Situated in western and central parts of the country the land abounding in lakes, rivers and forests provides excellent conditions for recreation. On these lands, crucial for a historian, one finds many old castles and manors, now adapted for museums or hotels. Wielkopolska is recognized as the cradle of the Polish state: the first capital of Poland.
In Poznan region, castles and palaces are of particular interest. The castle in Kórnik, to the south of Poznań,was altered in 1830 in the English Gothic style. The interiors contain a precious collection of antique furniture, weapons and paintings as well as a library. The palace in Rogalin was erected in the late 18th century in rococo and neoclassical styles. The palace museum displays its historical furnishings and the palace itself exhibits a collection of European paintings from the 19th and 20thcenturies. The castle in Rydzyna to the east of Leszno is the gem of Polish Baroque, surrounded by a 12-hectare park. The neo-Gothic palace in the nearby Rokosowo was built in the 19th century and is surrounded by an English-style garden. Both palaces have been now adapted for hotels. North of Leszno, there is a stud farm in Racot with the head office located in a manor house. In Antonin, sout-west of Kalisz, is the hunting palace, a wooden four-storied building. The little museum brings back the times when Frederick Chopin was a frequent guest here.