Day 4. Poznan Old Town

It was our final day in Poznan and at last the sun had decided to put in an appearance, enhancing the beauty of the tall and colourful former merchant’s houses surrounding the Old Town Square.  Many of these buildings were reconstructed following heavy damage during the Second World War and are exact replicas of the ones destroyed.

Former Merchant's houses in Poznan Old Town Square
Former Merchant’s houses in Poznan Old Town Square

Dominating the small group of buildings in the middle of the square stands the historic Town Hall which dates back to 1253.  The magnificent Renaissance building we see today was designed by an Italian architect and constructed between 1550-1560.  A 61m tower is a later addition and was built in the 1780’s after the original one collapsed.

Poznan Town Hall
Poznan Town Hall

Every day at 12.00 noon, two mechanical goats appear through a pair of small doors above the town hall clock and butt their horns together twelve times.  Legend has it that two goats originally destined for a celebratory banquet escaped and ended up clashing horns above the clock which was soon to be unveiled.  This caused much amusement to the assembled dignitaries so the clockmaker was instructed to include the butting goats in the clock workings.

Butting goats, Poznan Clock Tower
Butting goats on Poznan Clock Tower

We were eager to witness this unusual sight for ourselves so were in position by 11.50.  By the time the clock struck 12.00 a large crowd had formed to view the proceedings which were fun to watch and lasted for several minutes.

Poznan Clock Tower with the butting billy goats at 12.00 noon
Poznan Clock Tower with the butting billy goats at 12.00 noon

Following the excitement of observing butting goats we moved onto the Wielkopolska Military Museum close by (PLN12) and included in the Poznan Card.  This museum is a complete opposite to the magnificence of the town hall with its brutalist, late 1950’s communist era design.  The museum documents the history of the Polish military starting with the use of 11th century scythes, leading on to 20th century grenades.  On the upper floor we viewed a collection of medals, uniforms and postcards dedicated to the Wielkopolska Uprising.

Wielkopolska Military Museum, Poznan Old Town
Wielkopolska Military Museum, Poznan Old Town

Also located in the Old Town Square is the Museum of Musical Instruments, PLN12 and included in the Poznan Card.  This museum, which only opened in late 2019, holds a collection of professional and folk instruments collected from all over the world.

Museum of Musical Instruments, Poznan
Museum of Musical Instruments, Poznan Old Town

Combining music and history the museum was much more interesting than we had at first anticipated.  Over three floors we viewed everything from barrel organs to harpsichords and musical boxes.  By scanning a QR code on selected instruments with our phones we were also able to hear short excerpts of music played on them which helped to bring the museum to life.

Interior of the Museum of Musical Instruments, Poznan
Interior of the Museum of Musical Instruments, Poznan

Leaving there, we couldn’t resist popping back to the Bethlehem Christmas Market for a final tasty sausage and a mug of mulled wine.  The market didn’t look quite as atmospheric in daylight but was still attractive with plenty of people around as we enjoyed our tasty treats.

Poznan Christmas Market
Poznan Christmas Market

We had timed our lunch break well as on checking our watches we were just in time for our final activity which was to be a visit to the Poznan Croissant Museum and Experience located just behind the Old Town Square.  It’s not a museum in its true sense of the word but actually an interactive one hour live show about the St. Martin’s Croissant, a Poznan speciality with its rich almond and poppy seed filling.

Poznan Croissant Museum Show
Children learning how to make croissants at the museum

Shows take place daily with a Saturday afternoon performance in English.  Upon arrival we were led up to the second floor where we sat ourselves down on benches in a room seating 50 people.  Shortly after the show commenced we discovered what makes the Poznán St. Martin Croissant so special.  We learnt that they originated in 1891 when a priest in the St. Martin’s parish started a charity campaign to help neighbours survive the winter.  The tradition continues to this day as on 11th November (Polish Independence Day) Poznán residents take part in a joint celebration by combining this with a St. Martin’s Day parade through the city centre when thousands of these richly filled poppy seed and almond delicacies are devoured.

Poznan Croissant Museum Live Show
Poznan Croissant Museum Live Show

After learning about the origins of the croissant, volunteers were invited to participate and both adults and children came forward from as far afield as Iceland and Ukraine to put on aprons and chefs hat to at least look the part.  The show was an entertaining comedy experience and lots of fun for all ages.  The volunteers got involved in weighing out the flour, rolling and cutting the dough and then piping in the filling.

Poznan Croissant Museum Authenticity Certification
Poznan Croissant Museum Authenticity Certification

Once these were in the oven,  everyone got a taste from a batch that had been made earlier by professionals and these were mouth-wateringly delicious and eaten so quickly that I even forgot to take a photo.  On departure, we were all presented with a certificate declaring that having attended the experience, we were now permitted to re-create a St.Martin’s croissant ourselves.

