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Wielkopolska

Introduction

Wielkopolska was the core of the early medieval Polish state, is often termed "the cradle of Poland", and at times has simply been called "Poland" (Latin: Polonia). Before that, the area, inhabited by the Polanie, was simply known as "the land of the Polanian tribe". The fortified settlements of Kruszwica and Gniezno were built between the 7th and 10th century AD, soon followed by Poznań and Kalisz. During the thousand years old history of Poland this province has participated in the formation of our people's life and has produced many eminent man and promoters of progres. The name of Great Poland is first mentioned in the Latin form Polonia Maior in 1257, and in Polish in 1449. Humanism and Reformation found here numerous and famous defenders. Here the arians, the Czech fraternity and others reformers found a refuge. At the end of the XVIII century Wielkopolska was under the rule of Prussia: during the 1st partition (1772) - lands north of Notea River, during the 2nd partition almost the entire region was under the Prussian rule. At the moment of the breakout of World War I, the citizens of Wielkopolska regained their hope in independence. Wielkopolska Uprising of 1918–1919 was a military insurrection of Poles. The uprising had a significant effect on the Treaty of Versailles, which granted reconstituted Poland the area won by the Polish insurgents plus some additional territory, at the cost of the territories of Germany. The start of the World War II in 1939 began years of nazi occupation. In 1945, at the most difficult moment of renewal after the terrible destruction caused by the last war it was necessary to organize a new the country's economy.


Zerkow

Greater Poland Voivodeship (also known as Wielkopolska Province, or by its Polish name of województwo wielkopolskie) is a voivodeship, or province, in west-central Poland. It was created on January 1, 1999, out of the former Poznań, Kalisz, Konin, Piła and Leszno Voivodeships, pursuant to the 1998 Local Government Reorganization Act. The province is named after the region called Greater Poland. The modern province includes most of this historic region, except for some south-western parts.Greater Poland Voivodeship is second in area and third in population among Poland's sixteen voivodeships, with an area of 29,826 square kilometres and a population of close to 3.4 million. The low-lying landscape of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) province is varied by numerous hills, lakes and forests with the unique flora and fauna. You are likely to see here old wooden windmills, churches and belfries. The Wielkopolska region is also a place full of many interesting and precious monuments of Polish and foreign cultures, representing different art styles and tendencies. Its capital city is Poznań; other important cities include Kalisz, Konin, Piła and Gniezno (an early capital of Poland). It is bordered by seven other voivodeships: West Pomeranian to the north-west, Pomeranian to the north, Kuyavian-Pomeranian to the north-east, Łódź to the south-east, Opole to the south, Lower Silesian to the south-west and Lubusz to the west.

Nature

The northern part of Wielkopolska belongs to the South Pomeranian Lakeland. Wood dominate in this area, charecteristic landscape elements are lakes completely surrounded by forest. The northern part of Wielkopolska represents a type of landscape shaped outside of the influence of the last glaciation. It is a large, lakeless and biologically undiversified area. The river valleys of Warta, Prosna, Lutynia, Orla and smaller rivers and streams interrupt the monotony of the land profile. Little forest remains in the region, and the landscape is dominated by agriculture. Woodlands in this macro-region belong to the Rychtal Forest which stretches west of Prosna River. Wielkopolska is a region rich in fauna. Despite significant changes in the natural environment the region is still inhabited by a great number of birds, reptiles, fish, insects and other species of animals. How beautiful is the Wielkopolska countryside! Beautiful for it's landscapes, history and ancient monuments.


White Stork


European Bison

Towns of Wielkopolska Province

Poznań

Poznań is Poland's fifth largest city and fourth biggest industrial centre. It is also the administrative capital of the Greater Poland Voivodeship. For hundreds of years before the Christianization of Poland, Poznań was an important cultural and political center of the Polan people. Mieszko I, the first Duke of Poland, built one of his castles in Poznań. The 16th century is called "the Golden Age" in the city's history. The population grew to 20.000 and Poznań was one of the biggest cities in Poland. After that, in the 15th century, old town hall was reconstructed in the Renaissance style by the Italian architect Giovanni Batista Quadro of Lugano. With the unification of Germany in XIX century by the Prussian king, the duchy became part of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the city became an imperial residence city. In 1910 large neoromanesque imperial castle was built west of the city center, as well as a park, the new city theater, and the headquarters for the Settlement Commission.

