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Poznań Coat of Arms on the medieval seal (1344)

Poznań ( ; ; Poyzn) is a city in west-central Polandmarker with a population of 557,264 in December 2008. Standing on the Warta river, it is one of the oldest cities in Poland, making an important historical centre and a vibrant centre of trade, industry, and education. Poznań is Poland's fifth largest city and fourth largest industrial centre. It is the historical capital of the Wielkopolska ("Greater Poland") region, and is currently administrative capital of Greater Poland Voivodeshipmarker.

Poznań's cathedral is the oldest in the country, containing the tombs of the first Polish rulers: Duke Mieszko I, King Boleslaus the Brave, King Mieszko II, Duke Casimir I the Restorer, Duke Przemysł I, and King Przemysł II.

Poznań was the host city for the United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place in December 2008. The conference was a key event in the creation of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.


The name Poznań probably comes from a personal name Poznan (from the Polish participle poznan(y) — "one who is known/recognized") and would mean "Poznan's town." It is also possible that the name has came directly from the verb poznać, which means "to get to know" or "to recognize".

The earliest surviving references to the city are by Thietmar in his chronicles: Episcopus Poznaniensis ("Bishop of Poznań", 970) and Ab Urbe Poznani ("From the City of Poznań", 1005). Earlier spellings included Posna and Posnan, which have also historically been used in English.

The full official city name is The Capital City of Poznań ( ). Poznań is known as Posen in German, and officially was known as Haupt- und Residenzstadt Posen ("Capital and Residence City of Poznań") between 20 August 1910 and 28 November 1918. The Latin names of the city are Posnania and Civitas Posnaniensis. Its Yiddish name is פּױזן, or Poyzn. The Russian version of the name, Познань (Poznan' ), is of feminine gender, in contrast to the Polish name, which is masculine.


For centuries before the Christianization of Poland, Poznań was an important cultural and political centre of the Polans. Mieszko I, the first historically proved ruler of the Polans (rex ambulans - "moving ruler"), built one of his main stable headquarters in Poznań.

Poznań's cathedral, the Archathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, is the oldest Polish cathedral, founded during the latter half of the 10th century. The son of Mieszka I, Boleslaus the Brave, was crowned king in 1025, and the Kingdom of Poland was formed. Greater Poland became the "cradle of the Polish state"; both Mieszko I and Boleslaus I are buried in Poznań.

Lubrański Academymarker, the second Polish university (not a "full" university, in fact, as science students had to go to Krakówmarker), was established in 1519.

Poznań was the capital of the Greater Poland region, until it came became a dependency of Prussiamarker in 1793, when its administrative area was renamed South Prussia. During the Greater Poland Uprising of 1806, Polish soldiers and civilian volunteers assisted the efforts of Napoleon by driving out the Prussian forces. The city became a part of the Duchy of Warsawmarker in 1807 and was capital of the Poznań Department.

Napoleon's defeat in 1814 led to the Congress of Vienna, where the boundaries of Europe were redrawn once again. Greater Poland was returned to Prussia, and Poznań became the capital of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Posenmarker. After the Revolutions of 1848, Poznań was the capital of the Prussian Province of Posenmarker. It became part of the German Empiremarker during the unification of German states in 1871.

The Poznań metropolitan area, consisting of the autonomous towns of Poznań, Ostrów, Ostrówek, Środka, Chwaliszewo, Łacina, was integrated into one city in 1793–1800. The rapidly growing city annexed the neighboring villages of Grunwald, Łazarz, Górczyn, Jeżyce, Wilda, Winogrady in 1900, and Piątkowo and Rataje in later years.

Shortly after Imperial Germany's defeat in World War I, the Great Poland Uprising (1918–1919) liberated the city and most of Greater Poland. In the interwar Second Polish Republicmarker, Poznań was the capital of Poznań Voivodeship. During World War II, Poland suffered under Nazi occupation and the population was severely repressed. In 1945, Adolf Hitler declared the city a Festung (a fortified locale in which German forces were expected to conduct a last-ditch defense). As Poznań lies on the direct route from Warsawmarker to Berlinmarker, the Red Army first besieged and then assaulted the German defenses in the Battle of Poznań, which culminated in the assault on the Cytadela (citadelle) and caused serious damage to the city. Since the end of the war, Poznań has been the capital of the surrounding area, though administrative boundaries changed in 1957, 1975, and 1999. Poznań is currently the seat of Greater Poland Voivodeshipmarker, which is one of Poland's 16 provinces.

Anti-communist protestsmarker in 1956 played a part in liberalising the post-war communist regime.

