Saturday : Beer, Burger and Churches in Poznan

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Breakfast with a view in the shopping centre opposite the hotel. McDonald’s in Poland sell Jalapeño burgers which cost about 80p and are a suitably cheap and delightful breakfast option at nine in the morning. No Egg McMuffins or whatever rubbish you get in UK McDonald’s. I’m not sure why Jay Rayner would think about all this, but I’m sure that he’d approve.

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I was lucky to get a seat with all the customers deluging the food mall.

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Looks like Caffe Bimba in the old tram carriage has closed down. I can’t complain that I’ll miss it, since I’ve never actually been in it, but it is something of a iconic scene.

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This sign notes that the German physicist Max von Laue (1879-1960) studied in this school between 1887 and 1891, at a time when the city was part of Prussia. He refused to help Hitler develop the German nuclear programme and remained opposed to the Nazis and their work.

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The building is still used as a secondary school today. Excuse the angle of the photo, there’s a barrier to stop people being hit by trams and, if I’m being honest, I couldn’t be bothered to traipse all the way around to the other side of the road. My enthusiasm for this blog isn’t always endless.

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The interesting Zbigniew Zakrzewski Gardens which aren’t named after the local Poznan footballer, but after the local economist who also wrote numerous local history books. This should be a fountain with water spraying out, I’m not sure why it wasn’t working, but I bravely walked across anyway taking the risk that the water wouldn’t start gushing out. I always have half an eye on everything being some sort of social media prank, so I can imagine the water starting just as I’m ready to take a photo in the middle of it.

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Although recently modernised, this area of land has been a park since 1840, one of the first in the city. The Prussians decided they’d name the park after Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937) who was a war leader, that’s the sort of thing they wanted to celebrate back then. As an aside, Ludendorff refused to accept the rank of Field Marshal from Hitler in the 1930s, he said that he wouldn’t be promoted to a high rank by a corporal. The park and the trees were badly damaged during the Second World War, but that seems to be the story of most things in the city.

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The park was named after Zbigniew Zakrzewski in 2008 and this figure is designed to be a professor wondering where the rain was, I’m not sure if this was meant to be Zakrzewski as he was a professor. The sculptures have an environmental aim, to make a thing of the ecological threats to the earth.

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The figures in the park were all designed by Norbert Sarnecki.

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This niche appears to be a modern recreation of an older feature, which they’ve included in the photograph. I know it’s a modern recreation as I had a look at Google Streetview of a few years ago, and it’s not there.

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The Sisters of Charity nunnery which was established in 1595 by a group of Grey Sisters and it’s still in use as a church.

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Standing opposite the nunnery is St. Francis Church, with the first consecrated building on this site having been completed in 1473. During the Swedish Deluge of 1657 the papers and the books of the church were pinched, with some of them still located today in the Royal libraries of Stockholm.

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The church interior, but, of course, the story goes the way it so often does, with this being badly damaged during the Second World War. The Nazis used the building as a workshop, destroying most of the things in it.

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The repairs to the church were mostly completed by 1972, although they weren’t finally finished until 1983, nearly half a century after the damage had been done. There’s a little collection of photos in the back of the church which shows some of the work.

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It’s a peaceful, and long, church, and I had to be discreet with my photos as there were people praying quietly who I didn’t want to annoy or disturb. It’s a slightly odd arrangement that visitors have to climb some stairs to get to the main part of the church, but the reason is a sensible one, it’s to stop the flooding which once caused so many problems in this part of Poznan.

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This church bell is a bit broken, so they put it here in 1980 (I assume they weren’t sure where else to dump it), but it was in use within the church from 1730.

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More helpful old imagery of the city centre, this is from just after the end of the Second World War.

