Poznań is Poland’s fifth largest city, located in the west of the country. Established in the 10th century, the original settlement was on the island of Ostrów Tumski, which sits between branches of the Warta River.
Friday, 4th July 2014
View from an upper storey window or balcony across the roofs of Poznań’s historic Old Town neighbourhood, which dates back to 1255. A courtyard down below. In the middle distance, the main tower of Poznań Fara church (also known as St Stanislaus Church). This large church was built between 1651 and 1701 in Baroque style.
Looking along Ludgardy street on the west side of the Old Town. To the right is the monument to the 15th Poznań Lancers Regiment. This regiment fought the Bolsheviks in 1920 and also during the Second World War as part of the Poznań Army. The original monument was unveiled in 1927, but was later destroyed during the Nazi occupation. A replacement was erected in 1982. The stone monument consists of a stone column topped with a soldier on horseback slaying a dragon using a lance. Further to the right part of the Franciscan Church can be seen. This Baroque church was built between 1674 and 1728. Also in view, away in front, is a crenellated stone tower, part of the 13th century Royal Castle. The castle was largely destroyed during the Second World War but has since been partly rebuilt.
Another part of the yellow-painted Franciscan Church visible to the left of this picture. The exterior of the church is relatively plain, while the interior is much more elaborate. In the centre, a more modern building housing a clothes shop.
The south side of Old Market Square (Stary Rynek). This large square is located in the Old Town neighbourhood. There is a substantial block of buildings situated in the centre of the square, including the Old Town Hall, which is considered by locals to be the centre of the city. The sides of the square all measure approximately 140 metres (460 feet) in length. In front is a statue of St. John of Nepomuk dating from 1724. St. John of Nepomuk (c.1345 to 1393) is the saint of Bohemia. It is said that he was drowned in the Vltava River, on the orders of King Wenceslaus of Bohemia, because he refused to divulge details of the queen’s religious confessions. The statue was built in the hope St. John would protect the city from flooding.
Under a long colonnade running down the front of a building on Wodna street. The street runs east-west from the south-west corner of Old Market Square.
Tony next to a near life-sized model of a bull standing outside a restaurant.
In Old Market Square looking towards the front façade of the Old Town Hall. This impressive building has a substantial tower in the centre of its roof along with three domed turrets along the front. The edge of the roof has ornamental crenellations. Lower down there is an ornately decorated three-storey arcade loggia (a covered gallery within the building but open to the square in front). There is a central clock with a display of mechanical fighting goats above (not clearly visible in the photo). The building was originally built in the 13th century after the founding of the medieval town in 1250. It was rebuilt in its present form between 1550 and 1560 by Giovanni Batista di Quatro. It served as the seat of local government until 1939 and today houses the city museum.
View down a side street (Wielka street) heading into the north-east corner of Old Market Square. The central tower of the Old Town Hall visible above. Underfoot are large cobble stones (setts).
At the north-east corner of Old Market Square. Part of the Old Town Hall is in view along with an adjoining row of former merchants’ houses, dating from the 16th century, and now painted in a range of colours and patterns. Many of these narrow but quite tall buildings (mostly three storeys) now contain souvenir shops.
Again in Old Market Square with the old town Weighing House (Waga Miejska) on the left. It is located behind the Old Town Hall in the centre of the square. The Weighing House was first built in 1532 to 1534, reconstructed in 1563, and later demolished as unsafe in 1890. It was then replaced by a Renaissance-style “New Town Hall”, which was used by the city government until it was heavily damaged in 1945. It was again rebuilt in its former style in 1950–1960, based on surviving prints, and is now used for weddings and other events. It is a two storey building with a very high gable roof.
View along the north edge of Old Market Square. A block of outdoor café and restaurant tables in front. The building immediately to the right (only the ground floor visible) is the Mielżyński Palace. It dates from 1795 to 1798 and is in the classicist style. The three-storey front façade is relatively plain.
The front door of the Mielżyński Palace. It has a simple geometric design with rectangular panels on the two wooden doors. Like the rest of the building, it is classicist in style, drawing on the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome.
Looking into Old Market Square with the side of the Weighing House directly in front.