Historical population

Detailed demographic tables: Historical population of Poznań

Historical population summary:
  • 1600: about 20,000 inhabitants
  • 1732: 4,000 inhabitants
  • 1793: 15,000 inhabitants before
  • 1875: 60,998 inhabitants
  • 1900: 117,033 inhabitants
  • 1918: 156,091 inhabitants
  • 1939: 274,155 inhabitants
  • 1946: 268,000 inhabitants
  • 1965: 438,200 inhabitants
  • 1980: 553,000 inhabitants
  • 1990: 590,100 inhabitants
  • 2000: 575,000 inhabitants
  • 2007: 561,000 inhabitants

2020 population forecast:
  • Poznań City 584,500 (small increase)
  • Poznań Countymarker 305,500 (significant increase)
  • Poznań Metro Area 890,000

Important information: Many students live in Poznań as it is a city with many universities. Each year around 120,000 young people are in higher education in Poznan. It is estimated that half of this number is from outside the Poznań County. Therefore 60,000 seasonal inhabitants (Academic year starts in October and finishes in July) should be added to population of Poznań.


  • City area (2002)
  • Geographical location:
  • 52°17'34''N - 52°30'27''N * 16°44'08''E - 17°04'28''E
  • Highest point: Mt. Morasko asl
  • Lowest point: Warta river valley: asl


Climate of Poznań is continental humid with relatively cold winters and fairly hot summers. Expect snow in winter (hopefully on Christmas) with temperatures below 0 °C in the night. In the summer temperatures may often reach 30 °C. The most rainy month is July mainly due to very few short but intense cloud bursts and thunderstorms. Spring and fall are usually beautiful seasons, the former crisp and sunny and full of blooms and the latter alternately sunny and misty, and cool but not cold.

Administrative division

Local government districts of Poznań
Poznań is divided into five districts for certain administrative purposes; these are sometimes referred to as dzielnicas, although they do not have their own elected councils as do the dzielnicas of some cities. Several dozen smaller administrative units (osiedles), with elected councils, exist within the above districts, although these do not cover the whole of the city.

The five districts are:
  • Stare Miasto ("Old Town"), population 161,200, area , covering the central and northern parts of the city
  • Nowe Miasto ("New Town"), population 141,424, area , including all parts of the city on the right (east) bank of the Warta
  • Jeżyce, population 81,300, area , covering the north-western parts of the city
  • Grunwald, population 125,500, area , covering the south-western parts of the city
  • Wilda, population 62,290, area , in the southern part of the city


Stary Browar (Old Brewery) in Poznań
Poznań has been an important trade centre since the Middle Ages. Starting in the 19th century, local heavy industry began to grow. Several major factories were built, including the Hipolit Cegielski steel mill and railway factory (see H. Cegielski - Poznań S.A.).

Nowadays Poznań is one of the major trade centers in Poland. Poznań is regarded as the second most prosperous city in Poland after Warsawmarker. The city of Poznan produced PLN 31.8 billion of Poland's gross domestic product in 2006. The city also boasts a GDP per capita of PLN 56,081 or 202% of Poland's average. Furthermore, Poznan had very low unemployment rate of 2.3% as of May 2009. For comparison Poland's national unemployment rate was over 10%.

Many Western European companies have established their Polish headquarters in Poznań, or in the nearby towns of Tarnowo Podgórnemarker and Swarzędzmarker. Most foreign investors are Germanmarker and Dutchmarker companies (see Major corporations in Poznań), along with a few others. Investors are mostly from the food processing, furniture, automotive and transport and logistics industries. Foreign companies are primarily attracted by low labour costs, but also by the relatively good road and railway network, good vocational skills of workers and relatively liberal employment laws.

The recently built Stary Browarmarker shopping center contains many high-end shops and is considered one of the best in Europe. Other notable shopping centers in the city include Galeria Malta, one of the largest in Central Europe, and the shops at the Hotel Bazar, a historical hotel and commercial center in the Old Town.

Culture and sights

Poznań has many historic buildings and sights, mostly concentrated around the Old Town and other parts of the city centre. Many of these lie on the Royal-Imperial Route – a tourist walk leading through the most important parts of the city showing its history, culture and identity.

Perhaps the most important cultural event in Poznań is the annual Malta theatre festivalmarker, which takes place at many city venues usually in late June and early July. It hosts mainly modern experimental off-theatre performances, often taking place on squares and other public spaces. It also includes cinema, visual, music and dancing events.

Classical music events include the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition (held every 5 years), and classical music concerts by the city's Philharmonic Orchestra held each month in the University Aula.

Poznań also stages the "Ale Kino!" International Young Audience Film Festival in December and the "Off Cinema" festival of independent films. Poznań has several cinemas, including both multiplexes and smaller cinemas, an opera house and several other theatres, as well as museums.

The "Rozbrat" squat serves not only as a home for squatters, but also as a centre of independent and open-minded culture. It hosts frequent gigs, as well as an anarchistic library, vernissages, exhibitions, annual birthday festival (each October), poetry evenings, graffiti festivals and so on.

