Wronki is a little town with several noteworthy sights, including the Gothic Church of St. Katherine, the Baroque Franciscan Church and a stately prison erected at the end of the 19th century. As the town lies on the verge of the Notecka Primeval Forest, just outside its borders one can explore enchanting nature and soak in an atmosphere of tranquillity.
Visitors to Wronki are often interested in seeing the two historic churches. One of them is the parish Church of St. Katherine, raised at the end of the 15th century. The main altar, sculpted and painted in 1954, contains a valuable statue of Christ Vir Dolorum from around the 15th century. In its present Baroque shape, the other temple, the Franciscan Church, comes from the late 18th century. Right next to the market place is a granary from the year 1856, and houses the Regional Museum with its displays relating to archaeology, history and ethnography.
North of the town, the landscape is characterised by hills and pinewoods as well as some lakes. If you love to hike, then here you will find here a network of marked tourist trails. If you feel confident enough, take the more challenging green one, sure to give you an experience not easily forgotten.
The already high number of ecotourist farms in the area continues to grow. Staying in Wronki provides you with the opportunity to explore the region’s natural wonders, which include monuments of nature, beaver lodges, breeding colonies of crane, heron, cormorant, marsh harrier and hen harrier.
Wronki is situated 60 km north-west of Poznan, at the intersection of two provincial roads – the 182 from Sierakow and the 184 from Ostrorog. It is conveniently accessible due to its location on the rail route from Poznan to Szczecin. With about 12,000 inhabitants, Wronki covers a total area of 5.81 km 2.
On the southern edge of the vast Notecka Primeval Forest, the town is located on both banks of the River Warta. The part of Wronki situated on the right bank of the river is 37-45 m above sea level, whereas the part on the left bank lies somewhat higher, at up to 60 m above sea level.
Wronki is first referred to in a document from 1251. Nevertheless, the finding of flint arrowheads close to the left bank of the Warta shows that the area of Wronki was settled as early as the mid-stone age era (Mesolithic age).
According to linguists, the name of the town probably derives from the surname ‘Wronek’ or ‘Wronka’. Yet there is a more interesting legend explaining the origin of the name, which tells that centuries ago there was a knight with his daughter, living together in their defensive castle. They had a neighbour, a young and impetuous knight who fell in love with this beautiful girl. However, after the old knight had refused to give his daughter to a man like the young knight, he broke into the castle, killed the father and kidnapped the girl. As an act of revenge, she poisoned her father’s murderer, but could not live with such a burden and took her own life as well. The old servant was the only one who remained alive, and he established a settlement close to the castle and, since his master had a crow in his coat of arms, called the settlement ‘Wronki’ (‘wrona’ means ‘crow’ in Polish).
In the late Middle Ages the town developed into a centre of craft and trade, thanks to its favourable location by river and road merchant routes from Poznan to Szczecin. The document from 1390 reports the existence of a customs house bringing a considerable profit.
Wronki constituted royal property, but was leased by a number of noble families. In 1515 it was bought by the rich and influential Gorka family, then by the Czarnkowski family in 1592, by the Kostka family in the 17th century, by the Kozminskis in the 18th century and finally by the Dzieduszycki family in the 19th century. In 1793, during the second partition of Poland, Wronki together with the entire Wielkopolska, came under Prussian control. This marked the beginning of a 126-year-long period of oppression and germanisation of Wielkopolska inhabitants. The building of a large prison in 1895 led to a need for a number of German clerks to move to Wronki. During the First World War the prison had a number of political inmates; among the more famous were Rosa Luxembourg, imprisoned in 1916.
The Germans entered Wronki on 5 September 1939 and many inhabitants were deported as slave labour. After the war, during Stalin’s rule in USRR and the Stalinism policy in Poland, Wronki’s prison again served as a place of political oppression. Fortunately, today all that is now a matter of history and Wronki has become a desirable play to visit or stay.