Torun, Poland – Church of St. Jakub

Torun is full of beautiful places!

Torun is one of the most beautiful cities in Poland, situated in the north of the country on the banks of the Vistula River. The Gothic monuments in the Old Town of Torun were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. The city was not badly damaged during the Second World War, so all buildings and structures have been preserved in their original state.

Archaeological excavations confirm that the first settlements on the territory of the modern city appeared in 1100 BC, but the name Torun was given to the settlement by the Teutonic Knights, who came here at the beginning of the XIII century and built a castle. The town was given town privileges in 1233, but over the centuries it remained an important trade crossroads, changing hands several times: it became part of not only Poland, but also Prussia and Sweden.

Torun is a city of famous gingerbread, authentic Gothic buildings and Nicholas Copernicus. It was here, in 1473, that the famous astronomer and mathematician, author of the geocentric system of the world, which marked the beginning of the 1st scientific revolution, was born. Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń is considered one of the most prestigious universities in Poland.

Toruń gingerbread is a famous pastry made by the city’s bakers for almost 700 years. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with images of city landmarks and scenes from the knights’ life of the Middle Ages. The city has a Gingerbread Museum, where you can not only learn all about the history of gingerbread making in Toruń, but also bake your own delicious, unique gingerbread.

Night lighting of the Old Town also impresses with its numerous buildings and constructions which are beautifully illuminated at night.

Teutonic Knights’ Castle

Teutonic Knights Castle

The Teutonic Knights’ Castle

The castle of the Teutonic Knights of Torun is the very first fortress of the Teutonic Knights in Poland. Its construction began in 1230 on the order of Duke Konrad I of Masovia, a representative of the Piast dynasty. The castle was built in the form of a horseshoe, which preceded the later rectangular-shaped castle.

Only a small part of the castle has survived to our time: a defensive tower, parts of walls and cellars. There is now a museum with restored knights’ bedrooms, kitchen, library and armory available for viewing. Various festivals and fashion shows are also held in the former fortress.

City fortifications

City fortifications

In the Middle Ages Torun was quite well fortified: the city was surrounded by walls with 33 defensive towers and 8 gates. Until today, there are 8 towers (the most famous: the Dove Tower and the Sloping Tower) and 3 gates (Monastery Gate, Sea Gate and Bridge Gate).

Monastery Gate

The Monastery Gate, or the Gate of the Holy Spirit, was built in the early 14th century and now looks almost as it did then: a Flemish Gothic tower with lancet arches and special holes through which the defenders of Torun poured tar, oil and boiling water on their enemies.

Sailor's Gate

The Seamen’s Gate, leading to the pier, was built of red brick for almost 50 years and was completed in the middle of the 14th century.

Bridge Gate

In 1432, the Bridge Gate – a rectangular brick building with rounded corners – was built to the design of architect Hans Gotland. The facade of the gate is decorated with lancet recesses in the wall and a frieze with openwork decor.

Between the Monastery Gate and the Sailor’s Gate there is the Dove Tower – a rectangular brick XIV century defense structure, 11.2 m by 5.8 m in size with a hipped roof and mansard windows. The tower got its name in the XIX century, because special traps for carrier pigeons were placed there.

Crooked Tower

A remarkable landmark of Torun is the leaning or Crooked Tower of the 13th century, also called the Tower of Pisa, because of its resemblance to the famous tower in Italy. The Crooked Tower, due to a technological error or soil erosion, deviated significantly from the vertical – by 1.46 m. Many townspeople believed that what happened was related to the “blasphemous” discoveries of Nicholas Copernicus and was a divine punishment. Now the tower houses a cafe and a souvenir store.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist

The brick Gothic church was built in several stages beginning in the 2nd half of the 13th century. The interior of the church has many rich decorations and furniture. In the presbytery there are frescoes of the XIV century, depicting the Crucifixion and the Last Judgement. In the tower of the temple there is a bell, cast in 1500, which is the third largest in Poland. Also in the cathedral kept baptismal font XIII century, in which probably was baptized Nicholas Copernicus. In 1935 the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist received the status of the Small Basilica.