Old buildings down the west side of Old Market Square painted in various subdued colours. In front, and just visible, one of four fountains that stand in each corner of the square. This one depicts the Roman god Mars.
Freedom Square (Plac Wolności) with Freedom Fountain directly in front. Freedom Square is a large rectangular shape (85 by 205 metres) and is located just west of the historic Old Town. The Freedom Fountain has two 10-metre long metal wings raising over a shallow pool. A footbridge passes between the wings through the centre of the circular pool. The fountain was completed in 2012.
Saturday, 5th July 2014
View across the east side of Old Market Square. On each side of the square are tall rows of former tenement houses (kamienice), many of which have been colourfully painted and converted into restaurants, cafés and bars. In the foreground, a pair of horses pulling a cart are emerging from the left, and to the right a row of outdoor café tables.
Another view of the former merchants’ houses in the centre of the square showing the various colours and patterns in which they have been painted. The ornate Old Town Hall part visible to the right.
The tower of the Old Town Hall dominating the centre of the square. The tower is topped by an eagle
The west side of Old Market Square. In the foreground, another of the square’s four fountains. This one has a bronze sculpture of Neptune in the centre. It was unveiled in 2004 replacing an older lost fountain.
Another view of the Old Town Hall and surrounding buildings in the centre of Old Market Square.
Tony and Tatiana outside the large main doorway to Poznań Cathedral (officially named the Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul). The pair of metal doors are embossed with Biblical scenes. The cathedral is located on Ostrów Tunski “Cathedral Island”, north-east of the city centre, and the location of the city’s original settlement.
The lower part of the cathedral’s red brick front (west) façade. A cathedral first stood on this site in the second half of the 10th century. The church was subsequently damaged or destroyed and then rebuilt several times over the following centuries. The last destruction was caused by a serious fire in 1945 during liberation of the city from the Germans. It was then restored in Gothic style and reopened in 1956.
Full view of Poznań Cathedral’s front façade. A pair of substantial towers on either size and the entrance in the centre. Tony and Tatiana just visible away in front of the entrance doorway.
Tony and Tatiana outside another entrance on the south side of Poznań Cathedral. Wooden doors with a white and cream rendered surround.
Another view of Old Market Square during the evening. Lots of people dining at outdoor tables. Gdansk
Gdansk is Poland’s principal seaport and fourth largest urban area. Located on the Baltic Sea in the north of the country, the city is at the mouth of the Motława river on the southern edge of Gdansk Bay.
Monday, 7th July 2014
View across the Motława river with two prominent buildings on the opposite bank. On the left is the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, a concert hall, which is housed in a former power station. It was constructed in 1897-1898 with a brick neo-Gothic facade. It closed as a power station in 1996. On the right, a historic granary dating from the 17th-century, and now converted into a hotel. It is built of brick with lots of small windows. These buildings are located on the island of Ołowianka, which is formed by the Motława river and the Stepka channel.
More historic buildings visible across the Motława river on Ołowianka island. These are old granaries that are now part of the National Maritime Museum. In front, with only the bow end in view, is the SS Soldek. This was the first ship built in post-World War II Poland. It is a cargo ship built for transporting coal and ore, which is today preserved here, again as part of the National Maritime Museum.
St John’s Gate (Brama Świętojańska). This is one of Gdansk’s historic water gates, originally built at the end of the 14th century, but rebuilt in the 19th century, and then destroyed during World War Two. It was rebuilt again during 1976-1978 in the classicist form of the previous 19th century gate. The entrance to the central arched passage through the gate is in view.
View through St John’s Gate with the Motława river and part of the SS Soldek visible at the far end.
Again the façade of St John’s Gate. The walls are a mixture of brick and red-painted rendering. The building is three-storeys high with a tall tiled roof. An interesting wooden doorway can be seen with carved wooden panels and decorative metalwork in curved geometric patterns.
Looking across the Motława river with the SS Soldek opposite. Beyond is a marina where lots of small vessels are moored.
The Crane or Crane Gate (Brama Żuraw). This interesting riverside building is a water gate but with a medieval port crane attached to the front. It is the largest and oldest surviving port crane in Europe. It is made up of two substantial brick towers with the wooden lifting mechanism in between. The oldest documented mention of the crane is in 1367. The present structure dates from the middle of the 15th century following a major fire. More recently there was extensive restoration due to damage inflicted during World War Two. The structure is now part of the National Maritime Museum.
