More than half a million people live in Poznan (Polish Poznań), the capital of the Wielkopolska voivodship. The city can be reached from Berlin in only about three hours by train or car or within one and a half hour by plane from the UK. And yet Poznan is often still overshadowed by other Polish cities close to the border such as Gdansk, Szczecin or Wroclaw. But there is a lot to discover here! Many historians assume that Poznan was the first capital of Poland in the Middle Ages. So it is no wonder that there are so many places of interest here. The following list contains the most beautiful Poznan sights. If you need practical tips for planning your trip, just have a look here.
The following list contains the most beautiful sights of Poznan. If you need practical tips for your travel planning, just click here. And if you click here, you’ll get to the most beautiful destinations in the region.
Market place with town hall
I have seen many marketplaces in Poland. Wroclaw, Krakow, Zamosc, Warsaw – all of them are beautiful, no question. But nowhere do I feel as comfortable as on the marketplace in Poznan, one of my absolute favorite places in Poland. The beautiful colorful town houses, the renaissance town hall, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe – here you can just love it.
But the countless cafés, restaurants and bars do not only attract tourists, there is always something going on here day and night. Those who want to party in the evening either stay at the market or simply move on to one of the side streets. Here too it will never be boring.
From 1772 to 1795 Poland was divided between its neighbors Prussia, Russia and Austria until the country disappeared from the world map. Thus Poznan came under Prussian and later German control. The new rulers wanted to “Germanize” the entire region and thus immediately stamped an entire district out of the ground, which has survived to this day and is strongly reminiscent of Berlin. The Settlement Commission, which was to attract German settlers to the region, a magnificent theater and the beautiful university are among the highlights of the quarter, in which you can still find German traces everywhere. The most exciting building in the Prussian Quarter, however, is without doubt the Imperial Residence Palace.
Imperial residence palace
The Imperial Residential Palace is often referred to as the last newly built residence of a European ruler. The German Emperor Wilhelm II commissioned the crowning of the Prussian Quarter here. Between 1905 and 1913, an enormous building in the neo-Romanesque style was constructed. If the Emperor had known beforehand that he would have to abdicate after the First World War and could only visit the palace twice for a short time, he would certainly not have spent so much money to finance the project. After the First World War, the castle served as the residence of the president in now independent Poland.
After the Nazis had annexed the region in the Second World War, Adolf Hitler had the castle rebuilt as the “Führerresidenz” (Fuhrer’s residency) according to plans by Albert Speer. Today, you can walk through the rooms that were redesigned by the Nazis and see how various Nazi buildings in Berlin that no longer exist today should one day look.
Shopping and art – how does that fit together? For Grażyna Kulczyk, the richest woman in the country, this is no contradiction. Almost 20 years ago, she had a huge brewery in her hometown converted into a mall where a work of art can be admired on almost every corner or an exhibition is taking place – definitely one of the top 10 Poznan Poland sights. No wonder that the Old Brewery (Stary Browar) has already been voted the best shopping center in the world. Here you can also find the exciting design hotel Blow Up Hall 50 50, a cinema and a beautiful courtyard.
Jesuit College and Parish Church
The Jesuits are a Catholic order founded in the 16th century to fight the Reformation. In doing so, they do not only rely on the sword, but also on the pen – education played a major role in the order. Schools and universities of the order were established in half of Europe. This baroque complex of school and church was one of the most magnificent of the order. White and red color elements alternate here and one can hardly get enough of the many playful decorations. So it is not surprising that the city council secured the college for itself and today has its seat here. By the way, it is most beautiful here directly at sunrise, when the sunrays slowly climb up the church tower and you can take wonderful pictures.
Is the small island between the rivers Warta and Cybina really the cradle of the Polish state? Many historians locate here the remains of a castle of the first Polish kings Mieszko and Bolesław, who brought Christianity to Poland. Whether this castle was located here or in Gniezno, the opinions are divided. It is certain, however, that this is the oldest part of Poznan. With the impressive Poznan Cathedral, it is also the most important church in the city. In the Byzantine Golden Chapel the remains of Mieszko and Bolesław are kept. In addition to the Cathedral, there are several important museums on the Cathedral Island, which provide information about the history of the country or show the treasures of the Cathedral.
From the Cathedral Island you only have to walk once across the bridge with its characteristic red steel construction and you have already arrived in the most creative and currently most exciting district of Poznan. For a long time there was nothing going on here at all, everything seemed a little dilapidated and somehow boring. In the last five years this has changed completely. Street art, hip pubs and lots of young start-ups are attracting more and more curious people to the mini-city district, which is only about 1 km² in size. So it’s high time to make a little stop here on the way to Lake Malta. Śródka has earned its place on the Top 10 Poznan Poland Sightseeing List.
Enough of the city stroll? It is only 1.5 kilometers from the market place to the huge Lake Malta. Here you can relax wonderfully. Whether in the Malta Thermal Baths, in a terrace restaurant, during a jogging or bicycle tour around the lake or on the toboggan run – there is something for everyone. And if you like it really crazy, you can even ski at Lake Malta in summer! Major sporting events such as the World Rowing Championship are also held here time and again.
Before the First World War, the Prussian government not only had its own quarter built, but also erected two defense rings around the city to protect Poznan from an imminent Russian invasion. Many of the defensive structures now serve as pubs or museums or are in ruins. Fort VII, however, holds a dark secret, as the Nazis set up a concentration camp here during World War II. It was here that mentally ill patients were killed with carbon monoxide, thus testing for the first time the killing of concentration camp prisoners by gas. Today, a moving memorial reminds us of the sad past of this place.
The last retreat of the Prussian defense should be the citadel of Poznan. Battles did not take place here until the end of the Second World War, when the Red Army conquered the city from the Wehrmacht. Today, the citadel is home to a military cemetery and two military history museums, which remind us of the city’s warlike past.
The citadel is also a popular destination for excursions and has many walking paths, a rose garden and several modern works of art in its well-kept green areas. It is clear that the Citadel therefore belongs on the list of the Top 10 PoznaD sights.
- Bingel, Markus (Author)
What are your Top 10 Poznan Poland sights? Let us know and leave a comment!