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Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The church consists of two Gothic brick buildings from the 13th and 14th centuries and is crowned with 3 octagonal towers. In the church have survived some old interior elements: medieval frescoes, stained-glass windows of the XIV century, oak benches of the beginning of the XV century and a Gothic crucifixion of 1510. In the middle of the 16th century there was a gospel school, which in 1568 was transformed into a prestigious gymnasium. Among its students were personalities who became famous, for example: mathematician and engineer Adam Freitag, physician, inventor and anthropologist Samuel Thomas von Sommering, philologist, translator and bibliographer Samuel Bogumil Linde and others.

St. Jacob’s Church

St. Yakubus Church

St. Jacob’s Church

The church was founded by the crusading knights in 1309 and was intended to be a demonstration of the prestige of the Teutonic Order. That’s why the church was built quite impressive in size (length 53 m, width 29 m and height 49 m) and of a typical form with a lot of architectural details and a wealth of exquisite interiors. Valuable paintings of the 14th and 15th centuries, a statue of Our Lady of the early 16th century and Gothic icons are still preserved. An interesting fact: in 1703, during the war, the Swedes took two big bells from the church. One of them is now in a church in Uppsala and is the largest bell in Sweden.

House of Nicholas Copernicus

Nicolas Copernicus House

House of Nicholas Copernicus

The House of Nicolaus Copernicus is a museum located in two adjacent houses, one of which was the birthplace of the famous astronomer. The collection of exhibits displayed in one building consists of various instruments, objects and materials related to the life of the famous scientist. In the second house there is an exhibition devoted to the everyday life and culture of Torun in the 16th century. There you can see old furniture, dishes, paintings and other works of art.

Market Square

In Torun the main town square was laid out between 1252 and 1259 m. Later it was called the Old Market because in 1264 the construction of the New Market (95×95 m) was started. All the important events of Torun’s life were held on the Market Square: royal decrees were read here, executions, holidays and fairs were held.

City Hall

The main building of the Old Market, of course, was the Town Hall . It performed not only administrative functions, but was also a place of trade. The Torun Town Hall was built at the end of the 13th century in the Gothic style. At first it consisted of two long buildings, and during the big rebuilding in 1391-1399 the town hall had a rectangular (44×52 m) shape with four united buildings and an inner court. Unusual for Europe at that time was the decision to combine the administrative, judicial and commercial systems in the town hall building. The building received a new storey and Gothic elements at the beginning of XVII century thanks to Dutch architect Anthony van Obergen. Nowadays the town hall is the main section of the regional museum, where a collection of Gothic art is collected.

Holy Trinity Church

Church of the Holy Trinity

On the New Market Square in the early 14th century there was also built the City Hall, which housed the court and the hall of meetings, as well as various stores and stalls. After the unification of the Old and New Markets in the 15th century, the New City Hall lost its importance and in 1667 the building was converted to the Church of the Holy Trinity, which served as the parish church of the Evangelists. During the Napoleonic wars the church was badly damaged, so in the 1920s the city authorities decided to demolish the building. The construction of the new church was started on the foundations of the church and was completed in 1824. The arcade style with classical interior was designed by German architect Carl Friedrich Schinkel. In the first half of the 20th century the church became St. Nicholas Orthodox Garrison Church and after the Second World War it was used as a storehouse. At the end of XX century, the church was restored, preserving all the original details of its decoration. Nowadays there is an art gallery in the building of the Church of the Holy Trinity.

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Monument to Nicolas Copernicus

Monument to Nicolaus Copernicus

On the Old Market Square in front of the Town Hall there is a monument to Nicolas Copernicus, the most famous native of Torun. The 2.6 m tall statue of cast bronze was erected in 1853 by the famous German sculptor Christian Friedrich Tieck. Copernicus, dressed as a professor, holds an astrolabe in his left hand and points to the sky with the index finger of his right hand. The Latin inscription on the pedestal reads: “Nicolaus Copernicus of Torun. He who moved the Earth and stopped the Sun and the Heavens”.

Church of the Holy Spirit

Church of the Holy Spirit

Near the Old Town Hall stands the Church of the Holy Spirit, a Roman Catholic church whose grand opening took place in July 1756. The church was 46 m long, 23 m wide and 14 m high and had a capacity of 1,300 people. In 1897-1899 the Neo-Baroque tower was built to a height of 64 m according to the design of the German architect Hugo Hartung. The original interior of the church with all the elements of decoration is preserved to this day. There is Rococo altar and Baroque paintings of the early 18th century.

