Explore the rich history of Poland


Polish cities with a rich history

As befits an over 1000 year old nation, Poland nests huge variety of historical heritage within its borders, providing great possibilities for exploring many intriguing sites filled with polish culture and history. There are hundreds years old castles, churches and fortifications originating in early medieval, iconic cultural towns and main squares coming from the breakthrough of renaissance, monuments of crucial for Europe today’s shape Second World War II or buildings and structures from the period of communism domination as well as its fall in the 90’. Considering the range of history that Poland’s heritage covers, there’re places that would interest basically everyone depending on one's liking. If you’d like to avoid getting lost in the depths of history, make sure to familiarize yourself with the contents of our series of three articles describing historical sites in Poland worth visiting!

Malbork Poland
Polish castles

Gniezno, first Polish capital

Let’s start with a place where it all has begun! Gniezno is the first capital of Poland in its known history, where the most foremost polish prince Mieszko I had his main quarters. It used to be the first center of polish Christianity after the nation’s baptism in 966, which is also considered to be the date of creation of polish state because of its uniting factor of majority of former polish tribes. Gniezno is home to couple of the oldest pieces of Poland’s legacy, of which probably the Royal Gniezno Cathedral (Bazylika prymasowska Wniebowziecia Najwietszej Maryji Panny w Gnieznie) is the most prominent one with its iconic Gniezno Doors, decorated with carvings presenting scenes from the life of the st. Adalbert of Prague, the patron of Poland, who’s remains originally rested in the cathedral. It’s also worth mentioning that Gniezno’s historical attractions are part of the turistic Piast Trail. The path leads through many objects that were crucial for the earliest history of Poland, such as ruins on the lake island Ostrow Lednicki where, according to the archaeologists and historians, aforementioned nation’s baptism took place.

Gniezno Poland
Visit Gniezno

Frombork, the city of Nicolaus Copernicus!

If you’re a fan of the Sun and wander along the Baltic Sea coast, then you must visit Frombork! Why? Because that’s the place where the most recognizable polish scientist in the history has changed humanity’s perception on our brightest star! Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik), in spite of the resistance coming from the side of the contemporary catholic church, has stopped the Sun and moved the Earth, starting the Copernicus Revolution which promoted and eventually settled Sun as the center of our local universe. Copernicus passed away in Frombork, however his remains were found barely 19 years ago in 2005 and buried in Frombork Archcathedral (Bazylika archikatedralna Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny i św. Andrzeja we Fromborku) which is the town’s main point. The impressive temple is a part of a whole complex named Cathedral Hill, which in 1994 was set as an official historical monument site by the order of polish President.

Visit Frombork
Frombork Poland

Lidzbark Warmiński and Grunwald

While enjoying the wilderness of Mazury, you might want to take a look at some of its historical parts either! Lidzbark Warminski was the capital of this majestic region for a couple of centuries, what in consequence led to the creation of many stunning examples of medieval architecture that are to be admired till this very day! Obviously, some of its buildings and constructions are already gone, however the trace hasn’t been entirely wiped out, leaving us structures such as The High Gate of Lidzbark which originates in XV century and some parts of the Lidzbark Walls which were built even 100 years earlier! They’re truly staggering, making travelers wonder how they would look back in the times of their glory! Besides, in this incredible medieval town, we can come across one of the finest, well preserved and valuable monuments of Gothic architecture – Lidzbark Castle! It’s a whole, incredibly well-maintained beautiful complex, which awes and digs its own hole in one’s memory forever! We can see the castle’s main building, the courtyard, gothic basements, the chapel, the refectory, walls with the ornaments presenting crests of noble families, such as Ignacy Krasicki’s, one of the most prominent polish poets. Absolutely a must-see for the historical enthusiasts planning their vacation in Warmia and Mazury voivodeship! An honorable mention now! The Field of the Battle of Grunwald, where one of the biggest clashes in medieval history considering the number of participants took place. A grand victory of Poland Kingdom over the Teutonic Order, which eventually led to its marginalization and final end. The field because of its historical meaning is out of agricultural use. There is a monument dedicated to the victory of polish forces led by the king, Władysław Jagiełło, and annual staging of the battle that can be watched on the anniversary of this special event – 15 of July!

Grunwald battle
Lidzbark Poland

Malbork, Europe's largest Gothic castle

Following the events after the Battle of Grunwald we come across one of the finest examples of medieval castle architecture – Malbork! This enormous, stunning castle located just 50 kilometers away from Gdansk, used to act as the abode of the Teutonic Order. After the tremendous defeat from the hands of Władysław Jagiełło in 1410, The Order managed to defend the castle against a siege that was laid soon after the clash. One might get surprised by learning that after such loss the Teutenic Order got the better of Polish invaders, however that must have been expected! Malbork in its entire history has never been conquered. Poles managed to obtain it only thanks to a gigantic bribe paid to mercenaries who had stationed in the fortress. In the next three centuries, Malbork functioned as a royal residence for numerous polish rulers and by the final years of XVIII century it was very well maintained. Unfortunately, because of numerous conflicts that came upon later, the Castle of Malbork got damaged. It required multiple renovations that were conducted until the outburst of World War II, during which the whole rebuilding process turned out to be in vain. Over 60% of the structure was demolished by the warfare what raised considerations about deconstructing the thing entirely! Luckily, plans were changed, and the castle got fully restored to its former glory. It is possible to enter the premises of this wonderful complex individually without any guidance, as well as being a part of a group led by a guide providing us with the most important knowledge regarding the history and certain parts of the castle. There is also an audio guide, which might be an interesting alternative. What stands out from the conventional forms of sightseeing such places is the special offer of overnight castle venture, delivering exceptional perception on the castle and its innards. Malbork stronghold impresses dozens of thousands of visitors every single year for a reason, so while resting at Mazury or somewhere by the Polish coast, consider experiencing this doubtless phenomenon of a fortress!

Malbork Poland
Malbork tour


If you’re headed for the mountains and find yourself on the way somewhere between Krakow and Rzeszow, then you might wanna take a little detour by leaving the A4 highway and stopping by Tarnow! Tarnow is an incredibly rich in terms of historical and cultural sites to visit and you can basically observe buildings representing majority of polish architectural styles from periods starting with medieval and finishing on communism, with the former being definitely the most contributive and valuable for the town’s attractiveness. The city has a fair amount of still standing fortifications coming from the Middle Ages. Walls of Tarnow that were probably built in XIV century are still to be admired along with its adjutant towers in some parts of the town, as well as some historical buildings which history reaches XV century. Besides, there is also the Tarnow Cathedral (Bazylika katedralna Narodzenia Najświętszej Maryi Panny w Tarnowie) of which the first segments were also constructed in the first half of XIV century. The temple was significantly upgraded in the years following its creation, making its shape the one that is known today. It's definitely one of the most prominent buildings in Tarnow. On top of that, literally, located on a hill of St. Martin which towers above the city we can come across the ruins of Castle of Tarnow, another construction coming from the period similar as the city’s walls and the cathedral. A little hike is required to get there, however, once we reach our destination, we’ll find ourselves on a spot with a beautiful panoramic view of the city! These are just some of the most important historical and cultural sites to be seen while visiting Poland! Obviously, there are many other smaller agglomerations like these mentioned above which might catch your eye and be to your liking, so make sure to explore freely and don’t limit yourself just to the biggest, most popular cities! Nevertheless, one doesn’t exclude the other so having caught your attention with the towns of Poland that are important to its history and culture, let us show you what you can expect in the biggest cities like Warszawa, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan or Wroclaw in the second part of this article!

Tarnow Poland
Visit Tarnów
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