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12 Day central poland Tour
Poznan - Torun - Warszawa - Krakow - Opole - Wrocław - Poznan
Arrival in Poznan, transfer to the hotel, an evening stroll through the Old Town. Welcome dinner in a regional restaurant, overnight stay at a hotel.
Breakfast, guided tour of Poznan Cathedral, the Renaissance Town Hall, the Baroque Church of St. Mary Magdalene and the Museum of Musical Instruments. Dinner in a restaurant, overnight stay at a hotel.
Breakfast, then a visit to Rogalin and a guided tour of the Palace in Rogalin surrounded by a beautiful park. It includes a museum of coaches and an art gallery of Polish paintings. The palace itself is a good example of the Neo-classical style, surrounded by a French style garden and an English style park. We then set off for an afternoon visit to Gniezno and a visit to Gniezno Cathedral, where the first Polish kings were crowned. Transfer to Torun, dinner and overnight in a hotel in Torun.
Breakfast, transfer to Torun - the birthplace of Nicolas Copernicus. The city, which sits on both banks of the Vistula ,has the greatest wealth of Gothic architecture in Poland. Its medieval centre with the original urban layout has been entered on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list. City tour: the Old Town Square, Old Town Hall, the Statue of Copernicus, three Gothic churches, the Copernicus family house, city walls and gates, ruins of the Teutonic Knights’ Castle and the Crooked Tower, as well as the planetarium. Continuation of the trip to Golub Dobrzyn, where there is an impressive Teutonic Knights’ castle built in the 13th century. Transfer to Warsaw, dinner and overnight at a hotel in Warsaw.
Breakfast, Guided tour of Warsaw: the Royal Castle, The Royal Route, the Old Market Square, the Barbican, Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Łazienki with its splendid gardens and the Palace on the Water. Next, a visit to Willanow - the Versaille of Central Europe, the historic royal residence of King John III Sobieski, a stroll through the park and palace complex, which is considered a pearl of Polish Baroque architecture. Dinner in a regional restaurant, overnight stay at a hotel.
Breakfast, transfer to Zelazowa Wola – an internationally famous village where Chopin was born. The manor house, Chopin’s biographic museum with the composer’s and family portraits, a beautiful park with about 500 different species of trees and shrubs. Afternoon transfer to Cracow, dinner and overnight in a hotel in Cracow.
Breakfast, a guided tour of Cracow: the Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Basilica and historical trade pavilions of the Cloth Hall, the Royal Route, Collegium Maius, Wawel Hill with its renaissance Royal Castle and Cathedral. Next a visit to Wieliczka - to the famous Royal Salt Mine with numerous underground chambers, chapels and salt sculptures. Return to Cracow, dinner in a regional restaurant with live folk music, overnight stay in a hotel.
Breakfast, a to visit an Auschwitz - Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, the biggest Nazi concentration camp from World War Two. Return to Cracow, dinner in a restaurant, overnight in a hotel.
Breakfast, a transfer to Wroclaw with a stop at the Castle in Pszczyna, followed by a transfer to Opole, a guided tour of Opole: the Piast Tower 13th c., Gothic Holy Cross Cathedral, the Franciscan Church and monastery with the Piast Chapel - the mausoleum of the local dukes. Opole is the capital of Polish Song, the annual Song Festival is held in the city amphitheatre. Afternoon transfer to Wroclaw. Diner and overnight stay in a hotel in Wroclaw.
Breakfast, guided tour of Wroclaw: the Old Town Square, with its Gothic Town Hall, a complex of medieval architecture known as Ostrow Tumski Island with the Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the University with Aula Leopoldina, the Market Square with the Gothic Town Hall, a visit to “Panorama Raclawicka” a magnificent painting. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel.
Breakfast, transfer to Ksiaz Castle, whose history dates back to the 13th century, picturesquely situated in an old park on a rocky hill with superb interiors of Gothic and baroque splendor. Transfer to Swidnica, a unique timber Church of the Holy Trinity called the Church of Peace. Continuation of trip to Poznan. Dinner in a restaurant and overnight stay at a hotel.