Artus's courtyard

In the Old Market there is a very noticeable building with beautiful lancet windows and a hipped roof: it is the Court of Artus, which until the XVII century was called “Club House”. The current structure is the third Arthur’s Court on the site. At the end of the XIV century there was a Gothic building that belonged to the Brotherhood of St. George. It was the most beautiful and elegant building after the Town Hall on the Market Square. The second Court was built in 1826 and stood until 1889.

Arthur’s Court is a building in the Dutch Neo-Renaissance style, by

Stonewall under the Star

Kamenica beneath the Star

built in 1891 according to the project of town councillor Rudolf Schmidt. Nowadays the Artus Court houses the Cultural Center. Another beautiful building at the Old Market is Kamienica under the Star or the Star House that stands out for its bright and beautiful façade and the gilded star on top, after which it is named. The first floor of the Star House was built in the second half of the 13th century, the second floor was added in the 16th century and the beautiful flower decorations on the Baroque façade of the building were completed at the end of the 17th century. The well-known Italian diplomat and publicist Filippo Buonaccorsi, nicknamed Calimachus, owned the building from 1495-1496. Since 1969, the House under the Star has been used as the exhibition rooms of the “World of the East”, consisting of works of art from Japan, Ind.

Under the Golden Lion pharmacy

pharmacy “Under the Golden Lion”

Under the Blue Apron Hotel

yia, China, Tibet and Vietnam. There are collections of paintings, textiles, gems, ceramics and prints covering the historical periods of various Eastern dynasties. A well-known historical building on the New Market is the pharmacy “Under the Golden Lion”. The modern building was built in the classicist style in 1830 by joining neighboring houses: a Gothic house from 1400 and a half-timbered one from 1819. It has a hipped roof with two rows of interesting eye-shaped windows and above the entrance to the pharmacy there is a carved gilded wooden lion figure. On Nowy Rynok there is a building where such nobles as Napoleon Bonaparte, Casimir IV Jagiellonczyk and Jan I Olbracht stayed – it is the hotel “Under the Blue Apron”. The house was built in 1489 and acquired its present form in 1700. For several hundred years it was in the possession of the Shalit family and became famous for the good drinks that were served in the inn there.

Torun sights

Town Hall Copernicus House The Cathedral of St. Johns in Torun The Church of St. James The Assumption of Our Lady Museum Torun Gingerbread Museum The Church of Our Lady of Mary Gdańsk – The Toilet Tower The Philsudski Legion Bridge The House Under the Star City Park

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The site contains the sights of Torun – photos, descriptions and tips for travelers. The list is based on popular guidebooks and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers for what to see in Torun, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Torun.

Town Hall Building

City Hall (photo)

The Town Hall in the old Polish town of Torun is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as are most of the sights in this city. Town Hall is located in the center of the Market Square.

Since the XIII century on the site of the Town Hall there were Merchants’ houses and trading rows, and at the end of the XIV century it was decided to build the Town Hall, and several houses were combined into a massive square with an inner courtyard. In XVII century one more storey was added and corner towers appeared. The architecture of the town hall is in Gothic style.

In the 18th century, the town hall, which was damaged in the war, was repaired and the inner rooms were decorated. Since 1861, the Town Hall building houses the Museum of Local History of Torun, the largest and oldest in the city. Locals consider the Town Hall a giant calendar: 4 walls – 4 seasons, 12 halls – 12 months, 52 rooms – 52 weeks, 366 windows – 366 days, one of which is opened only in leap year. Today, the Town Hall is a Gothic architectural monument and is visited by many tourists every year.

Coordinates: 53.01053600,18.60437000

Copernicus House

Copernicus House (photo)

Earlier Copernicus Street was named after St. Anna. Now it is named after the great astronomer. It is still not known exactly in which house Nicolaus Copernicus was born and spent the first seven years of his life, at number 17 or 15, so these two buildings are now home to a house-museum.

Museums are merchant’s houses with high canopy, office, living and storage part.

