Poznan

The Piast Route

05 Oct 2017

Those looking to trace the birth of the Polish nation should make it in their interests to follow the Piast Route, a tourist trail specifically designed to take in the key sights associated with Poland’s formative years. Consisting of dozens of castles, churches, cathedrals and museums the route encompasses a vast variety of sights, some relevant to Poland’s beginnings, others whose inclusion is a little baffling. Below are our favourites:

Biskupin

In 1933 an eagle-eyed school master spotted wooden stakes sticking out of some lakeside reeds and like a conscientious citizen went to investigate. What he had inadvertently stumbled on was to become known as the Polish Pompeii: a Lusatian fortified settlement dating from the early Iron Age. Excavation work was launched the following year, and carried on under the request of Himmler once Poland fell to Germany. Situated 90km north east of Poznań Biskupin has since become a popular symbol of patriotism, proof to many that Poland has always proudly defended its borders against the Germans. Today the wooden fortress has been fully reconstructed and is open throughout the year as an open air museum. Although not connected with the Piast dynasty it is seen as a vital part of the route that traces Poland’s early origins. Without a doubt Biskupin rates as one of the great wonders of Poland, but that doesn’t mean tourists will find it easy to get there. Your best bet is to either hire a car or hijack a helicopter. If you’re travelling from Poznań using public transport you’ll be left with no choice but spending a night in the local town of Żnin. For more info check the comprehensive English language website at www.biskupin.pl.

Kruszwica

Found on the banks of Lake Gopło this is a historic market town that became one of the first fortified settlements in the region. Your camera lens is going to primarily be zooming in on the Mouse Tower (Mysia Wieża), a 32 metre structure sitting on the Rzępowski Peninsula. Apparently built during the reign of Kazimierz the Great the tower was awarded its name after a plague of rodents allegedly ate Prince Popiel – a devious chap who had poisoned some rivals.

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