Poznań’s increasingly hipster and food-obsessed district just west of the Old Town might not be much of a looker, but there’s plenty brewing under the surface. Impoverished in the post-war years and admittedly not the safest place to walk around after dark, it is now changing into a hippie-dippie neighborhood where, as locals have remarked, it’s ‘easier to get hummus than to get mugged’. Known for vegetarian and healthful eating establishments, Jeżyce are also a place to sample culture at the New Theatre, Centrum Amarant, and Rialto Cinema.
Given to the Poznań by Prince Przemysł I and Duke Bolesław the Pious in 1253, the village of Jeżyce (alternatively Yssycz, Issyce, Giżyce, Gyżyce, or Iżyce, depending on the historical period) supported the city economically, growing crops and engaging in various trades; in the late 15th century, a finery forge operated in the settlement. In the early 18th century, a number of fatalities befell Poznań - including the Great Northern War and a cholera epidemic - and caused severe depopulation of the surrounding villages, including Jeżyce. As part of repopulation efforts, Poznań invited impoverished farmers from the German town of Bamberg to settle here, and several hundred did just that, becoming known as the Bambers.
As the steam age rolled around, the face of Jeżyce started changing with the addition of a train station (later moved to the current Main Train Station location), tram line, power plant, plumbing, and a public zoo. Development sped up rapidly when Jeżyce was absorbed into Poznań in 1900; squat rural cottages were increasingly replaced with stately townhouses, and stores, workshops, and small factories sprung up around the district. In 1911 the Teatralny Bridge was built, improving connectivity with Poznań’s Old Town. The post-war period saw a slight commie-fication of the district, but also the creation of schools, hospitals, and new work places serving the local populace.