House number 17 presents an exhibition of items related to the life of Copernicus. The building consists of three parts: the first floor, the middle part, which is divided vertically by semicircular arches, and the third part. The entrance to the house is decorated with a memorial marble tableau, which was installed by the citizens celebrating the 450th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus.

House number 15 was built back in the 15th century. For 10 years, it belonged to the family of the astronomer, the father of Nicolaus Copernicus even slightly rebuilt the building in late Gothic style. The house consists of three floors, each of which displays collections of objects from the 16th century and up to the 19th century. You can see authentic pewter, old paintings, a porcelain collection and unique antique furniture, among which the Gothic cabinet made of oak in the 15th century should definitely be mentioned.

Coordinates: 53.00928400,18.60388800

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The Cathedral of St. Johns in Torun

The Cathedral of St. Johns in Torun (photo)

The city of Torun is divided into two areas: the new and old town, which is typical for most cities in Poland. And it is the old town with its historical monuments that is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1997.

One of the most beautiful and oldest monuments of Torun is the Gothic Cathedral of St. Johns (St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist), built on Chelmno land. The construction of the church lasted 3 years (1233-1236). In the XIV and XV centuries the cathedral was expanded. Its dimensions reached more than 56 meters in length and 27 meters in height. The interior of the church is decorated in the Baroque style – a beauty that is simply breathtaking! And the wall paintings are valuable monuments of medieval art: “Crucifixion on the tree of life”, “Last Judgment”, which were painted around 1380.

St. John’s Cathedral is famous for its bell, which weighs 7 tons, it was brought to Torun in 1500 and is called “Trumpet of the Lord” (Tuba Dei). It is one of the largest bells in Poland, its diameter is 2.17 meters. To operate the bell a unique mechanism is used, an ordinary rope does not do such a “giant”.

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Another attraction of the church is the medieval font. It was there when Nicolas Copernicus was baptized.

Coordinates : 53.00907700,18.60609800

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St. Jakub’s Church

The Church of St. Jakub (photo)

The Church of St. Jakub is one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic churches in Poland. Its construction began in 1309, as evidenced by the Gothic inscription on the church wall. It was completed in just over 40 years.

What distinguishes this church from others is that the aisles between the rows are lower than the nave itself. The church of St. Jakub is impressive with Gothic wall paintings and a magnificent star vault, and its tower reaches 49 meters in height.

The interior is Gothic and Baroque (1557-1667), but still mostly eighteenth-century interiors are present. Among the most ancient sights are two Gothic figures of the Virgin Mary and several medieval crucifixes, among which the large Gothic Cross of the Tree of Life (a copy of which was given to the inhabitants of Torun by Pope John Paul II) is worth mentioning.

Coordinates: 53.01168300,18.61248400

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (photo)

The Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary dates back to the first half of the 13th century. In the second half of the XIV century the church was completely rebuilt.

The church interior is richly decorated and has a great historical value. Originally the church was built as a Franciscan church, but there are still wooden benches and a rostrum. Moreover, the church has no tower, as it is against the statutes of the Order.

In the middle of the 16th century, the church was transferred to the Lutherans, who left an organ and a pulpit. There is also the mausoleum of Princess Anna, younger sister of King Sigismund III Vasa.

In 1724 the building was given over to the Bernardines and since the 19th century up to now it has been used as a parish church.

Coordinates: 53.01105200,18.60232100

Toruń Gingerbread Museum

The Museum of Torun Gingerbread (photo)

The tastiest and most recognizable symbol of Toruń is, of course, the Toruń Gingerbread. The first references to the signature sweets of this city date back to 1380. It was in Toruń where all the important trade routes crossed, which means that only local confectioners had such valuable exotic spices as ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg in abundance.

The bakers specially commissioned the city’s woodcarvers to make gingerbread boards with unique subjects. The oldest gingerbread molds that have survived to this day date from the beginning of the 17th century and can be seen at the exhibition in the Town Hall.

Also, the Gingerbread Museum in Toruń is always welcome. Guides dressed as medieval cooks will meet you there and tell you about the history of Toruń gingerbread, the peculiarities of its production and ancient recipes. It is important that the dough for this delicacy is prepared for several months, but specially for visitors to the museum specially prepared dough is stored here, so if you want you can feel like a chef. There is a wide range of baking molds to choose from.

