Old Market Square | Poznan, Poland

The Old Market Square in Poznań with the Town Hall and Cloth Hall; Poland

It is said that Poznan is the cradle of the Polish state. It was here that the first Polish princes and kings held office. When the princes’ seat was moved in the thirteenth century from the right to the left bank of the Warta River, an outline of the market square of Poznan was drawn near the new castle. This market exists in its almost original shape to this day and is the bustling heart of the city.

Poznan Old Market Square is known for its colourful old tenement houses, which occupy the central part of the square and surround it. In the past, they were the headquarters of rich merchants who sold their goods in the lower parts of their houses. Each tenement house was painted in a different colour to mark the property of a given merchant.

The closer to the centre of the Poznan Market Square, the more valuable such a tenement house was. The value of some of them was even estimated to be equivalent to the value of a whole village near Poznan. The property of such a tenement house could of course be acquired by buying it. However, for many it was common practice to marry the daughter of a trader or his widow. If the families of two neighbouring merchants married, their tenement houses were painted and decorated the same from the outside. Therefore, if you look at this picture, you will notice that some of the buildings are narrower and some are wider.

Today, the Poznan market is vibrant with life even at night. In the lower parts of the buildings restaurants and bars empty late after midnight or even in the early morning. Therefore, nowadays tenement houses are inhabited mainly by students who do not mind the noise during the day or night.

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