damaged and while restoring, the tower was lowered by about 20 m. Today, the Castle is a cultural centre where many events take place such as exhibitions, concerts or festivals.
The National Museum Gallery of paintings and sculpture - there is a rich collection of Polish and foreign paintings. The permanent exhibitions are: the Medieval Art Gallery and the Foreign Art Gallery- the most valuable collection of Spanish painting in Poland.
Church of St Martin was mentioned already in 1252, with the present-day form reconstructed after World War II, dates back to the beginnings of the 16th century. Inside there is a Late Gothic Triptych of St. Catherine.
The existing Gothic structure of Church of St Adalbert was build in the first half of the 15th century and was subsequently modified at the turn of 16th and 17th centuries. The edifice is a small, Gothic, three-nave pseudobasilica with manieristic gables. In front of the church there is a wooden belfry from the beginnings of the 17th century. The church's interior is covered with Secession polychromy. The high altar contains a Late Gothic relief presenting the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary.
OUTSIDE THE CITY CENTRE
The Citadel - it is a hill almost in the very centre of the city. Until 1945, there used to be a Prussian Fort 'Winiary'. It was built in the years 1828-39 and the overall length of the fortifications was more than 3 km and its surface was about 100 ha. The whole fort was surrounded by a moat of the width and depth of 9-12 m. During World War II the fort was destroyed and also after the war pulled down. At present, in the Citadel there is a cemetery of soldiers fallen during World War II, "Poznań" Army Museum and Armament Museum. Apart from its historic part the Citadel is one of the biggest parks of Poznań.
Malta - these are recreation grounds surrounding the Malta Lake. There is one of the best racing paths which were opened for World Championships in canoeing in 1991. At the lake, there is a year-round artificial ski slope and a sled track. In the vicinity of Malta Lake there is a ZOO that you can reach in a narrow-gauged rail which leads along the shore. Close to the north bank, there is an interesting church of St. John of Jerusalem, originally owned by Maltese order that also gave the name to this part of the city.
|Facts about Poznań||http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poznan|
Take the opportunity to visit Kraków, the city often considered as the most fascinating in Central Europe.
KRAKÓW (Cracow) lies in the southern part of Poland on the Vistula River. Approximately 300 km North is Warsaw, the capital of Poland, and 100 km South are the Tatra Mountains, forming the southern border of the country.
Kraków lies at the crossroads of principal railway routes forming a convenient and reliable network of domestic train connections and several international ones, including daily services to Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Dresden, and Kiev.) From Poznań there are 5 direct connections a day (taking about 6 hours depending on the type of train) and frequent indirect connections - with a change in Warsaw (taking about 6-7 hours).
Those who would like to travel by car must be aware that the journey may take about 7 hours.
The attractions of Krakow
The uniqueness of Kraków is primarily due to the rare cultural heritage embodied in the walls surrounding the city. Here, in the year 1000 a Roman Catholic bishopric was founded. Here royal castle was built on the Wawel Hill, becoming the coronation and burial place of kings, as Kraków was the capital of Poland from the 11th - 16th century. Here in 1364, the Kraków Academy was established, the first Polish university (today renamed the Jagiellonian University).
The city image has changed during the past centuries. In the Middle Ages Kraków was safe, rich fortified city surrounded by walls with 55 towers (fragments of the city fortification have been preserved to this day). During the Renaissance, Kraków became the centre of new ideas and culture that attracted the most outstanding humanists, writers, architects and musicians. Even a little later, while the city was going through economic decline during the period of Modernism, the whole of the Polish artistic elite found the safe haven. City life focused around the Market Square, the second largest in Europe after St. Mark's Square in Venice.
Tradition interlaces with modern times nearly everywhere you go, and each stone has its own history. There is a multitude of architectural monuments estimated at 6 thousand buildings and other types and forms of structures. This is supplemented by approximately 2.5 million artefacts collected and displayed in museums, churches and archives. Thanks to the extraordinary accumulation of cultural wealth, the city was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is impossible to describe or even list all the tourist attractions in Kraków, but, each tourist will discover his own "magical" Kraków. While some will follow the footsteps of Nicholas Copernicus, others will be interested in sites linked with John Paul II. Some will be fascinated by the world-wide unique underground corridors of the Wieliczka salt mine and others will wander round the Kazimierz Jewish district. Many will stand enchanted in front of the Wit Stwosz altar.
