Daria Stahovska was born in Poland on April 5, 1987.
In 2011, she graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland) — Master’s degree in Russian language, specialty: dialects of the North Arkhangelsk region.
Since 2012, she is post-graduate student of the chair of Russian History at Umar Aliyev Karachay-Cherkes University. She is engaged in the research of Caucasian peoples` ethnography, including the issues of the influence of Christianity on the formation of the spiritual culture of the population.
Daria is fond of foreign languages and designing; she also loves music and singing.
America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe… Since ancient times, these continents were places where countries and empires emerged, where various cultures and mentalities matured. Countries and cities, cities and peoples, peoples and the diversity of their being — this life-cycle is simple, everything is clear and so interesting.
Memories are the essential part of human existence; memories remain with us forever and cannot be taken away. Yes, indeed. Memories remind us of certain moments of our life and evoke particular emotions. My best reminiscences are linked with a corner of the world which is incredibly interesting, even if marked by an extraordinary simplicity.
There is a country in Central Europe which, verging on the Kaliningrad region, has common borders with Russia. Indeed, I mean Poland. This country is spoken of a lot, but maybe is not known so much: 123 years of occupation (when its name was not even marked on maps), struggle for freedom, accession to the European Union, the tragedy of Smolensk.
But it is neither about the history nor about the country itself; the case in question is one of the famous cities, the remembrance of which will remain with me forever deep in my heart.
That is Poznan, the city located in the West of the country, on the river Warta. Poznan is the administrative center of the Wielikopolsko voivodship and with its 610 thousand inhabitants is the fifth largest city of Poland. Here, any place, how mere it is, has its own history, often closely related to local folk legends. According to one of them, on the land where two rivers (the Warta and the Cybinka) merge, three legendary ancestors of Slavic nations — Lech, Czech and Rus — met after a long separation. In spite of the fact that time has changed their appearance, the brothers recognized each other immediately and cried: «Poznae! Poznae!» («I recognize!» «I recognize!»). In memory of this meeting, they decided to build a city on the river and call it «Poznan». The fortress was built in the middle of the IX century on the island, which bears the name of Ostrow Tumski till today.
That’s the beautiful story. What is amazing, the oldest districts in Poznan up to now keep the names of the three famous brothers. History mentions that it is just in Poznan that in 966 Prince Mieszko I was baptized and the entire Polish nation was baptized with him. Very shortly after, already in 968, the first Polish diocese was created here.
Today tourists can visit the parish Church of the Holy apostles Peter and Paul, built in Baroque style and where organ concerts, concerts of church music, canticles and many other religious events are organized all year long on Saturdays.
Five years of my life that I spent in this remarkable city, left an indelible imprint in my memory. No doubt, those who visited Poznan once will feel a craving to stay here forever. It is really impossible to resist the charm of the city, the beauty of its historical monuments, it is impossible to stay indifferent to the atmosphere of mystery that each place has. Welcome to my favorite city — Poznan!
I made my acquaintance of Poznan when I entered one of the best universities in Poland — Adam Mickiewicz University. It was built in 1910 especially for the Prussian Royal Academy and was called at that time the «Collegium Maius». In the years of independence, Piastow University was opened here, which evolved with time into the current institution of higher education, situated near the square and the monument dedicated to the outstanding Polish poet. The main building of the University attracts attention by its grandiosity and extraordinary architecture. The Assembly Hall of the University is famous for its excellent acoustics, that’s why besides other concerts it hosts H. Wieniawski international musical contests. What is more, Poznan Philharmonic is located here.
In the center of the city life is in full swing day and night… The Old Market without students during the academic year or without tourists on holidays — no, it wouldn’t be the same city. At the end of XIII century the first building constructed of stone in the center of the city was the Town hall. Initially, it was a small two-storeyed building, but then a tower was added to the ensemble as the symbol of the independence of the city. In the course of time all the building burnt out, and the city’s authorities appealed to the Italian architect Jan Quadro asking him to construct a new building in the Renaissance style. Today the Museum of the history of the city is situated in the town hall.
The cobble-stone square of the old city is surrounded by three or four-tier narrow stone houses built in Venetian style and representing one of the rare examples of commercial buildings. Constructed in the first half of the XVI century, the houses were possessed by poor traders. The distinguishing features of these buildings are shaded arches, under which brisk fish trade flourished. At the time of the king Wladislaw Jagiello, the city became an important point where international trade routes crossed. In the XVI century the leather craft widely developed in the locality, the fair held every year in Poznan acquired the role of the international grain exchange.
In the course of time, following the extension of the world trade, the International Poznan fair developed to such an extend that became the most famous in Europe. Nowadays the program of the Poznan fair is scheduled for the whole year, including a wide variety of activities. Among them are the spring and autumn fairs of consumer goods, the international agro-industrial fair, fairs of furniture, electronics, the international tourist salon… However, the main event is so-called Swietojanska fair; it is held in June and accompanied by the presentation of handicraft products and articles from all over the country.
