Poznań[a] is a city on the River Warta in west-central Poland, within the Greater Poland region. The city is an important cultural and business centre, and one of Poland's most populous regions with many regional customs such as Saint John's Fair (Jarmark Świętojański), traditional Saint Martin's croissants and a local dialect. Among its most important heritage sites are the Renaissance Old Town, Town Hall and Gothic Cathedral.
Poznań is the fifth-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. As of 2020, the city's population is 532,048, while the Poznań metropolitan area (Metropolia Poznań) comprising Poznań County and several other communities is inhabited by over 1,1 million people. It is one of four historical capitals of medieval Poland and the ancient capital of the Greater Poland region, currently the administrative capital of the province called Greater Poland Voivodeship.
Poznań is a center of trade, sports, education, technology and tourism. It is an important academic site, with about 130,000 students and Adam Mickiewicz University, the third largest Polish university. The city serves as the seat of the oldest Polish diocese, now being one of the most populous Catholic archdioceses in the country. The city also hosts the Poznań International Fair – the biggest industrial fair in Poland and one of the largest fairs in Europe. The city's other renowned landmarks include the National Museum, Grand Theatre, Fara Church and the Imperial Castle.
Poznań is classified as a Gamma- global city by Globalization and World Cities Research Network. According to several rankings it is one of the most business-friendly cities in Poland. It also ranks highly in safety and healthcare quality. The city of Poznań has also, many times, won the prize awarded by "Superbrands" for a very high quality city brand. In 2012, the Poznań's Art and Business Center "Stary Browar" won a competition organised by National Geographic Traveler and was given the first prize as one of the seven "New Polish Wonders".
Poznań is divided into 42 neighbourhoods called osiedle, each of which has its own elected council with certain decision-making and spending powers. The first uniform elections for these councils covering the whole area of the city were held on 20 March 2011.
For certain administrative purposes, the old division into five districts called dzielnicas is used – although these ceased to be governmental units in 1990. These were:
- Stare Miasto (Old Town), population 161,200, area 47.1 km2 (18.2 sq mi), covering the central and northern parts of the city
- Nowe Miasto (New Town), population 141,424, area 105.1 km2 (40.6 sq mi), including all parts of the city on the east bank of the Warta
- Grunwald, population 125,500, area 36.2 km2 (14.0 sq mi), covering the south-western parts of the city
- Jeżyce, population 81,300, area 57.9 km2 (22.4 sq mi), covering the north-western parts of the city
- Wilda, population 62,290, area 15.0 km2 (5.8 sq mi), in the southern part of the city
Many citizens of Poznań thanks to the strong economy of the city and high salaries started moving to suburbs of the Poznań County (powiat) in the 1990s. Although the number of inhabitants in Poznań itself was decreasing for the past two decades, the suburbs gained almost twice as many inhabitants. The Poznań metropolitan area Metropolia Poznań comprising Poznań County and several other communities is home to over 1 million inhabitants. The complex infrastructure, population density, number of companies and gross product per capita of Poznań suburbs may be only compared to Warsaw suburbs. Many parts of closer suburbs such as Tarnowo Podgorne, Komorniki, Suchy Las, and Dopiewo produce more in terms of GDP per capita than the city itself.
Poznań has been an important trade centre since the Middle Ages. Starting in the 19th century, local heavy industry began to grow. Several major factories were built, including the Hipolit Cegielski's steel mill and railway factory, popularly called Ceglorz.
Nowadays, Poznań is one of the major trade centres in Poland. It is regarded as the second most prosperous city in Poland after its capital Warsaw. The city of Poznań produced PLN 31.8 billion of Poland's gross domestic product in 2006.
Pixel building – headquarters of Allegro
Many Western European companies have established their Polish headquarters in Poznań or in nearby towns such as Tarnowo Podgórne and Swarzędz. Most foreign investors are German (36%) and Dutch companies (14%). The best known examples of corporation who have their headquarters in Poznań and the surrounding areas are that of Volkswagen, GlaxoSmithKline, Amazon, Bridgestone, Beiersdorf, Raben Group (near Kórnik) and Kuehne + Nagel (near Gądki). There are also several shared services centers, and IT branch offices. Investors are mostly from the food processing, furniture, automotive and transport and logistics industries. Foreign companies are primarily attracted by relatively low labour costs, good road and railway network, good vocational skills of workers, and relatively liberal employment laws.
Some of the best-known major corporations founded and still based in Poznań and the city's metropolitan area include Allegro – owner of the Poland's biggest e-commerce site, H. Cegielski-Poznań SA – a historic manufacturer, Solaris Bus & Coach – a modern bus and coach maker based in Bolechowo, and Enea S.A. – one of the country's biggest energy firms. Kompania Piwowarska based in Poznań produces some of Poland's best known beers, and includes not only the local Lech Brewery but also Tyskie from Tychy and Dojlidy Brewery from Białystok among many others.
In 2008, three Poznań students founded Netguru, a software development and digital consultancy company. It grew fast to employ about 600 people in 2019.
Stary Browar, the center of commerce and art opened in 2003, won several awards for its architecture. Other notable shopping centers include Posnania, the biggest commerce facility in Greater Poland, Galeria Malta, and the shops at the Hotel Bazar – a historical hotel and commercial center in the Old Town.