Sunday, September 18, 2005

Begginings of Polish country

I planned to finish my story about Tri-City within Polish Pomerania by I was interrupted by some other important events and now I would like to present to you places connected with the very beginnings of Poland and Polish country around year 1000.

All who want to acquaint with the beginning of o Poland and the beginning of the Christian faith in Poland are cordialy invited to Gniezno, the First Capital of Poland and the City of St. Adalbert. It was here that legendary Lech bade his brothers Czech and Rus farewell, and stayed here to found on a hill the first city.

To all the Poles Gniezno is the town which has a special place in the history of the Polish State. Here our statehood was born and grew in power, here we find the foundations of christianity. Gniezno was the first capital - the seat of Polish rulers. In the Cathedral the body of St. Adalbertus was buried, it was laid in the tomb Emperor Otto III made a pilgrimage to in the year 1000. Possesing the relics of the Martyr made it easier for prince Boleslaus The Brave to endeavour to have a metropolis created, which was an indispensable condition to gain the crown for the ruler. The realization of those endeavours caused the cathedral of Gniezno to become the coronational aula of the Polish kings, and the metropolitan of Gniezno became the only legal person to crown the kings. Here there took place the first synod during which the metropolis of Gniezno was announced, created by Pope Sylvester II, embracing with its borders the Polish State of those times. The importance of Gniezno grew in the beginning of XV century when the archbishop of Gniezno first obtained the title of The Primate of Poland, and 100 years later the title of a born lagate, since the first interreign the archbishop of Gniezno acted as interrex and styled himself the prince of the Polish Kingdom.

Look at the map to check its location:) near to Bydgoszcz,Torun and Poznan. Gniezno is circled by a black ring.
The figure of St. Adalbertus, the main patron of Poland was one of very important factors integrating the Poles in the period of the country being devided into districts, and Gniezno was the place of many a pilgrimage deepening Polish identity. More clear-sighted studies over the life and activity of The Saint presented this figure in a new light, extraordinarily rich and colourful in the political, religious and cultural landscape of the Medieval Europe.
Beneath you have contemporary views of Cathedral in Gniezno:

Life of saint Adalbert (saint Wojciech)

He was born around the year 956 in the seat of the family of Slavnikovits in the Chec Libice. He spent his childchood at his parents' court, and then for ten years he was educated in Magdeburg in the school which enjoyed fame because of high level of teaching achieved thanks to the endeavours of Benedictine Octryk. Here he was administered the sacrament of confirmation and acquired his second christian name - in honour of his Patron archbishop of Magdeburg - Adalbertus. In the year 981 he returned to the Checs. After the death of the bishop of Prague Dytmar in the year 982, perhaps as the result of an agreement concluded between two families. Przemyslids and Slavnikovits, rivalling for the hegemony over the Chec country- he was elected the bishop of Prague on February 19th that year.

Conflict with prince Boleslaus IInd (of Przemyslids family) was the reason that St. Adalbertus and his brother Radzim left Prague and went to St. Bonifatius, and St. Alex monastery in Rome. The Roman period of the Saint was the time of strict asceticism, as the life in the monastery was focussed on prayer, reading and manual work.

After three years (in 992) yielding to the persuasions of Chec deputation, he returned to Prague. At the beginning the cooperation with the Chec noblemen went satisfactorily. But later there took place clashes and intrigues as the result of which - perhaps the reason was cunningly staged - St. Adalbertus left Prague for good and again went to the already mentioned monastery in Rome.

The following period of the S aint's life was the time of pilgrimages and missionary activity. While awaiting to be appointed a missionary bishop he went to Moguntia and visited one by one: Tours (the tomb of St. Martin), Fleury (the tomb of St. Benedict), Saint-Maur on Loire and Saint-Denis Abbey near Paris. From France he returned to Moguntia where he met Emperor Otto IIIth and from there he made for Poland. To make the biography full one has to add his contacts with Hungary and the particular influence he brought upon king Steven, later Saint.

Being a monk of a Benedictine monastery in Rome - monastery known because of a rich missionary tradition - St. Adalbertus returned again and again to the idea of converting the pagans, bringing faith to the barbarian nations.

The dilemma whether to convert Lucice (a religious-military union of Slavs who had their lands between Elbe and Oder) or Prussians, was solved for the benefit of the latter. As the result of that choice in 977 there began the mission of converting, probably from Gniezno.

After having arrived to Gdansk about 27th March that year, he made for Prussia (probably by sea) where he arrived at Truso - a port and important trading centre. The first meeting with the Prussians appeared unfortunate for the missionaries. Forced to leave their lands they stayed in there-abouts for about 5 days. St. Adalbertus was murdered on 23rd day of April 997 probably in the village Holy Grove (Owety Gaj) not far from Paslek.

