Population: 556,000 – Established: 8th Century AD - Area: 261.85 km2
A BRIEF HISTORY
From its status as former capital of pre-Christianity Poland to its current guise of trade, industry and education hub; Poznań has undergone many transformations – drawing new influences from many different cultures and time periods. Starting out as a small wooden island fort on the Warta River, the town’s expanding population quickly spread onto the mainland.
The city’s conversion to Christianity towards the end of the 10th Century coincided with the construction of Poland’s first ever cathedral; the final resting place of seven former Polish rulers – Some of which were even buried there despite Kraków taking over from Poznań as the capital city of the country.
After 125 years of Prussian rule, the Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) Uprisings of 1918 and 1919 saw Poznań return to Polish control; only to be invaded by the Germans in 1939, and then incorporated into the Soviet Bloc following the Second World War. Some of the earliest protests against communist rule began in 1956 in Poznań, when strikes by employees of a local locomotive factory escalated into a two-day riot.
Paul von Hindenburg: Second president of Germany; the ill-fated Zeppelin airship had been named after him.
Henryk Zygalski, Jerzy Rozycki and Marian Rejewski: Mathematicians and Cryptologists who helped to decrypt the German Enigma machines during WW2.
Krzystof Komeda: Film music composer and Jazz pianist - wrote the score for Polanski’s movie “Rosemary’s Baby”.
Malgorzata Dydek: Former 7’ 2” WNBA basketball star for Los Angeles Sparks - held the record for most career blocks.
FIVE THINGS TO DO IN POZNAN
1. Lake Malta
Formed in 1952 following the damming of the Cybina River, Lake Malta is now a tourist destination in its own right. On the edges of the lake, an all-year artificial ski slope, mini golf, and a number of bars and restaurants are just a few of the ways to waste your day away waiting for the football.
2. Rynek Głowny (Old Market Square)
Chances are that if you find yourself in Poznań, you will stumble across the Market Square. After taking damage from many wars over the years, it is now restored into all its original glory. Many believe it’s the most beautiful town square in Europe, and what better setting to sup a pint-or-three?
3. Centrum Stary Browar
Now, we know that shopping isn’t going to be high on your list of things to do whilst at Euro 2012; but visiting this mall – converted from a former brewery – is about more than just shopping. Voted the Best Shopping Centre in the World in 2008, Stary Browar combines retail space with art – and is famed throughout Europe for its fantastic architecture.
4. Tumski Island
This small Island sits in the middle of the River Warta, and is the birthplace of Poland. The former home of Polish Royalty; it is now the location of one of the most spectacular cathedrals in the whole of the country.
5. Lech Brewery
Take a bus or taxi to Ulica Szwajcarska and you’ll be greeted by the imposing site of the Lech Brewery; home of the local tipple, Lech. Tours are available in English, just visit their website to book before you go. You might even get a free pint at the end of the tour!
Poznań is the capital city of the Wielkopolska region of Poland; and is easily accessible from all of Poland and much of Europe.
Poznań is served by the Poznań-Ławica International Airport. Situated around 5km to the West of the city, it handles around 1.5 million passengers in a year and is one of the oldest airports in Poland. It has hit the headlines in recent years due to the number of flights heading for the airport which mistakenly land at the Poznań-Krzesiny airbase – located a few miles away.
Using low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and Wizz Air, it is possible to fly from UK airports including Liverpool, Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh, Bristol and Doncaster/Sheffield, as well as major European cities such as Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and Rome.
For getting around the host countries during the tournament, you can also use the Polish national airline LOT to reach the Polish capital Warsaw. From Warsaw, there are flights available to Wrocław and Gdańsk, as well as the Ukranian cities of Kyiv, Donetsk and Lviv.
ARRIVING IN POZNAN
To reach the city centre from the airport, you can catch either the Express Line L bus (20 minutes) to the main station, or the number 59 (30 minutes) to Rondo Kaponiera. The Express Line L runs two times per hour (15 and 45 past the hour), whilst the 59 will run two or three times an hour. Both will set you back 5.20PLN (approx. £1.05), and depart from outside the terminal building.
Taxis are also readily available when you exit the airport, but make sure to agree a price beforehand (should be no more than 15PLN), or call for one on 61 8 219 219.
The rail network will be the form of transport that many use to move from Poznań to the other host cities; but beware, if you’re planning to head as far as heading from here to Donetsk, it could take a while and involve a few changes.
