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Gniezno(gənyĕz`nô), Ger. Gnesen, city (1993 est. pop. 70,400), Wielkopolskie prov., central Poland. It is a railway junction and a trade and food-processing center; there is also light manufacturing. The legendary cradle of the Polish nation, Gniezno was the first capital of Poland. At the Congress of Gniezno (1000), Emperor Otto III established the metropolitan see of Poland. The kings of Poland were crowned at Gniezno until 1320. From 1572 until the early 19th cent. the archbishops of Gniezno acted as protectors of Poland. The city passed to Prussia in 1793 and again in 1815; it was restored to Poland in 1919. Gniezno has many medieval art objects. Its most notable buildings are a 10th-century rotunda and a 14th-century Gothic cathedral.
a city in Poland, in Poznań Województwo. Population 51,000 (1969). Railroad network. Garment, food, and leather industries are located there.
Gniezno arose at the end of the eighth century A.D. Archaeological excavations (conducted since 1936) have unearthed cultural strata dating from the eighth century to the 13th, with earthen and wooden fortifications, frame houses with stoves of stone, and workshops and other places of economic activity. Much material has been obtained on the history of the culture, crafts, and trade of ancient Poland. In the tenth century Gniezno was the capital of the oldest Polish state and an important crafts center. Gniezno carried on an extensive trade with the Arab East and maintained continuous trade relations with Kiev. After the year 1000 it was the see of an archbishopric, and until the 14th century it was the site of the coronation of Polish kings. After 1793, Gniezno was annexed by Prussia, except for the period 1807-15, when it was part of the Duchy of Warsaw. Since 1918 it has been part of Poland. Architectural monuments include several Gothic churches. The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary (c. 1342-1415) preserves elements from a tenth century pre-Romanesque church and from an 11th century Romanesque church—the ceramic tiles of the floor (dating from before 1038) and the famous “Gniezno Doors” (bronze, c. 1170). The cathedral also has Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque chapels and tombs, including the tomb of Z. Olesnicki (marble, 1495; sculptor, Wit Stwosz). Other churches are the Church of St. John (14th century; frescoes, 1340-60) and the Franciscan church and monastery (13th century; rebuilt in the 17th-18th centuries).
REFERENCESGniezno w zaraniu dziejów w Świetle wykopalisk. Edited by J. Kostrzewski. Poznań, 1939.
Hensel, W. Najdawniejsze stolice Polski. Gniezno. Kruszwica. Poznań-Warsaw, 1960.