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Poznan, Poland. The capital and largest city of Wielkopolska province, Poznan lies on the Warta River in west-central Poland. It is a major cultural and literary center, with several institutions of higher education, scientific organizations, opera and dance centers, and a number o f theaters. Points of interest include the Raczynski Library, Market Square, the Museum of Musical Instruments, the National Museum, and the oldest zoological garden in Poland. Large apartment buildings, built after World War II, provide housing. Poznan is one of Poland's largest industrial and commercial centers. Its industries include metallurgical works, chemical and furniture factories, textile mills, and food-processing plants. Since 1921 it has hosted a major international trade fair. The city has good transport routesto other European cities. Beginning as a fortified village in the 10th century, Poznan became the capital of Poland and the residence of the first two Polish kings. Poland's first cathedral was erected here in 968. The town flourished as a European trade center during the 15th and 16th centuries, but later its prosperity declined due to fires and wars. It was under Russian administration from 1807 to 1815. It has been part of the Polish republic since 1918. Poznan prospered again between the two worldwars but was devastated in 1939 by Germany. A 1945 siege left the city in ruins.Rebuilt after World War II it became an industrial and cultural center of Poland. Population (1992 estimate), 590,100.

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Excerpted from Comptonís Interactive Encyclopedia Copyright © 1994, 1995 Comptonís NewMedia, Inc.

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