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Wielkopolskie, also known as the Greater Poland Voivodeship, belongs among 16 voivodeships contributing to Poland's territory. The voivodeship is located in the central part of Poland, bordering the provinces of Zachodniopomorskie to the northwest, Pomorskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie to the northeast, Łódzkie to the east, Opolskie and Dolnośląskie to the south, and Lubuskie to the west. The capital city, Poznań, is situated in the central part of the region. The town is best known for its long tradition of croissant baking and its historic Market Square. Poznań lies on the shores of the river Warta, the largest river flowing through the region. Wielkoposlkie Voivodeship stretches itself across flat and low-lying land, with a high abundance of lakes of glacial origin. The area of Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is nationally significant due to it being the place where the history of Poland presumably began. The city of Gniezno, in the eastern part of the region, has been a coronation city of Polish kings for centuries.
Poznań, the capital city of the Wielkoposlkie Voivodeship, is also regarded as the cultural and historic center of the area. The predominant building of the colorful historic Market Square, surrounded by Baroque-style houses, is the Renaissance Town Hall. Another distinct feature of the region and the city itself is croissants. European Commission lists Wielkopolskie croissants as a Protected Geographical Indicator. In the city of Poznań is situated a Croissant Museum showcasing the history and tradition of croissant baking in the area. The oldest part of the city, inhabited since the 9th century, is Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski) on the river Warta. Wielkoposlkie's oldest cathedral is situated on the island as well. Another significant city in the Wielkoposlkie territory is the city of Gniezno. The Gniezno cathedral in the city's historic center is the place of the coronation of Polish kings.
Piast Trail is a historical and educational route leading through the region to showcase the places and areas significant to the beginning of the Polish state. Various stops along the way are sites of events, such as the city of Gniezno, where the Royal Coronation, a Slavic Culture Festival, takes place. One of the stops is the city of Kalisz, the second largest city in the Wielkoposlkie Voivodeship. The city is known for its long tradition of piano production, which can be traced back to the 19th century.
Among the natural attractions of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is the Great Waterway Loop of Wielkopolska, the longest marked water trail in Poland. The course is 688 km long and covers parts of rivers Warta and Noteć and several lakes. The waterway offers not only water recreation options such as swimming, kayaking, or motorboating but also several historic towns, palaces, and medieval monasteries that are located along the way. The Great Waterway Loop runs through six landscape parks and along the borders of the Wielkopolski National Park.
Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is located on mostly flat and lowland territory in the central part of Poland. The Baltic glaciation is said to have shaped the northern part of the region around the cities of Poznań and Gniezno, from which numerous lakes originated. Lakes are accumulated in the northern and central parts of the area. The lake district is composed of approximately 800 lakes, with the largest lake being Greater Powidzkie Lake in the Gniezno Lake District. The highest peak in the Wielkoposlkie territory is located on the Greater Kobyla Mountain at an altitude of 284 m above sea level, which is part of the Ostrzeszowski Hills in the southernmost part of the region.
Approximately one-fourth of the Wielkoposlkie territory is covered in forests, mostly pine. Two national parks are located in the Wielkoposlkie area. Wielkopolski National Park is known for its post-glacier lakes and pine forests surrounding them. Góreckie Lake features two islands and is regarded as the most beautiful of the national park's lakes. Another national park in the area is Drawa National Park, located on the border with Lubusz and West Pomeranian Voivodeships. The national park is part of the Drawa forest, which is named after the Drawa River flowing through the area.
Regarding agriculture and industry, Wielkopolskie belongs among the leading voivodeships in milk, cereal, and sugar beet production. The city of Poznań is an industrial hub of the Wielkoposlkie Voivodeship, with predominant areas of the industry being "machine building, tobacco processing, pharmaceutical production, chemical processing, food processing, and auto manufacturing." Wielkopolskie Voivodeship also disposes of mineral resources, such as lignite, natural gas, oil, and peat. Brown coal is mined in the Konin area. About 20% of Poland's rock salt production can be attributed to the salt mines in Kłodawa. The town of Kościan is the largest and most modern natural gas production site in Poland.
Wiekoposlkie Voivodeship is located in the continental climate area, characterized by an alteration of seasons throughout the year. The climate is described as mild, as the voivodeship is one of the driest areas in Poland. July is the warmest month, with an average daily temperature of 25°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 2°C. The driest month is April, with an average of 28 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during July, with an average of 83 mm.
Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, also known as the Greater Poland Voivodeship, is part of the Greater Poland historical area. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Multiple archeological excavations have occurred in the region with the oldest one showing that people inhabited the region and can be dated back to 11,000 BC. The inhabitants at that time are assumed to be primarily hunters, gatherers, and fishing people. Since then, different cultures and tribes, such as semi-nomadic people, Indo-European cultures, Lusatians, Celts, Germans, Goths, Gepids, and Burgundians, have inhabited the area. Until the 9th century, the site was occupied by Huns and Slavic tribes.
In the 10th century, under the Piast dynasty, the Wielkoposlkie region became the cradle of the Polish state. In 966, Christianity started spreading throughout this voivodeship, as well as the rest of the country, in 966. The city of Gniezno became the place of the first archbishopric in Poland, where later, in 1024, the first Polish king was crowned. However, this autonomy didn't last for long. In 1038, the land was invaded by a Bohemian (today's Czechia) prince, Bretislav I. Later, in the 12th century, the Wielkopolskie region was divided into Poznań and Kalisz-Gniezno duchies.
The 16th and 17th centuries marked significant economic development, with flourishing trade and agriculture. The city of Poznań was known as one of the largest trading centers in Poland. However, growth was stopped by wars with Sweden and later by the Partitions of Poland. The Partitions of Poland took place in 1772, 1793, and 1795. With each partition, the Polish territory shrank until, eventually, Poland as an autonomic state ceased to exist. Polish territory was divided between Russia, Prussia, and the Habsburg Monarchy. During the partitions, the Wielkoposlkie region came under Prussian rule. The 18th and 19th centuries marked another period of industrial and agricultural prosperity. As a result of the Treaty of Versailles, almost the whole Wielkoposlkie area was reannexed to Poland, forcing part of the German population to leave the region. During the Second World War, the Wielkopolskie territory became part of the German Reich. Later, after the war, the area, together with the rest of Poland, fell under Soviet rule. However, riots have occurred since then, specifically in 1956. This riot was one of the largest protests against the Communist Party that occurred in Poznań.
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