Wielkopolska ? the magical land
Interesting landscape, abundance of nature and souvenirs of over a thousand-year-old history. Over 3 thousand kilometres of tourist trails, rivers and lakes for enthusiasts of water sports, horse-riding centres and regional events. There is something for everyone!
With its diverse landscape, Wielkopolska is ideal for active leisure. The local forests and lakes belong to the most beautiful in the country. Tourists are also attracted by numerous landscape parks, hiking trails and bicycle paths, as well many charming and historical manor houses and parks dispersed over the entire region. If this is not enough, then there are also historical monuments of the region?s capital of Poznan and the oldest city in Poland, Gniezno.
The Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is situated on the lowland basins of the three rivers: Warta, Noteć and Prosna. The region is very attractive for people interested in active leisure thanks to the beautiful landscapes abundant in lakes, forests and hills shaped by the Last Glacial Period. In addition, it is here in Wielkopolska that tourists find places associated with the country?s cultural heritage as it is actually here that the Polish statehood was born. If we add the well-developed tourist infrastructure to it, then the area makes up the ideal place for tourist trips.
Let?s go on hiking and cycling trips
The Wielkopolska Region is a paradise for enthusiasts of two wheels. The voivodeship has the Wielopolska System of Bicycle Paths. It was elaborated in the Sport and Tourism Department of the Marshal Office in Poznań and awarded with the Certificate of the Polish Tourist Organisation. It comprises of five voivodeship bicycle paths which cover the area of the entire region. We distinguish the ?Ring around Poznań? (173 km, plus seven connecting routes with Poznań), ?Transwielkopolska Trasa Rowerowa? (500 km leading from Okonek through Poznań to Siemianice near Kępno), ?Piastowski Trakt Rowerowy? (104 km route around manor houses, palaces and studs), ?Rowerowy Szlak Stu Jezior? (110 km of beautiful bicycle paths among forests and lakes) and ?Nadwarciański Szlak Rowerowy? (260 km of the most beautiful natural bicycle path in the Wielkopolska Region leading along flood embankments from Poznań to Lake Jeziorsko).
On a horse and in a canoe
A horse-riding trail was established in the south especially for horse-riding enthusiasts. The trail is under patronage of the ?Hospitable Wielkopolska? Inter-Commune Tourist Association which comprises of nine communes of Wielkopolska. Route of the Horse-Riding Rally runs through 5 communes and its area is so-called the ?Land of Horses?, i.e. the areas chosen especially for this type of recreation.
The Voivodeship?s authorities have also observed an increasingly popular tourist activity on the rivers. As a result, the Great Loop of Wielkopolska has been created and is 690 km long. Two third of this trail is situated in Wielkopolska. The trail starts in Konin and its further route leads through Poznań and Międzychód to Santok nearby Gorzów Wielkopolski, where the River Warta joins with the River Noteć. Further, it leads along the River Noteć through Czarnków and Nakło up to the suburbs of the City of Bydgoszcz. From here, we can return to Konin along the Górnonotecki Canal through Lake Gopło and Ślesiński Canal. The last part of the Great Loop (from Kruszwica to the port in Konin ? Morzysław) is the most attractive and therefore is called the Water Gate of Wielkopolska.
People interested in the voivodeship?s landscape should see the local castles, palaces and manors. Most of them have been restored and today house valuable museum exhibit collections. Open air events and cultural events are organised here and the region is also provided with high standard hotel and conference centres. Each historical monument features a unique history which has been preserved in the Polish culture.
Handbook of a tourist visiting the Wielkopolska Region
Wielkopolska National Park ? a protected area situated 15 km to the south of Poznań in the triangle of the Luboń-Mosina-Stęszew towns encompassing an area of 7,583.9 hectares. It is numbered among the most picturesque in the Wielkopolska Region as it is provided with diverse forms of post-glacial landscape, such as ribbon lakes represented by the most beautiful Lake Góreckie with Zamkowa Island and unique communities of plants and animals of huge natural value. There are two educational paths running through the area of the Park, five hiking trails (85 km) and 22 km of bicycle paths. It is also worth seeing the WPN Museum and Educational Centre in Jeziory, where the Park Management is located.
Drawa National Park ? it is situated in the north-western Poland at the borderland of the Lubuskie, Zachodniopomorskie and Wielkopolskie Voivodeships. It has been established to preserve the river valleys and lakes in the centre of a large forest complex. Natural rivers with pure waters and spawning grounds of trout, brown trout and grayling, as well as habitats of beavers and otters are the most valuable elements of the Park. Fortification line of the Pomeranian Wall and attractive canoeing trail on the River Drawa are running through the Park area. Thanks to its picturesque landscapes, Drawa National Park is attracting many tourists.
are protected natural, cultural and historical areas which are ideal for sight-seeing and relaxation. They encompass an area of over 175 thousand hectares. Management of the Landscape Parks of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is administrating the parks.
Sieraków Landscape Park (30,413 hectares) ? is situated in the western part of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship. It attracts tourists with a thick network of marked hiking trails, numerous holiday centres and manor and park complexes. Many moraine hills, river valleys and forests create the picturesque landscape.
Powidz Landscape Park (24,600 hectares) ? there are several lakes within its boundaries and some of them exceed 50 hectares (such as Lake Powidzkie with deep-sea fish species occurring here: vendace and freshwater white fish). Location among large forest complexes and lakes, as well as trails running through the park, contribute to tourism and recreation. There are many species of protected animals and plants.
