Gniezno ([ˈɡɲeznɔ] ( listen); German: Gnesen) is a city
in central-western Poland, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of
Poznań, with about 70,000 inhabitants. One of the Piast dynasty's
chief cities, it was mentioned in 10th-century sources, possibly
including the Dagome Iudex, as the capital of Piast Poland. The Roman
Catholic archbishop of
Gniezno is the primate of Poland, making it the
country's ecclesiastical capital. It has belonged since 1999 to the
Poland Voivodeship, and is the administrative seat of Gniezno
1.1 Legend of Lech, Czech and Rus
1.2 Cradle of the Polish state
1.3 Congress of Gniezno
1.4 Royal coronation site
1.5 Regional site of Greater Poland
1.7 World War II
2 Archbishops of Gniezno
3 Royal coronations in
4 People from Gniezno
6 Arts and culture
7 Twin towns — sister cities
9 See also
11 External links
There are archaeological traces of human settlement since the late
Paleolithic. Early Slavonic settlements on Lech Hill and Maiden Hill
are dated to the 8th century. At the beginning of the 10th century
this was the site of several places sacred to the Slavic religion. The
ducal stronghold was founded just before AD 940 on Lech Hill, and
surrounded by some fortified suburbs and open settlements.
Legend of Lech, Czech and Rus
According to the Polish version of a legend, "Three brothers, Lech,
Czech and Rus, were exploring the wilderness to find a place to
settle. Suddenly they saw a hill with an old oak and an eagle on top.
Lech said, 'This white eagle I will adopt as an emblem of my people,
and around this oak I will build my stronghold, and because of the
eagle nest [gniazdo in Polish] I will call it Gniezdno [modern:
Gniezno].' The other brothers went further on to find a place for
their people. Czech went to the South" (to found the Czech Lands) "and
Rus went to the East" (to create the Rus' (region)).
Cradle of the Polish state
Around AD 940 Gniezno, being an important pagan cult center, became
one of the main fortresses of the early Piast rulers, along with
aforementioned fortresses at Giecz, Kruszwica, Poznań, Kalisz,
Łęczyca, Ostrów Lednicki, Płock, Włocławek, and others.
Acheological excavations on Lech Hill in 2010 discovered an
11th-century tomb by the foundations of St. George's church, near the
remains of a pagan burial mound discovered earlier on the hill.
Discoveries indicate that Lech Hill could have been the burial place
of rulers even before the baptism of Mieszko I. After the adoption of
Christianity by Mieszko I, his son Bolesław I Chrobry deposed the
remains of Saint Adalbert in a church, newly built on the Hill, to
underline Gniezno's importance as the religious centre and capital of
Congress of Gniezno
It is here that the
Congress of Gniezno
Congress of Gniezno took place in the year 1000
AD, during which Bolesław I the Brave, Duke of Poland, received Holy
Roman Emperor Otto III. The emperor and the Polish duke celebrated
the foundation of the Polish ecclesiastical province (archbishopric)
in Gniezno, along with newly established bishoprics in
Wrocław for Silesia;
Kraków for Lesser
Poland in addition
to the bishopric in
Poznań for western Greater Poland, which was
established in 968.
Royal coronation site
Gniezno Cathedral witnessed the royal coronations of
Bolesław I in 1024 and his son
Mieszko II Lambert
Mieszko II Lambert in 1025. The
Gniezno and nearby
Poznań were captured, plundered and
destroyed in 1038 by the Bohemian duke Bretislav I, which pushed the
next Polish rulers to move the Polish capital to Kraków. The
archepiscopal cathedral was reconstructed by the next ruler, Bolesław
II the Generous, who was crowned king here in 1076.
In the next centuries
Gniezno evolved as a regional seat of the
eastern part of Greater Poland, and in 1238 municipal autonomy was
granted by the duke Władysław Odonic.
Gniezno was again the
coronation site in 1295 and 1300.
Regional site of Greater Poland
The city was destroyed again by the Teutonic Knights' invasion in
1331, and after an administrative reform became a county within the
Kalisz Voivodeship (since the 14th century till 1768).
Gniezno was hit
by heavy fires in 1515, 1613, was destroyed during the Swedish
invasion wars of the 17th–18th centuries and by a plague in
1708–1710. All this caused depopulation and economic decline, but
the city was soon revived during the 18th century to become the
Gniezno Voivodeship in 1768.
Gniezno was annexed by the
Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia in the 1793 Second
Poland and became part of the province of South Prussia.
During the Kościuszko Uprising, the Polish army under General Jan
Henryk Dąbrowski liberated the town on 22 August 1794 and defeated
Prussian Army north of
Łabiszyn on 29 September 1794.
But because of Kościuszko's defeat at the
Battle of Maciejowice
Battle of Maciejowice he
gave up his plan to winter in
Bydgoszcz and moved through
retreated to central Poland. Thus, the Prussians retook it on 7
December 1794. During the
Napoleonic Wars there was an uprising
against Prussian rule. The French appeared in
Gniezno in November
1806, and following General Jan Henryk Dabrowski's order issued to all
towns and cities and country property owners to provide recruits for
the organizing Polish forces,
Gniezno initially provided 60 recruits
who participated in the battles of 1806–07. Consequently, the
town was included within the Duchy of Warsaw, but upon the defeat of
Russia in 1812 it was occupied by the Russian army and was
returned to Prussia in the 1815 Congress of Vienna.
subsequently governed within
Kreis Gnesen of the Grand Duchy of Posen
and the later Province of Posen. Following the Greater
(1918–1919) and the
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
Gniezno became part of the
Second Polish Republic. Its citizen-soldiers joined the Polish army
fighting the Bolsheviks during the Polish–Soviet War.