The citizens of Gniezno had been making efforts to legally sanction St. Adalbertus as Patron. The result of those endeavours was the Act of The Congregation For The Matters Of The Cult Of God And Sacraments issued on March 25th 1994, giving the town an official title of The Town of St. Adalbertus.

Historical facts about Gniezno:

6th - 7th century - beginnings of colonization on Panienskie Hill (present Market Square)

8th century-large fortified city, surrounded with wooden-earth embankments on Lech Hill - the tribal center of Polanie

10th c. - Gniezno - the first capital of the so called Gniezno State

966 - adoption of Christianity by Mieszko I

990-992 - the oldest record mentioning the name Gniezno in the "Dagome ludex" document

997 - mission ofSt Adalbert

999 - committing of St Adalbert's body in Gniezno Cathedral and establishing of metropolis in Gniezno with its first Bishop Radzym Gaudenty - brother of St Adalbert

1000 - Convention of Gniezno - Synod; German emperor Otto III makes a pilgrimage to the grave of St Adalbert: establishing of a new metropolis and three episcopates in Cracow, Wrodaw. and Kotobrzeg

1018 - fire of borough and cathedral

1025 - crowning Boleslaw Chrobry the King of Poland

1038 - invasion of Gniezno by Bohemian Prince Brzetystaw - destruction of the city and stealing the relics of St Adalbert

1076 - crowning Boleslaw Smialy the King of Poland

1138 - Gniezno becomes the seat of Mieszko II, who rules over Wielkopolska after division of Poland by Boleslaw Krzywousty

1238 - Gniezno obtains civic rights on the Magdeburg law

1295 - coronation of Przemysl II

1300 - crowning Wactaw Czeski the King of Poland

2nd half of the 14th c.- restoration of the cathedral in the Gothic style

1419 - archbishops of Gniezno receive the title of the Primate of Poland

1427 - Gniezno obtains the right to store

15th c. - Gniezno becomes an important trade center in the field of woolen cloths and furs

1613 - huge fire of Gniezno

1655 - destruction of the city by the Swedes

1793 - as a result of the 2nd partition of Poland the city is taken over by the Prussians

1794 - Kosciuszko's insurgents in Gniezno

1806 - liberation of Gniezno from the Prussian rule by the Napoleon's army: the city becomes part of the Duchy of Warsaw

1815 - Gniezno taken over by the Prussians; Gniezno in the Great Duchy of Poznan

1819 - huge fire of the city

1872 - Gniezno obtains a railway connection with Poznan and Inowroctaw

1918 - participants of the Wielkopolska Uprising liberate Gniezno from the Prussian rule

1925 - erection of the Bolestaw Chrobry Monument in front of the cathedral

1939-1945 - Nazi occupation

1956-establishing oftheArcheological Museum department - the later Museum of the Polish State Beginnings

1979 - pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to the grave of St Adalbert

1994 - Gniezno receives the title: "Gniezno - the city of St Adalbert"

1997 - the city receives the banner, insignia and bugle-call; construction of the St Adalbert Monument in order to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of his death

1997 - second pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to Gniezno

1997 - meeting of 7 presidents of East-Central Europe: Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Hungary

1999 - establishing of the Poviat of Gniezno and the starosty with the seat in Gniezno

2000 - millennium of the Convention of Gniezno

In order to commemorate the anniversary of the meeting of the German emperor Otto III with Bolestaw Chrobry at the grave ofSt Adalbert, the city Millennial Celebrations Program was pre- pared, based on proposals of associations, cultural and educational institutions of Gniezno. The following events were most important in the life of the city: Convention of Central European Heads of States in March, Meeting of Prime Ministers in April 2000, cultural presentations of "Sister Cities in Gniezno", laying down a cornerstone of the Collegium Europaeum Gnesnense (March 29,2000), international symposium "The 1000th- anniversary of the Convention of Gniezno", and the extraordinary session of the Polish Parliament in Gniezno. Realization of the program was a splendid promotion of Poland's first capital - the City of St Adalbert.

As deals contemporary Gniezno great emphasis is placed on the development of tourism. The district’s scenery is varied, with numerous lakes, rivers and brooks. Within Gniezno town there are 3 lakes. Moraines, erratic boulders and a multitude of fields and forests all create most interesting environs to the town and the entire district.
Beneath you can have a look at two parks in Gniezno -Kościuszko Park (picture1) and City Park (picture 2):

Have a nice time while visiting Gniezno:)


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