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October 07, 2005

Mechanical fun and history

Poznan (sometimes also known as Posen) is interesting for a number of reasons and a very historical place. It is the place where the first Polish Kings were crowned and which they made their capital. In the Dom (Cathedral) Church is the Golden Chapel which is also the resting place of the first two King's and several of their successors. The towns Market Square is dominated by the medieval Town Hall, now a museum, all the buildings in this "heart" having been carefully restored after being almost destroyed during World War II.

The automata Billy Goats, symbols of Poznan, and "supporters" on the city's Arms, engage in head butting as the clock strikes noon.

The only discordant note here is the Communist Era "mall" abutting the Town Hall which the city council wish to see demolished and replaced with something more in keeping with the rest of the square. The decorated frontages of all the surrounding buildings are, of course, recreations of the originals, as most of the buildings were very badly damaged in the fighting here in 1944 - 45. The really remarkable thing, is the fact that it has been restored and that so much is so lovingly preserved, not as a museum, but as a living a vibrant community.

Seen from the Town Hall tower, the street cafes can be seen along one side of the square.

The automata is a major attraction for visitors and the square is crowded as the time for it to happen approaches. Even more interesting is the fact that parties of school children are brought here for history lessons, which includes a bit of fun as well as the serious business of learning about their past.

Perhaps only those who have had their history suppressed by oppressive invaders and governments can really appreciate the value of preserving it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at October 7, 2005 10:18 AM

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