Poznań residents are said to be frugal, hard-working and well-organized. These attributes
must have manifested themselves equally strongly in our ancestors as they were the ones to
establish the Polish state here a millennium ago. Poznań and Gniezno, a town 50 km away,
were Poland’s first capitals. The two are linked by the tourist Piast Trail strewn with traces
of ancient history such as the Lednica Lake island with remnants of a 9th to 10th century
settlement which, as legend has it, was the birthplace of Boleslav the Brave, Poland’s first
The tombs of Boleslav the Brave and his father, Duke Mieszko, are housed in Poznań’s
Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. Set on Romanesque foundations, the Cathedral’s above-
ground structure is rendered in the Gothic style. Poznań’s second most precious building
is its 16th-century Renaissance Town Hall in the Old Market Square, surrounded by
historic tenement houses painstakingly reconstructed after World War II. A short walk
down Gołębia Street will take you to the Parish Church, one of Poland’s most magnificent
Baroque places of worship. When in the Old Market Square, do not miss the head-butting
billy-goats on the Town Hall tower. Take time to enjoy the specialties of Wielkopolska’s
regional cuisine available in many of the Old Town’s restaurants. The time leading up to
Christmas is particularly festive in the Square, owing partly to the Christmas Fair named The
Poznań Bethlehem. The event is accompanied by an array of art performances and cultural
presentations, including the international ice sculpting festival.
Poznań is home to numerous historic sites and buildings such as the highly impressive
and imposing Kaiser,s Castle, which has recently been renovated, and was the last Kaiser
residence erected in Europe with such dramatic flourish.
Equally noteworthy are Poznań’s remarkable late-19th-century tenement houses in the Jeżyce
district, which represent a showcase of Poznań’s Art Nouveau architecture.
Poznań residents have derived much of their wealth from crafts and trade. For centuries,
Poznań has been famed for its fairs. The largest of them was St. John’s Fair held on 24 June,
principally a gathering of grain and wool traders. Today’s St. John’s Fair attracts master
artistic craftsmen from all across Poland: handcrafters, painters, sculptors and collectors of
Poznań residents have always respected knowledge and science. Poznań’s first institution of
higher education, the Lubrański Academy, was founded in 1518. Its scientific traditions were
cultivated by the Jesuit College. Today, they are continued by 26 universities and colleges.
Poznań is also a shopper’s paradise. Its shopping precincts and malls offer world brands as
well as domestic wares. The shopping scene is made up of small art galleries, jewelry stores,
antique shops and vintage item fairs held each weekend in the post-industrial space of the
former slaughterhouse complex.
Poznań’s business-friendly climate has attracted foreign investors in great numbers, among
them such global behemoths as Volkswagen, GlaxoSmithKline, Bridgestone, Wrigley,
SABMiller, Dalkia Group, Beiersdorf, Exide, Kimball Electronics, Bertelsmann, Carlsberg,
Franklin Templeton, MAN, and Microsoft.
Poznań is a city of culture. It is home to the superior, world-renowned men and boys’ choir
conducted by Stefan Stuligrosz, Poland’s only Polish Ballet Dance Theatre and Agnieszka
Duczmal’s Chamber Orchestra. Music lovers come here from far and wide to witness the
Henryk Wieniawski International Violin and Violin-Making Competition held every five
Poznań is the site of a great number of theatres. Alternative theatre enthusiasts regularly visit
the Malta International Theatre Festival, which has become the city’s June flagship event.