Interesting Facts about Poznan
Poznan is a Polish city in Western Poland located on the Warta River. Poznan has a population around 540,000 making it the 5th largest city in Poland. Poznan is an important historical, cultural, and business center in Poland. It is a friendly, colorful, and vibrant city that we highly recommend visiting! Find out more interesting facts about Poznan below.
1. Poznan’s history dates back to the 9th century (at least!)
It is widely believed that Poznan is the birthplace of Poland. Prior to becoming the official Polish state, Poznan was an important cultural and political area of the Western Polans - a West Slavic and Lechitic tribe that lived in the area around the Warta River basin beginning in the 6th century.
The first recorded official ruler of West Polans and early Polish state was Mieszko I (the guy on the 10 złoty note!). Mieszko I was the founder of the Duchy of Poland (formed around the year 960) and his son Bolesław I the Brave was the first crowned King of Poland.
Poznan was officially established during the 10th century and received recognized city rights in the year 1253.
2. Poznan was the home of Poland’s first kings
Mieszko I was the founder of the Duchy of Poland. His son, Bolesław I the Brave was the first crowned King of Poland. The Poznań Cathedral, located on Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island), is the final resting place of some of the early rulers of Poland, including:
- 992 Mieszko I
- 1025 Bolesław the Brave
- 1034 Mieszko II
- 1058 Basimir the Restorer
- 1239 Władysław Odonic
- 1257 Przemysł I
- 1279 Bolesław Pobożny
- 1296 Przemysł II
Many of the tombs of these Polish rulers can still be observed within the Poznan Cathedral today.
3. Poznan is world famous for croissants
Saint Martin Croissants (known in Polish as Rogale Świętomarcińskie) are sweet croissants filled with almond paste and white poppy seeds. The legend of this traditional pastry dates back to a centuries-old story about a baker from Poznan who dreamt that Saint Martin entered the city upon a white horse that had lost its golden horseshoe. The following morning, the baker created horseshoe shaped croissants that were filled with almonds, white poppy seeds and nuts, which he then distributed to the poor around the city.
Every year on November 11th, there is a huge Saint Martin celebration in Poznan and everyone in the city enjoys a Saint Martin Croissant.
Since 2008, Saint Martin Croissants have been listed as a protected food by the European Union. An authentic rogal świętomarciński, must be made in the city of Poznan and only by trained and certified bakers. A bakery must get an official certificate prior to selling these delicacies.
There is even a fantastic Poznan Croissant Museum dedicated entirely to this history and the making of this tasty treat.
Read more about Saint Martin’s Day.
4. Poznan’s soccer team has world famous fans that are known for their signature cheer “The Poznan”
Lech Poznań is the one of the best soccer teams in the Polish league. The club is named Lech after the legendary founder of Poland. In addition to their success on the field, Lech Poznan is also known for having one of the strongest fan support in all of Poland. They even have a special cheer called “The Poznań” that has spread to other soccer fans around the world.
The Poznań is performed by fans turning their backs to the soccer field, joining arms and jumping up and down in unison.
5. The name Poznan may have a few different meanings
It is most likely that the name Poznan is taken from someone’s surname meaning the the definition of Poznan would be Poznan’s Town. It is also though that the name Poznan come from the Polish verb poznać, which means “to get to know” or “to recognize” meaning that Poznan is a “known town.”
6. Poznan has it’s own dialect of Polish
Many of those residing in Poznan use their own dialect of Polish called Gwara poznańska. This dialect is not only used in Poznan, but also in much of the region of that was formerly part of Prussia. This dialect has a high tone melody and is influenced by the German language.
7. Poznan is famous for its goats in the market square
Located at the top of the beautiful Town Hall in the market square in Poznan, are two little doors. Behind this door live two billy goats! Every day at noon, this goats emerge from their home, turn towards each other, and butt heads. There are a few legends in the town surrounding these goats. Here is one:
After a the Great Tower, Poznan’s Town Hall was rebuilt. The town council held a party to celebrate this event, where a large dinner was planned. There was a young cook named Pietrek, who was designated to prepare the main dish - deer leg. While the meat was cooking, he left to have a look at the new clock on the Town Hall.
While he was away, the deer leg fell into the fire and burned. The young cook was so worried that he ran to a nearby field and stole two goats and brought them to the Town Hall kitchen. From there they escaped and ended up on the edge of the Town Hall tower.
In front of all of the guests in the square, the two goats started to butt heads. Everyone in attendance found this hilarious. The mayor ended up pardoning Pietrek and the clockmaker was asked to create a mechanism that would activate two mechanical goats everyday. Since this day, a trumpeter appears everyday at noon and plays a bugle call, which is when the two goats appear!
Goats have become a main symbol of the town and can be found in many art pieces and souvenirs around the town.
Read more about the Poznan Goats.
8. Poznan has a ski slope in the center of the city
On the shores of Lake Malta, a reservoir in the center of the city, are the slopes of Ski Malta. In the winter the area opens to skiers and snowboarders of all ages who can enjoy the sport without having to leave the city!
9. Poznan has one of the oldest zoo’s in Poland
The Old Zoo in Poznan is one of the oldest zoos in Poland, founded in 1874. The zoo has an interesting origin story. In 1871, there was a local bowling club decided to give the president of the bowling association an unusual birthday present. Each of the members brought a different animal including a pig, a goat, a sheep, a cat, a rabbit, a squirrel, a goose, a duck, a chicken, a peacock, a trained bear, and a monkey. This group of animals slowly grew and was eventually became the local zoo!
10. The Christianization of Poland took place in Poznan
Prior to the Christianization of Poland, there were many different pagan tribes residing in the area. Svetovid, a Slavic god of war, fertility, and abundance, was one of the main gods worshipped. Christianity arrived in Poland during the 9th century, most likely as a religious influence from their neighbors.
“The Baptism of Poland” is a reference to the event when the first rule of the Polish state, Mieszko I, converted to Christianity. It is thought he was heavily influenced by his wife, Dobrawa of Bohemia, who was a devoted Christian. It is thought that Mieszko I was baptized in either Poznan or Gniezno (a nearby town) on April 14, 966.
11. Poznan has an island in the center of the city
Ostrów Tumski (known in English as Cathedral Island) is an island in the center of the Warta River in Poznan. The Poznan Cathedral and other important buildings are located on this island. It is in this cathedral that a number of the first Polish rulers are buried.
Read more fun facts about Gdansk, Zakopane, and Wroclaw!
We are Damian and Elizabeth, a Polish-American couple, and we are excited to share Poland with you! We have traveled around the world and seen many places but find ourselves most inspired by our home countries.
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