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As a result of the fall and partitions of the First Republic of Poland in the 18th century, Poznań became a border city of German Prussia. Transformed into a Fortress City and surrounded by mighty walls around which no new buildings were allowed to be erected, it could not develop. There was only one purpose of the city’s existence back then – to stop the Russian Empire. Only the liquidation of Festung Posen and the liberation of the areas occupied before by the forts allowed the city to bloom like a flower or… explode like a powder keg!
The monumental Imperial District, built in a post-fortified area at the beginning of the 20th century, is a phenomenon on a Polish scale. It was designed to raise the prestige of the city and make it one of the seats of the Prussian emperor. Wide and modern for those times, the streets are full of sumptuous public buildings, operas and theaters. The newly created district was to introduce Poznań to the 20th century as a modern city and be an impulse for further development. It also had its own political task – to overshadow the Polish Old Town with historicising and monumental German architecture. Therefore, in the heart of the District, there is a gigantic Imperial Castle, which is perhaps the most modern castle in Europe.
During the tour we will focus not only on monumental buildings, but we will also wander into charming, hidden courtyards. We will talk about Poznań’s struggle to keep its Polish identity at a time when Poland did not exist. We will also see the place where brilliant pre-war Polish cryptologists who decoded Enigma – the legendary German coding machine – worked, an achievement that significantly helped the Allies win the war. We will also talk about the tragic history of Poznań June 1956, when the whole city fought against the communist government for decent jobs and a better life. Of course, there will also be the central point of the district, i.e. the Imperial Castle itself, which is now an enormous cultural center. After all, we all know that being in Poznań and not seeing the Castle is like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or visit Poznań without watching the billy goats… 😊
On a tour around the Imperial Quarter, you’ll see, among others: