Toruń is one of the best preserved Gothic towns in Poland. Formerly being a wealthy hanseatic port and the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus it retains much of its old splendour in its magnificent ancient buildings, churches, streets, squares and museums. Its medieval setting is enhanced by picturesque surroundings. The city stretches along the Vistula River, about 200 km northwest of Warsaw.
The history of the city begins in 1233 when Toruń was first granted its municipal rights. The Old Town and the New Town, originally separated by walls and a moat, gradually developed and merged in the fifteenth century. The Old and New Market Squares, so popular nowadays, are remnants of those two medieval centres over which towered a powerful castle of the Teutonic Knights.
The highlights of the city's magnificent Gothic architecture are three superb churches and a town hall, but there is much more to see here. In 1997, Toruń was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a listing of sites of significant historical interest throughout the world. Strolling along the streets, you will find the Leaning Tower, the ruins of the castle, defence walls with numerous gates, old granaries, and several museums and galleries.
Present-day Toruń, with over 200,000 inhabitants, is an important scientific and academic centre. Its old tradition and unique atmosphere, together with the Nicolaus Copernicus University, strongly influence the flourishing cultural life of the town.
Detailed information on Toruń and many interesting pictures are also available here.
Do not leave the town without buying some gingerbread (called in Polish PIERNIKI), a local honey-and-spice specialty, produced in different shapes by the factory KOPERNIK. It has been popular here for many years, as attested by the medieval moulds in the District Museum. The traditional type (stagecoaches, figures, Copernicus) is intended for display. Watch your teeth, it is rock hard! The edible variety usually comes shaped in small cakes.
If you would like to try to bake traditional gingerbread, do not miss to visit Toruń's unique real-live Gingerbread Museum.