The City of Poznan has been located on the bank of the Warta River in west-central Poland for over 1000 years. With its 700,000 inhabitants, including approximately 35,000 university students, it is a major university center midway between Berlin and Warsaw, with several institutions of higher education, scientific organizations, opera and dance centers, and a number of theaters. Points of interest include the Raczynski Library, Market Square, the Museum of Musical Instruments, the National Museum, and the oldest zoological garden in Poland.. It is also a major center for European trade and industrial conventions so that the hotel, dining and entertainment facilities excel on a European standard. Its industries include metallurgical works, chemical and furniture factories, textile mills, and food-processing plants. Since 1921 it has hosted a major international trade fair.
The city has good transport routes to other European cities. Beginning as a fortified village in the 10th century, Poznan became the capital of Poland and the residence of the first two Polish kings.Poland's first cathedral was erected here in 1968. The town flourished as a European trade center during the 15th and 16th centuries, but later its prosperity declined due to fires and wars. It was under Russian administration from 1807 to 1815. It has been part of the Polish republic since 1918. Poznan prospered again between the two world wars but was devastated in 1939 by Germany. A 1945 siege left the city in ruins. Rebuilt after World War II it became an industrial and cultural center of Poland. The City itself presents a pleasant environment beautified with an abundance of greenery and lakes throughout. It has a picturesque, medieval downtown ("stare miasto"), a 19th-20th century central business section and modern residential areas around the City.
After Warsaw and Cracow, Poznan is the third academic center in Poland as regards the number of students. There are several institutions of higher learning and military and theological colleges, which offer various courses and educational programs to over 56,600 students. Poznan is also the seat of over 55 research and developmental institutes. Among them are: the Plant Protection Institute, the Institute of Wood Technology, the Industrial Institute of Agricultural Machinery, Western Institute, agencies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and others. Considerable achievements in such fields of science as biochemistry, automation and telecommunication, food technology, applied chemistry, and molecular physics are most promising for the economy of the city.
After Warsaw, Poznan has become the second largest center of banking and business in Poland. There are 34 banks and 13 insurance agencies in the city. Poznan also boasts one of the largest number of joint venture companies in Poland. The Poznan International Fair, an event launched for the first time in 1921, has significance for the economy of the city. Every year, over 20 different international trade events are organized. The most important among them is the Poznan International Fair held in June. In 1994, it attracted 3,145 exhibitors from 20 countries and over 104,000 visitors. Poznan is a large tourist center. The city can offer accommodation to about 5,800 tourists in 31 hotels, 3 youth hotels and at 3 camp sites. Numerous lay and sacral historical represent all the architectural styles and historical eras - from the Middle Ages to finde siecle and Modernism.
The unique Renaissance buildings in the Old Market with the Town Hall are the most illustrious in Europe. Poznan can be called a "green city" - about 20% of its total area are forests and parks. There are 4 lakes in the city, used for water sports and recreation. The most modern regatta course on Malta Lake, where the World Championship in Canoeing were held, was built in 1990. The environs of Poznan are also very attractive to tourists - there are castles, palaces, manors (some of them can be the venues of conferences and symposia), nature reservations (for example, one thousand year old oaks in Rogalin, Meteorite Reserve in Morasko, the Wielkoposka Natural Park and others).