Definitely one of the places, where “Polish history has begun” the Poznań Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Poland, seat of the first ever bishop in the country and the burial place of the first rulers of Poland.
The temple dominates over the Cathedral Island in Poznań. It used to be one of the main political centres of the early Kingdom of Poland and possibly the place, where Mieszko I was baptised (although this is still disputed). Being the first cathedral in Poland it bears the name of Saint Peter the apostle – as does the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the centre of Catholic world.
Excavations on the island prove that the earliest church here may be dated back to the late 10 th century. Through the following centuries it was redesigned according to present tastes and styles. Contemporary Gothic look is an effect of post-war reconstruction, however the chapels kept other styles. The most beautiful of the later is the golden Chapel, serving as a monument of the first two rulers of Poland: duke Mieszko I and king Bolesław the Brave (both burried in the cathedral).
Take your time to see all places of interest in the cathedral. In the subterranean level you may see archaeological excavations of the first cathedral and the crypt, where bishops of Poznań lay. Don’t miss the beautiful Gothic altar and epitaph to king Przemysł II. Cathedral’s greatest curiosity is the so called Saint Peter’s Sword, an old relic, alleged to be the weapon drawn by the apostle to defend Christ from capture (in fact it is probably a knife from Roman times, nevertheless being one of the oldest white weapons in Poland).
Text: Jacek Cieślewicz