Poznań – rich heritage and great food

Poznań is the fifth largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland with a rich and interesting heritage. Situated 200 miles south west of the Baltic city of Gdańsk it offers the visitor a fascinating glimpse into its past with all the benefits of a modern city. One of only a few places in the world with buildings from all the architectural periods, from the Romanesque, through Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque to the modernist.

The most interesting of the buildings are located in three distinct areas which are all within easy reach of each other. The Island of Tumski (Cathedral Island), The Old Town and the Centre.  

Poznań’s importance in Poland probably stems back 966 A.D. when Prince Mieszko I accepted Christianity  in a symbolic baptism of the Nation. His son Boleslaw became Poland’s first crowned king and interestingly the Cathedral that replaced his Castle in 968 A.D. is still standing.

The cathedral is truly stunning. From the outside the distinctive three nave basilica and 62m tall spires make for an impressive sight. But it’s when you go inside that the full beauty of the building is revealed. The cathedral has 12 chapels. The inside is restored to its gothic form and contains many examples of precious art. Look out for the exquisite and valuable early 17th century Flemish tapestry located on the pillar behind the archbishop’s chair.  The city buildings are influenced by its occupiers over the years have included Swedish, Prussian, Russian and German.

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At the heart of the city is the Old Market Square (Stary Rynek). Beautifully decorated renaissance Town Hall, which has origins in the 13th century, is flanked by a couple of eye catching Baroque facades. In the centre turret, above the clock there is a small ledge where every day at noon a pair of goats appear to the delight of the crowd. The Great Hall has one of the most beautiful Renaissance interiors in Poland and well worth a visit.

Poznań is more than just a stunning trip though history it also offers one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Poland – the old brewery ‚Stary Browar’. it is now a unique and exciting place where shopping arcades adjoin the Art Courtyard, which promotes events related to painting, sculpture, theatre, music, dance, happenings, as well as, films. Take a look at the 360 degree panoramas from the menu of www.starybrowar.pl/en/ to get a feel for what makes a trip to the old brewery unforgettable.

A local delicacy is the Saint Martin croissants – rogale świętomarcińskie, a gorgeous iced croissant filled with nuts, poppy seeds and cream. The history of these delicious croissants goes back to 1891 when the parish priest of St. Martin appealed to his congregation to do something for the poor on St. Martin’s Day on 11 November. The taste, smell and appearance of the dish is taken so seriously that even today there is a certification scheme which annually accredits confectioneries with labels “Poznanski Tradycyjny Rogal Świętomarciński”.  It is said that several tonnes are eaten on this day every year.

Poznań is easy to get to by air from a number of regional airports in the UK. So don’t delay, book today and enjoy Poland’s best kept secrets!

Martin Westall, Joanna Gulbinska

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