Just like many other new lists of 7 Wonders, the 7 wonders of Poland were chosen by a voting competition that was launched by the Polish newspaper “Rzeczpospolita.” It started on August 31, 2007, and the original list had over 400 monuments and landmarks, chosen by readers of the newspaper.
This list was eventually trimmed down to just 27 landmarks, chosen by a board of experts, and public voting started in September of the year 2007. Below is a list of the 7 Wonders of Poland that were chosen by the Polish people, and as they were announced on September 21, 2007!
1. Elbląg Canal
The Elbląg Canal is a canal located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in northeastern Poland. It runs southward from Lake Drużno to the river Drwęca and lake Jeziorak and was originally used for the transportation of small boats with cargo of up to 50 tonnes.
The canal is about 80.5 kilometers (50 miles) in length and it consists of 4 locks. The construction of the canal started in 1844 and was completed in 1860, and today, it’s mostly used for recreational purposes. It’s considered to be one of the most important feats of engineering in the country and is considered to be an official national Historic Monument in Poland.
2. Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle is one of the most famous castles in Europe and is located near the town with the same name in northern Poland. It has been declared the largest castle in the world by land area and was originally constructed as a fortress in the 13th century by a group of German Crusaders referred to as “Teutonic Knights.“.
They eventually sold the castle and it became the property of the Polish royal family and their residence, as well as the seat of many Polish offices and institutions. After the First Partition of Poland in 1772, it again became German property until the end of World War II. Since then, it’s again the property of Poland and an official national Historic Monument of the country as well.
3. Zamość Old Town
Zamość is a historical town in the southwest of Poland that was established in the year 1580 as part of a trading route that connected Northern Europe with the Black Sea. Its old town was designed according to the ideals of the Renaissance and is considered to be one of the best examples of a Renaissance town in Central Europe.
The old town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and described as:
Zamość is a unique example of a Renaissance town in Central Europe, consistently designed and built in accordance with the Italian theories of the “ideal town.” The result of this is a stylistically homogeneous urban composition with a high level of architectural and landscape values.UNESCO describing the Zamość Old Town.
4. Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in the town of Wieliczka which is part of the Kraków metropolitan area in southern Poland. The salt mine was first excavated in the 13th century and was an important source of table salt in Poland until the year 2007. It was one of the oldest continuously operating salt mines in the world.
While commercial mining was discontinued in the year 1996, the salt mine has been transformed into a tourist attraction as visitors can wander around in the narrow passageways and discover the history of salt-mining technology, sculptures carved out of the salt by miners, and an underground lake. There are also 4 chapels located within the salt mine as well.
5. Kraków Market Square and Old Town
Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland and is also the second-largest city in the country. One of the most fascinating areas in the city is its medieval town square which was constructed in the 13th century. It’s considered to be the largest medieval town square in Europe as it covers an area of 3.79 hectares (9.4 acres).
The square itself is surrounded by medieval buildings and churches, and at the center of the square, we can find the “Cloth Hall,” one of the most remarkable buildings in Poland. This building was constructed in the Renaissance style in the 16th century. Kraków Market Square is considered to be one of the best public spaces in the world, making it one of the most fascinating of the 7 Wonders of Poland!
6. Toruń Old Town
Toruń is another very old city in Poland that dates back to the 8th century. It’s located near Malbork Castle in the center of northern Poland which means it was also expanded by the German Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. Over the centuries, the city grew in importance and eventually became one of the most important trading towns in Europe.
This wealth has resulted in a fascinating old town in which you can see the architectural styles change from Gothic to Mannerism, and eventually Baroque in the 17th century. The town was part of Germany for a long time until the end of the First World War and was fortunately spared from destruction during the Second World War. This makes Toruń one of the most beautiful cities in Europe today!
7. Wawel Castle and Cathedral
Wawel Castle is another historic building located in central Kraków in the south of Poland. The castle was expanded numerous times and consists of multiple buildings that were constructed around an Italian-style courtyard in multiple architectural styles, including Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque. It was the royal residence of the Kings of Poland for multiple centuries and now serves its purpose as a museum.
Wawel Cathedral is one of the oldest Roman Catholic structures in Poland and is located near Wawel Castle in the center of Kraków. It’s the third building on the site with the original buildings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. The current Gothic church was built in the 14th century and was traditionally used as the coronation site of the Polish monarchs, a similar purpose as Westminster Abbey in London.