View back north along the Motława river with the historic granaries and SS Soldek on Ołowianka island in clear view.
Walking along the riverside promenade known as Długie Pobrzeże (Long Embankment). On the right is the 15th century St Mary’s Gate (Brama Mariacka). This is one of the grandest of Gdansk’s city gates, built in Late Gothic style, with octagonal towers at both ends of its river-facing east façade. Its arched gateway leading from the riverside promenade to Mariacka street is asymmetrically placed towards the south side of the building.
A little further along the riverside promenade with the red brick St Mary’s Gate still in view. Closer to the camera is part of the House of the Natural Society. This tenement house was built between 1597 and 1599 in Mannerist style for merchant Hans Koepe. Its impressive river-facing east façade includes a five-storey bay window and a cuppola-topped tower rising to around 36 metres.
Now approaching Green Gate (Brama Zielona). This wide four-arched riverside city gate was built between the years 1564 and 1568 in Dutch Mannerist style. It connects the Long Market (Długi Targ) with the Green Bridge over the Motława river. It is at the end of the Royal Route so-called because it was formerly the route of royal processions. Today Green Gate houses the National Museum in Gdansk.
Looking under one of the arches of Green Gate with Long Market at the far end.
At the Long Market side of Green Gate. Lion’s heads decorate the top of the arches. A row of large windows in the storey above.
Looking from the south-east end of Long Market (Długi Targ). This long narrow square was formerly the main city market. It is lined with historic buildings, many dating from between the 16th and 18th centuries, once the homes of the most wealthy city residents. Most buildings here today were destroyed during World War Two and have been rebuilt in their original styles.
View up Long Market with Gdansk Town Hall standing prominently at the far end: its 81-metre high clock tower dominates the surrounding area. The town hall is Gothic-Renaissance in style. It was first built in the late 14th century with much expansion and rebuilding over the proceeding centuries. Like many buildings in the city it was heavily damaged during World War Two. The subsequent reconstruction was completed by 1952.
An alleyway off Long Market with attractive historic tenement houses at either side.
The lower stone part of Neptune’s Fountain located in Long Market (Długi Targ) with surrounding metal railings. Constructed around 1633, this Mannerist-Rococo fountain is one of the city’s main landmarks. The stone base was designed by Abraham van den Blocke while the bronze figure of Neptune is by sculptors Peter Husen and Johann Rogge.
Another view of the stone base belonging to Neptune’s Fountain. The carvings that can be seen include fishes and cherubs. The bronze sculpture of the Roman sea god is out of shot, but the stone pedestal beneath is visible.
A wall with stone panels depicting classical scenes close to Neptune’s Fountain. Behind is Artus Court (partly obscured by scaffolding). This Dutch Mannerist building dates from the 14th century with the current façade constructed between 1616-1618 by Abraham van den Blocke.
Tony and Tatiana outside the main west entrance to St Mary’s Church, officially known as the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Built during the 15th century in Gothic style, this imposing structure is the second or third largest brick church in the world.
Another view of the west entrance of St Mary’s Church showing part of the large bell tower that rises directly above to a height of 80 metres.
An old wooden doorway: a side entrance into St Mary’s Church.
A tactile model of St Mary’s Church. The model shows the main tower and five smaller spires that also adorn the church.
View along the aisle inside St Mary’s Church with wooden pews at the sides. The main altar is at the end with a colourful stained-glass window above. A raised pulpit is also visible to the left.
Looking down Long Street (Długa), a busy pedestrian street, with Golden Gate (Złota Brama) and Prison Tower (Wieża Więzienna) both just in view at the far end. The turret on top of the tall Prison Tower is the most visible feature.
View along Tkacka street (Weavers’ street). A top-hat wearing man is in the foreground playing a barrel organ. At the far end of the street, one of the corner towers of the Great Armoury can be seen. The tower is topped with a green cupola. The Great Armoury is one of the finest examples of Dutch Renaissance architecture in Poland.