How to get to Kraków from Poznań:
By train: Take an IC train to Warsaw Central Station (Warszawa Centralna) and change there to an IC train to Kraków (Kraków Main Station - Kraków Główny) or take direct standard train (EX, TLK). Be aware of compulsory seat reservations in IC, EX, TLK trains. The IC trains offer good standard while the standard of EX and TLK trains is lower.
Train schedules: http://rozklad.pkp.pl
By car: By standard conditions, over 5 hours drive.
Tip: Kraków has a very well-connected international airport, so you may use it for coming back home after a post-conference excursion to Kraków.
WROCŁAW, the capital of Lower Silesia is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Poland. It is located at Odra River and because of the fact that it lies on 12 isles and has 112 bridges it is called "Polish Venice".
From Poznań there are a lot of direct train connections (almost every hour) taking about 2 hours depending on the type of train. The journey by car will take about 3 hours taking national road no 5.
Wrocław is an excellent example of a multicultural metropolis situated at the interface of ethnically diverse areas.
The bishopric was founded already in the year 1000 as a part of the first Polish archbishopric in Gniezno. From 1138 on, as a result of district breakage of Poland, the city was the seat of dukes that, in 14th century, came under supremacy of kings of Bohemia. The Habsburg reign (1526-1741) was followed by Prussian reign. The city was well known under the German name Breslau and German population became dominating. After the tragedy of II World War Wrocław restored its historical beauty and nowadays it is one of the cities in Poland with an outstanding atmosphere.
Some of the most interesting places to see are:
Ostrów Tumski - the biggest church complex in Wrocław, the seat of archbishopric. The main edifice is a gothic St John Baptist cathedral. Other monuments: gothic St Cross and St Bartholomew church, Romanesque-gothic St Idzi and Martin churches, and chapter house.
The old market square and the Town Hall - one of the biggest and most beautiful in Poland is surrounded by historic tenement houses. The Town Hall is a pearl of gothic and renaissance architecture.
Racławice Panorama - monumental painting by Wojciech Kossak and Jan Styka 120m x 15m. It came into being in Lwów (Lviv - now in Ukraine) at the turn of the years 1893 and 1894 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Kościuszko Insurrection (Polish uprising against Russia). After WWII, together with many city inhabitants, it was moved from Lwów to Wrocław. The opening of Racławice Panorama took place 14.06.1985. It is one of the greatest panoramas in the world.
|Wrocław - Wikipedia||http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wroclaw|
|Wroclaw Internet Service||http://www.wroclaw.pl/ms/english/|
is one of the most beautiful cities of Poland. Picturesquely located on the both banks of the Vistula River, at a site of intersection of ancient trade routes, it has been propagating its traditional economy and openness to the world for nearly 800 years. The gothic buildings of Toruń's Old Town, which won the designation of World Heritage Site from UNESCO in 1997, present proof of Toruń's centuries-old economic, cultural and intellectual ties with the leading cities of Europe associated in the Hanseatic League.
You can reach Toruń taking road no. 5 (direction: Bydgoszcz), in Gniezno turn onto road no. 15 (direction: Toruń) to Toruń - via Strzelno, Inowrocław. The distance is 156 km.
It is quite easy to travel to Toruń by train. There are a lot of connections, almost every hour. Some of them are direct and take about 2-2,5 hours and others need a change.
Toruń - as all cities with rich history - has its own magical places.
Tourists and citizens of Toruń point at a lane near The Leaning Tower, arches between apartment houses in Ciasna street, spacious Philadelphia Boulevard, whole area of the Old Town Market, constantly crowded Szeroka street and the Dream Valley hugging the Old Town. In 1997, Toruń was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Parts of Toruń's atmosphere are also traditional meetings near the Rafter's Monument, playing his fiddles for the frogs and Nicolaus Copernicus - who "stopped the Sun and moved the Earth". When sightseeing in the home city of the great astronomer, hundreds of thousands of spectators find it a natural thing to attend a spectacle in Planetarium. Do not leave the town without buying some gingerbread (pol. PIERNIK), a local honey-and-spice speciality. It has been popular here for many years, as attested by the medieval moulds in the District Museum. Numerous shops sell it, notably the one in the Old Market, the edible variety usually comes shaped in small cakes.
|Toruń - Wikipedia||http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torun|
|Toruń - Official website||http://www.torun.pl/portal/index.php?lang=en|