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About the Trail

Jacek Wrzesinski

The Piast Tourist Trail is the oldest and most recognizable tourist trail in Poland. No one should have any difficulty placing it- it is located in the area of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), a part of Kujawy and Pałuki.
The Piast Tourist Trail connects the most important objects and monuments related to the origins of the Polish State. The term "the Piast Tourist Trail” as a tourist trail was first used in the publication entitled "Przewodnik po Wielkopolsce” by Jan Kilarski in 1938. Initially "the Piast Tourist Trail” led from Poznan through Gniezno, Mogilno, Kruszwica to Inowrocław. The reason to create such a tourist trail was the historical knowledge as well as the awareness that those lands comprised the origins of the Polish State. The area surrounding Gniezno was the place were the first Piasts commenced to build their domain and as a consequence a state was established.

Apart from the monuments which date back to the Piast times there are both older ones as well as younger ones dating back to subsequent historical periods. All the presented monuments prove that the Polish State is not historically abandoned and uncultivated area. People were active here by carving the background long before the Piasts came on this area. Moreover their legacy repossessed by successors develops until present times.

More interest as well as more tourist movement and development of the tourist trail can be dated back to 1960s. The revival of the interest in the monuments in the Piast Tourist Trail is undoubtedly connected with the preparations to the 1000th anniversary of baptism of Poland which took place in 1966.As part of  preparations a lot of spectacular archaeological research was made. On the one hand they became a perfect place where students of archaeology could study, but also enabled to create a scientific approach of archeology to the subject of research and laid foundations for excavations. On the other hand they made the trail more attractive, revealing new, unknown objects and thanks to conservatory works they enabled the access to the most important monuments of the Piast times. Discovered, reconstructed and restored monuments (not only from the Piast times) began to be eagerly watched owing to their great historical value connected with the beginning of Polish State. They also commenced to be tourist attractions as well as recreational places. During conducted research there were many spectacular discoveries made which must not be underestimated.

The obtained monuments and created documentation are reference to various elaborations as well as continual analysis until present times. In 19th century the area where you can find the Piast Tourist Trail was the place of numerous visits but it was also the subject of many scientific elaborations which became the background for literary works and romantic, poetic visions. During that time the most frequently visited places were the surroundings of Poznan, Gniezno, but also Ostrów Lednicki, Kruszwica, Strzelno and Inowrocław.

The region where the Piast Tourist Trail is found there are traces of a man living here from the times of declining Palaeolithic. The oldest finds were discovered near Modliszewko (a village located to the north of Gniezno) and their chronology dates back to the second half of the 10th century BC. One of the most interesting areas is the region of Leśniewo, Przyborówka, Wierzyce (region between Gniezno and Poznan) which are remnants of large metallurgical and blacksmith workshops (difficult to determine unambiguous chronological classification, on the basis of surface survey they were classified as coming from the Roman period). A crucial place in the Piast Tourist Trail is the exposition in the open air in Biskupin which performs different functions. It is perfect evidence that people lived on the land long before the Polish State was established.  Thanks to the exposition the education within the framework of civic attitude is possible. Additionally the archaeological reserve in Biskupin is a vitally important place in the world of science, in the historical education but also serves as an example of using monuments in the politics as well as for the propaganda purposes and for awakening of national identity. In 2011 an initiative was taken in order to arrange the objects in the Piast Tourist Trail – to draw stronger attention to its historical nature, to emphasize the importance of the monuments which are connected with the Piasts indeed, and which were constructed on their direct initiative or in the period of their intensified activity on the land of the Piasts’ State – Civitas Schinesghe. Therefore among propositions of the Piast Tourist Trail there appeared new monuments which were not included in the tourist trail previously. The trail itself changed its shape as well. Instead of the characteristic shape resembling number "8”, the new conception takes into account 2 trails: the east-west one ( from Lubiń to Włocławek ) and the north-south one ( from Łękno to Kalisz ) which intersect in Gniezno. Undoubtedly the tourist trail will become more coherent, its affiliation with the Piasts will be considerably more transparent and as a result it will become more attractive. The succeeding stage of reconstructing the trail is going to be a complex tourist audit which is to determine the final tourist trail which at the moment of this publication was presented as follows:

Działalność biura PCIT finansowana z dotacji Starostwa Powiatowego w Gnieźnie i z dotacji Urzędu Miasta Gniezno