Oborniki is a highly attractive tourist destination, with several architectural gems that should not be missed. The Old Town has preserved its medieval spatial layout, and visitors to Oborniki will find lots of opportunities to engage in active pursuits such as hiking and biking along the numerous trails in the area. Some time should be devoted to exploring two beautiful nature reserves situated close to the town.
Tourists will appreciate the fact that the market place of Oborniki maintains its original size, its rectangular shape and the street layout; in fact they have remained unchanged for centuries. What survives of the old, single-storey buildings is house no 8, dating from the mid-19th century, plus five secessionist tenement houses from the early 20th century. Located on the market place is the oldest historic landmark in the town, the Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary, raised at the turn of the 16th century. In its late baroque altar from the mid-18th century you can see a painting of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary from the turn of the 19th century. The interior also contains an early baroque bas-relief of the Virgin Mary of the Rosary, as well as 17th century cross and chalices.
Two other churches in Oborniki are likewise worth a visit. One is the Church of the Holy Cross with its late baroque and rococo interior decorations; the other is the neo-gothic St. Joseph Church, erected at the turn of the 20th century. Destroyed during the fighting for Oborniki in 1945, the church’s steeple was finally rebuilt in the year 2000.
Located in the central part of the Greater Poland Voivodship, some 30 km north of Poznan, Oborniki is a small town with more than 18,000 inhabitants that is the capital of Oborniki County. It ranks among the economically strongest urban centres of the Greater Poland region; moreover, Oborniki is listed as one of the ten most attractive small towns in Poland for investors.
Oborniki lies at an altitude of 44.7 m above sea level and at the confluence of two rivers, the Warta and the Welna. Thanks to its location on the fringes of the Notecka Primeval Forest, the town enjoys a unique and healthy climate.
The cradle of Oborniki was the castle built at the mouth of the Welna River at the point where it flows into the Warta close to the road to Kolobrzeg, which was known as a ‘salt route’ as early as the 9th century. Among the factors that contributed to the development of the settlement in its early years were the location on the Warta River and the nearness of the Notecka Primeval Forest as well as the access to with major roads leading from Gniezno towards Miedzyrzecze and from Poznan to Pomerania.
It is not certain when the town received its founding rights, but in the years 1252-1272, on the initiative of Prince Boleslaw Pobozny and his wife Jolenta, a Hungarian princess, a Franciscan monastery was established in Oborniki. From this comes the assumption that the town may have been established prior to the year 1272, as it is known that Franciscan monasteries were typically founded at the same time or directly after a location received town rights. The originally established monastery was abandoned, but the Franciscan fathers returned to Oborniki around the year 1292. A document from 1299 contains a reference to Prince Wladyslaw Lokietek’s stay in Oborniki.
The first mention of Oborniki as a town dates from 1339, and then in 1458 the location rights were confirmed by King Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk. The civil war in the Greater Poland region in the second half of the 14th century hindered the town’s advancement, yet not for long. The 15th and 16th centuries brought prosperity to Oborniki, and at this time it was rapidly extended, the market place was laid out and two churches were erected. At the exit of present-day Zamkowa Street a royal castle was raised (the exact date of its construction is unknown). The castle served as a base for King Wladyslaw Jagiello, who between 1394 and 1428 visited Oborniki as many as ten times and in 1409 received the envoys of the Teutonic Knights. Completely destroyed by the Swedes in the years 1655-1660 along with the church and many of the town buildings, the castle was never rebuilt.
The wars of the 18th century brought misery and turmoil to Oborniki. During the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the Bar Confederation (1768-1770), the Prussian and Russian troops destroyed the houses and plundered the property of the inhabitants.
Oborniki was captured by the Nazis on 8 September 1939. Despite the large number of Germans inhabiting the area, numerous attempts were made to create a mass resistance movement. The town was liberated in January 1945 following several days of fighting between the German and Russian armies.