Poznań, RynekPoznań, Ratusz.
Poznań, dawne kolegium jezuickie.Poznań, Fara
Poznań, Ostrów Tumski- Katedra.Poznań, Biblioteka Raczyńskich
Poznańskie zakamarkiPoznań, Dom Towarowy "Okrąglak"
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Kalisz

Kalisz is situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby town of Ostrów Wielkopolski. Sometimes Kalisz is called "the oldest town of Poland" because the mention by Ptolemy of a town called Calisia that was situated on the Amber Trail. Although it is still not certain whether the exact spot where the city centre is located nowadays was inhabitated in 2nd century, there are many artifacts of the Roman times in the area, pointing to the fact that it must have been one of the stops of the Roman caravans heading for the Baltic Sea. Modern Kalisz was most probably founded in 9th century as a castellany and a minor fort. In 1792 the town was struck by a fire that destroyed much of its centre. The following year, following the II partition of Poland, the town was annexed by Kingdom of Prussia. After the outbreak of the Great War, the proximity of the border proved disastrous for the city, as it was one of the first destroyed towns of that war. After a series of border clashes, the German army bombed the city with artillery. During the heavy fights that lasted from August 7 to August 22, 1914, the town was destroyed almost completely.


Kalisz, RynekKalisz, zespół kościelno-klasztorny pw. św. Rodziny.
Kalisz, katedra św. MikołajaKalisz, cerkiew św. Piotra i Pawła.Kalisz, baszta Dorotka.
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Ostrów Wielkopolski

Ostrow Wielkopolski is a town in central Poland with round 73.000 inhabitants. In Ostrow we can find some interesting landmarks. The present Town Hall was built in 1828 and was designed by J.H.Haeberlin - an associate of famous Prussian architect K.Schinkel. It is situated in the middle of the main square, which is built-up with tenements from the 19-th century. At the beginning it was a brick, two-storeyed building with a loft and an open courtyard. This structure was converted in 1862 and 1948, since then it hasn't changed a lot. The synagogue was built in 1857- 1860 year. Now it is closed and abandoned but in nearly future will be arrange to a culture centre. The oldest structure in Ostow is a evangelical church built in 1778 year.

Ostrów Wielkopolski, kościół NMP.Ostrów Wielkopolski, II Liceum Ogólnokształcące.
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Krotoszyn

Krotoszyn is a town with round 30.000 inhabitants. First mention was in 1405 year. The most interesting buildings are: the Town Hall built in XVII century, rebuilt in 1898-1899; churches from XVI and XVIII century; palace from XVI century.

Krotoszyn, Ratusz.Krotoszyn, kościół Farny św. Jana Chrzciciela.
Krotoszyn, kościół św. Piotra i Pawła z lat 1767 - 1774.Krotoszyn, kościół św. Fabiana i Sebastiana z XVI wieku.
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Wągrowiec

The town was founded as a small village called Prostynie by the Cistercian monks from the monastery in Łekno in 1319. In 1381 the name of Wągrowiec is mentioned for the first time in connection with the place. By that time the town received city laws, most likely modelled after the Magdeburg Law. At the end of the 16th century, King Władysław Jagiello gave the city the privileges of market and fair, and in 1396 the Cistercian monastery was moved in. The town soon started to prosper. In the 15th and 16th centuries it was an important centre of trade, commerce, and manufacture (mostly textiles). This prosperity came to a halt during the Deluge, when in 1656 the town was captured, pillaged and burnt by the forces of Charles X of Sweden.

Wągrowiec, kościół farny.Wągrowiec, rzeźba nad jeziorem.Wągrowiec, klasztor.
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Jarocin

Jarocin is a town with round 25.000 inhabitants. The establishment and development of medieval Jarocin was due to a favourable location at the crossing of important trade routes - from Wroclaw to Torun and from Poznan to Kalisz. For centuries German and Polish people coexisted here in peace. Due to the close neighbourhood of Silesia, German settlers first came here already in medieval ages. Through the centuries the town changed owners a few times. In 1661 Jarocin was taken over by the Radolinski family who remained its owners until 1945. After the second partition of Poland in 1793, for 125 years Jarocin had been a part of Germany. The town became famous in the 1980s thanks to the Jarocin Festival, one of the first rock and punk music festivals in (then under the communist rule) Eastern Bloc countries. The first one was organised in 1980. In Jarocin we can see also many landmarks. One of the most beautiful is the Town Hall from XVIII century, the St. Marcin church from XVII century, the Treasure-House, relickt of a medieval castle and the palace of Radolinski family.

Jarocin, kościół św. MarcinaJarocin, Skarbczyk

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The most beautiful manor-houses, palaces and castles...

Kórnik

Kórnik Castle (Polish: Zamek w Kórniku) was constructed in the XIV century. The current neogothic design is the work of Tytus Działyński. Remodeling and renovation work on the castle was also done by his son Jan Kanty Działyński. After Jan's death, his brother-in-law Count Władysław Zamoyski received the castle in Jan's will. Shortly before his death in 1924, the childless count willed the castle, along with an extensive art collection and the Kórnik Arboretum to the Polish state. The castle currently houses a museum and the Kórnik Library.

