The most stunning site on Ostrów Tumski is the structure’s oldest site, and the one ‘Cathedral Island’ is named after - Peter & Paul Cathedral. More commonly called ‘Poznan Cathedral,’ the original edifice was erected way, way back in 968, but has subsequently been razed, rebuilt and remodelled numerous times over the centuries, each resulting in the addition of a new architectural style: a 1622 fire led to a Baroque finish, while a 1722 fire ushered in a change to neo-Classicism. During the 1945 battle to liberate Poznań, 65 percent of the Cathedral once again burned down, exposing the building’s buried Gothic elements and leading to its restoration in the style visitors see today.
Inside the Cathedral are a number of elements of interest. Surrounding the interior are twelve different chapels, including the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, which has several outstanding examples of Renaissance art (the tombstones of the Górka family and Bishop Benedykt Izbieński, to be specific) and the Baroque altar houses a miraculous crucifix brought to the Cathedral from the former Wrocławska town gate. The Golden Chapel was designed as the mausoleum of the first Polish monarchs and houses the sarcophagi of kings Mieszko I and Bolesław Chrobry; the two kings are also depicted in a bronze monument together, above which is a painting by January Suchodolski showing Mieszko I, the instigator of Catholicism in Poland, destroying pagan idols.