Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
City of Torun, called in German Thorn, is one of the oldest and probably one of the most beautiful Polish cities. It is a large economic, cultural and educational centre while its historical center was placed on UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. According to Polish edition of National Geographic, Torun’s market Square and Town’s Hall are on the 3rd place amongst the most beautiful places of the world. Torun is situated on both banks of Vistula river what gives its historical center a specific atmosphere and looks. The city is surrounded from all sides by green forests.
The history of Torun dates back to 1230 when it was founded by knights of the Teutonic Order to be the starting point for creating their country and Christianization of the Prussian tribes (living north from it). From 1280 Torun was the member of HANSA (Hanseatic League) what ensured its quick development. After the Thirteen Year’s War between Kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Order (to get back the lands that were illegally incorporated into the country of knights) in 1466 Torun became part of Poland.
After the 2nd Partition of Poland Torun became the part of Prussian country to become a part of created Duchy of Warsaw (between 1807 and 1815). Although from 1815 to the 1st World War the city was again a part of Kingdom of Prussia, in 1918 (as the world ended and Poland gained independence) Torun once again became Polish city. Even when being not a part of Poland, Torun was still one of the most important mainstay of Polish identity in this part of the country.
Torun is especially famous for one of its citizen – Nicolaus Copernicus who was born there in 1473. He finished school of Saint John in Torun before his studies at Academy of Krakow in 1491. Kopernik (as his name is written in Polish) is said to move the earth – has his theory (that with time appeared to be correct) proved that it was not the sun that moved around the earth, but the earth that moved around the sun.
The hallmark of the city is however Torun Gingerbread. Those cookies has been baked in Torun for more than 700 years. Already in Medieval Ages they were popular around whole Poland. Its mystery of taste was based on right proportions of spices and honey.