Let’s have a walk around Toruń! It’s a Polish city with a rich history, where Nicolaus Copernicus, the astrologist who ‘stopped the Sun and moved the Earth’, was born.
THE OLD MARKET SQUARE
Having spoken of Copernicus, let's start our journey from the Old Market Square, where a monument of this astronomer is located. It’s a perfect meeting point, since the monument is located in front of the Town Hall. The astronomer is dressed in academic attire, he holds an astrolabe in his left hand, and his right index finger points at the sky. The monument bears the inscription in Latin saying ‘Nicolaus Copernicus of Toruń, who moved the Earth, stopped the Sun and the sky’. It is worth noting that a long time ago, at the beginning of the city's establishment, there was a guillotine in the current place of the monument; it was a place of executions. Opposite, there is a statue of a donkey, whose sharp back was once used to punish and torture. Another interesting fact about the Town Hall is that it has 365 windows, which is the number of days in a year, and an additional "ghost" window, which is revealed in leap years.
THE FOUNTAIN-MONUMENT OF THE RAFTSMAN
In the Old Town Square there is a statue of a raftsman, commonly known as ‘the fountain with frogs'. According to beliefs, if you want to be rich, you have to stroke all the frogs and throw a penny into the fountain (standing back to the statue and with your eyes closed). If the penny falls into the water, your dream will come true.
The raftsman is a character from a legend about a plague of frogs. They were chased out of the city thanks to a young boy, who played the violin. The sound of his instrument led the animals outside the walls of Toruń. This is why the statue shows a boy with a violin surrounded by frogs.
THE COSMOPOLIS FOUNTAIN
Another place worth seeing is the Cosmopolis fountain. It stands out because of its colourful lighting switched on around eight o’clock. But that's not everything. After eleven p.m., classical music is played and the colours of the fountain change to the rhythm of the music.
THE RUINS OF A TEUTONIC CASTLE
Toruń is an old city, so it is not surprising that it has numerous monuments and historical buildings. Within the city borders there are, among others, ruins of a Teutonic castle, which are remnants of former Teutonic Knights’ lodging.
THE PHILADELPHIA BOULEVARD
A perfect place to spend some nice time and relax is a boulevard with a view of the river. The Philadelphia Boulevard by the Vistula is located between the Old Town and the river and stretches along the medieval city walls. Nearby, there is also a nature reserve. It is a popular promenade in Toruń, where various events are held, such as holi festival - the festival of colours. The boulevard received its name in 1977 to commemorate the cooperation between the Polish city and Philadelphia. Within the boulevard, you can find 'Katarzynka' - a local boat of Toruń, which sailed on the Vistula between 1969-2000 and now is located on a hill as a tourist attraction. You can watch it from the outside or go on board.
THE LEANING TOWER
One of the most characteristic buildings in Toruń is the Leaning Tower. The tower was built in the fourteenth century as a simple 15-meter tower adhering to the defensive walls. Already in the Middle Ages, the sandy ground, on which the tower was built, slid under the influence of the towers’ weight, causing it to lean until it rested on more solid ground. As a result of the unstable ground, the deviation of the tower measured from vertical is about 146 cm. Today, the building houses a cafe and a souvenir kiosk. There are two legends associated with this tower: a legend of how the name of the town was created and a legend of the righteousness of the Teutonic Knights. When you are near the tower, don't forget to check if it is really leaning.
Once you have seen the Copernicus Monument and visited the Leaning Tower, the most important thing to do is to taste Toruń gingerbread. Toruń gingerbread is one of the most renowned elements of Toruń’s tradition, distinguishing the city in the world. In past centuries, Toruń gingerbread was not always deemed a delicacy, but a work of art. The gingerbread gained great popularity in Europe as a gift. It was often stored together with valuable, not particularly edible belongings.