Breakfast, transfer to Poznan, a stop en-route to a Castle in Rydzyna, one of the largest ducal palaces in Poland and a magnificent example of 17th century Baroque architecture, surrounded by a moat. Arrival in Poznań.
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Poznan one of the oldest cities in Poland by the Warta River.
Poznan's impressive cathedral is the earliest church in the country, containing the tombs of the first Polish rulers: duke Mieszko I, king Boleslaw the Brave, king Mieszko II, dupe Casimir I the Restorel, duke Przemyslaw I and king Przemyslaw II. Today the city is a vibrant center for trade, industry, and education. Poznań is Poland's 5th largest city and 4th biggest industrial center.
Poznań is known around the world as an important international trade-fair centre. Every year about 30 international and national events are held here. Specialist trade fairs, such as the Polagra Fair, featuring food products, and the Budma Fair, featuring building materials, are among the largest sectoral events in Europe.
The historical landmarks in this city are also well worth seeing. The observation terrace of the Economics Academy skyscraper, 80 m above ground, offers an excellent view of the city's old quarter, Ostrów Tumski, where the cathedral stands today and where once stood the castle of Prince Mieszko I and his son Bolesław the Brave, crowned in 1025 the first king of Poland. Their sarcophaguses can be viewed in the Golden Chapel of the cathedral. Besides gold cups and monstrances from the churches of Wielkopolska, the Archdiocese Museum houses Poland's only painting by Anthony van Dyck.
Poznań's most beautiful church is the huge Baroque Parish Church of St. Stanisław. This is one of Poznań's most mysterious buildings, since parts of the crypts have not yet been investigated. Rumors say that crates of sketches by great Polish painters Jan Matejko and Wojciech Gerson, purchased for the Poznań City Museum just before World War II, were hidden here. Organ concerts are held in the church every day in the summer, with proceeds going to the renovation of the historic organ. Billy goats on the Town Hall The city authorities were housed in the Renaissance Town Hall until 1939, and today the building is home to the Poznań History Museum. At noon two mechanical billy goats clash horns on the Town Hall tower in the middle of the Old Market Square. The fasade of the houses surrounding the square, once the homes of the wealthiest residents, feature Renaissance and Baroque motifs.
South of the city is the palace in Rogalin, surrounded by a beautiful park. It includes a museum and painting gallery. The village of Rogalin on River Warta, 20 km south from Poznan, has a magnificent park with ancient oaks and a Rococo-Neo-Classical palace which houses a large exhibition of 18th and 19th century interiors. In the palace rooms you will find lovely 17th and 18th century tapestries, French and Flemish arrases, and Meissen porcelain. In a separate building is a gallery of Polish and foreign painting from the 19th and 20th centuries. The palace is a branch of the National Museum in Poznan.
Toruń (200,000 inhabitants) is proud of its Old Town, which has been added to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Founded in 1233 by the Teutonic Knights, the city is home to many splendid examples of historical architecture. The Old Town Hall combines the elements of Gothic with late Renaissance. Opposite, there is a monument commemorating Nicolaus Copernicus. In the house of his birth, a collection of documents and instruments from the epoch can be viewed. His name was given to the Toruń University. The sumptuous church of St Mary is famous for its stellar vault.
The famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born and lived in the medieval town of Toruń, which is now on the UNESCO World’s Cultural Heritage List. Copernicus was the first astronomer who said that the earth is not the centre of the universe, but rather the planets revolve around the Sun. Maybe this is what makes our sky so attractive for aviators. Polish air clubs have training courses for aircraft and glider pilots. Hang-gliding and increasingly popular motor-gliding can also be enjoyed in Poland. Enthusiasts of hot-air ballooning and parachuting are also catered for.
ul. PTTK, 87-400 Golub-Dobrzyń
In Golub-Dobrzyń, to the east of Toruń, there is an impressive Teutonic Knights’ castle. It was built in the 13th century and subsequently altered with Renaissance overlay. Today it is housing a museum and a hotel.
