Poznań is a city located in the mid-west of Poland on the Warta river, 180 km from the German border, halfway between Berlin and Warsaw. It is one of the oldest and largest Polish cities, the capital of Wielkopolska Province. Poznań is the fifth most populated city in Poland (with its 600.000 residents) and seventh in terms of area. Poznań residents are said to be frugal, hard-working and well-organized. These attributes must have manifested themselves equally strong in their ancestors as they were the ones to establish the Polish state here a millennium ago. Poznań is known as the birthplace of Poland and Wielkopolska (the Greater Poland, Polonia Major) is the area where the Polish state first emerged.
Poznań residents have derived much of their wealth from crafts and trade. For centuries, Poznań was famed for its fairs. The largest of them was St. John’s Fair on 24 June, principally a gathering of grain and wool traders. Today’s St. John’s Fair attracts master artistic craftsmen from across Poland: handcrafters, painters, sculptors and lovers and collectors of antiques. From 1921 Poznan has been home to the Poznan International Fair that remains the biggest exhibition centre in Poland as well as the venue for conferences, and concerts. Poznań is also a strong theatre and music centre with numerous professional and alternative theatres and music institutions, including well-known Polish establishments such as: the Opera stage of Teatr Wielki, the Tadeusz Szeligowski Poznań Philharmonic, the Polish Dance Theatre – Poznań Ballet, the Puppet Theatre and some of the best drama theatres, e.g. the Polish Theatre and the Tadeusz Łomnicki New Theatre.
Poznan is also one of Poland’s greenest cities not only because its tramways and buses are painted green… Green recreational areas, forests, parks, lawns and gardens cover nearly 30% of the city area. A green belt of forests surrounds the city, which is quite unusual for such a large urban centre and offer plenty of opportunities to experience the beauty of nature, including Palm House and Botanic Gardens with its 23 hectares house plants from all corners of the world.
Near the city centre, 5 minutes walk from the conference venue, there is an artificial lake Malta, Poznań’s hub for sport activities, family strolls and picnics and nature lovers. In 1990 Europe’s most advanced 2 kilometers long regatta course was built on the lake. The tract is a frequent site of competitions and international championships. Along the northern shore of the Malta Lake runs the “Maltanka” children’s train with its last stop at the New Zoo. The New Zoo of Malta, with its 117 ha and spacious, semi-natural conditions for animals is one of the most frequently visited places in the city.
Poznań residents have always had respect for knowledge and science. Poznań’s first institution of higher education, the Lubrański Academy, was founded in 1518. Its scientific traditions were cultivated by the Jesuit College. Today, they are continued by 26 universities and colleges. The most important of them are Adam Mickiewicz University, the Poznań University of Economics, Poznań University of Technology, University of Medical Sciences, Agricultural University, and University of Physical Education. The city prides itself on its numerous research institutes conducting work in the fields of molecular physics, applied chemistry, biochemistry, automation, telecommunication and many more.
There is also a very interesting joint venture of scientists from the Poznań University of Technology and Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Centre. The Wielkopolska Province local government has deemed it a key project in Wielkopolska. It envisages, for example, the creation of a world class Research and Development Centre equipped with a laboratory cluster in all major fields of research into IT technologies. Wielkopolska is the area famed for its strong economy – it has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Poland. The city of Poznań is a major financial centre with most important Polish and many European banks and insurers located here. Poznań’s good climate for business has attracted great numbers of foreign investors, including such global behemoths as Volkswagen, GlaxoSmithKline, Bridgestone, Wrigley, SABMiller, Dalkia Group, Beiersdorf, Exide, Kimball Electronics, Carlsberg, MAN, Samsung R&D, Roche and many more.
What is more, Poznań is a shopper’s paradise. Its shopping strips and malls offer world brands as well as domestic wares. The shopping scene includes small art galleries, jewellery stores, antique shops and vintage item fairs held each weekend in the post-industrial space of a former slaughterhouse complex. The Old Brewery, a center of commerce, art and business, recognized by the International Foundation ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) as “the most beautiful shopping center in the world” attracts either Poznanians or our guests. The idea of this beautiful building is however not only limited to the shopping itself – it plays also an important role in the city cultural map with its numerous performances and exhibitions.
More information about Poznań and its tourist attractions can be found at the official city tourism site: http://www.poznan.pl/mim/turystyka/en/ and a new travel dedicated website http://www.poznan.travel/. Official government website with information for foreigners about Poland is available at http://en.poland.gov.pl/.
Public transport in Poznań
Poznań’s public transport with its network, timetables and tariff is unique in Poland. Trams are the core of the system – most of lines have a frequency of 10 minutes. Bus lines play a complementary role to the tram network. This solution encourage passengers to transfers, offering them, instead of low frequency direct connections, high frequency connections with transfers. Thus the network is less extensive and complicated to passengers.
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