The communist-styled Poznań Glowny rail station is located in the city centre, and offers direct transfers to Warsaw (3.5 hours), Wrocław (2.5 hours), Gdańsk (4 hours) and Kyiv (21 hours or more!).
There are many bus services connecting Poznań with the other host-cities in Poland. PolskiBus.com offer very cheap connections between Poznań and Warsaw (around 10-15PLN); and from there you can use the same company to head to Wrocław and Gdańsk.
Other bus services are available from the main bus station in the city centre, where tickets may be slightly more expensive, but unlike the PolskiBus, these tickets should be available to purchase on-board.
IN THE CITY
Poznań has an extensive tram and bus network which allows cheap travel around the city. A ticket valid for a 24-hour period on both the trams and buses will set you back 20 zlotys (around £4); whilst 2-day (27PLN - £5.40), 3-day (33PLN - £6.60) and 7-day (50PLN - £10) tickets are also available. These can usually be bought from machines situated at major tram and bus stops.
The main tram and bus lines start at around 4:30am, and run until around 11pm; but if these times don’t suit, there are also a selection of “night buses” and one “night tram” which serve throughout the twilight hours.
It is also possible to buy the “Poznań City Card” (Poznańska Karta Miejska), which entitles the holder to free public transport as well as discounts on many tourist attractions throughout the city. These are available at tourist information centres throughout the city, and costs 30PLN for the one-day card, 40PLN for the 2-day, and 45PLN for a three day card.
Pyry z Gzikiem
Potatoes cooked whilst still in their skins, and then seasoned with cottage cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and oil. The dish is thought to date back to the first-half of the 19th century when potato-based dishes became very popular in Wielkopolska.
A potato dumpling in flour, which is best served with stewed meat and thickened sauce. It takes its name from the way in which the dumplings are cut.
A soup made with duck’s blood, and served with potatoes and dumplings. It is made with fruit syrups and vinegars to give it a sweet and sour taste.
Another potato favourite, Plyndze is a type of fritter which is served with sugar and sour cream.
A type of croissant; which contains a filling consisting of poppy seeds, vanilla, ground dates/figs, sugar, cream, raisins and orange peel.
Brewed in the area, Lech is one of the country’s most popular alcoholic beverages. The three main types of Lech beer available are “Lech Premium”, a 5.2% pale lager, “Lech Pils”, a 5.5% beer, and Lech Mocny, a 6.2% strong lager. Lech Premium is available on-tap at many bars and restaurants.
Around 50km outside of Poznań lays the small town of Miłosław, home to the Fortuna Brewery. Here, they brew a number of dark, sweet beers which are very popular in Wielkopolska. “Fortuna Czarne” is a 5.8% dark malt beer with a sweet taste, whilst “Fortuna Miodowe” has slightly lower alcohol content, and is brewed with caramel and honey.
The company’s newest beverage is named “Fortuna Wiśniowa”, and with its sweet fruity taste – due to its fermentation with natural cherry juice – it is sure to be a hit.
STADION MIEJSKI, POZNAN
The home of Poznań’s two clubs (Lech and Warta), the recently rebuilt Stadion Miejski (City Stadium) is now the fifth biggest stadium in the country.
Since its redevelopment, it has been possible for the stadium to seat 41,609 people; all of whom are sheltered from the elements.
The design of the stadium means that the stands are very steep. This allows for fans to feel closer to the action, and creates a more hostile atmosphere for travelling teams. However this design has consequences, as the roof allows a smaller amount of light through. This in-turn means that the grass on the pitch struggles to grow well, and with the harsh Polish winters, needs to be replaced quite often.
In its original state, Lech Poznań played their first game at the stadium in August 1980; drawing 1-1 with Motor Lublin.
The first game at the stadium came on 30th September 2010 - Red Bull Salzburg the visitors in the Group Stages of the 2010/11 Europa League. Lech got off to a great start, running out 2-0 winners over the Austrian Champions; Colombian defender Manuel Arboleda becoming the first goal-scorer in the new ground.
GAMES DURING THE TOURNAMENT
Poznań will host just three games during the competition; all of these taking place in Group C (all times local).
Rep. Ireland v Croatia – 10th June 2012 (20:45)
Italy v Croatia – 14th June 2012 (18:00)
Italy v Rep. Ireland – 18th June 2012 (20:45)
GETTING TO THE STADIUM
Located approximately 4.5km from the city centre, the Stadion Miejski is situated at the southern end of Ulica Bułgarska in the South-Western part of the city. The stadium is served by Tram numbers 1, 6, 13 and 15; as well as Buses A, 50, 63 and 91.
