Day 2. Exploring Poznan, Poland

After a hearty breakfast in our hotel we took Tram 3 to Citadel Park in the Kmieca district, just north of the city centre.  There had been a light sprinkling of snow overnight which had given the park a winter wonderland like appearance.  The park sits on Winiary Hill covering 89 hectares and was a former military stronghold.  Nowadays it’s an urban oasis centred around its 19th century fort, military museums and fountains.

Citadel Park, Poznan
Citadel Park, Poznan

About a 20 minute walk from the park entrance stands the Museum of Poznan Army located in a casemate passageway.

Entrance to Poznan Army Museum
Entrance to the Poznan Army Museum

This small museum contains items related to the city’s military history with a particular focus on the Second World War.  Exhibits include a Polish soldier’s uniform, equipment and weapons together with a display of several battlefield scenes.  Entrance PLN10 or free with the Poznan Card.

Interior of Poznan Army Museum
Interior of Poznan Army Museum

A short walk then took us alongside the Bell of Peace and Friendship and located near there lies the park’s second military museum, this one being the Museum of Armaments.  Another small but interesting museum, it is housed in the remains of a Prussian fort which was used as a war laboratory to produce gunpowder and shells during the Second World War.

A tank on display outside Museum of Armaments, Poznan
A tank on display outside the museum

The museum features displays of weapons and ammunition with tanks, a Katyusha rocket launcher and a MIG-15 on display outdoors.  A primary school party were just leaving and we managed to dodge their snowball fight whilst examining the exhibits.  Entrance PLN12 or free with the Poznan Card.

Imperial Castle, Poznan
The Imperial Castle in the city centre

Leaving the park by a different entrance we returned to the city centre by tram so that we could visit two more of Poznan’s museums.  The first of these was located in the Imperial Castle (Zamek).  The castle is of Neo-Romanesque style and used as Government offices.

Poznan 1956 Uprising Museum
The entrance to the 1956 Uprising Museum

We’d come to visit the 1956 Uprising Museum (included in Poznan Card) but it took us awhile to find the actual entrance as it was hidden away around one side of the building, with the museum located down a flight of steps in the basement.

Street scene, 1956 Uprising Museum, Poznan
Street scene in the 1956 Uprising Museum

Once we had found our way inside, we enjoyed exploring the galleries as they were set out as a 1950’s apartment, a typical street scene, a prison cell and a courtroom.  The exhibition covers the history of the first mass protests by Poznán workers in communist Poland and displays photos, recorded memoirs and related memorabilia.

The newly opened Enigma Cipher Centre in Poznan
Inside the newly opened museum

The newly opened Enigma Cipher Centre (PLN20 and discounted with Poznan Card) was located nearby and I think we had saved the best to last as we found this museum to be even more interesting.  The museum tells the story of the breaking of the Enigma Code which commenced in Poznán and emphasises the work of the three men who contributed to this process.

Hands on activities and puzzles to solve in the Enigma Cipher Centre, Poznan
Hands on activities and puzzles to solve in the museum galleries

We took a self-guided audio tour and on our way around attempted lots of hands-on activities and puzzles which helped familiarise us with the art of ciphering and decoding.  We learnt how the discoveries of these Polish mathematicians influenced the history of World War II and the ways in which this connected with the work of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park in the United Kingdom.

Encryption machines in the Enigma Cipher Centre, Poznan
Encryption machines on display in the museum

After leaving the museum, we caught a tram to Rynek Jezycki, a hipster neighbourhood famous for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture, cafes and bars.  We soon found a cosy restaurant called Zuraw, where we called in for a very late lunch.  It was definitely worth waiting for as we both ordered mushroom soup which tasted absolutely divine and was up with the best we had ever eaten.

Lunch in Zuraw Restaurant, Poznan
Lunch in the Zuraw Restaurant

After exploring this arty district and wandering around its outdoor market where locals where busy selecting Christmas trees and taking home holly wreaths to adorn their front doors, we returned to our hotel for a short rest.

One of the markets in the centre of Poznan
We wandered through the local market

An hour or so later, and feeling refreshed with a cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits we were ready for a spot of retail therapy so we headed to the Stary Browar shopping centre just a ten minute walk from the hotel.

