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Less obvious attractions of Poznan.

Updated: May 21

Poznan, the city of experiences, as the residents of the Greater Poland Capital like to say, and I agree with them. However, I know that this thesis is not necessarily widely accepted. When I talk about my fascination with Poznan, I often encounter derisive smiles from people convinced that this city may be interesting only at noon, and only then when you stand in front of the town hall and watch the fighting goats on the tower. It is precisely for them and all those who are going to Poznan that this post was created, aiming to show that you can admire much more here than just the Market Square and the head-butting goats. Here are my 5 suggestions for a more alternative way to spend time in the Greater Poland Capital.



Malta

Don't worry, I'm not talking about a country in southern Europe, which, by the way, I'm not a big fan of. What bothers me is that most of the local beaches are rocky, making it uncomfortable to lounge on them. But let's get back to Poznań; it's here that Lake Malta is located. The areas around it are a perfect place for a walk and to spend leisure time. There are many attractions waiting for you here, which I'll gladly tell you about. Let's start with the oldest brick church in Poland. It was built by the Knights of Malta brought here by Mieszko III. The chapel has an amazing atmosphere. What impresses me the most is the wooden crucifix, which supposedly has incredible powers to inform about dangers. From the church, I'll take you to the Freedom Hill. Its height is 60 meters, I know it sounds funny to you, but for someone my size, climbing it is almost like an expedition to K2. That's why I often rely on the kindness of my friends and tackle the route in their bags or backpacks. However, the return is much more enjoyable. This is because there is a year-round ski and toboggan run here. Personally, I prefer the latter option. In the field of skiing, it's hard to talk about inclusivity, and rental shops lack sizes XXXXXS, which in my case would be the only one suitable. The area around the lake is 5.6 km long, so it's perfect for a longer walk. With a bit of luck, we might get to see some competitions because Lake Malta is a popular regatta and rowing course. Besides, it's not the only competition you can see around Malta because on one of the shores, there is the largest complex of swimming pools in Poland powered by geothermal waters. The complex includes one of the few Olympic-sized pools with a length of 50 meters. For me, it's like an ocean, so I usually opt for lounging in the hot water pools. In my opinion, the area around Lake Malta is a must-visit. You have great walking paths, places for sports activities, and numerous restaurants. As if that's not enough, you can leave them in a stylish way thanks to the retro Maltanka train, which also runs in these parts.


Cipher Center

The next point is a part of a story about the Hollywood lie and the appropriation of successes of Poles by other nations. Can't you guess what I'm talking about? Have you watched the movie "The Imitation Game" in which a certain Alan Turing - brilliantly played by Benedict Cumberbatch - practically broke the Enigma code single-handedly? Well, achieving this wouldn't have been possible without the help of Poznan scientists. It was the graduates of the University of Poznań: Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski, and Jerzy Różycki who broke this famous German code. Maybe there wasn't a high-budget movie made about them, but they have their Cipher Center, and I highly recommend visiting it. It's a fairly young facility, as it was opened in 2021. Of course, we learn about the life stories of our scientists. However, what impresses me the most is engaging guests in a smart game that brings us closer to the basics and history of cryptography. Visitors also have the opportunity to go through a quick course similar to the one in which Polish cryptologists participated in 1929. I also really like the part of the exhibition that shows the connections between the currently ubiquitous field of informatics and modern cryptographic techniques.


Virgin Mountain

I don't know if it's innate masochism or some form of complexes, but despite my height, I like to look at cities from above. In Poznań, I searched for a spot that would allow me to do just that, and I finally succeeded. Well, almost, because the Virgin Mountain, which I want to tell you about, is located 10 km from the city itself. It's worth coming here not only because of the peak itself but also because of the road that leads to it. It leads through the Zielonka Forest. This allows us not only to breathe deeply among the numerous trees but also to find a moment for contemplation in one of the many wooden chapels. I also suggest being careful during the trip because you might get... wet. There are 14 lakes in the forest. Some of them are camouflaged by vegetation like a good sniper, so it's easy to wet your foot, and in the case of dwarves, even more. The Virgin Mountain itself measures 143 meters above sea level. The name comes from the Cistercian Order, which received the hill by the decision of Przemysław I in the 13th century. The area is covered with old oak forest. In 2005, a decision was made to build a tower to assist in fire warning. A tourist function was added to this, so after climbing 172 stairs, we can admire not only Poznań but also the Landscape Park, within which the Mountain is located. I won't hide that such a climb can be challenging, but believe me, the view is worth it.


