Stary Rynek (the Old Market Square) and its surroundings are among the most interesting places to see in Poznań. The Renaissance town hall, old houses, charming side streets, numerous museums, monuments, cafes and people walking about - all of them create the unique atmosphere of the place.
Our tour starts at Plac Kolegiacki (Kolegiacki Square), situated near Stary Rynek. Along the southern edge of the square stands the building of the former Jesuit college . This four-storey U-shaped building with a spacious courtyard and a two-wing cloister was erected in the first half of the eighteenth century. At present it is the seat of the municipal authorities. Over the gate of the northern cloister is a tall tower with a cupola constructed in 1737. After the suppression of the Jesuit order, the Commission of National Education established the Polish Provincial School here. In 1806, for nearly three weeks, the building was Napoleon's residence. Still later, it was the residence of Duke Antoni Radziwiłł, governor of the Grand Duchy of Poznań. In front of the main entrance are two bronze effigies of billy-goats butting each other, made in 2002 by the Poznań sculptor Robert Sobociński.
Walking down Gołębia Street, you will find on your left the Parish Church of St Stanislaus , one of the most monumental Baroque churches in Poland. This three-aisle basilica with a transept was constructed in the years 1651-1732. Its interior is richly decorated with sculptures, stuccowork and paintings. On the vault of the nave is a wall-painting showing episodes from the life of St. Stanislaus. At the intersection of the nave and the transept you can see a painting by Stanisław Wróblewski (1949), creating an optical illusion of a fake dome. The main altar of the church was created by Pompeo Ferrari. The altar closing the transept on the right has the painting (St. Stanislaus Kostka) by Szymon Czechowicz, while the altar on the left features a Gothic sculpture of Jesus Christ (c.1430) and a picture of St. Ignatius Loyola. Just across Gołebia Street stands the eighteenth- century former Jesuit school , which used to be part of the cluster of Jesuit buildings. During the Partition era there was a Prussian grammar school here. Now the interior of the building is the State Ballet School. The adjacent building in Kozia Street is the seat of the Polish Dance Theatre-Poznań Ballet, organiser of annual Modern Dance Workshops.
Now turn into Świętosławska Street to reach Wodna Street with the 1548 Górka Palace . Remodelled in the eighteenth century and destroyed in 1945, it was reconstructed after the war. Looking at the palace from Klasztorna Street, you can see a magnificent Renaissance sandstone portal and the inner courtyard. At present the palace houses the Archaeological Museum , whose permanent expositions are called The Prehistory of Wielkopolska, Life and Death in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology of Sudan and Here Poland started... The first presents archaeological finds from the prehistory of western Poland, life in the region of Wielkopolska from the Stone Age until the end of antiquity, as well as human and animal figures in scales of 1:1 and 1:10, showing scenes from the lives of hunters, shepherds and farmers. The second exposition presents papyri and hieroglyphics, the development of Egyptian art, historical objects connected with religion and funerary rites (among them mummies). The third represents over 7000 years in the history of the civilisation of the former Nubia.