Route 7: The Poznań International Fair and adjacent area

Poznań boasts a trade-fair tradition that goes back to 1254, when Przemysl I issued a charter that is now the oldest surviving document connected with the history of Poznań's trade. The idea to establish a specialist trade-fair organisation was put forward in 1917 by Poznań's very active business circles; the first Poznań Fair was held four years later. Before the outbreak of World War 2, the Poznań Fair was among the top trade fairs in Europe. The first postwar Poznań International Fair was held in 1947. This annual event made Poznań a rapidly developing city and the capital of Polish business. The PIF is one of the oldest institutions of this kind in Europe. The tradefair grounds are situated in the city centre. A lot of the pavilions were built in the inter-war period. A very conspicuous landmark is Pavilion 11, known as "the Spire", which is the remnant of the Upper-Silesian Tower, erected in 1911 to the design of the distinguished German architect Hans Poelzig. Since 1925 the fair has been an international event. In 1929, the fair grounds were the site of the National General Exhibition (PWK), whose characteristic pavilions survive to this day. The PIF yearly calendar lists about forty specialist events, which attract thousands of producers and traders from all continents.

Walking along ul. Bukowska with the International Fair, we turn right into Gajowa. Next we turn left into ul. Zwierzyniecka, where we find the entrance to the Old Zoo. The origins of the Old Zoo, which occupies the area of 5.6 ha, go back to the second half of the nineteenth century: it was officially opened on 24 February 1874. It has zebras, giraffes, pygmy hippopotamuses, many species of monkeys and apes, as well as an aquarium, a reptile house and an aviary. Do not miss the early-twentieth-century aviary with rocks for birds of prey or the 1924 aviary for wading birds. In 1972 the Old Zoo was registered as a historic monument.

We continue walking along Zwierzyniecka and turn left into Kraszewskiego. We cross ul. Bukowska and continue our walk down ul. Szylinga until we reach ul. Matejki. Walking along this street lined with fine Art nouveau town houses, we reach Wilson Park. Here we find Poznań's Palm House. Built to the design of S. Cybichowski in 1929, it was thoroughly remodelled in 1982-92. The Palm House has amassed huge collections of plants, thus becoming one of the biggest institutions of this kind in Europe. It has 17 thousand plants of 700 species and subspecies from the Mediterranean, subtropical, tropical, savannah and desert climates. There is also a rich collection of exotic fish here.

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