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The square and they’ve done a really good job here, as this was until relatively recently just a giant car park. People don’t need to drive cars around so much in city centres, they’ve reclaimed this for pedestrians and it’s a lovely open space. The area was formerly occupied by St. Mary Magdalene Church, which at over 100 metres in height was one of the tallest in Poland. The Swedish attacked it in 1657 and caused substantial damage, but the city decided they couldn’t afford to repair it, so they left it for a while. Then, in 1773, the remains were hit by lightning and the church fell down. It was decided by the authorities that they’d better do something, so they rebuilt it, but whilst rebuilding it, it fell down in 1777. I think I’d be annoyed at the civil engineers involved with that one. They were having a think about what to do with it, before in 1780 the bits that remained were destroyed by fire. After another little think, they pulled it down in 1802 and flatted the area to make a square.

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This 12 metre sculpture was designed by Piotr W Wełak and marks where the church once stood. Some of the remains of the foundations are visible to members of the public under the glass in a couple of places, but I can’t really take useful photographs as it just reflects back.

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Formerly the Jesuit College, this is the Municipal Office for the city, the building dates from 1571, although is of course much changed since then. Very observant readers will note that I took photos of the other side of this building yesterday. I accept, of my two readers, it’s unlikely anyone noticed. But, undeterred, I persist.

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The authorities in the city have some beautiful buildings from which to work from.

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I’d had enough walking, so I went to Whiskey in the Jar, which is a small Polish chain that I’ve written about before (Gdansk and Warsaw).

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The same menu as the other venues and the same delicious food. The beer is just Lech, but that suffices for a lunchtime refreshment. Man cannot live on craft beer alone. Well, they probably can actually, if served with burgers. Service was friendly and personable, although I struggled to pay at the end of it. This was another time when I ordered with what I consider my beautiful Polish, which the server understood, and then replied in English. Incidentally, that bloody knife was impaled in the board, I’m surprised I don’t do myself an injury with some of the food that I order.

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This is the Holy Cross Lutheran and Methodist Church which was constructed between 1885 and 1886, although they decided against the new national Union Church which the Prussians wanted them to. Damaged during the Second World War, it was reconstructed by the Evangelical Methodists, although it doesn’t look decadently looked after today.

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The Little Prince Mural which was painted in 2019 and has the lovely back story that it’s from the Open Door Organisation who support children with disabilities.

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The work on digging up Poznan continues.

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Colourful houses in front of the building zone in the city’s main square.

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The city hall has been in this spot since the late thirteenth century, with the current building being mostly from the period between 1550 and 1560. It’s from this building that Heinrich Himmler gave an infamous speech in 1943 that was the first time a senior Nazi had admitted the mass extermination of the Jewish population. He did that as he must have assumed that the audience listening to him were fully aware of what was going on. Continuing on the theme of destruction I mentioned earlier on in this post, the building was badly damaged during the final stages of the Second World War, but was restored soon after and a more thorough repair took place in the 1990s.

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A link to Sussex on the bar at Piwna Stopa, a bar which I’ve been to before, but has a suitably interesting ambience to make me want to return.

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The beer board, all looking nicely balanced and lots of interesting options, although I was marginally disappointed that they’d run out of the Tankbusters Pastry Killer. The service was friendly and engaging, it’s a very decent craft beer bar this, with the team member merrily recommending beers of the style I wanted.

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The interior of the pub is quirky and interesting, with lots of books about the place.

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I went for two beers, both from the ever wonderful Funky Fluid brewery, these are Zingy and DDH Cloudy. It reminds me that more British pubs should have Polish beer, as Funky Fluid continue to surprise and delight me.

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The beer board at Ministerstwo Browaru, usual friendly and welcoming service.

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It’s a cellar bar, the interior is suitably slightly dark and atmospheric.

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This isn’t under-poured, it’s not meant to go to the top of the glass and it was certainly very lively when being poured, with the team member taking some time to get this far. It’s the Kia Ora from Browar Gwarek, a fruity DIPA with a tropical taste.

I then went to Aldi to buy salami and crisps, what a time to be alive…. Poznan seems to be one of those cities which is becoming effortlessly on-trend, with a busy feel on a Saturday night, but it doesn’t have the backdrop of fighting, violence, shouting and intimidation that some UK cities have.