Poznan is one of Poland’s oldest cities. Nowadays it is the chief city of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland region) and a major center of business and culture. Every year this Polish city hosts the Poznań International Fair (Miedzynarodowe Targi Poznańskie MTP) which is rated 21st in the world among similar events.
Poznan delights with diversity–each part of the town stands for its specific character–from the medieval Cathedral Island, the Baroque-Renaissance Old Town Square with the Town Hall, the Art Nouveau architecture of Jeżyce and the metropolitan Downtown. Everyone will find something for themselves, as confirmed by the crowds of tourists from every corner of Europe.
For sightseeing in Poznan, it is best to start with Cathedral Island, which is situated on the right bank of the river Warta. Here is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, also called the Cathedral. It is the oldest relic of Poznań–its beginnings date back 968 years. Its interior holds valuable works of art from Silesia and Wielkopolska (Greater Poland). Besides the Cathedral, you can visit the Archbishop’s Palace, Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Psalterie or the Lubrański Academy–the first higher education institution in Poznan, now the Museum of the Archdiocese.
Another important point to see is the Old Market. This is the third-largest market in Poland. It is surrounded by mostly two-story townhouses, formerly wood, now brick. Once they housed shops and workshops of local merchants and artisans. 12 streets, 3 on each sdte, lead to the Market. Four of them formerly led to the gates of the city. There are four fountains–Neptune, Mars, Apollo and Proserpine, and also the monument of John Nepomucen Barberki and the Pillory.
The most interesting monument in the Old Town Square is the Town Hall, a Renaissance building designed by Italian architect Giovanni Baptista Quadro of Lugano. On one of the three towers of the hall is a clock with goats. They commemorate a funny moment from 1551, when the clock was put into operation on the tower. Apparently two goats intended for slaughter escaped from the kitchen and got on the tower, much to the delight of onlookers. Since then, every day at noon, goats show up from the central tower and clink the horns 12 times. They became a symbol of the city and its second unofficial emblem and at the same time a tourist attraction. Since 2002, next to the City Council stands a statue of goats cast in bronze.
Around the market there are a lot of interesting buildings. Among them are a Jesuit college (now the seat of the City), a parish church dedicated to St. Stanislaw (one of the largest baroque churches in Poland), the eighteenth-century Jesuit school (which now houses the National Ballet School) and Gorka Palace, the current seat of the Archaeological Museum.
An interesting and most recognizable object in the capital of Wielkopolska is the Imperial Castle. A monumental, neo-Romanesque building project by Franz Schwechten arose as the residence of German Emperor Wilhelm II. Completed in 1919 the castle was prepared during World War II as the residence of Adolf Hitler. Despite the fact that the Fuhrer has never appeared there, we can still visit his office in the former chapel of the Imperial Castle. Currently, it houses the Cultural Centre.
Sports lovers should visit the excellent rowing and canoeing facilities on (the artificial) Lake Malta, where the World Canoe Championships took place in 1990. Year-round skiing and a luge track are also available nearby.