Hotel & Restauracja Antonińska is located in Leszno, halfway from Poznan to Wrocław. Leszno is the biggest town in the south-west Greater Poland. Although there are only nearly 65 thousand people living in Leszno, it’s a very interesting place in Poland.
Leszno is associated, not only in Poland, but all over the world, primarily with sports - speedway and aviation. Fogo Unia Leszno has won the biggest number of domestic championships in Poland and in Leszno there is the largest grass airfield in Europe. The airfield is the home of Aeroklub Leszczyński and the biggest gliding school in Poland. In Leszno you can fly gliders, paragliders, airplanes or balloons. And if you are looking for more extreme attractions you can jump with a parachute or fly in a wind tunnel!
But that’s not all, Leszno has much more to offer than only sport activities. The history of Leszno is really interesting and is reflected in many different sites and monuments.
Legend of Leszno
Every town and city has a legend and so has Leszno. Legend of Leszno goes back to the very beginnings of Polish statehood. Legend has it that in the area of present-day Lipowa street the trail of Dąbrówka, Mieszko I wife-to-be, held a stopover.
During the stop the trail was attacked by a wild animal - probably aurochs. Only the bravery of famed knight Filip Wieniawita saved the life of Dąbrówka. Mieszko I in acknowledgment of his brave act had given Wieniawita the lands with the village of Leszczyna to rule. After that the house of Wieniawici named themselves Leszczyńscy. As time passed Leszczyńscy became a powerful house and it was said that: "Who doesn't know the Leszczyńscy house, doesn’t know Poland". This house gave Poland Stanisław Leszczyński - the king who reigned twice. After being granted its municipal privilege Leszno started to use as its crest half of wisent’s head on a golden background (crest of house of Leszczyńscy) on one half, and a golden axe on red background, on the other one.
The short history of Leszno
As it is with legends, you just got to take it all with a grain of salt. And what do we know about the history of Leszno from sources? The first written note comes from 1393. From the very beginning Leszno was privately owned and was granted its municipal privilege in 1547. The golden period in the history of Leszno falls on the XVI and XVII century when it was a resilient center of Reformation, science and printing. Leszno was at that time a bastion of tolerance. In the town side by side were living Catholics, Jews, Lutherans and members of the Unity of the Brethren. As a result of the Second Partition of Poland, Leszno was annexed by Prussia and returned to Poland after the successful Wielkopolska Uprising in 1920. In the XVIII century the town burned down in fire three times and as a result many beautiful buildings were irrevocably destroyed. From 1975 to 1999 Leszno was the capital of the voivodeship. Today Leszno has county rights.
Center of the town and at the same time the most renowned place in Leszno is the market square with the town hall. The town hall underwent a number of redevelopments and assumed its present form in 1709. Town hall’s present form was given by Italian architect Pompeo Ferrari. High tower with the clock is topped with a tin roof. A carillon was also installed on the tower. The carillon plays melodies during full hours. Market square is surrounded by beautiful buildings and a natural extension of the square is the promenade on Słowiańska street which leads from the market square to the train station. From our hotel you can get to the market square by foot in several minutes but you can also choose a bit longer walk and go via modernised Aleje Słowackiego street, along old town walls and next on your way you can see Pałac Sułkowskich and the Synagogue.
Other interestings places and buildings in Leszno
During your visit to Leszno it is worth to look for the traces of the old, multicultural Leszno. You can find them above all in Leszno’s churches.
The most important one is the Baroque-style basilica under the vocation of St. Nicholas's which is located right by the market square. Leszno’s parish church, like the town hall, was also designed by Pompeo Ferrari.
On the Metzig square there is an impressive church of the Saint Cross, originally an evangelical church. The lapidarium beside the church is a must see with its amazing collection of old tombstones.
On the square there is also growing a very beautiful and the biggest oak in Leszno. Bolek, as that’s its present name, was planted on April 19, 1871 in the memory of the victorious war of Prussia against France. The tree’s original name was Friedenseiche - “The Oak of Peace”.
It is also worth seeing the church under the vocation of St. John the Baptist - formerly a church of the Unity of the Brethren, in Bolesław Chrobry street, built in the years 1652-1654. On one of the walls of the church one can find one of the most unique and for sure the oldest clock in town. Not all residents actually even are aware of its existence… and we don’t mean the tower clock! What sort of a clock is it? Visit Leszno and see for yourselves.
An antique synagogue is located on Narutowicza street. It’s one of the few in Greater Poland. Old center of the Jewish community today serves as an art gallery.
Also noteworthy is Sułkowski Palace, the seat of former town owners, who bought the town from the Leszczyńscy family.
Walking through the old town you can admire a mix of styles and ages. In the buildings of the old town you can discover elements of renaissance and baroque. You will also find 19th century houses from Prussian times.
Leszno is a town worth visiting - for a day, weekend or longer. Leszno offers many possibilities. During your stay in Leszno you can spend your time in many different ways, just as you prefer.
If you don’t know how to start to explore Leszno, we have prepared for you two sightseeing propositions:
- „With culture around Leszno” – for history, culture and art lovers
- „Actively around Leszno” – for those who prefer to spend holidays actively, in nature or are thrill-seekers
More useful information about Leszno can be found on the official website of Leszno, on a dedicated subpage for tourists. There you will find maps with walking and bicycle trails, information on cyclical events organized by town such as Dni Leszna, Leszczyńskie Smaki, Piknik Szybowcowy or Powrót Króla.
At our hotel for our guests we make available free of charge: bicycles and nordic walking poles, and also maps with different sightseeing trails so you can explore the town with ease.
And after an intensive day we invite you to rest in our Wellness&SPA, where you can relax in a Finnish sauna or during a selected massage. And after that you can have a delicious dinner with a glass of wine at our restaurant or a cocktail and a game of billiards in our Cocktail Bar.
And if you still have doubts, whether it is worth visiting Leszno, please watch this short movie clip about Leszno prepared by Leszno NGOs! Take a look at some of the most interesting places in Leszno and decide if it’s worth visiting us.