Żnin is a county town in Cuiavian-Pomeranian voievodship in Poland. Until 1950 it was a part of subsequent forms of Greater Poland and is in the centre of ethnographic area of Pałuki Żnińskie. Together with some neighbouring villages it is a popular tourist destination on the historic Piasts’ Route.
Żnin is located in Pałuki subregion of Greater Poland, known for its lakes, folklore, legends and historic sites. Some of them are connected via heritage narrow gauge railway to Gąsawa via Wenecja and Biskupin. The town has also developed food industry and is water sports centre.
The town was for centuries owned by Gniezno archbishops and in late medieval period was considered as one of wealthiest in the whole province. End of prosperity in late 15th century was linked to change in major trade routes. Since then, Żnin was main trade and administration centre for rural area of Pałuki Żnińskie.
Virtually all inhabitants speak Polish. Knowledge of foreign languages may vary and younger population should have some knowledge of English. Several tourist informations and the town website are available in English, eventually in other languages as well.
The town is situated on Gąsawka river between Małe Żnińskie and Duże Żnińskie lakes. The central orientation point is Plac Wolności (Liberty Square). West from the old town is going national route DK 5 in north-south direction and connects the town with Bydgoszcz, Gniezno and Poznań. Other major regional roads are connected with it. Railway station is located east to the centre of the town.
Closest airport is located in Bydgoszcz, 45 km north-east from Żnin.
Apart heritage railway line, there is no passenger train connection to Żnin.
Żnin is situated on the national road DK 5 from Bydgoszcz to Gniezno and Poznań. Currently there is a motorway S5 under construction, and should be finished in 2019. Regional road 251 connects Żnin with Wągrowiec and Inowrocław, while regional road 253 connects the town with Łabiszyn.
Żnin is also easily reachable by bike, and it may be the best way to discover the area of Pałuki Żnińskie. Additionally, there exist some hiking trails.
Most of the town attractions is easily reachable on foot. Main town square and some streets are declared pedestrian area. There are some taxis available as well.
Tourists willing to visit neighbouring villages should take the heritage railway line, operating daily from May to August, in some weekends of April, September and October and during the Archaeology Festival in Biskupin, in September. The most expensive all day ticket costed 20 zł (~5€) in 2016.
Most of historic structures are situated within the historic centre:
- Town hall tower – a Gothic structure from 15th century in the middle of Liberty Square, museum
- St. Florian church – main church of the town build in Gothic style, and rebuild in neo-classical form after the fire in 18th century
- Towh hall – a 19th century building on Liberty Square, museum
- Sufragania manor – an 18th century structure, today museum
The only historic building situated outside the centre is St. Martin church form 15th century in the eastern part of the town.
- walk in the town park
- take the heritage narrow gauge railway line and visit:
- medieval castle ruins and narrow gauge trains museum in Wenecja
- archaeological park and reserve in Biskupin
- beautiful baroque wooden church in Gąsawa
- sail on the Duże Żnińskie lake
Apart from mentionned earlier Biskupin, Gąsawa and Wenecja villages, there are many interesting sites not far from Żnin, among others:
- Gniezno – first Polish capital city
- Mogilno – Romanesque monastery from 11th century
- Lubostroń – nice palace with landscape garden near small town of Łabiszyn
- Rogowo – Zaurolandia amusement park
- Trzemeszno – Baroque church with Romanesque elements
- Bożejewiczki – Silverado City amusement park
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