Situated on seven hills among lakes of the Wielkopolska region you'll find Gniezno. It's Poland’s first capital and the baptizing place of the first ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, in 966. Today a monumental Gothic cathedral occupies the spot featuring Gniezno Doors. It's a masterpiece of Romanesque art from the 12th century that is second to none in Europe. Covered in bas-relief, the monument tells the life of Saint Adalbert of Wojciech, the first Polish martyr, and patron of the cathedral. It was in this church that many Polish kings were laid to rest and coronation ceremonies were held.
While in Gniezno, be sure to make a detour to nearby Biskupin, which is home to an almost 2,800-year-old settlement. Another interesting sight is the town of Pobiedziska, situated on the Piast Trail, where you can visit a replica of a medieval settlement. One of its highlights is an old siege engine exhibition.
The jewel of Gniezno, this grand basilica was once the epicenter of the religious orders of the country under the rule of the Piast Dynasty. Over its long, 1,000-year story, it’s seen countless coronations and even the foundation of the modern Polish state – by the king Mieszko I, way back in 966 AD. The Gniezno Cathedral itself is a wonderful medley of styles, from the old Gothic to the Baroque. It’s the gilded bronze doors depicting the martyrdom of St. Adalbert that are the masterpiece.
The French army installed a military warehouse in the Cathedral in 1809, which disappeared when Napoleon's troops left the area. In 1931, Pope Pius XI bestowed the title of the Minor Basilica Cathedral. In 1939, following the Invasion of Poland, the Nazis converted the temple into a concert hall. Another fire broke out in 1945, caused by the intentional incendiary artillery shelling by the Red Army.
This partly ruined the Gothic vault, the pipe organs, and other historical architectural details. The city was retaken by the Soviets without any resistance offered by the Germans. At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, the temple was fully restored in the Gothic style and all baroque architectural elements were later removed from the nave and the temple itself, giving it a more medieval look to resemble the original structure present during the coronation of Polish monarchs 800 years earlier.
|Address||Wzgórze Lecha, Gniezno|
|Telephone||+48 61 428 40 80|
Biskupin near Gniezno
People of the Lusatian culture built Poland’s most famous reconstructed fortified settlement near Gniezno in the 8th century BC. Polish experts reconstructed the 3,000-year-old structure without using modern tools, reproducing the ancient buildings. Centuries ago, 100 houses stood here in 13 rows. All had identical interiors. Each had a vestibule, a chamber, and a stone hearth and around 10 people were living there.
Visitors to the Biskupin open-air museum can try their hand at pottery-making, like thousands of years ago. You can taste Slavic dumplings (garum), or a salty sauce made from fermented fish. Or try scone bread made from flour and water with honey and salt. They can also try their hand at plowing a field, like it was centuries ago, with a moldboard plow pulled by oxen. The museum is worth visiting in late September when archaeological festivities are taking place here.