Poznan

Bazar Hotel

  Al. Marcinkowskiego 10 ,   Old Town         more than a year ago

So what of the hotel at the centre of the Wielkopolska Uprising? Its history goes back to 1838, a time when Poznań was under Prussian occupation, and Polish institutions vied with their Prussian counterparts for the right to exist, especially on the dynamically-developing Wilhelmsplatz (now Plac Wolności). It was in that year that social activist Karol Marcinkowski got a bunch of rich landowners together and started the Bazar Joint-Stock Company with the purpose of supporting pro-Polish social initiatives and businesses. Their main project was building a luxurious hotel and renting out space to Polish enterprises. The grand neoclassicist/neo-Baroque structure was built between 1839 and 1842, becoming the largest non-sacral building in the city. The plan worked marvellously: Bazar became home to the Landowner Bank, the Anthropological Society, a casino, three newspapers, the oddly named Poznań Society of Friends of Learning, and numerous other societies and businesses. In December of 1918 the Polish composer and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski gave a rousing speech from one of the hotel windows, sparking the Wielkopolska Uprising; a plaque on the corner commemorates that his fleeting but eventful stay. Throughout the Uprising the Bazar served as official HQ for the rebels, and its colourful history prompted Professor A. M Skałkowski to write a book celebrating its centenary. Nazi occupation marked an end to its glory days and it suffered horrendous damage during the 1945 siege. Renovations began immediately after liberation and the building became the property of the Orbis group in 1950 who operated a hotel from there until 1990 when it was returned to its pre-war stockholders. Recently the building has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance, with its shopping arcades filled with designer stores and eateries, while the hotel itself might or might not reopen in the near future.

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