Puszcza Zielonka Landscape Park (12,000 hectares) ? was established to preserve the remains of the primeval forest complex of the central Wielkopolska, namely pine coniferous forest and larch and pine mixed forest. The park also features monumental trees (such as an oak by the road to Dąbrówka Kościelna). A tower on the Dziewicza Mountain is a perfect view point. The picturesque area of Puszcza Zielonka Landscape Park is ideal for hikers and cyclists.
Lednica Landscape Park (7,652 hectares) ? created to preserve the landscape, historical monuments and historical souvenirs associated with the beginnings of the Polish statehood (Ostrów Lednicki). It features valuable archaeological stands, the so-called Small Heritage Park and Wielkopolska Ethnographical Park with facilities of the wooden countryside housing development from the 17th and the 19th centuries (cottages, windmills and farm buildings). The Park also features the Museum of First Piasts with a collection of early medieval military exhibits and the Gate of the Third Millennium. The extremely interesting Piasts Trail is running through the Park (Poznań – Ostrów Lednicki ? Gniezno ? Trzemeszno ? Strzelno ? Kruszwica ? Biskupin).
Warta Landscape Park (13,428 hectares) ? an area with unique ornithological variety with over 100 bird nesting species, such as common snipes, block-headed gull, Northern lapwings, black-tailed gotwit, common redshanks or common kestrels. Water and marshy fowls find their refuge in Żerkowsko.
Czeszewo Landscape Park (15,640 hectares) ? it preserves a typical post-glacial landscape with a broad valley with the River Warta flowing at the bottom.
Rogalin Landscape Park (12,750 hectares) ? one of the largest stands of English oaks in Europe are under protection here. Rococo and classicist palace in Rogalin with its park featuring three famous oaks, namely Lech, Czech and Rus, are among historical structures, as well as park and palace facilities. The Riparian forests of Rogalin make up a refuge for many endangered species of birds.
General Dezydery Chlopawski Landscape Park (17,200 hectares) ? it is situated within boundaries of the following communes: Czempiń, Kościan, Krzywiń and Śrem. Unique buffer strips are the attractions of the park. The park also features numerous crop fields, wayside alleys, forests and ponds. The forest complex is often visited by families as it offers educational and ecological paths, manor parks and palaces.
THE CULTURAL HERITAGE
The Cultural heritage of Wielkopolska is very rich, what is closely associated with the region?s history and the cradle of the Polish statehood and the Church. Many historical monuments in Wielkopolska comes from the 10th and the 11th centuries. Villages situated along the Piast Trail and numerous castles and palaces dispersed over the entire voivodeship are particularly interesting next to the actual City of Poznań, where history has left its numerous traces, and charming old housing development complexes of small towns.
The Piast Trail ? one of the greatest attractions of the region. The main villages on the route include: Poznań – Ostrów Lednicki ? Gniezno ? Trzemeszno ? Strzelno ? Kruszwica ? Biskupin. The trail features numerous historical monuments associated with the origins of the Polish statehood and the modern history. The trail runs through two lake districts of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, i.e. Poznań and Gniezno Lake Districts. Youths exploring the trail have great fun and gather useful knowledge on the voivodeship?s past.
Ostrów Lednicki ? the island was from the 9th until the beginning of the 11th century one of the main centres of the State of Polans, where a castle with ramparts was erected on a place of an early medieval settlement and later a defensive complex with a palatium and a chapel (its remains are open for visitors nowadays) ? connected with shore via bridges. Unfortunately, the facilities were destroyed during the invasion of Brzetysław in 1038.
Gniezno ? the Polish history and culture is associated with the city. The settlement situated here became the capital of the State of Piasts in the second half of the 10th century. It was here that the corpse of St. Wojciech was laid. Probably, it was also here that the famous Gniezno Convention was held during which the archbishopric was established. Coronation of Bolesław Chrobry took place in 1025 and later of Mieszko II and Bolesław Śmiały.
Trzemeszno ? the city features many historical monuments associated with the Polish culture and history, such as the Monastery Complex of Canons Regular of St. Augustine, late-baroque buildings of the abbot Michał Kosmowski?s foundation, the Assumption of the Holiest Virgin Marty church (Promonstratensian monastery funded in around 1130 by Bolesław Krzywousty) featuring baroque and classicist interiors from the 18th century and a late-baroque hospital built between 1787 and 1791.
Strzelno ? there are two Romanesque churches here: Holy Trinity Convent Church of Norbertine Nuns from the 12th century with extremely valuable Romanesque columns from around 1170 and St. Prokop church from between the 12th and the 13th centuries, erected with a circular ground plan and covered with a dome.
Kruszwica ? the city is mainly famous of its historical monuments: a gothic bricked tower standing on a hill, called the Mice Tower ? remains of a 14th-cenytury gothic castle built by the King Kazimierz Wielki and Romanesque St. Peter and Paul collegiate church from around 1120-1140.
Biskupin ? the place very popular among tourists for its historical remains and archaeological discoveries with a reconstruction of a defensive settlement built in 747-722 B.C. Archaeological fairs and seasonal rides of the narrow-gauge train on the Żnin-Gąsawa route, as well as ship cruises on the nearby Lake Biskupińskie take place here every year.