Knights’ tournamentsKnights’ tournaments in Golub-Dobrzyń.
Every July the Golub-Dobrzyń castle built by the Teutonic Knights in the 14th century hosts the International Knights’ Tournament; the program includes re-enactment of medieval jousting. The city is surrounded by fragments of medieval walls with towers and a moat. The Old Town has a Gothic church and an old Pod Kapturem house from the late 18th century.
The majority of historical buildings and sights are located on or near the Royal Way that begins in the Old Town. It leads past the Royal Castle and follows Krakowskie Przedmieście, Nowy Świat and Aleje Ujazdowskie to reach Łazienki Palace, the royal summer residence, and the Belvedere Palace.
The eastern side of the Castle Square, which is the main gateway to the Old Town, is occupied by the Royal Castle. In the centre of the square stands the 22-metre-high Column of Sigismund III Vasa, the king who moved the capital from Cracow to Warsaw (late 16th c.). Only a short walk separates us from the Old Town Square in the middle of which stands the Mermaid, a symbol of Warsaw, cast in 1855. Numerous galleries, restaurants and open-air cafés attract crowds of tourists. There are also stalls selling paintings and drawings, and dorożki, the traditional horse-drawn carts that clatter tourists round the Old Town for a sizeable fee.
Along this street and in the Old Town area the majority of old churches are found. The street is lined with many former magnate palaces which now contain public institutions. There is also Warsaw University, which occupies a whole complex of buildings, and the headquarters of the Polish Academy of Sciences with the Monument to Nicolaus Copernicus in front of it.
It’s one of the busiest commercial streets of the city, with countless shops, galleries, bookshops and cafés. While Krakowskie Przedmieście is lined with the 18th century huge aristocratic residences, this street is dominated by the 19th century neo-classical houses and palaces. The southern part of the Royal Way, behind Aleje Jerozolimskie, dates back to the 20th century. A little further east towards the Vistula you will see the imposing building of the National Museum; the highlight of its collection are the impressive frescoes from an early Christian cathedral in Pharos, Sudan, discovered by a Polish archaeological team. Next door in the same building is the Polish Army Museum.
The most charming street of the city, Aleje Ujazdowskie is a pleasant avenue mostly bordered with parks. In between you will find a number of little palaces occupied by foreign diplomatic missions and a dozen or so huge governmental buildings. There are also the Botanical Gardens and the beautiful Royal Łazienki park-and-palace complex.
Despite various ups and downs this most beautiful of Warsaw’s park and palace complexes has retained its original shape and architecture.
A city resounding with life, young in heart, a mix of old and new, where historic huses face modern buildings and commercial centers. This verdant city, with abundant greenery of parks and gardens, was rebuilt after WWII. An important university center. The Old Town (historic center of the city) has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s list of world heritage. Mermaid – the emblem of Warsaw, featured on the city’s coat-ofarms Old Town Square, ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie.
Old residence of the dukes of Mazovia and Polish kings, totally destroyed during WWII and meticulously rebuilt.
A meeting point of young people and emblem of Warsaw.
Castle Square Old Town Square
surrounded with tenement houses from the 15th to 18th century, rebuilt after destructions of WWII.
St. John’s Cathedral
the crypts with tombs and sarcophagae of prominent Poles are open to visitors.
this imposing structure from the 16th century and the partly preserved ramparts marked the boundary of New and Old Town. Today it is hosting a summer gallery of paintings and performances by street musicians.
New Town Square
A charming asymmetric square of varying level, with St. Casimir’s Church belonging to the convent of Holy Sacrament Sisters.
St. Anne’s Church
A view tower and student ministry center.
The opening street of so-called Royal Route. Two renowned Polish higher schools: Warsaw University and Academy of Fine I have moved the capital from Cracow to Warsaw and now in remembrance I have to stand on this column Sigismundus Column Since 14th I have defended the residents of Warsaw in appreciation of their hospitality. Arts are located at Krakowskie Przedmieście.
