Stary Rynek. An old market square in Poznan that is a must see. The houses around the square will blow you away for sure. And be sure to visit the square and be outside the Town Hall at 12.o0. Then you are invited to a free show. Goats will fight. And the goats are the symbol of Poznan. The spectacle draws lots of people every day so make sure to be there on time!
Stary Rynek in Poznan, Poland
This place is almost like taken from a movie. It is so beautiful that it looks like a set from a film and not a functioning old square in western Poland. The square was built during the 1200:s but it got severely damaged during the second world war. Most of the buildings that you see there today are reconstructed and look the way they did during the barock and the Renaissance.
Walking around this big square you will see the towns oldest pharmacy – it has been there since 1564! And a lot of the buildings have a rich history and fun stories surrounding them. Like there is a saying that king August II was drunk and fell out of a window. Luckily he survived the fall!
In June, all the restaurants and cafés put out their seating outdoors and there is a market where you can buy different souvenirs and knickknacks.
Town Hall in Poznan
You can’t miss the Town Hall while visiting the Stary Rynek (old square). Inside the Town Hall, there is a museum that gives you information about Poznan, from 900 until today. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday. On Saturdays there is free entrance – however, be prepared for a lot of visitors on Saturdays.
The main event here is not the museum but the goats that come out and fight each day at 12.00. If you are out of luck – you can see another set of goats inside the Town Hall. But make sure to see them fight in real life!
The fighting goats in Poznan, Poland
At 12.00 there are two small doors that open above the Town Hall clock. Two small goats made out of metal come out and start to fight. They have been doing that every day since 1551. I’m not sure if fighting is the right word – more like butting heads for a minute or two and then it’s over. It’s so nice that the tradition of the goats has been kept alive for so long. You can find the goats on different souvenirs like magnets and mugs all over the city.
Like all old traditions, there is a legend behind the goats. Well, there are several legends but there’s one that is the most popular!
The legend of the goats in Poznan
One evening in 1551 the clock master Bartlomiej Wollf finally decided to present the city council and the citizens of Poznan with his new work of art – the commissioned tower clock. For the special opening ceremony, all the nobles were invited as well as the city fathers and citizens. Unfortunately, the meat that was being cooked in the kitchen for the ceremonial supper fell into the fire and was burnt completely.
The assistant chef was told to find new meat immediately as the supper was just about to begin. But it was late and all the butchers were closed. There was no place in the whole of Old Poznan to buy any meat. Disaster loomed for all the kitchen staff. Then at the last moment, the young assistant saw two goats frolicking around in a green pasture nearby. He grabbed them and ran to the kitchen. The goats understood what was happening and did not want to end up in the pot so they ran from the kitchen. They climbed the stairs and jumped out of a window right onto the building work on the Town Hall and to the high clock tower.
When the head council saw his dinner on the top of the tower, prancing around and feeling pleased with themselves, he began to laugh and so did everyone else. The chef was relieved that everything had turned out well and everyone was happy. The lack of meat during the feast was no problem and to remind everyone of the funny incident they ordered a mechanism to be built. To this day the goats draw a crowd each day! (information from The Wielkopolska Visitor).
Best way to see the goats
Most people think that the best way to see the goats is to be on the outside of the Town Hall and that’s true but with some modification. The absolute best way to see the goats butting heads is from the Croissant Museum (Rogalowe Muzeum Poznania). The museum is located on the second floor right across from the Town Hall.
If you book the 11:00 o’clock tour of the museum – you will have the show from the best spot ever.