If you are in Poznan, you can’t get acquainted with the culture of the city but visiting the Wielki theatre (Great Theatre), called the Opera. It was solemnly opened in the last day of August 1919. The first performance that the audience saw during the opening ceremony, was the masterpiece created by the famous opera writer Stanislaw Moniuszko. The fact of existence of the Opera in the city marked the continuation of a long tradition covering the time of Sasanian dynasty reign, when italian troupes, travelling from Dresden to Warsaw, performed comedies, interludes, pantomimes and operas in the streets of the city. This tradition numbers more than 200 years. Nowadays the theatre is very popular with spectators, giving them a diverse palette of theatre pieces, opera and musical compositions performed by the most famous artists and singers of the world. Opposite the main entrance of the theatre is a park spread out offering the visitors its fountains, green paths and lanes. Here the inhabitants of the city, students and tourists can have a rest, walk, enjoy the birds singing and colorful flower beds, shining in the rays of the sun.
Poznan has numerous museums: the Museum of folk art, the Museum of musical instruments, the Museum of Wielkopolskie insurrection, the archaeological Museum, the ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Literature, etc… It will take a lot of place and time to enumerate all of them. But the sui generis Museum of Bambers deserves a particular attention. It is located behind the Town hall, the pieces exhibited in the museum tell about settlers migrated from the German Bamberg. They were invited to move into Polish villages and suburbs of Poznan in the XVIII century after the «Northern war» and the epidemic that devastated the city. This way the national economy was restored. Today, the Museum is the symbol of cooperation of two nations — Poles and Germans, the result of their mutual understanding and the strengthening of traditional ties. Every year, the 1st of August, the Bambers Day is celebrated in Poznan and tourists can see inhabitants wearing national costumes consisting of several layers of clothing and beautiful hats covered with flowers.
Another place of great interest is the Museum of the Year 1956, created in memory of the events happened on June 28, 1956, when Polish people revolted against the communist government. The Museum is situated next to the main building of the University. In 1956, thousands of workers gathered here, demanding to increase wages, requiring truth and freedom. That day, 74 among them were killed; more than 600 were wounded; more people were arrested by security service. This bloody day is since then called the «black Tuesday». 25 years later, so many people (120 thousand residents) gathered again on the square in 1981, to participate in the opening of the monument constructed to commemorate the Poznan June‑1956. A symbolic head of eagle and two huge crosses19m and 21 m high made of stainless steel were erected on the square within two months. The date of the first public insurrection against totalitarian power is stamped on the higher cross. Next to this date others are marked: 1968, 1970, 1978, 1980, 1981 …These are years of spontaneous demonstrations that became history now.
The city authorities are highly concerned about the cultural education of the citizens, visitors and tourists coming from foreign countries. For these purposes various cultural events are organized in Poznan. The Cultural Centre «Castle» ensures unforgettable moments of communication with the art exhibitions, with music at concerts, with handicraft at master classes. This is not only a place where soul is nourished on the beauty, but at the same time, the greatest historical monument: the Palace was built in 1905–1910 for the last German Emperor and king of Prussia, Wilhelm II. When, 11 years later, the building became the property of the State Treasury, the Directorate of the Ministry for unification of the Greater Poland was situated here.
The Cultural Centre «Castle» is one of the largest institutions of education and culture both in the Wielkopolskie voivodship and in the whole of Poland. All year round tens of thousands of cultural events are organized here: concerts, exhibitions (among them the well-known Word Press Photo exhibition), meetings, film shows, master classes and lectures. The most popular holiday, held under patronage of the Cultural Centre, is the Day of the City — St. Marcin Day (his name is given to the main street).
November 11 is a significant date in Poland. On this day the whole country celebrates the most important State holiday, the Independence Day. The independence, lost because of three partitions of the country, was re-acquired by the Polish princedom in 1918.
Every year, the inhabitants of Poznan take part in the solemn parade led by St. Marcin representing a Roman horseman. The events take place in the open air near the Castle, well-known musicians, singers and actors are invited to participate in the festivities. An entertainment program is completed by grandiose fireworks. The streets are full of numerous fair stalls. This day you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to taste and appreciate the trend of national cuisine; it’s the only day when the local delicacy is baked — bagels with almond and poppy-seed filling. I remember the moment, when I tasted them for the first time… yum! You’ll lick your chops! I have missed this taste since. And not only.
These are just few attractions of one of the largest cities in Poland — Poznan. If you want to feel the singularity of this city to the full, you’d better visit it. Unforgettable adventures and impressions of the trip are guaranteed!
By Daria Stahovska