Shot through the central arch of Golden Gate (Złota Brama). This Dutch Mannerist gate was designed by architect Abraham van den Blocke and was constructed between 1612 and 1614. It replaced an older 13th-century Gothic gate. It forms part of the old city fortifications and is part of the Royal Route.
In front of Prison Tower. This tall tower was originally built in the 14th century as part of the city fortifications. It was rebuilt around 1594 by Antoni Van Obberghen. When it lost its defensive importance in the 17th century it was converted into a prison. Today it houses the Amber Museum.
On the left, High Gate (Brama Wyżynna), also known as Upland Gate, located beyond Prison Tower when approaching from Long Street (Długa). This 16th-century gate was the original start of the Royal Route. It is built of stone in Italian Renaissance style.
Tony and Tatiana at the main entrance to High Gate, which today houses the Tourist Information Centre.
A building belonging to the National Bank of Poland opposite High Gate. An interesting doorway is just visible. Above the doorway is a stone lintel apparently supported by a pair of carved mythological figures: one male and the other female (an atlas and caryatid).
Tony and Tatiana with Golden Gate behind.
A closer view of Gdansk Town Hall. Details in view include a Gothic spire in the far visible corner of this very large brick building and high up in the nearest corner a sundial.
Looking up at Gdansk Town Hall. The building has three main storeys, but above this there are towers, turrets and spires, including the massive main clock tower rising to 81 metres.
Tony and Tatiana standing next to a large tactile metal model of Gdansk Town Hall.
A street stall possibly selling sweets on Long Market (Długi Targ). The area beyond is busy with people.
The lower part of Long Market taken at dusk with Green Gate ahead. There are historic buildings along both sides, some painted in pale pastel colours. The buildings are mostly around five storeys high and in some cases have statues or other ornamentation at roof level.
A closer view of Green Gate showing the row of four arches that allow people to pass through the building. The gate is constructed out of stone and there are red tiles on the roof. There are four storeys including the ground floor arches and two levels incorporated into the tall and steep-sided roof.
Looking through one of Green Gate’s arches with Long Market at the other end. A carved lion’s head immediately above and slightly higher a stone relief with an historic coat of arms.
Green Bridge (Most Zielony) spanning the Motława river in front of Green Gate. The bridge was constructed in 1564.
Looking back at Green Gate from the middle of Green Bridge. Green Bridge is around 50 metres in length.
Tuesday, 8th July 2014
A cargo ship and harbour cranes seen from a ferry during a day trip from Gdansk to Hel.
The ferry approaching the harbour in Hel. The small town of Hel is located at the end of a 35-kilometre long sand bar peninsula (Hel Peninsula). The town was previously important for fishing and became a significant naval base in the mid-1930s. During the German invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War Two, the Hel Peninsula was one of the longest-defended pockets of Polish Army resistance.
Ferry passengers leaving Hel Harbour. Small boats visible and the town beyond.
Entrance to Gothic St Peter’s Church, now used for the Museum of Fishery. The church is brick with a wooden tower (mostly out of shot) above. It was originally built in 1417.
The other side of St Peter’s Church (Museum of Fishery). Small old wooden boats, anchors and other nautical artefacts in the museum’s grounds.
Wednesday, 9th July 2014
Back in Gdansk with a good view of the SS Soldek and the historic granary buildings behind.
A tactile model of Crane Gate.
Interesting doorway to tourist office on Long Market (Długi Targ). Decorative carved wooden doors and surrounding stone work (curvy and naturalistic design). A skylight above with overlaid wooden carving, including a stork in the centre.
Another view along busy Long Street (Długa) with the main entrance to Gdansk Town Hall on the right.
Golden Gate (Złota Brama) with Prison Tower (Wieża Więzienna) immediately behind seen from Long Street (Długa).
Attractive geometric decoration on the exterior of 11 Long Street (Długa). The ground floor is used as a café, although was closed when this photo was taken.
View inside Prison Tower. An arched brick passageway with heavy wooden doors down one side. Originally built for defensive purposes, Prison Tower became a prison in the 17th century, and is today a museum.
A large metal-bar doorway at the base of Prison Tower.
Standing inside Golden Gate (Złota Brama), with a vaulted ceiling above, and looking up Long Street (Długa).
Another view of Green Bridge (Most Zielony) lit up in semi-darkness.