World War II
Gniezno was occupied by German troops on 11 September 1939 and annexed
Nazi Germany on 26 October 1939 after the invasion of
made part of Reichsgau Wartheland. The town was liberated by the Red
Army on 21 January 1945 and restored to Poland.
Archbishops of Gniezno
Archbishop of Gniezno
Gniezno's Roman Catholic archbishop is traditionally the Primate of
Poland (Prymas Polski). After the partitions of
Poland the see was
often combined with others, first with
Poznań and then with Warsaw.
Pope John Paul II reorganized the Polish hierarchy and the
city once again had a separate bishop. Cardinal Józef Glemp, who had
been archbishop of
Warsaw and retained Warsaw, was
designated to remain Primate until his retirement, but afterward the
Archbishop of Gniezno, at present Józef Kowalczyk, would again be
Primate of Poland.
Royal coronations in
Panorama of Gniezno. 19th century
25 December 1024 – Bolesław I the Brave
25 December 1025 –
Mieszko II Lambert
Mieszko II Lambert and his wife Richensa of
25 December 1076 – Bolesław the Generous and his wife Wyszesława
26 June 1295 –
Przemysł II and his wife Margaret of Brandenburg
August 1300 – Wenceslaus II of Bohemia
Number of inhabitants
People from Gniezno
Hermann Senator (1834–1911), German physician
Jacob Caro (1836–1904), German historian
Ludwik Ćwikliński (1853–1942), Polish classical philologist
Günther Pancke (1889–1973), German SS – General
Heinz Reinefarth (1903–1979), German SS – General
Alfons Flinik (1926–2003), Polish field hockey player
Paweł Arndt (born 1954), Polish politician
Arkadiusz Radomski (born 1977), Polish footballer
Łukasz Cieślewicz (born 1987), Polish footballer
Zo Nowak (born 1991), Polish
Victoria's Secret model
Kacper Gomólski (born 1993), Polish speedway rider
Collegium Europaeum Gnesnense (part of Adam Mickiewicz University in
Gniezno School of Humanism and Management - Millennium
(Gnieźnieńska Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczno-Menedżerska Millennium)
The Archbishop's Ecclesiastical Seminary (Prymasowskie Wyższe
The State Vocational College in
Gniezno (Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła
Arts and culture
Aleksander Fredro Theatre in Gniezno
Aleksander Fredro Theatre (Teatr im. A. Fredry)
Museum of the Polish State Origins (Muzeum Początków Państwa
Museum of Archdiocese (Muzeum Archidiecezji Gnieźnieńskiej)
Twin towns — sister cities
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Poland
Gniezno is twinned with:
Sergiyev Posad, Russia
View of Old
Gniezno from Jelonek Lake
Codex Aureus Gnesnensis
Saint George's Church in Gniezno
History of Poland
Adalbert of Prague
Royal coronations in
Archdiocese of Gniezno
^ a b c d Neil Wilson; Tom Parkinson; Richard Watkins (2005).
Poland (Google Books). Lonely Planet. p. 339.
ISBN 1-74059-522-X. Retrieved 26 December 2010. (in
^ Szymański, Freelance Design - Marcin. "Tajemnice Wzgórza Lecha
Gniezno - Moje
Portal Informacyjny Gniezna". moje-gniezno.pl
(in Polish). Retrieved 2018-03-13.
^ Günther Stöckl: Die Geschichte der Slavenmission. In: Die Kirche
in ihrer Geschichte – Ein Handbuch (edited by Bernd Moeller). 2nd
edition, vol. 2, Göttingen 1976, ISBN 3-525-52318-1, p. 91 (in
German, limited online preview)
^ 25.9 wyzwolono
Gniezno (on 25th 9
Gniezno was liberated) (in
English) Marian B. Michalik; Eugeniusz Duraczyński (1994). Kronika
powstań polskich 1794–1944. "Kronika"-Marian B. Michalik.
p. 44. ISBN 83-86079-02-9.
^ (in English) Marian B. Michalik; Eugeniusz Duraczyński (1891).
Roczniki. Poznańskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk (
of Friends of Science). p. 44. ISBN 83-86079-02-9.
^ (in English) Marian Woźniak (1998). Encyklopedia konspiracji
wielkopolskiej: 1939–1945 (Encyclopedia of conspiracy in Greater
Poland: 1939–1945). Instytut Zachodni.
ISBN 83-85003-97-5. multiple pages (individual biographies)
e.g. p. 275
^ "International collaboration". gmiezno.eu. Gniezno. Retrieved 3 May
^ "Zustersteden". Veendam. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gniezno.
Wikisource has several original texts related to: Gniezno
Gniezno travel guide from Wikivoyage
Gniezno homepage (English and German version also available), The
official site of the
Gniezno City's Administration, from which much of
the above was taken and adapted.
Gniezno Poviat The official site of the
Gniezno County, (English,
German, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian version also available)
Coordinates: 52°33′N 17°36′E / 52.550°N 17.600°E /
Historical capitals of Poland
Gniezno (10th century–1038)
Poznań (10th century–1038)
Warsaw (since 1918)
Capitals of the Duchy of Warsaw
De facto capitals
Gniezno (urban gmina)
Seat (not part
of the gmina)