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Old Town Market Square and Its Representative Town Hall

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The Old Town Market Square with its Town Hall, fountains and burgher houses is one of the most charming places in Poznan. The whole area abounds in historical sights which are certainly worth seeing while touring the city.

The Old Town Market Square – Present and Past 

The Old Town Market Square, dating back from 1253, is one of the most representative symbols of Poznan. Originally, it was enclosed by fortified walls with as many as thirty-five towers and four gates. Six centuries later, the majority of the fortifications was put down. The Old Town Market Square suffered most during the 1945 World War II fights. It was damaged in almost 60 per cent. The present-day appearance of the Old Town Market Square is a result of the restoration works of the 1960's modelled on the 16th-18th -century architectural designs of the site. Thanks to them one can admire the original beauty of the Old Town Market Square.
The function of the Old Town Market Square has changed over the centuries. Nowadays it is not only a commercial centre filled with banks, eateries, etc., but a cultural centre as well. Every June the site is vibrant with life as the St. John's Feast Fair (Jarmark Swietojanski) is held here. Moreover, throughout summer lots of other cultural events are held here, e.g. the Malta Theatre Festival.

The Town Hall

Town Hall PoznanBrief History of Town Hall
As for the size, the Old Town Market Square is ranked the third largest market square of Poland, after Cracow and Wroclaw. Its centrepiece is the Town Hall regarded as one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Poland. Its origins date back as far as the second half of the 13th century. Originally, it was a Gothic two-storey building. In the early 16th century a tall tower was added. Having suffered in the fire of 1536, the townhall needed renovation. In the middle of the 16th century Giovanni Batista Quadro, Italian architect, reconstructed it in the Renaissance style. The edifice was extended, one floor was added and the facade was decorated with a three-storey loggia. After the Swedish invasion and the economic slump, the building fell into decay. The general renovation of the Town Hall was needed. Between 1782 and 1784 the Good Order Committee supervised the works during which the tower was reconstructed and topped with a classicist cupola and an eagle as its part. At the beginning of the 20th century the Town Hall was raised by one more floor. However, it was heavily destroyed during World War II . A part of the tower was damaged, whereas the townhall interiors situated above the first floor were completely burnt. Thanks to the painstaking post-war reconstruction works, the Renaissance character of the building was restored.
Architectural details of the Town Hall
The colonnaded three-storey loggia with the three turrets is the most valuable part of the Town Hall front elevation. The paintings and reliefs symbolise the virtues a city councillor should be in the possession of like Hope, Patience, Bravery, etc. On the medallions between the first and second floors the antiquity heroes are portrayed, whereas the attic is filled with the Jagiellonian dynasty kings of Poland portraits. The part of the Town Hall that is at the centre of tourists' attention every noon is a little ledge above the clock in the central turret. It is here that a pair of billy goats appears here butting their heads twelve times. Worth seeing is also the oldest part of the Town Hall, i.e. its cellars with their early-Gothic groined-rib vaulting and historical keystones. One bearing the coat of arms of the Bohemian Przemyslid dynasty kings ruling Poland in the early 14th century (a crowned lion), the other one – the so-called ''a little coat of arms of Poznan'' (crossed keys), part of the present-day city coat of arms. As for the interiors, the centrepiece of the Town Hall are the rooms on the first floor. One of them is the Great Hall, considered to be the most beautiful Renaissance interior in Poland, famous for its richly ornamented coffered vaulting.The Royal Room, once a site of the city council conventions, with a Renaissance fire place and the Court Room with polychrome-decorated vaulting are also worth seeing. Those interiors are part of the Poznan History Museum, a branch of the National Museum, that the Town Hall houses nowadays.

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