Ancient monuments

For centuries the symbol of the city has been the oldest road sign – Konin Post also mistakenly called the ‘Konin Milestone’ which stands on the square of Saint Bartholomew Church ( Kościół św. Bartłomieja). It marks the halfway point between the towns Kruszwica and Kalisz and is situated on the former Amber Route. It is a bowling- pin shaped monument, made of sandstone, and measures 252 cm. The inscription on the post says that it was founded in 1151 by Count Piotr. However, it is the subject of numerous controversies relating both to the founder and the date. One of the hypotheses suggests the existing resemblance between the Konin post and the so called ‘Monk’ found in Silesia passing as a Celtic monument.

The City Hall. It can be assumed that the first building of the City Hall was built soon after the city appeared on the basis of the Magdeburg Law i.e. after the year 1293. Next to it, there were probably butcher’s shops and stalls owned by the Konin town-mayor. This was done in accordance with the existing regulations of town buildings, where the most important activity was the layout of the market which determined the heart of the town and where the most important building (after the church) was located - the town hall. For centuries, Konin City Hall shared the fate of the city and its inhabitants. Many times destroyed by enemy raids and natural disasters, it was rebuilt from ruin by following generations of Konin inhabitants. Among other things, it was burnt down during the Teutonic Invasion in 1331 and later it was twice destroyed by the Swedes. Firstly in 1656, during the Swedish Deluge, and then during the Northern War in 1707. The war damage, repeated epidemics, and the economic regress led the town to a significant collapse. A measure of poverty was the fact that for a couple of decades Konin did not have the city hall which was destroyed in 1707. The city authorities and inhabitants could not afford its reconstruction. Finally, before 1784 a new city hall was built in the traditional place, that is, in the centre part of the market. There were – according to the Prussian writing from 1793 – a guardroom and warehouses, and next to it a new well was formed. Unfortunately this building burnt down in the ensuing city fire. After this misfortune, large-scale works were undertaken as to make the urban land and development more orderly. It was decided not to build the city hall in the market place but to move it to a new place at the junction of Królewska and Nowa streets (at present 3 Maja and Wiosny Ludów ) and there between 1796 and 1803 the new City Hall was built.

The Church of St. Bartholomew. One of the oldest historic monuments in Konin is the St. Bartholomew Church, most probably built at the turn of 14th and 15th century. The church is a three-nave construction with a basilica layout. In the gothic chapel, built in 15th century, is situated a baroque epitaph of a Konin alderman, Krzysztof Przyjemski (who died in 1611). The main altar is in a Neo-Gothic style whereas the two altars in the aisles are baroque. In the presbytery there is the early Baroque tombstone of the Royal Marshall, an alderman of Konin – Stanisław Przyjemski. One of the most precious chapels, founded by Jan Zemełka, was added in 1607. Inside there is a Baroque epitaph with a bust statue of the founder and the crest of Konin. Furthermore, in the church are: a Rococo altar, a late Gothic sculpture of the Virgin Mary with a Child (16th century). Next to the church there is a brick belfry built on a Greek-cross plan from 1878.

The Church of St. Andrew the Apostle. The pearl of Gothic architecture in Konin - Gosławice is the Church of St. Andrew the Apostle. It dates back from the first half of the 15th century and was founded by the proprietor of the village of Gosławice, Andrzej Łaskarz. The chancel, two chapels and a porch, forming the limbs of the cross are adjacent to the octagonal nave. Inside the church there are three neo-gothic altars from the late 19th c. and an octagonal baptismal font dating from the beginning of 16th century. The church, partially ruined in the 17th century, was rebuilt between 1755 – 1775. The roofs and the pinnacle date back to the end of the 19th century.

The Synagogue. The building of the synagogue took place between 1825 and 1929. A brick-built, impressive synagogue replaced the old, wooden version, extended in the 1880’s to include a women’s gallery. The means for the building, to study the Talmud and the prayer home called “bayt – ha – midrash” were provided by the rich Konin merchant, Zalman Zander. Originally, the building was rectangular in perspective. In 1883 a two-storey annex was added on the entire length of the northern facade – this was to be a prayer room for women; also an antechamber was added to the western facade. The combined buildings were joined by two separate, metal plated, gable roofs. The main hall that used to be decorated as a whole, now has only originally preserved, partially reconstructed paintings on the eastern wall and on the four columns. The eastern wall has a closet – “arka hakodesh”, a very ornamental piece in a Jewish temple, covered with a curtain (parochet) to contain Torah scrolls. Between the columns, usually is placed “bima – al-memor”, the place where the Torah fragments were read during prayers.

The Fathers` of Reform Monastery was founded in 1631 on land offered by Stefan Modlibowski, successor of Modlibogowice and Wardzyn within the suburban area, at the time the village of Chwaliszwo. The first wooden church burnt down in the year 1661. A new stone sanctuary was erected with the means of Teofila Wiśniowiecka. It is one – nave construction kept in the late baroque form and built on a rectangle plan with a rectangular chancel. In the year 1733 on the east side, father Mateusz Osiecki founded a complex of monastery stone constructions. After the January Uprising failure the monastery was abolished and it’s buildings were used among others for Russian military garrisons and a hospital.