Poznań ([ˈpɔznaɲ]; German: Posen, known also by other historical names) is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region. It is best known for its renaissance old town, destroyed during World War II and then rebuilt, and Ostrów Tumski cathedral. Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre and one of Poland's most populous regions with many regional customs such as Jarmark Świętojański, traditional Saint Martin's croissants and a local dialect.
Poznań is among the oldest cities in Poland and was one of the most important centers in the early Polish state in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The first center city was Ostrów Tumski, the natural island on the Warta river-very similar to the Île de la Cité in Paris. The first rulers were buried in Poznań's cathedral on the island. It also served as the capital for a short time in the 13th century, hence the official name: The capital city of Poznan. After the second partition of Poland Poznań was administered by Prussia, and then, with the unification of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, the province of Posen became part of the German Empire. Furthermore, the city of Posen was officially named an imperial residence city, leading to the construction of the Imperial Castle, the Imperial District, the Opera House, new city walls, railway station and many other sites which make a big part of its landmarks to this day.
Poznań is one of the biggest cities in Poland. The city population is about 550,000, while the continuous conurbation with Poznań County and several other communities (Oborniki, Skoki, Szamotuły and Śrem) is inhabited by almost 1.1 million people. The Larger Poznań Metropolitan Area (PMA) is inhabited by 1.3-1.4 million people and extends to such satellite towns as Nowy Tomyśl, Gniezno and Wrzesnia, making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Poland. It is the historical capital of the Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) region and is currently the administrative capital of the province called Greater Poland Voivodeship. Poznań is today one of the largest Polish centers of trade, industry, sports, education, technology, tourism and culture. It is particularly important academic center, with about 130,000 students and the third biggest Polish university - Adam Mickiewicz University. It is also the residence of the oldest Polish diocese, now being one of the most populous archdioceses in the country.
In 2012, the Poznań's Art and Business Center "Stary Browar" won a competition organized by National Geographic Traveller and was given the first prize as one of the seven "New Polish Wonders". Poznań has been rated highly, often coming first for Poland, as a city with a very high quality of life. The city has also won many times a prize awarded by "Superbrands" for a very high quality brand of city of Poznań. Poznań was classified in 2012 as high sufficiency city by Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
The official patron saints of Poznań are Saint Peter and Paul of Tarsus, the patrons of the cathedral. As a patron of the city is regarded as well the patron of the main street Święty Marcin - Martin of Tours.
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