The capital city of Poznań
|Old marketplace and city hall|
Poznań is among the oldest cities in Poland. The city lies in the Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) region in which the Polish state was born, and has witnessed several important historical events. The origins of the town date back to ancient times...
|St. Mary's church in the Ostrów Tumski. In this place were palace of Mieszko I (the ruler of the Polans)|
It was a very, very long time ago. In ancient times three brothers lived in this - Lech, Czech and Rus - the legendary ancestors of the three Slavic nations: Poles, Czechs and Russians. Once they decided each of them would go his own way to get to know foreign countries. They promised to meet again when they reach adulthood. The years passed. Lech arrived in the land covered with dense forest. He founded his town there, which he called Gniezdno. One autumn day when prince Lech was returning from the hunting, suddenly he heard the sound of the horn and the clatter of horses' hooves in the forest. A group of unknown bearded and armed warriors rode into the clearing.
When prince Lech saw knights he shouted happily: "Poznaję was! Tak! Czech! Rus! Moi ukochani bracia!" (English: I recognise you! I do! Czech! Rus! My beloved brothers!) The joy exploded. To celebrate this remarkable reunion, it was decided to found a town in this place, where river Cybina flows into the river Warta, and call it Poznań (from the Polish word "poznać" meaning "to recognise").
So the legend goes, and how was it really?
The history of Poznań began in the 9th century when a grad was raised on Ostrów Tumski (one of the islands at the confluence of the Warta and Cybina rivers) to guard a river crossing. This is a place where Mieszko I - prince of Poland, was baptised and established Poland’s first bishopric. Poznań became the first capital of Kingdom of Poland, hence the official name - "The capital city of Poznań".
|Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island)|
In the first half of 10th century the settlement was devastated by Bretislaus I, Duke of Bohemia and Polish Duke Casimir I the Restorer moved the capital to Kraków.
In 1253, the brothers Przemysł I and Bolesław the Pious founded a new city on the left bank of the river Warta.
Through the next ages - and numerous power struggles - Poznan has overcome some overwhelming forces and has been key to Poland's current status. It remained in Poland until the second partition of the country (1793), when it passed to Prussia. In 1807 Poznań was included in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and again passed to Prussia in 1815. The arrival of famous Polish composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski on 26 December 1918 was the signal for the outbreak the Wielkopolska Uprising. The city and the Wielkopolska Region (Greater Poland region) reverted to Poland in 1919.
|Houses on the Old Market Square|
During World War II, along with the rest of Wielkopolska, Poznań was incorporated into the Reich as Reichsgau Wartheland. Many Poles were expelled to the General Government area. The city regained its freedom on 23 February 1945.
|Former Jesuit College|
Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre in one of Poland's most populous regions with many regional customs. Situated to the west of the country on the route from Berlin to Warsaw, the city has a population of well over 600,000 people.
|Old marketplace and city hall|
The city is mainly associated with the Poznań International Trade Fair, but it is also a university city where some 100,000 people study at various academic institutions. Poznań is a capital of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) Voivodeship.
|City hall and guard house|
Poznań is a fascinating city. Like the other larger Polish cities, Poznań is a mix of old and new. The city has many old churches and museums with important art objects (read more at: Poznań Old Town). Its most notable buildings are a Gothic cathedral (badly damaged in World War II) and a 16th-century city hall. This city is exciting, vibrant, colourful, modern, and full of history. The area around Poznan is plentiful in attractive lakes and green areas making it an ideal place for seekers of culture, leisure, and of course fun!
You might also like other articles about beautiful Polish towns and cities (click)
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