The city’s church

The inhabitants of the newly-founded city were granted permission to build their own church. This emphasised their independence from the episcopal Cathedral Island. The Gothic collegiate church of St Mary Magdalene was erected in the place of today’s Kolegiacki Square. Today only the remains of the church can be seen.

For centuries the church was a place uniting the inhabitants. Sermons were preached both in German and in Polish. What is more, a school was established next to the church, which laid foundation for the city’s education system.

Poznań’s coat of arms features the city gate and the eagle of the Piast dynasty from the Wielkopolska Region as well as St Peter and St Paul, the saint patrons of the city and the cathedral. The seal matrix of the city of Poznań from the 14th century. From the collection of the National Archive in Poznań (Seal Matrices, file T IX 129)

Main photo - The city’s church

Why would the city need the countryside?

We grant the following villages to the city: Rataje, Piotrowo, Żegrze, Starołęka, Minikowo, Spytków (…) Wierzbice, Jeżyce, Panczlaw, Niestachów, Piątkowo (…) both villages of Winiary, apart from vineyards, the villages of Bogucin and Umultowo, where we grant the aforementioned commune administrator and his descendants, for perpetual ownership, 30 hides for arable lands and these same citizens 20 hides for pasture for animals.

Handing over the arable lands and pastures to the townspeople may seem peculiar. However, at first, apart from trade and craft, they were also engaged in farming and breeding. What is more, dukes permitted townspeople to hunt animals and earn income from ‘gardens set up beyond the city.’ They were also allowed to catch fish and build mills by the nearby Warta River. Thanks to that, not only accommodation was provided for them, but also food. The duke did not give these grounds away for free – after some time their leaseholders had to pay some amount of money to him and the commune administrator.

Many of the names mentioned in the document sound familiar. Although when the city was founded they were villages located outside the city walls, today they are Poznań’s districts. Most of them were not incorporated into the city until the 20th century.