Infobox Settlement
name = Gniezno

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Cathedral in Gniezno
image_shield = POL Gniezno COA.svg

pushpin_label_position = bottom
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = POL
subdivision_type1 = Voivodeship
subdivision_name1 = Greater Poland
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Gniezno County
subdivision_type3 = Gmina
subdivision_name3 = Gniezno (urban gmina)
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Jacek Kowalski
established_title = Established
established_date = 8th century
established_title3 = Town rights
established_date3 = 1239
area_total_km2 = 49
population_as_of = 2006
population_total = 70080
population_density_km2 = auto
timezone = CET
utc_offset = +1
timezone_DST = CEST
utc_offset_DST = +2
latd = 52 | latm = 32 | lats = | latNS = N | longd = 17 | longm = 36 | longs = | longEW = E
postal_code_type = Postal code
postal_code = 62-200 to 62-210
area_code = +48 61
blank_name = Car plates
blank_info = PGN
website =
Gniezno Audio-IPA-pl|Pl-Gniezno.ogg|'|g|ń|e1|z|n|o ( _de. Gnesen) is a town in central-western Poland, some 50 km east of Poznań, inhabited by about 73,000 people. Situated in the Greater Poland Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Poznań Voivodeship. It is the administrative capital of the Gniezno County (powiat).


There are archaeological traces of human settlement since the late Paleolithic. Early Slavonic settlements on the Lech Hill and the Maiden Hill are dated to 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 the Lech Hill, and surrounded with some fortified suburbs and open settlements.

Legend of Lech, Czech and Rus

According to the Polish version of legends: "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 [Polish: "gniazdo"] 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 Russia and Ukraine).

Cradle of the Polish state

In 10th century Gniezno became one of the main towns of the early Piast dynasty, founders of the Polish state.

Congress of Gniezno

It is here that the Congress of Gniezno took place in the year 1000 AD, during which Boleslaus I the Brave, duke of Poland, received Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. The emperor and the duke celebrated the foundation of the Polish ecclesiastical province (archbishopric) in Gniezno, with newly established bishopric in Kołobrzeg for Pomerania; Wrocław for Silesia; Kraków for Lesser Poland and later also already existing since 968 bishopric in Poznań for western Greater Poland.

Royal coronation site

The 10th century Gniezno cathedral witnessed royal coronations of Boleslaus I in 1024 and his son Mieszko II Lambert in 1025. The cities of 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 archiepiscopal cathedral was reconstucted by the next ruler, Boleslaus II of Poland, 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.

Within Prussia

Gniezno was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the 1793 Second Partition of Poland and became part of the province of South Prussia. It was included within the Duchy of Warsaw during the Napoleonic Wars, but was returned to Prussia in the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Gniezno was subsequently governed within Kreis Gnesen of the Grand Duchy of Posen and the later Province of Posen. On January 20 1920 after the Treaty of Versailles, the town became part of the Second Polish Republic.

World War II

Gniezno was annexed into Nazi Germany on 26 October 1939 after the invasion of Poland and made part of Reichsgau Wartheland. The town was occupied by the Red Army in January 1945 and restored to Poland.

Archbishops 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. In 1992 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 Gniezno and Warsaw and retained Warsaw, was designated to remain Primate until his retirement, but afterward the Archbishop of Gniezno, at present Henryk Muszyński, would again be Primate of Poland.

Royal coronations in Gniezno cathedral

* 25 December 1024 - Boleslaus I the Brave
* 25 December 1025 - Mieszko II Lambert and his wife Richensa of Lotharingia
* 25 December 1076 - Boleslaus the Generous and his wife Wyszesława of Kiev
* 26 June 1295 - Przemysl II and his wife Margaret of Brandenburg
* August 1300 - Wenceslaus II of Bohemia

Historical population

* 1912: 25,339 inhabitants
* 1980: 62,400 inhabitants
* 1990: 70,400 inhabitants
* 1995: 71,000 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
* Paweł Arndt (* 1954), Polish politician
* Arkadiusz Radomski (* 1977), Polish footballer


* Collegium Europaeum Gnesnense (part of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
* The Gniezno School of Humanism and Management - Millennium ("Gnieźnieńska Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczno-Menedżerska Millennium")
* The Archbishop's Ecclesiastical Seminary ("Prymasowskie Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne")
* The State Higher Vocational School in Gniezno ("Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Zawodowa")

Arts and culture

* Aleksander Fredro Theatre (Teatr im. A. Fredry)
* Museum of the Polish State Origins (Muzeum Początków Państwa Polskiego)
* Museum of Archdiocese (Muzeum Archidiecezji Gnieźnieńskiej)

Twin towns

* Anagni, Italy
* Esztergom, Hungary
* Falkenberg, Sweden
* Sergiyev Posad, Russia
* Speyer, Germany
* Radviliškis, Lithuania
* Roskilde, Denmark
* Uman, Ukraine
* Veendam, Netherlands

See also

* Gniezno Cathedral
* History of Poland
* Adalbert of Prague
* Royal coronations in Gniezno cathedral
* Gniezno Doors
* Archdiocese of Gniezno

External links

* [ 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)

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