Hampton by Hilton, Poznan Old Town Hotel Foyer
Hampton by Hilton, Poznan Old Town Hotel Foyer

This concluded our activities in Poznan and we just had enough time to return to the hotel to collect our luggage before ordering an Uber (PLN 25/ £4.50) to take us back to the airport for our flight home.  We arrived there just as the check-in desk opened and after showing our ‘Fit to Fly’ certificates we then had time for one final glass of Polish beer before boarding our flight back to Manchester.

Poznan Christmas Tree Ornament
The Poznan Christmas Tree Ornament adorning my own tree back home

Visiting Poznan in winter had been a delightful experience with its stunning architecture, interesting museums and picturesque Christmas market.  We were so lucky that it snowed whilst we were there as it transformed the city and its parks into a winter wonderland making our city break even more special.  This wooden tree decoration pictured above of the butting goats now adorns my Christmas tree reminding me of  our lovely weekend break.

 

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

A weekend in Gdansk

A Weekend in Warsaw

Our short break in Poznán was supported by Poznán Travel and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.

 

If you use Pinterest please consider sharing and pinning the image below:Poznan Old Town

 

30 thoughts on “Day 4. Poznan Old Town

  1. Loved that story about the two goats. It must’ve been an entertaining sight to watch the clock show 😃 Old towns really do have their own charms, don’t they? I hope to visit Poznan one day 🙂

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    1. It is a very unusual story about the two goats and such an original idea to incorporate the story of them into the clock mechanism. Poznán is a beautiful city to visit and I do hope you have an opportunity to see it for yourself one day.

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  2. Makes me want to visit Poland, Marion! I am in love with its display of ice cream-coloured frontispieces and the lively flagstone central square – I am not even sure why I haven’t even visited Poland by now (maybe because it’s an obvious holiday destination) as it looks to have everything a traveller could look for – impressive natural beauty, rich history and mouthwatering food, plus it is a fairly cheap European destination. Thanks for sharing and have a good weekend 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Hopefully you will all manage to make it over to Poland in the next year or so. It ticks all the boxes having charismatic architecture, good food and friendly locals. You are quite right that Poland still offers good value compared to most other European destinations and flights are usually quite cheap too! Thanks for your welcome thoughts Aiva and hope you have a relaxing weekend.

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  3. Aw it’s beautiful in the light, especially with the bits of remaining snow. I love the idea of a croissant museum – what a fun thing to do! Have you got many adventures booked for 2022 yet? I’ve now booked quite a few and am getting excited, Poland is one of them 🙂

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    1. It was so good to see the city bathed in sunlight on our final day in Poznan and those croissants were so yummy. Almond fillings are my favourite! Yes, we’ve got several trips booked over the next couple of months both here in the U.K. and overseas. I’m quietly confident that there will be no more cancellations / restrictions preventing us from travelling as we all need these lovely trips to look forward to.

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  4. What a great conclusion to your time in Poznan! The multicolored, narrow historic buildings of the Old Town are very reflective of those in many major Polish cities (and those in Central Europe as well). Knowing that the buildings were also reconstructed after the World War shows that it’s the same history along with places like Warsaw. The St. Martin’s Croissant sounds delicious, and I’d be keen on trying it out sometime. Can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you!

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    1. Possibly sometime when I have time. I adore anything with an almond filling but would probably omit the poppy seeds as I’m not so keen on them. The merchants houses lining the old town square are beautiful and if you didn’t know, you would think they were authentic. Thanks for commenting, Marion.

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  5. A nice little trip Marion. Love the butting billy goats clock. I have seen such mechanised clocks in Germany, Austria, Australia and New Zealand before, “butt” never with butting goats. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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  6. What a lovely visit you had in Poznan Marion! The houses and town hall are beautiful – love the story about the billy goats 😊. And I would certainly not hesitate to visit that croissant museum … I can image how nice it must smell in that “kitchen” – hmm, I’m crazy about almond and poppy seed, so this is my kind of croissant!
    Thank you for showing me just how beautiful Poznan is – even more so during winter!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Corna for your kind words and interest in this series of posts on Poznán. It really was a lovely treat to be able to visit there just before Christmas. I’m not a big fan of poppy seeds but I adore anything with almond in it – absolutely delicious!

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  7. I love all the historic buildings in Poznan. It must have been nice to just stroll through the city and admire the architecture. It’s funny how the Bethlehem Christmas Market looks so different in the daylight compared to at night. How fun to learn about the origins of croissants and to help make some. The taste testing sounds like the best part.

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    1. Tasting the croissants was definitely the best part of the show Linda but it a was fun event. Poznan looked beautiful with clear blue skies but I was pleased we had snowfalls during our stay as it added to the festive charm. Hope your week is progressing well and thank you for commenting. Marion

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