Holy Cross Church
The hearts of Chopin and Władysław Reymont, laureate of Nobel Prize in Literature, are entombed in the pillars of the left nave ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 3.
The venue of national celebrations, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from 1925, where urns with soil from the battlefields of Polish soldiers during WWII are entombed. Polish soldiers guard the tomb, located near the Saxon Garden from the 18th century and a new Metropolitan office building designed by Sir Norman Foster.
Royal Baths (Łazienki)
A park of 76 hectares located in the center of the city, summer residence of the last king of Poland, is one of the most beautiful garden complexes in Europe.
Łazienki – Chopin’s Monument
set in the rose garden, at a pond; throughout the summer Chopin piano recitals are performed at the foot of this famous Polish monument. Wilanów The gateway to Royal Route, is located 6 km apart from the center of the city. Sightseeing: the Palace – summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski, the defeaterof Turks near Vienna, and a vast park. Poster Museum in Wilanów with a collection of Polish posters since 1892.
with a gallery of ancient (frescos from Farras)and medieval art, Polish and European painting, Polish art of the 20th century and European decorative art.
Palace of Science and Culture
the most controversial building in Warsaw, erected in the 1950’ as a gift by the Soviet Union. Hosts several research and commercial establishments, museums, theatres and cinemas. A viewing platform on the 30th floor offers an expansive view over Warsaw and its surroundings.
Warsaw Worth Visiting Kordegarda
The Gallery of Art was founded in 1956. It is one of the finest collections in the world illustrating major achievements in painting, sculpture and decorative arts.
Zachęta National Gallery of Art is the oldest exhibition site in Warsaw, with a tradition stretching back to the mid 19th Century. It is located in the heart of Warsaw, next to the Saski Park, and in the immediate vicinity of the University of Warsaw and the Academy of the Fine Arts.
Galery Koło Market
A flea market. Old furniture, paintings and icons, china and other gadgets are offered.
New building of Warsaw University Library, with rooftop gardens and a splendid view over Vistula River.
Located 6 km south of Łazienki, on the city limits, is Baroque gem Wilanów – the summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski built in the mid-17th century. Often called the Little Versailles, it was supposed to remind his beloved wife of her home country – France. Visitors can admire interiors lavishly furnished with period furniture, portraits, sculptures and suits of armor. Open daily except Tuesdays. Inaugurated in 1968 and housed by the former royal coach-house, the Poster Museum, south of the main gateway, was the first institution of its kind in the world.
A tiny village 53 km west of Warsaw, near the Kampinos National Park is a place of birth to Frederick Chopin (1810). In his birthplace, surrounded by a large park, a museum has been arranged. Chopin music concerts are held on Sundays in the summer time, often performed by the top-rank virtuosi.
The Royal City of Poland from 1038 to 1596. To this day Cracow is regarded as the spiritual and intellectual center of Poland and the emblem of national identity. Cracow is home to many higher schools, including the oldest Jagiellonian University. Lajkonik a symbol of the city. A fellow in oriental dress rides a wooden horse. A traditional parade is held on the Market Square after the Corpus Christi Feast. Wawel Dragon another symbol of Cracow. A legend has it that the dragon used to live in a cave at the foot of the Wawel Hill.
Seat of Polish dukes and kings; today the most beautiful museum in Poland.
Gothic basilica housing numerous treasures. The Zygmunt Chapel, is a gem of the Renaissance. Above hangs the mighty Zygmunt Bell weighing 8 tons. Cathedral Museum, Wawel.
One of the largest squares in Europe, a quadrangle of 4 ha. Laid out in the Middle Ages, the Grand Square has been for centuries the focal point of life in Cracow.
St. Mary’s Church
A threenave Gothic structure housing one of the largest Gothic altars in Europe, carved in wood by Wit Stwosz. A call is trumpeted every hour from the church’s tower.
The first cloth stalls were erected on the Grand Square in the 13th century. Today they house numeous souvenir shops and, on the first floor, the Gallery of Polish Fine Arts from the 19th century.
Barbican and St. Florian’s Gate
A precious example of medieval defensive architecture.
