Gniezno at sunset

Gniezno – where Poland was born

When visiting a country, it is sometimes worth going back to the source. In case of Poland this source is Gniezno. The first capital and the cradle of Christianity in Poland with one of the finest cathedrals in the country, Gniezno is a town which like no other can say: this is where Poland was born.  

The historical heart of Gniezno is its archcatherdal. Sitting on the Lech hill, it majestically towers over the town. As legend has it, it was on the top of that hill that Lech, the forefather of all Poles, saw a white eagle in a nest and decided to make it his emblem and to build his seat there, thus laying the foundations for the future Polish state. The beginnings of the Gniezno cathedral date back to the end of the 9th century. It is also where the relics of St Adalbert are kept, while the cathedral treasury is now one of the richest sacral treasuries in Poland, preceded only by Jasna Góra and Cracow. It is home to, among other things, the papal bull of Innocent II, called “the golden papal bull of Polish language”, the oldest book of Polish lands and countless illuminated volumes, which allow you to delve into the fascinating history of Poland. However, what most tourists come to see are the famous Gnieźnieńskie Doors, considered one of the most important works of Romanesque art in Europe.

After visiting the cathedral, you can sit in one of the numerous cafes and restaurants on the charming Gniezno Old Square. Those who have not yet satisfied their hunger for history can continue on to the Museum of The Origins of the Polish State, while those who rather give up the times of yore for the picturesque here and now, can go on a nostalgic retro trip in the surrounding countryside on a narrow-gauge railway train. The highly developed infrastructure also invites for bike or horseback trips. You can go and discover Lednicki Landscape Park, with Lednickie lake, which is probably where Poland was christened, or go to the nearby Dziekanowice, where you can find the biggest open air ethnographic museum in Wielkopolska.

Gniezno is a place which allows you to take a deep breath of crisp Wielkopolska air, before the big plunge into the mysterious depths of Poland’s oldest history.

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