Gniezno (gənyĕzˈnô) [key], 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.