For the duration of the tournament, the Poznan Fan Zone will be located at Plac Wolności, in the heart of the city. With a projected capacity of 30,000 people, and a 100 square-metre screen, the square will be the heart of Poznań’s celebrations.
Plac Wolności sits 2km from the train station, and just 500 metres from Stary Rynek. It is accessible by the number 2, 3, 5, 9, 13, 16 and N21 trams; and also the 231 and 233 buses.
Nickname: Kolejorz (The Railwaymen)
League Champions: 1983, 1984, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2010.
Puchar Polski: 1982, 1984, 1988, 2004, 2009.
Super Puchar: 1990, 1992, 2004, 2009.
Coach: Mariusz Rumak
Captain: Grzegorz Wojtkowiak
Six time Champions-of-Poland Lech Poznań are the more successful of the two Poznań based sides, and are currently one of the most well-known clubs in the country. They are named after “Lech”, the mythical founder of the Polish nation, whilst their nickname comes from the club’s close association with the Polish State Railways.
In 2006 the club merged with Amica Wronki, and most of the Amica players moved to Poznań to continue playing in the Ekstraklasa.
The 2010/2011 season saw Lech participate in the Europa League group stages, where they were drawn against Manchester City, Juventus and Red Bull Salzburg. After progressing from the group, they were eliminated from the tournament by Portuguese side Braga.
Lech has a friendship with fellow Ekstraklasa side KS Cracovia and the I Liga club Arka Gdynia. If you attend a Lech Poznań game, it is very common for the Wiara Lecha (Lech Ultras group) to chant the names of their friends.
These three clubs also have a hatred of what are known as the three “Crown Clubs” – Wisła Kraków, Lechia Gdańsk and Słąsk Wrocław.
As well as the three mentioned, Lech (like many clubs in Poland) do not like Legia Warsaw.
Nickname: Zieloni (The Greens)
League Champions: 1929, 1947.
Coach: Artur Płatek
Captain: Tomasz Magdziarz
Although they are less successful than Lech, Warta has the distinction of being the oldest team in the city, as well as the first of the two to become champions of the country.
At the start of 2011, Warta announced that former Polish Playboy model Izabella Łukomska Pyżalska was to become the club’s new president. One of her new initiatives was to offer many free tickets, and this regularly resulted in crowds of around 15-20 thousand people.
There isn’t a particularly strong rivalry between Lech and Warta, as they have spent large periods in separate divisions, and it is not uncommon for Lech supporters to attend Warta games.
Ulica Niepodleglości 36
Map Ref. H1
Distance to Stadium: 5km
Distance to Airport: 6.7km
Distance to Train Station: 1.9km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.8km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 68
Ibis Poznań Centrum,
Ulica Kazimierza Wielkiego 23
Map Ref. H2
Distance to Stadium: 5.6km
Distance to Airport: 7.8km
Distance to Train Station: 2.0km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.1km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 3, 11, 13, 16.
Ulica Świętego Wawrzyńca 96
Map Ref. H3
Distance to Stadium: 3.0km
Distance to Airport: 3.4km
Distance to Train Station: 3.3km
Distance to Fan Park: 3.7km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 2, 15, 17, 18, 61, 86.
Ulica Roosvelta 20
Map Ref. H4
Distance to Stadium: 3.8km
Distance to Airport: 5.7km
Distance to Train Station: 0.7km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.0km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 8, 10, 78.
Don Prestige Residence,
Ulica Swięty Marcin 2
Map Ref. H5
Distance to Stadium: 4.9km
Distance to Airport: 7.0km
Distance to Train Station: 1.4km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.3km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 2, 3, 9, 11, 13, 16.
Hotel HP Park,
Ulica Arcybiskupa Antoniego Baraniaka 77
Map Ref. H6
Distance to Stadium: 7.7km
Distance to Airport: 9.9km
Distance to Train Station: 4.1km
Distance to Fan Park: 3.1km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 57, 84.
IBB Hotel Andersia,
Plac Władysława Andersa 3
Map Ref. H7
Distance to Stadium: 4.5km
Distance to Airport: 6.8km
Distance to Train Station: 1.0km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.8km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 6, 10, 16, 71.
Sheraton Poznań Hotel
Map Ref. H8
Distance to Stadium: 3.6km
Distance to Airport: 5.7km
Distance to Train Station: 0.6km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.1km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 26.