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History

Poznan Heritage Centre tells the story of Poznań and its heritage in an accessible and engaging way. We are a municipal cultural institution established in 2009. Over the years our passion for the city’s past has grown. We are creating stories about its fascinating places and history.

Our first initiatives focused on cultural tourism in the city

The Centre dates back to 2006 when the Office of the Royal-Imperial Route’sproject was created at the Poznań City Hall’s Development Department. Its establishment was connected to implementing the National Culture Development Strategy and in particular the National Programme “Heritage and Culture Protection for 2004-2013”. The main task of the Office was to create a high-quality cultural tourism product – the Royal-Imperial Route. Thereby Poznań’s local government (as the second in Poland after Warsaw) began working on the city’s new main tourist product.

On October 1, 2009 the small Office was turned into an independent cultural institution under the name of TRAKT Cultural Tourism Centre. The name was an accurate description of the Centre’s scope of work at the time, which focused on cultural tourism. That is, on all kinds of events and programmes aimed at people who were looking for something special in the place they visited. To encourage the inhabitants of Poznań and tourists to discover the city’s heritage we began working on creating Porta Posnania. We also encouraged people to discover the city by walking along the Royal-Imperial Route, which began by St John of Jerusalem Church in Komandoria and ended by the Church of St Florian in the district of Jeżyce.

The Royal-Imperial Route, which was designed by Dorota Matyjaszczyk, was developed by the Centre as a tourist attraction thanks to the cooperation with various institutions and entities. From the very beginning, apart from managing the Route, the Centre also initiated educational programmes and cultural events, which supported the city’s programme of revitalisation. In 2016 the Royal-Imperial Route was completely redefined: both the actual route and the narrative changed. Today the Route is a story encompassing the area from the Cathedral Island to the Imperial District, whose main characters are the city and the forty generations of Poznań inhabitants.

Porta Posnania provided impetus for development

In 2009-2014, apart from managing the Royal-Imperial Route, the Centre also worked with Poznań’s local government on the project called “Interactive Centre for the History of the Cathedral Island in Poznań – the cradle of statehood and Christianity in Poland”. The project was co-funded by the European Union. As a result, Porta Posnania was created – a modern building by the Cybina River (designed by Ad Artis Architects) with a characteristic crevice directing the visitors’ sight towards the oldest cathedral in Poland.

Porta Posnania is an example of how the idea of high-quality tourist products can be developed into a heritage interpretation centre. That is, a place which introduces visitors to the history of the Cathedral Island and offers various tools for discovering its value on one’s own. Its main attraction is a multimedia exhibition located in the building next to the Cathedral Island, which tells the story of the history of the Cathedral Island, Poznań and the beginnings of Poland(it was designed by Tempora).

Porta Posnania’s building is also the seat of Poznan Heritage Centre. Its creation provided impetus for the development of our institution. Exploring the incredible Cathedral Island and the nearby district of Śródka, we began to reflect on the meaning of the tangible, intangible and natural heritage which surrounded us. We began to devise our educational programmes and exhibitions and engaged in research. At last, we could put the principles of heritage interpretation into practice. They became our main tools for analysing and presenting the city.

Heritage interpretation is our challenge for the future

The tale of the city’s heritage begins at Porta Posnania. It is then developed at the Royal-Imperial Route and at other institutions and projects run by Poznan Heritage Centre, including the Enigma Cipher Centre, the Śluza Gallery, and Fest Fyrtel. At the heart of all these initiatives lies our passion for exploring the city’s past, and the urge to continue to retell it and find new ways to do so. In order to do this, we work closely with the local community and search for new reference points.

The past and present directors ofthe Centre are:

  • Lech Łangowski (2009-2013)
  • Robert Mirzyński (2013-2019)
  • Monika Herkt (2019-now).

 

In 2020 the Centre changed its bylaw and name. The new name, Poznan Heritage Centre, is effective as of January 1, 2021.

The fact that we have been active in the cultural industry for several years now, has made us consciously strive to protect, interpret and promote the heritage of Poznań. We want to set trends in sustainable urban tourism, design and implement new types of activities connected to culture and education, and develop an accessible programme of events. We want our institution to keep growing in order to build bridges between various groups of people with different experiences, backgrounds, and world views.

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