Sitting directly between Warsaw and Berlin, Poznań has been an important European city for centuries. As typical with many European cities in the area, Poznan was destroyed in World War II. Careful reconstruction has brought back it’s old city charm, which is beautiful and apparent walking throughout the city and especially in and around Stary Rynek (Old Town Square).
Here in the Old Town Square on Saturday nights, restaurant goers and party goers meet, mingle, eat or party all night, and the scene is very energetic. The Polish are definitely a rowdy bunch, and it seems there is something for everybody. Expensive restaurants, cheap eats, shops, strip club, night clubs (close by is the world famous Pacha Club franchise), partiers, doormen, old couples finishing dinner, families, and the occasional prostitute out working the streets while their grotesque looking pimps watch them. It’s a pleasant and energetic place, but there is defiantly a grimy feel to Saturday nights in the square.
Contrary to it’s rowdy Saturday nights, the best, and most family friendly time to visit is on a Sunday morning where residents, old and young, swarm the Old Town Square, to talk, meet and greet. On the Sunday we visited, we had the opportunity to see hundreds of people, including families, buskers, bicyclists, children, old couples, and more. Friends sitting in cafe’s and restaurant’s that line the Old Time Square drinking coffee or beer at 10:30 in the morning in typical European fashion.
It’s a friendly place to busk, to sell, and to protest for any cause you think is worthwhile. We spoke with a Polish man who was showing support for his friends and brothers in Spain supporting the referendum in Catalan. He doesn’t care if they separate or not, but he believes in the voice of the people, and the people should have the right to vote to determine their future.
The “star” of the morning, however, are the mechanical fighting goats. On Sunday, hundreds of people gather around the Town Hall (Ratusz) to watch two mechanical goats butt heads at the strike of dawn. This happens every day, but on this Sunday we were “treated” to a marching band pre-show intermixed with hundreds of spectators.
Fighting goats? Hmm. When I first learned of the fighting goats I thought it was weird, and I also thought they were using real goats (even more weird). It feels like a silly tradition to me, but it brings out many people to the old town’s unofficial meeting point, and that’s a good thing. Communities need to be social, and, especially on the weekend, the Old Town Square is a very social gathering spot, day or night.