Poznaj Poznań!

“Poznaj” means “meet” in Polish language. Poznań is my home city in Poland and the idea of writing this post came due to numberless queries from my international friends visiting this beautiful place to gather some of my tips in one place. Quite a challenge, as it is difficult to pick some basic facts, or personal faves I gathered during 20 years I lived there and squeeze into one post.  I will try to focus and see Poznań as a tourist, which I lately turn whenever I come back for a weekend.

Yes, it’s a perfect weekend getaway city: very vibrant, full of bars and restaurants as well as some interesting history to discover. Berlin is the closest biggest city nearby (well, Szczecin is not far away either) and it takes less than 3 hours to travel there by direct train, bus, car – or for more extreme ones: about 23 hours by bike. There are often discounts to get to Poznań: if you buy your ticket in advance (at least 3 days before your trip), you will be able to travel for 19 EUR on the Berlin-Warszawa-Express train. Ecological and fun: you will be able to see Greater Poland’s landscapes, with its pecularities such as the tallest Christ the King sculpture in the world in Świebodzin.

At a first glance, it shares some similarities with Berlin, due to the obvious proximity and the influence of over 100 years of Prussian occupation before Poland re-gaining independence in 1918. Nowadays this can be reflected the most by some monuments (like the Imperial Castle of Wilhelm II), the urbanistic planning of certain neighbourhoods and… the spoken language. Poznań’s dialect consists of many German-originated words. The closeness of Berlin has influenced also more recently the clubbing culture in the 90s and early 2000s bringing legendary Tresor club residents to regular gigs. Poznań is often referred as the most LGBT-friendly and nightlife-loving city in Poland. However, this may seem exaggerated, since Poland is unfortunately quite prone to conservative backlash.

Poznań is also an incredibly green city – parks like Citadel (with exceptional WWII exhibition and Magdalena Abakanowicz sculptures), Sołacz and lakes like Malta, Kiekrz or Strzeszynek are popular spots regardless of the season (there are also some aficionados of the winter swimming, believe me!). Lately, during summer you cannot miss city beaches opening, apart from the well-known KontenerART, there are Brzeg Wschodni and The City Beach “Na Szelągu”.

Some basic facts? It’s not as obvious tourist destination in Poland as Warsaw or Cracow, but it is where the first bishophric of Poland was established in 10th century, so for history-loving people a visit in the Ostrów Tumski near (nowadays) very hip Śródka neighbourhood is a must. Poznań boasts itself with a picturesque Old Town Square and very lively streets around the city centre. Fortunately for the development of some other parts of the city, I see the trend of decentering the location of interesting spots to other neighbourhoods as well, so if you have a chance, wander around Jeżyce (and its murals!), Grunwald, Winogrady or Wilda. There is plenty of new restaurants and bars everywhere, as well as local community initiatives.

Speaking about events, throughout the year there are various opportunities to visit Poznań and face interesting things happening, such as: Malta Festival, Dancing Poznań, Ethno Port, Short Waves, Enter Jazz Festival and Spring Break  Showcase Festival & Conference.

OK… Mission: tourist in my own city accomplished. If you wanna know more about my city and more private notes, simply let me know!

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A Dark History of Tresor

Sounds brought from Berlin has always inspired not only myself, but also klein aber fein electronic music groovement in my city of origin: Poznań. When I turned enough old to enter clubs in the early 2000s, my journey through the inspirational genres of house, techno and broken beats started and never really stopped, just the amount of time I put in the search for it, had to somehow decrease.

Back in a day the scene in Poznań seemed the most open-minded, at least comparing to other Polish cities. Shortly before the times of conservative backlash that obviously influenced the music scene too. I realized it is coming back to its interesting shape again nowadays, but all this would not happen if it wasn’t for the Tresor club and the influence of the capital city of techno nearby. And I am obviously not thinking about Warsaw.

So back when I was still considering my ‘career’ as a DJ, the natural consequence after getting to know where all the vinyl goodness had come from, was to step on the train and within 2,5 hours reach Kreuzberg to spend a couple of hours in the hottest vinyl stores at the time. Sometimes I was quite lucky to get a permission from my rather liberal parents to come back a few days later, so I could experience just a little bit of what now often is considered a history, like Tresor club, Maria am Ufer or Bar25.

This is where I discovered the sounds from another inspirational city: Detroit and fell in love forever with this crazy, dark deepness of the most organic of the electronic genres. Juan Atkins, Anonym Huisman, Jeff Mills, Theo Parrish and more recently: Fred P, Mike Huckaby are to be named as at least a few who shaped my taste for today. And the Detroit influence over Berlin deserves at least a separate entry!

So last Friday, 13th March 2015, Tresor celebrated its 24th birthday. The new location after re-visiting for a while now did not feel the same magic as the original one. Also, I am no longer such a reckless and restless clubbing aficionado. However, what should be said is that Tresor keeps on bringing deep and still interesting sounds to a wider audience in times when techno turns kind of mainstream and recognizable.

When writing about the history, it is also important to mention its impact on the current happenings. In my humble opinion, the dark and stark sound and vision of the technoworld can be represented by the 29th Nov movies channel with regular uploads of a very surprising content. I always discover the new artists while watching 29th Nov’s new productions. For instance, on a gloomy Sunday like today, these tracks can definitely reflect the bleak Berliner moods best Endlec – Darkness Approaches and Iñigo Kennedy – Plaintive.