“Poznany: One Who is Known”, “Stołeczne Miasto Poznań: The Capital City of Poznań”

Poznan, Poland, July 2015

One more time visiting this great city at little over 4 years since the first time. A bit different on this occasion though, back then was middle of July and so hot; this time almost winter, cold and grey-ish but the overall feeling was still the same, what a beautiful cosy place. It’s always a nice country to visit, and with so many cities and places worth to see, there are plenty more to plan for future trips. As usual anywhere in Poland I go, it is not only about the architecture and sights what makes me come to visit, but also the great food I love so much. This weekend won’t be any different in this case.

Poznan is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Residence of the oldest Polish diocese and home to the first cathedral built in the country soon becoming the prime burial place of the early Piast monarchs Mieszko I, Boleslaus I, Mieszko II, Casimir I, Przemysł I and King Przemysł II. The Cathedral is as such, one of the major landmarks and sight number one in the city, which coupled with an extensive Old Town and the “newer” area known as the Imperial District that was entirely built when the city was part of the German Empire; makes it perfect for a nice weekend city-break trip.

And if you are a fast pace visitor, pretty much as we are, then there is more than plenty of time to visit the entire city in just one day. If you came here for a weekend this means giving you an extra day to do something else or going to another city which I would highly recommend that to be Toruń. We did this combination and was more than enough time to visit both cities in full in a flexible quiet non stressful way.

The best way to visit the entire city and all of its sights is by following what is called the Imperial Route. This is, a circuit passing each of the major sights in an easy to follow order and way. You can find maps either over the internet or around the city centre signposted and showing you the current location you are at the moment in the point. Following the entire route does also not take too long and you will end up visiting the entire city, for what a day in Poznan is more than enough.

Poznan is really a beautiful city and won’t disappoint you. I’m glad we found flight tickets at this reasonable low price which came to a surprise bearing in mind this was at the peak of the high season that started few weeks before. Too unfortunate the next weekend to this we have nothing (or nothing so far unless a very last minute choice appears) due to the sky rocket prices to go anywhere even within the UK.

Mentioning here once again, (as I usually do for any Polish destination I travel), are these few lines about something I love the most while in Poland: food. Honestly, there are very few places in the world I can say the same but Polish dishes are at the same level of likes as Spanish, Italian and Greek. I cannot decide for one or the other the best. All are my favourite at the same time.

The usual here, dumplings (pierogi), borsch soup, bigos, the many sausages and lots of cheeses to name a few. Yet although there are plenty of restaurants, watch out for their prices; anywhere around the old town can easily be as much as double if not more than nearby streets for absolutely the same, and it does not even have to mean better quality either. Not because a place looks fancy is always a good choice, majority of times this will end up in being the most expensive choice, and probably the worst value for money and smaller portions.

For more information about Poznan check the Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Poland’s currency is the Zloty (PLN). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.

What to see and do in Poznan:

  • Imperial District All of it built under the German rule of the city and during the many years it lasted from 1793 until the WWII.

-Imperial Castle Built in 1910 in neo-Romanesque style occupying part of the grounds of the former city fortifications. It is one of the key highlights of the city, the most true Germanistic style building across all Poland. Today there are museums, galleries, restaurants, bars and even a cinema in the former Throne Room.

-Collegium Minus and Collegium Iuridicum Are the main buildings from the Adam Mickiewicz University. Beautiful architectural landmarks, unique examples to be found in Poland.

-Grand Theatre Built in 1910 by Max Littman in classical style, reminiscent of Roman architecture, became the home to the Polish Opera in 1924 ever since.

-Academy of Music With a striking new extension with titanium facade blends perfectly with the elegant yet simple lines of the German building.

-Central Post Office A very large building with a richly decorated facade.

-Raczyński Library Built in 1828 in classical style with a facade reminiscent of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

-University of Arts Built in 1919 and surrounding by many more elegant buildings around the avenues and parks within the area.

  • Old Town As opposed to the “newer” Imperial district, is the oldest area of the city that thankfully retained many of its original architecture plus many other buildings lost in the destruction of war rebuilt.

-Old Market Square Known in Polish as the Stary Rynek is the heart of the historic city centre where most of the tourist sites located.

