GATE OF POZNAŃ – DISCOVERING HERITAGE
A gate of Poznań is connecting historical knowledge, multimedia Technologies and modern narration, and everything is closed in a Simple modernistic building, situated directly at a river. It is a story about the beginnings of the Polish country, people and events which were permanently inscribed in the history of Poland
A concrete cube, hung in 1/3 over the corridor of Cybina, attracts everyone with its architecture, evoking extreme emotions: from delight to disapproval. Undoubtedly it distinguishes itself among the surrounding of the oldest part of Poznań divided with Cybina: prehistoric Ostrów Tumiński and Śródki not cared about for years, which is slowly getting renovated now, getting new architectonic, social and cultural life. Today here there are a lot of small and big places: restaurants and cafes, in which inhabitnats of Poznań and tourists enjoy spending their time. Walking between Ostrów Tumski and Śródka is not a problem now. For, one can only go along the Jordan bridge hung over Cybina.
Visiting the Gate of Poznań ICHOT, opened in April 2014 – the first centre of heritage interpretation in Poland – should be begun with the side of Śródka, in order to go to Ostrów Tumski where there is the oldest cathedral on Polish lands, hiding tombs of the first kings of Poland in its undergrounds, the Archdiocesan Museum, that is, the former Academy of Lubrański – one of the first humanistic universities on Polish lands and the Archeological Sanctuary Genius Loci, in which one can see the a wide range of shafts of the Piast castle from X century.
The Gate of Poznań is inscribed in the trend of narration museums. It is the centre of heritage interpretation. Such institutions appear in places where we deal with a big number of monuments. In Poznań all this is in Ostrów Tumski. Our task is to prepare a visitor in such a way so that he could use the knowledge gained here, when he goes to Ostrów Tumski –says Robert Mirzyński. The director of the Centre of Cultural Tourism Trakt, who is an operator of the museum emphasizes that employees’ intention is clear. –We want Ostrów Tuimski in Poznań be associated with the beginnings of the Polish country. For some people still think that sarcophagi of Mieszko and Bolesław Chrobry are in Cracow - he says.
The building has got a multi-dimension modern exposition, based on a game of lights, colours and symbols and narration going along various paths of sightseeing, adjusted to guests at various ages. Auto-guide and multimedia devices help adults in discovering secrets of the past. Whereas a family path, chosen by families with little kids is a real journey into the past with a time machine. – Everything is adjusted to needs of children in such a way, so as to arouse interaction – emphasizes Mirzynski. So, there are elements of fun concentrated on agility, memorizing details, perceptiveness and board games about the history of Ostrów Tumiński. A great attraction for kids is also a virtual wardrobe in which they can dress up as Dobrawa, Mieszko, a knight, a servant-maid or a bishop, have a photo taken and send it into their emails as a souvenir of their visit to the Gate of Poznań.
The exposition of the building, telling us about the key moments of Poland history, organized in four halls being characteristically named. The hall Castle Town tells us about the beginnings of settlement on the island. On the floor there is visualization of the first castle town in Ostrów Tumski. Stepping on the screen activates the imposition of the modern photo of the place. The hall Water, in which the blue colour dominates is connected with baptism. It is worth entering the virtual baptistery and somehow become a participant of this event being a breakthrough for the Piast country, presented like in the shadow theatre or look into a well in order to gain extra information. The hall Gold is among the others, a story about art from gothic to renaissance, about other reconstructions of the cathedral and times difficult (during partitions), symbolized by the Golden Chapel in the cathedral. Visitors can learn about history of its construction, get to know its initiators and creators, look at its beauty in details.
The last 100 years of the Greater Poland are presented by the Hall Stained Glass, telling us, among the others, about independence after 1918, times of war, communist Poland, about Millennium of Poland Baptism. At the very exit, there is presentation of a film kaleidoscope about modern Poznań, directed by Ksawery Żuławski. It is also worth entering a terrace from which a beautiful view to the capitals of Greater Poland spreads.
In each hall there are interactive bands of time, elaborated in a few languages, on which there is information about the most important events. There is also presentation of a few-minute films reconstructing the story of the past.
What attracts our attention is a glass atrium through which one can see a figure of the cathedral which visitors pass, going from halls to halls. Going through a glass bridge over Cybina, we get to a monumental building of the cathedral sluice, one of the last remained elements of the stronghold Poznań, being a fragment of Pruss fortifications from the first half of XIX century. Today the sluice leads to Ostrów Tumski with its unique monuments.
Culture and education
When we are thinking about the Gate of Poznań, we are thinking about heritage. This meaning is wider than history, so we are trying to build a program and events, so that finding various elements in the past, we could refer them to modern times – emphasizes Robert Mirzyński. The Gate of Poznań organizes a lot of cultural and educational events, addressed both to students and teachers, it also integrates inhabitants of Śródka. During a year there are exhibitions organized at certain dates, workshops for children and seniors, concerts, spectacles, sport and touristic events, and all of them are enriched with reflection on heritage. It should be added, that on the occasion of the jubilee of Poland baptism, a project ‘Heritage 966’ was prepared, that is, a cycle of six thematic weekends about authority, faith, community, nature, art and ‘nonconventional stories’ which take place every second month. Teachers can participate in the school project ‘School of heritage. Project 966’, which will show teachers how to teach at school, using methods at work like storytelling, questing or sketchnoting.
The Gate of Poznań, although was built only two years ago, it has already hosted over 330 thousand people. It was visited by tourists from 71 countries, from both the exotic ones, like Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, to Australia and New Zealand. The Gate of Poznań enables to discover heritage which becomes an intellectual challenge and unites generations.
One can buy one common ticket in order to visit three buildings: Museum of Archdiocese, Sanctuary Genius Loci and the Gate of Poznań and visit these places during 10 days. It is much more convenient and cheaper form for both families and groups as well as individual tourists, than purchase of three separate tickets – emphasizes the director of the museum.