Poznań, one of Poland’s oldest and largest cities, is the historical capital of the Wielkopolska region where the Polish state was born some 1000 years ago. Today, Poznań has around 600 thousand inhabitants and is an important industrial, trade, cultural, educational and scientific center and one of the leading Polish cities in terms of economic potential. Poznań has been making effective use of the favorable economic conditions which emerged thanks to the political and economic transformation in Poland. Institutions of the business community have been developing dynamically and they comprise a network of financial institutions, consultancy companies, business associations, and further and higher education establishments with a business teaching profile.
Poznań is a strong academic and scientific center, fourth after Warsaw, Krakow and the Silesian agglomeration. There are 20 schools of higher education (9 state and 11 non-state) with over 110,000 students, and 48 scientific and R&D institutes which employ 3300 people. Poznań is also the cultural heart of central-western Poland with 9 theaters and musical institutions including the philharmonic, a number of choirs and orchestras, 21 museums, and dozens of art galleries and exhibition halls. It is the venue of well-known festivals and musical competitions, the most important being:
- Henryk Wieniawski International Violin and Violin Making Competitions,
- International Dance Theater Festival,
- Malta International Theater Festival,
- Contemporary Art Festivals – the Poznań Musical Spring
- Transatlantyk Festival Poznań
Tourists are attracted by numerous examples of secular and church architecture representing all styles and historic periods. The most valuable architectural treasure is the Renaissance Old Market complex with the City Hall, unique on a European scale. The city has four lakes used for water sports and recreation. The Malta lake features one of the most modern regatta courses in Europe and next to the lake there is an artificial ski slope, open all year round, and a toboggan run. Poznań also has 12 sport stadiums, 4 bathing beaches, a hippodrome, a speedway track, 2 archery courses and a modern sports and performance hall. In 2012 Poznań hosted the European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012.