The monopolist of the gingerbread market in Torun is the Copernicus factory, which was founded in 1760. You can buy its products in the brand stores in the streets of the Old Town – look for the transparent windows marked “Katarzynka”.

Coordinates: 53.00866400,18.60487500

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (photo)

The church was built by the Franciscans in 1239 next to the market square and up to the sixteenth century it was considered to be the highest in Central Europe. The interior decoration has been preserved from the time of its construction.

Gdanishko – Toilet Tower

Gdanishko - the toilet tower (photo)

Gdanishko is a toilet tower in the medieval Polish town of Torun. The tower is the only surviving building of the castle of the Teutonic Knights. The tower was home to a public toilet for the inhabitants of the castle, which was usually built away from the palace chambers, and was accessed by a long passage from the castle. The toilet tower dates from the early 13th century.

This is the only surviving structure of the medieval castle of the Teutonic Knights. Construction of the castle itself began in 1236, the complex had a shape of a horseshoe. In 1454 the castle was conquered and destroyed by the inhabitants of the city, so only the “gdanishko” – the toilet tower, located somewhat apart from the main buildings of the castle, has survived to this day. By the way, the Old Town of Torun, where the tower is located, is included in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites as a Middle Ages architectural monument preserved to this day.

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Coordinates : 53.01666600,18.6166600

Meshchansky Dvor

The Mieszczanski Dwor (photo)

The Mieszczanski Dwor in Torun, a charming medieval town in Poland, is located in the historical center – the Old Town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1489 and for a long time served as a summer residence for the brotherhood of St. George.

Originally the Meshchansky Court was intended for meetings and gatherings of the burghers – citizens, merchants and craftsmen. Architectural style of the building is Gothic, as evidenced by the rows of pointed pointed pointed lancet roofs. The building was built of brick, so it is perfectly preserved until today. Later Meshchansky Court served as a residence for the brotherhood of St. George, which gathered here in the summertime. By the way, the burgher’s court, like most buildings in Torun, was not damaged by the wars, so it is an original, not reconstructed monument of medieval architecture.

Coordinates : 53.01666600,18.6166600

Piłsudski Legion Bridge

Bridge named after Piłsudski Legions (photo)

The Piłsudski Legion Bridge was the longest bridge in the Polish state at the time of its construction. It connects the left side of Toruń, where the railway station is located, and the right side, where the Old Town is. The bridge crosses the Vistula River.

The Piłsudski Legion Bridge was built in 1937-1938. Its design was made by Polish bridge builder Andrzej Pavlovich Pshenicki, who is known for the fact that in 1901 he created the project of the Palace Bridge in St. Petersburg.

During World War II – in September 1939, part of the bridge named after the Legions of Piłsudski was destroyed by an explosion of the retreating Polish army. However, with the arrival of the Germans it was rebuilt. The history of the bridge does not end there. During the air raids in January 1945, it was completely destroyed. It had been restored only by June 1950.

Coordinates: 53.00379600,18.60266100

House under the star

The House under the Star (photo)

The House Under the Star is a late Baroque apartment building in northern Poland with a star on top, after which it is named.It is located on the bank of the Vistula River, in the eastern part of the old city of Torun, in northern Poland and was built in the second half of the 13th century.

It was reconstructed and restored many times: it was completely rebuilt in the 14th century, and at the end of the 16th century the second floor was added. The main reconstruction of the building was carried out at the end of the 17th century by its owner Jan Jerzy Zobner, who ordered the façade to be decorated in the Baroque style and with elements of flowers and fruits.

At the beginning of the 19th century, unique frescos appeared in the hall on the first floor, which today can be seen thanks to the efforts of experienced restorers. The house was completely renovated in 2000 and is now home to the Torun Local History Museum with a permanent exhibition of the oriental world.

Coordinates: 53.01062500,18.60511900

The City Park

City Park (photo)

This park is located across the street from the old town and despite the proximity of the main city road, it is very quiet and cozy. And in the creek, over which bridges are spanned, waterfowl do quite well.

The most popular attractions in Torun with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit the famous places in Torun on our website.

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