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Burgher Houses and Palaces Around Old Market Square

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What distinguishes the Old Market Square from other parts of the city is its abundance of architectural styles of the buildings surrounding the Town Hall – the city's centrepiece. The whole Market Square is lined up with the burgher houses, dating from the 14th - 15th centuries, formerly owned by the most affluent inhabitants of Poznan: physicians, pharmacists, merchants and goldsmiths. Their gabled-facades feature varied architectural styles and lend a special character to this site. Each of the houses has its long history. Their present-day function is no longer connected with the profession of their original proprietors. Nowadays the buildings are home to a lot of institutions.

As all the burgher houses are interesting from the architectural point of view, it is a good idea to walk along the Market Square and admire the beauty of the following facades:

  • No. 37 formerly the Red Apothecary Shop nowadays houses ''The House of Brittany'' popularising the culture of France (film shows, language courses)
  • No. 45 the Grodzicki House - reconstructed in its original Baroque form - nowadays the Musical Instruments Museum with a rich collection from all over the world. Its unique exhibit is Chopin's grand piano which the composer used while visiting the Radziwil family in Antonin. Concerts are held here.
  • No. 51 – once granted to famous Italian humanist Filippo Buonaccorsi as a gratitude for bringing up the sons of Casimir the Jagiellonian, King of Poland. Nowadays the building houses the ''Polonia House'' with club halls.
  • No. 55 – in the cellars of the building, popular with tourists and locals, there is ''Ratuszowa'' restaurant famous for its historical architectural details (original Gothic vaulting) and delicious dishes typical of the Greater Poland cuisine.
  • No. 78 – the Dzialynski Palace, erected between 1773 - 1776, is one of the most imposing monuments of lay architecture in Poznan. Originally, it was built for the Marshall of the Lithuanian Court at the site of two medieval burgher houses. Both the interior and the exterior are of note. The former is an imposing facade topped with Neoclassical sculptures, whereas the latter is most famous for the richly decorated stucco works of the representative Red Room. In the 19th century the Palace played an important role in the cultural and political life of Poland. Patriotic meetings, amateur theatre performances, lectures and concerts were held here. Partly reconstructed after World War II, the Dzialynski Palace continues its cultural function as a venue for Thurdays Literary Meetings and concerts.
  • No. 84 – one of the very few Old Market Square houses that escaped the war damage. The building is mostly noted as a former residence of Giovanni Batista Quadro, Italian architect known as the builder of the imposing Town Hall of Poznan. In these days the building houses the Literary Museum dedicated to Henryk Sienkiewicz, the Nobel Prize winning historical novels writer.

There is one more building worth seeing while touring the Old Town. It is the 16th-century Gorka Palace, named after the Gorka prominent family, situated close to the southwest corner of the Old Market Square. This imposing mansion is most famous for its intricate Renaissance portico. The function of this building changed over the centuries. It used to be a Benedicine convent, a school, etc. Nowadays the building houses the Archaeological Museum.


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