The city centre has many clubs, pubs and coffee houses, mainly in the area of the Old Town.


The Raczyński Library, 1822–1828

Poznań has a few state-owned universities and a number of smaller, mostly private-run colleges and institutions of higher education. Adam Mickiewicz Universitymarker (abbreviated UAM in Polish, AMU in English) is one of the most influential and biggest universities in Poland:

Scientific and regional organizations


Municipal stadium (during reconstruction)
New stadium


Municipal politics

Since the end of the communist era in 1989, Poznań municipality and suburban area have invested heavily in infrastructure, especially public transport and administration. That results in a massive investment from foreign companies in Poznań as well as in communities west and south of Poznań (namely, Kórnikmarker and Tarnowo Podgórnemarker). One of the most important values of Poznań is the positive attitude of public administration towards investments, and less bureaucracy than elsewhere in Poland.

City investments into transportation were mostly into public transport. While the number of cars since 1989 has at least doubled, the policy of improving public transport gave good effects. Limiting car access to the city center, building new tram lines (including Poznański Szybki Tramwaj) and investing in new rolling stock (such as modern Combino trams by Siemens and Solaris low-floor buses) actually increased the level of ridership. This is a notable success, even considering the fact that Polish society only possesses about half of the "old EU"'s purchasing power, hence not everybody can afford to own a car.

Future investments into transportation include the construction of a third bypass of Poznań, and the completion of A2 (E30) motorway towards Berlin. New cycle lanes are being built, linking to existing ones, and an attempt is currently being made to develop a Karlsruhemarker-style light rail system for commuters. All this is made more complicated (and more expensive) by the heavy neglect of transport infrastructure throughout the Communist era.


Members of Sejm elected in 2005 from Poznań constituency:

Members of European Parliamentmarker elected from Poznań constituency:

Notable residents

International relations

Twin towns

Poznań is twinned with:

Sister cities

Poznań has 2 sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


File:Poznan Poland.jpg|Old Market SquareFile:Combino Poznan RB2.JPG|Combino tram in PoznańFile:Port Lotniczy Ławica RB1.JPG|Poznań – Ławica AirportFile:Zamek Królewski Poznań2.jpg|Royal Castle on the Hill of PrzemysłFile:Fara Poznan Fasada.jpg|Baroque Collegiate Church, built between 1651–1701File:Andersia Tower Poznan.jpg|Andersia Tower and Poznan Financial CentreFile:Poznan rano.jpg|Poznań skyscrapersFile:Delta Poznań RB1.JPG|DeltaFile:AMuz Poznań RB.JPG|Academy of MusicFile:Półwiejska Poznań RB1.JPG|Półwiejska StreetFile:Collegium Stomatologicum Poznan.jpg|Collegium Stomatologicum PoznańFile:Kompleks Jezuicki Poznań RB1.JPG|Jesuits Collegium established by king Sigismund III Vasa in 1611File:Ostrów Tumski Poznań RB1.JPG|Ostrów Tumski: Cathedral (to the right) and Church of Our LadyFile:Staryrynek2007a.jpg|Renaissance merchant houses, 16th centuryFile:Poznań 1.jpg|Poznań Old City Centre, North facing viewFile:Poznań Centrum.jpg|Poznań City Centre


  1. German statistics for 1875–1918


  • collective work, Poznań. Dzieje, ludzie kultura, Poznań 1953
  • Robert Alvis, Religion and the Rise of Nationalism: A Profile of an East-Central European City, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse 2005
  • K. Malinowski (red.), Dziesięć wieków Poznania, t.1, Dzieje społeczno-gospodarcze, Poznań 1956
  • collective work, Poznań, Poznań 1958
  • collective work, Poznań. Zarys historii, Poznań 1963
  • Cz. Łuczak, Życie społeczno-gospodarcze w Poznaniu 1815–1918, Poznań 1965
  • J. Topolski (red.), Poznań. Zarys dziejów, Poznań 1973
  • Zygmunt Boras, Książęta Piastowscy Wielkopolski, Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, Poznań 1983
  • Jerzy Topolski (red.), Dzieje Poznania,Wydawnictwo PWN, Warszawa - Poznań 1988
  • Alfred Kaniecki, Dzieje miasta wodą pisane, Wydawnictwo Aquarius, Poznań 1993
  • Witold Maisel (red.), Przywileje miasta Poznania XIII-XVIII wieku. Privilegia civitatis Posnaniensis saeculorum XIII-XVIII. Władze Miasta Poznania, Poznańskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk, Wydawnictwa Żródłowe Komisji Historycznej, Tom XXIV, Wydawnictwo PTPN, Poznań 1994
  • Wojciech Stankowski, Wielkopolska, Wydawnictwo WSiP, Warszawa 1999
  • Gotthold Rhode : Geschichte der Stadt Posen

See also

External links

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