The oldest university building in Poland. Today it is the Museum of the Jagiellonian University – about 2000 historic instruments used in astronomy, some of them from the time of Copernicus, physics, chemistry, cartography, works of art are displayed. Tyniec Benedictine monastery standing on a limestone rock overlooking the Vistula River, with remnants of the oldest structures from the 11th century.
Erected in the 15th century, this Gothic synagogue is the oldest Jewish house of worship in Poland. ul. Szeroka 24.
A collection of paintings beginning from the 13th century and including the “Lady with an Hermine” by Leonardo da Vinci and the “Landscape with the Good Samaritan” by Rembrandt van Rijk. An armory with a collection of militaria. ul. św. Jana 19.
The main building houses a huge collection of Polish contemporary art since the turn of the 19th century, militaries from Middle Ages on, a gallery of handicrafts, oriental artifacts, a collection of clothing and accessories form the 16th century.
Japanese Center of Art and Technology, established in 1994 to promote the knowledge of Japan.
Auschwitz-Birkenau (Oświęcim-Brzezinka in Polish)
All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by the Nazis in the suburbs of the city of Oswiecim which, like other parts of Poland, was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. The name of the city of Oswiecim was changed to Auschwitz, which became the name of the camp as well. June 14, 1940, when the first transport of Polish political prisoner deportees arrived in Auschwitz, is regarded as the date when it began to function. Since 1940 it was the location of a concentration and later of the extermination camp. By January 1945 around 2 million people had been killed here, mostly Jews but also Gypsies, as well as political and war prisoners. The camp was designed to be an organized death factory. Everything was thoroughly put into accounts. On leaving the camp, the SS blew up part of the facilities. The barracks once crammed with prisoners, the torture and execution sites and the rail-tracks leading straight to the camp remained on place to stand witness to this appalling cruelty. Tourists can watch the movie made by the Soviet troops during the camp’s liberation. This memorial site can be visited every day. It was added to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
Opole and its surroundings
Situated on the river Odra, the city of Opole with its population of 130,000 inhabitants ranks among the largest cities in Silesia. The town hall in the main square was constructed in 1932. The Baroque houses in the square, currently under reconstruction, are characterized by round bay windows typical for the city’s architecture. Worth a look is a Franciscan monastic complex dating from the 14th century. The cathedral is the oldest church in Opole. The large skansen in the Bierkowice suburb contains a variety of rural architecture from Silesian villages.
Wrocław is one of the oldest and most attractive Polish cities. It is situated at the foot of Sudety Mountains on the Oder River. The city is intersected by several tributaries of the Oder and canals, with 12 islands and 112 bridges. Wrocław is a major university center with over 50,000 university students.
Old Town Square
from the 13th century of impressive proportions (208 x 175 m) is the focal point of Wrocław.
in the Old Town Square boasts a richly ornamented façade and an astronomical clock from 1580. Today it houses the Museumof History. Burghers’ Art Museum.
this former island is the oldest part of Wrocław. Initially a stronghold, later a castle and now the location of St. John’s Cathedral.
St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral
from the 13th and 14th centuries, with two scenic towers, is the oldest Gothic structure in Poland. Impressive view from the tower 56 m high.
accessible by Piaskowy Bridge, the oldest surviving bridge in Wrocław. Just across the bridge is a Baroque building of University Library, mills from the 17th /18th century are located at the tip of the island. An impressive view of Ostrów Tumski.
St. Giles’ Church
The oldest church in Wrocław erected in the Romanesque style in the first half of the 13th century. The nearby Archdiocese Museum houses impressive collections of sacral art.
The Grunwald Bridge
built in 1910, used to be the longest suspension bridge in Europe.
The main building of the Wroclaw University is a Baroque structure from early 18th century. Richly decorated interiors with the magnificent Aula Leopoldina housing the statues of Hapsburg emperors, paintings and frescoes.
The Racławice Panorama
This gigantic painting from late 19th century commemorating the victorious battle of Poles with the Russian army is located in an oval building at Słowackiego Park.