Jeżyce District

In literature, there's the concept of a dynamic character, one that changes internally under the influence of events. I think the district I'm inviting you to somewhat falls under that definition. Just 10 years ago, Jeżyce were synonymous with a dangerous place, whose reputation spread throughout Poland. This was largely due to the work of the local rapper Peja, who described the everyday life of the district in such a way: "Even God has forgotten about our neighborhood. Every stranger's face is your natural enemy." Today, fortunately, this hostility is merely an urban legend. Jeżyce is a great district with a unique atmosphere that can be felt at every step. I always suggest starting your visit here at the local market. It may not have all those eco and bio certificates, but it guarantees that you'll buy delicious and healthy produce from local farmers. What always impresses me is the fact that the market is surrounded by Art Nouveau tenements, which can rival the famous market halls of Milan or Naples. Jeżyce is also an important place in post-war history. It was here that the infamous "June 56" took place. The authorities deployed 10,000 soldiers against the workers fighting for their rights, resulting in 57 casualties. Near Kochanowskiego Street, where the Security Office was located, a shootout occurred, resulting in the deaths of many workers. Here, at the Franciszek Raszeja Hospital, the lives of wounded workers were saved under intense fire. Romek Strzałkowski, the youngest participant in the fights, also died here. At the intersection of Kochanowskiego and Dąbrowskiego streets, the Tramwajarek Square was arranged because this is where the protesters overturned a tramcar, turning it into a barricade. Such memories, although not idyllic, allow us to appreciate the realities in which we live.

To feel the magic of Jeżyce, you have to get lost in them. It's when we're strolling around looking for familiar elements that we'll best appreciate the Art Nouveau mastery of the city's architects. Style full of decorations, flowers, wrought iron railings, stuccoes, and ornate stained glass. And that's exactly how houses were built. Both luxury villas - tenements, settlements for Prussian officials, and tenement houses. Immersing yourself in the nooks and crannies of Jeżyce and tilting your head upwards, you'll discover fanciful flowers, animals - a veritable menagerie, angels, less and more fanciful figures, all intertwined with restless vegetal tendrils. This visit has only one drawback... a mighty hangover when we return to the reality of Polish developer kitsch.



Solacki Park

I think anyone who reads my posts even a little knows that I like to wander in beautiful natural surroundings. In this respect, Poznań is almost an ideal place, a true treasure trove of green spaces. Of course, as is the case in Poland, we can only enjoy them from May to September, at most until October. Most guides will take you to Citadel Park. However, I'm not a sprite following beaten paths, and I encourage you to visit Sołacki Park. It's smaller than its famous counterpart, but who if not me knows that size doesn't matter. The construction of the park began in 1908, and it was opened to the public in 1911; finishing works lasted until 1913. The project was authored by Hermann Kube, the then director of Municipal Gardens. Its main features are two ponds created by damming the Bogdanka stream. Today, Sołacki Park is an ideal place for a walk or a picnic. As befits a romantic, I can't help but mention that it's also perfect for a date. Especially after sunset, the bridges and paths illuminated by lamps provide an ideal setting. That's not all, a diverse tree population (including exotic species such as Douglas fir, Canadian hemlock, swamp cypress, Tartarian maple, and silver maple) will make nature enthusiasts feel great here. The park is also a great idea for a family outing. Countless bird species, including rarely seen mandarin ducks and woodpeckers, will surely fascinate the youngest visitors. For those who want to relax, there are many benches, although I still prefer to lounge on the grass and hum the immortal hit of Ryszard Rynkowski, "Do nothing, have no worries, drink cold beer in the shade..."


As you can see, Poznań is not just about the goats. It's a city where you can have a great time even away from the popular market square. I hope that one of these suggestions will meet with your approval.


If you've visited Poznań for a longer stay and have some time left, be sure to check out my TOP5 attractions that you must see.

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