Poznan, one of the most undervalued Polish cities. Outshined by the touristic cities likes Krakow and Warsaw. Don’t get me wrong, both cities are great and offer a lot to do and to see. But because of that, tourists are everywhere you go. Every corner you turn, there they are! If you want to visit Poland without these tourist groups, the tours and the commerce, go to charming little Poznan. It actually is the 5th city of Poland. Because of its central position, Poznan has evolved into a major business city. Luckily, for tourists there are also plenty of things to do in Poznan. And you don’t have to go far, because the Stary Rynek offers it all. In this blog post, I tell you all about the Stary Rynek in Poznan, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
Ryneks in Poland
The ‘Rynek’ itself isn’t that special, because almost every major Polish city has one. A Rynek means market and refers to the central square in the city. Centuries ago these squares were the places where merchants sold their goods. The daily lives of people took place here. And this hasn’t changed. Still many Polish people spend their day around the square. So it’s the perfect spot to get to know Poznan.
At Poznan’s Stary Rynek
In the middle of the Rynek you will spot the most oldest and idyllic houses of Poznan: a row of sixteenth century tiny little houses. Purple, green, red and brown, all the colors of the rainbow in one chain. In my mind I see tiny chocolate boxes squished together. In reality these are fishermen houses where the merchants sold their fish in the sixteenth century. Nowadays the fishermen have disappeared and the souvenir stalls took over. It’s not much, only two or three stalls. Just ignore them and you will see a decor straight out of a fairytale.
The Town Hall
Right next to the fishermen houses you will find the ultimate pride of Poznan, the white and green Town Hall. Nowadays this building is used as a historical museum. As you’re standing in front of this magnificent structure, make sure to take in all the details on the front. You will count several images of Polish kings. Poznan is seen as the cradle of the Polish nation, because this is the city where the first Polish kings held their court. If you are in luck and you’re here at noon, you will notice tourists gathering around you. All in suspense for the two headbutting mechanical billy goats that can burst out of the clock any minute now. According to legend two runaway goats stormed into the town hall and got into a fight with each other. Such a major historical event should be not be forgotten, hence the mechanical goats.
The Stary Rynek is shaped by a square of chalk-colored sixteenth century merchant houses. Most of them are replicas. Almost 60 percent of the city got destroyed during the second World War. Shortly after the war the Rynek was restored according to the original style, the Baroque and the Renaissance. Every house on the square is unique and has its own color, details and shape. And some of them also have their own unique stories. According to legend a sixteenth century merchant, living in one of these houses, actually turned into a wearwolf. Whether this is true or not, I couldn’t get enough of the Rynek. So it was a true pleasure to look over my photos one more time before publishing this post.
Around the Stary Rynek
Also the streets surrounding the Rynek have plenty to offer. Take for instance the Franciszkańska street where you can still see parts of the Royal Castle from the twelfth century. Although the castle has been renovated, it’s still a reminder of the city’s long history. Poznan also has some amazing cathedrals. For example, the St. Stanislaus Cathedral in the Gołębia street (see photo in the header). A true gem, don’t you think? Easily to spot by it salmon pink colored walls. The exterior is already beautiful, but wait until you’re inside. It’s stunning! If you make your way further down the Gołębia street, you will see the former Jesuit College (nowadays State Ballet School). The nearby Chopin Park makes it a great spot to relax on an easy sunday afternoon.
What do you think of Poznan? Would you visit it?