Torun Medieval Town
Medieval Town of Torun – updated 10 September 2022
The Medieval Town owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle in the town in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelisation of Prussia. This acted as a catalyst for the growth, importance and popularity of the town and it soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League.
In the old and new town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries (among them the house of Nicolaus Copernicus) are striking evidence of Torun’s stature.
Toruń is a remarkably well-preserved example of a medieval European trading and administrative centre. The city was founded in the period when Christianity was being spread through Eastern Europe by the military monks of the Teutonic Order, and when rapid growth in trade between the countries of the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe was being spurred by the Hanseatic League.
The Medieval Town of Torun is comprised of three elements: the ruins of the Teutonic Castle, the Old Town, and the New Town, all surrounded by a circuit of defensive walls.
The majority of the castle was destroyed during an uprising in 1454, when the local townspeople revolted against the Teutonic Order. The ruins and the archaeological remains have been excavated and safeguarded.
An exceptionally complete picture of the medieval way of life is illustrated in the original street patterns and early buildings of Toruń. Both the Old Town and the New Town have Gothic parish churches and numerous fine medieval brick townhouses, many of which have retained their original Gothic façades, partition walls, stucco-decorated ceilings, vaulted cellars, and painted decoration.
Many townhouses in Toruń were used for both residential and commercial purposes. A fine example is the house in which Nicolaus Copernicus was reputedly born in 1473; it has been preserved as a museum devoted to the famous astronomer’s life and achievements.
The townhouses often included storage facilities and remarkable brick granaries, some of which were up to five storeys high. Because so many houses have survived from this period, the medieval plots are for the most part still preserved, delineated by their original brick boundary walls.
Today, the Medieval Town of Torun shares the title of capital city of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship with the city of Bydgoszcz. The entire city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for being an unusually well-preserved example of a medieval European trading and administrative centre.
The Medieval Town of Torun has benefited from numerous renovation projects in recent years, in particular the Old Town area. Buildings, pavements, streets and squares have been painstakingly reconstructed reversing them to their historic appearance.
What to expect from this tour
Leave Warsaw for a day and see the birthplace of Nicolas Copernicus! Let your driver pick you up from your accommodation in Warsaw and visit Torun with a private guide.
Learn about the charming city of Torun, one of the few Polish cities to escape major damage in World War II. Snap pictures of the beautifully preserved Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the Old Town, the New City, and the Teutonic Castle. Admire the city defense walls and fortified towers that form part of the skyline. Learn about the founding of Torun by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century and see the ruins of the castle.
Visit St John's Cathedral, home to the seven-ton Tuba Dei (God's Trumpet), one of the largest medieval bells in Europe. Said to be the place where the world-famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, was baptized. Next, choose between following in the footsteps of Copernicus in a visit to his former home turned multimedia museum or check out the Gingerbread Museum, a former factory that popularized gingerbread all over the world. Take a break for lunch during the tour before the return transfer to Warsaw.