The People’s Hall
the first Modernist reinforced concrete structure in the world, erected by the Germans in 1913.
Poland’s largest (31.3 hectares) zoological garden established in the 19th century.
The Szczytnicki Park
established in the 18th century, one of the largest parks in Europe, with an impressive collection of local and exotic plants, romantic alleys and imposing trees. The Japanese Garden founded 100 years ago with a collection of exotic plants.
The Wrocław Mime Theatre
famous mime theatre established in 1959, its performances enjoy a great popularity. Open mime art workshops are organized.
Niepold’s Shopping Arcade
housing numerous pubs, nightclubs and disco clubs, is a popular leisure center. Young people frequent the GAFA club with a dance performance stage, a bar and billiard room, Celtic Pub with Latino music. Metropolis with techno, house and trance music and the Buldog with rock music.
In the shadow of the cathedral Ostrów Tumski, far from the hubbub of the city, is the terra sancta of Wrocław. To get there, you need to cross Tumski Bridge, once the border of church jurisdiction. Representatives of the lay authorities, including princes, were obliged to take off their hats when they crossed the bridge. This is an area of monumental churches, a marvelous Gothic cathedral, the houses of the canons and the archbishop's palace. The terrace on the cathedral's northern tower mentioned above offers a great view of the church towers and the Oder River winding through the city. When the gas lamps are lit at night and the most striking architectural landmarks are illuminated, Ostrów Tumski is a breathtaking sight. Those who enjoy Modernism will be intrigued by the Ludowa Hall, which at its opening in 1913 was the largest reinforced-concrete structure in the world. Today it is a venue for trade fairs, exhibitions, concerts and sports events first and foremost matches played by Poland's best basketball club team, Śląsk Wrocław, a 16-time Polish champion. Wrocaw is a city where culture plays a special role. Important events include the Wratislavia Cantans Music and Fine Arts festival, featuring oratorio and cantata music, the International Festival of Viennese Music and the Wrocław Organ Summer. The city has an opera house, an operetta, numerous theaters and museums, among which the most important is the rotunda housing the Racławice Panorama, a monumental work by Wojciech Kossak and Jan Styka, portraying the victory of insurgents led by Tadeusz Kościuszko over Russian forces at the Battle of Racławice.
Ksiaz is situated in the south-west Poland, very close to Walbrzych. The place to see in Ksiaz is the castle - the biggest in Silesia, and the third largest in Poland. It was constructed between 1288 and 1291, and was built by the Silesian Piast Prince Bolko I. It sits on a huge cape, surrounded on three sides by the dark valley of Pelcznica river.
During World War II the castle was confiscated and transformed into a bunker by the Germans. Supposedly, it was meant to be the most magnificent of Hitler's headquarters. Shelters and tunnels were constructed underneath. But after Hitler's defeat it was taken over by the Soviets. By that time it was completely robbed of all the valuables. Later the castle has been totally forgotten. Finally, the authorities set up the idea of restoring the historic building. They turned it into a museum, but you can find there a restaurant, an art gallery and a hotel as well.
While visiting the castle you should take a tour to see the main tower. The walk at the top is often compared to a journey into the past. It shows the whole history of Ksiaz - Gothic elements are combined with Soviet graffiti. At the top you can have a look at the surroundings - deep forests in the valley of Pelcznica river.
Of the interiors, an absolute must-see, is the Maximilian Hall. As the whole eastern wing, this part was constructed in the 18th century. The Maximilian Hall is the largest room in the whole castle, and is decorated in a Baroque style. You can admire a beautiful interior, among which you should draw your attention to magnificent mirrors, antique chimneypiece, gilded chandeliers, and huge windows with a splendid view. Painted ceiling is a fresco of Mount Parnassus.
You should also see the terraced gardens, that are situated on the slopes around the castle. There are few of them, each one on a different level. They are a great place to have a rest after visiting the interiors. You can sit beside one of the fountains or admire various plant compositions. Near the castle there is a stud farm, where castle stables were situated.