Stary Browar, Poznan
Stary Browar, shopping centre

This retail centre has been painstakingly restored in keeping with its former home as a brewery, which was in existence between the years of 1876 and 1980.  Here we found over 200 shops, restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes, galleries and a cinema complex.  It was the perfect place to pick up a few Christmas gifts and we were then spoilt for choice deciding where to eat.

Bethlehem Christmas Market, Poznan
The Bethlehem Christmas Market

As with our previous two evenings in Poznán, we couldn’t resist rounding off our evening back at the Bethlehem Christmas Market which looked just like a Christmas card with its blanket of fresh snow adding to the charm.  On offer at the market were mugs of both red and white mulled wine and opinions were divided as I preferred red whilst my son was a fan of the white and he wondered why this wasn’t readily available in the U.K.  A choir were performing on the stage and it felt really festive listening to their melodic voices from the balcony of the cosy cabin bar whilst sipping our drinks.

The central Christmas Tree in Poznan Christmas Market
The central Christmas tree in the Christmas Market

Eventually we managed to drag ourselves away and leave the twinkling fairy lights behind.  It had started snowing again and we enjoyed wandering back to the hotel cosily wrapped up in our warm coats, hats and scarfs as the fresh flakes of snow stuck to our clothes.  Back in our hotel room we were soon tucked up in bed and sound asleep after another fun filled day exploring Poznan.

 

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Exploring Poznan, Poland

 

37 thoughts on “Day 2. Exploring Poznan, Poland

  1. Hi there…Poznan looked a most interesting place to visit. You certainly covered some ground while there. My husband’s family came from Lodz in Poland. Luckily most emigrated to the UK, US and SA before the second World War. Tragically, one of his grandfather’s brothers and his family stayed and were killed in the Holocaust. A cousin in the US sent a ‘family tree’ document, which mentioned the deaths of three little girls which made my blood run cold. It’s ever hard to realize that such horrors existed. Here’s to hope, peace and continued safe and enjoyable travels.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Poznan is a very interesting small city to explore and was exceptionally pretty just before Christmas Joy with the snow and Christmas Market. Life is so very different fir the Polish people of today than what it was behind the Iron Curtain. Thanks so much for your welcome thoughts and hoping too that you are able to travel more freely in the coming months.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, the Christmas market looks great, I so miss them. It’s been two years now since I last visited one 😦 Even my parents in Berlin didn’t want to go this year although they had them open in Berlin at least as they just make the entire experience so miserable now in Germany. I passed one in London and got super stressed. Too many people for my liking. I’m not used to it anymore. 😅

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Museum looks amazing. Never been there during the Christmas Season but I brought a Christmas ornament and hang on our tree Very festive Marion. I grew up with immigrants in a coal mining town Nova Scotia we always ate Polish Sausage and Cabbage Rolls.my fav.
    Thanks Anita

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wasn’t aware of the Polish involvement in the Enigma code breaking either Ian so it was extremely interesting to explore the museum in Poznan. I’ll try and fit in a visit to Bletchley Park, north of London later in the year too. Thank you for your contribution, it’s most welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cold wintry days are perfect for museum visits, aren’t they? I find the last two museum really exciting, as they are more focused on the social aspect of history. All in all, Poznan looks like a lovely city to explore. Hope you are warm and cosy, Marion. Feels like we are in for some icy cold days here in England. We are resting a lot and just enjoying home comforts with a couple of excursions to Stoke and Cheadle.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Europe knows how to do Christmas markets right. They are just coming into vogue here and the pandemic has not helped. A good Polish sausage and a cup of mulled wine sounds like the perfect accompaniment for a cool winter evening market stroll. Thanks for sharing Marion. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Over the last 15 years or so, European Christmas markets have also become popular in England and it was a welcome sight to see many of them returning this year. With Poland restriction free at the time of our visit for U.K. visitors we were also able to partake of the festivities there which was very pleasant especially with the sprinkling of snow. Thank you for your interest and much appreciated thoughts Allan.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a day Berto will enjoy thoroughly! All those military museums and the best of all – the story behind the breaking of the Enigma Code … oh yes, I will have to drag him out of there! The snow definitely added to the spirit of Christmas – your photo of that lovely Christmas tree is picture perfect!
    Thanks for taking us along on your Poznan visit Marion – I enjoy this very much!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your continued interest in this series of posts Corna. Poznán’s museums are very interesting especially the Enigma Cipher Centre. Now I want to visit Bletchley Park nearer home! Hope the first week of the year is progressing well for you both. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

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