-City Hall Built in 1560 in mannerism style with an elegant loggia by the Italian architect Giovanni Battista di Quatro is the centrepiece in the square. Daily at noon there is a display of goats with the striking of the clock and a traditional melody. The Great Hall Vestibule, in renaissance style is a masterpiece not to be missed. Other great stances are the Royal Hall and Courtroom.

-Row of merchant houses Are a very recognizable landmark in the city. Built in the 16th century and painted in different colors in the 1960s.

-Weighing House Right behind the City Hall, was originally built in 1534. Destroyed during WWII was rebuilt following pretty much its original design in 1960.

-Guardhouse Originally from the 18th century, rebuilt after the war in 1951, now serving as the Greater Poland Uprising Museum.

-Gorkas Palace Nowadays the Archaeological Museum.

-Buildings at numbers 50 and 51 Both are reconstruction of late Gothic buildings that were destroyed in WWII. They resemble those you can see in the Hanseatic Gothic architecture.

-Statues and fountains Decorate the public spaces within the square. Noteworthy are those of Apollo, Mars, Neptune, Bamberka and Proserpina fountains; and the Punishment post and Statue of Saint John.

-Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Built on the ground of previous generations destroyed during the centuries, meaning the first cathedral to be built in Poland. The current building dates back to 1821 and it’s burial place of the early Piast monarchs.

-Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Summo Located at the opposite side of the Cathedral’s square.

-Działyński Palace Built in 1776 in Baroque style richly decorated inside, with a classic facade decorated with sculptures.

-Royal Castle Originally dated to 1249, located on the hill Góra Zamkowa, literally meaning Castle Mountain. Almost entirely destroyed in WWII, from 2002 the first effort of reconstruction started, with an enhanced project launched in 2010 to rebuilt the remaining missing parts to its former glory.

-Jesuit College Originally built upon the Jesuit arrival in the city in the 16th century, the current building dates from 1719 onwards, with the two law towers and grand stairwell added in the 19th century.

-Fara Church Considered as one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Poland was built in 1701 by the Jesuit. The college together with the church are major landmarks in the city, noticeable for its Baroque pink and white facade.

-Church of Saint John of Jerusalem Located to the north of the Old Town, outside the former walls, is one of the oldest churches still standing in the city, built in the 11th century combining Romanesque,  brick Gothic and Baroque architecture.

-National Museum Housing a great collection of 16th century Polish paintings being the south wing building a beautiful 1904 architectural piece. located few streets to the west of the Market Square.

  • Central Train Station To the west of the city centre has become a new landmark in the city due to its striking 21st century architecture of glass and steel.

Transports:

Poznań-Ławica is the main airport serving the city, and the largest in the entire west region of Poland. Flag carrier LOT serves many international destinations in and outside of Europe, and it’s a short flight to Warsaw where you can interconnect to worldwide destinations. Low cost carriers serve this airport with generally really great deals all year round, bearing the peak summer months.

From the airport, the cheapest and easiest way to the city centre is by bus. There are 2 different lines, one, the normal bus number “59” takes just 5 minutes longer than the express line “L”. Bus 159 connects to Kaponiera Roundabout near the train station from early morning until 22.52pm. The night bus 242 then takes over on the same route; while the L line connects directly with the central train station between 5.00am and 22.00pm. Tickets can be bough at the vending machines in the bus stop outside the terminal building.

From elsewhere within Poland, there is a great railway connection since the city is a major transit hub interconnecting as far as Moscow to the east with the west of Europe with also direct connections to Berlin.

Within the city there is a good network of trams and buses, although within both the Old Town and the Imperial District there is no need to take any public transportation to move around. Distances are short and the city very compact, plus all the sights are within walking distance each other.

Accommodation:

Poznan has a great choice of hotels anywhere in the city of any range. Finding a good deal even at the peak of the high season was not difficult. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.

We stayed at the Don Prestige Residence, a great 4* property in the very heart of the city right by the historical city centre. Location could not be better as it was a quiet area and at the same time really near everything the city has to offer. Room was spacious, clean and well maintained, with all facilities needed and a great breakfast also included. Staff was very friendly, speaking good English and with a good attention to the guests.

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