Zamek w KórnikuZamek w Kórniku- Pokój Generałowej
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Rydzyna

The castle in Rydzyna was built at the beginning of 15th century by Jan of Czernina. At the end of the 17th century Italian architects Joseph Simon Bellotti and Pompeo Ferrari erected the present Baroque castle on its ancient foundations. The first owners of the castle were the Leszczyński family. Together with a park and surrounding areas, it was one of the most splendid palaces in Great Poland. At the end of January 1945 the Castle in Rydzyna was burnt. The severely damaged Castle awaited a new owner until 1970, when was taken over by The Association of Polish Mechanical Engineers (S.I.M.P.) and rebuilt according to documents and photographs from before World War II.

Zamek w RydzynieZamek w RydzynieZamek w Rydzynie
Zamek w RydzynieZamek w RydzynieZamek w Rydzynie
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Smielow

Smielow Palace, built in 1797 by Stanislaw Zawadzki project for Andrzej Gorzenski. In this place live for a few weeks Adam Mickiewicz and Henryk Sienkiewicz. Adam Mickiewicz- (December 24, 1798 – November 26, 1855) was one of the most well-known Polish poets and writers, considered as the greatest Polish poet, besides Zygmunt Krasiński and Juliusz Slowacki. Henryk Sienkiewicz (May 5, 1846 - November 15, 1916) was a Polish novelist, one of the outstanding writers of the second half of the 19th century. Serializing his novels in newspapers, he became immensely popular and beloved in his time and, over a century later, is still highly valued by readers of prose. In Poland he is best known for his colorful historical novels (The Trilogy) depicting the derring-do of Polish heroes in the 17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; abroad- for his novel, Quo Vadis, set in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. At present the palace is part of the National Museum in Poznan.

Śmiełów, pałacŚmiełów
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Goluchow

About 1560 Rafal Leszczynski built a renaissance fortified manor house, which was subsequently altered into a two-winged chateau with an arcade overlooking the courtyard. It was in Goluchow where, in 1555, Calvinists from Malopolska met with Czech Brethren from Wielkopolska to discuss the union of the two faiths. In 1581 a charter was written down in Goluchow granting the Czech Brethren a parish church together with its possessions. At the beginning of the 17th century the chateau was enlarged. However, after 1695 this splendid building fell into disrepair. After it was sold by the Leszczynskis it kept changing hands until in 1853 the estate was bought by Tytus Dzialynski from Kornik for his son Jan. In 1856 Jan Dzialynski began work on the restoration of the castle. It was completed by his wife Izabela Dzialynska nee Czartoryska. The castle, rebuilt in the years 1872 - 1885, housed a museum famed for its magnificent collection of Greek vases, paintings, military accessories and objects of ancient craft, among them enamel utensils from Limoges. Exhibits from all over Europe were kept in the Lambert Hotel in Paris before being displayed in Goluchów. Until 1939 it was one of the biggest private museums in Europe. At present the castle is part of the National Museum in Poznan.

Zamek w GołuchowieZamek w Gołuchowie
Zamek w GołuchowieZamek w Gołuchowie
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Antonin

The palace in Antonin, built at the beginning of the 19th century by Karl Fryderyk Schinkl, is a valuable monument of Polish wood architecture. Nowadays, Antonin is famous for its history and also for the events that take place here. Prince Radziwiłł's salon is still the place where concerts of Chopin music by Polish and foreign artists are often heard. Various cultural events devoted to the great composer also take place here. Moreover, it houses a museum, creative work centre and hotel.

Antonin, pałac.Antonin, pałac.
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Dobrzyca

Dobrzyca was the ancestral residence of Dobrzyckich family. Their coat of arms was Leszczyc. The first representative of the family was Mikolaj Dobrzycki. The palace was built in 1795-1799 years by Stanislaw Zawadzki for Augustyn Gorzenski.All rooms gained splendid painted decoration, made by Antoni Smuglewicz and Robert Stankiewicz. As Adam Turno, Augustyn Gorzenski’s nephew, mentions, rooms were decorated with paintings and interiors were furnished with “royal furniture”. One of the most beautiful rooms in the palace is the drawing room with stuccowork made by Michal Ceptowski. Now it's a museum.

Dobrzyca, zespół pałacowy
Dobrzyca,  Pałac Gorzeńskich
Dobrzyca,  Pałac Gorzeńskich
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Lewkow

The Lipski family had their palace built in Lewkow in the years 1786-1791. The design was the work of Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer, the architect of King Stanislaw August. Both the buildings and their interiors are of the classicist style, manifesting itself by the four-column Ionian portico with a triangular tympanum on the front facade and rich stucco ornaments on the exterior and interior walls. The palace and two outhouses in the yard are surrounded by a landscape park with many national monument trees. The palace was restored in 1972-87 and an exhibition of interiors restored to their original, classicist appearance opened on the so-called ceremonial floor in 1991.

Lewków- Pałac Lipskich
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Infos from: W. Lecki, The Nature of Wielkopolska; Z. Cosaś, Wielkopolska; Wikipedia; www.jarocin.pl; www.staypoland.com; www.goluchow.pl; www.poznan.uw.gov.pl; www.infochopin.pl; www.dobrzyca-muzeum.pl; www.culture.pl.

 

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