The Old Town of Torun is dominated by Gothic architecture. Its original medieval spatial layout is still evident and well preserved. Numerous authentic burgher houses and churches enchant with their beauty. One of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in Torun is the Town Hall. It’s a monumental building with richly ornamented tower. This part of the town hall was erected in the 13th century. Characteristic burgher houses testify to Torun’s former prosperity. They were built of brick and their facades were highly decorated. Copernicus House is a perfect example of such merchant house. There were nine Gothic churches in Torun but only three survived. St. John’s Cathedral is one of them. This is where Nicholas Copernicus was baptized and this is also where the biggest medieval bell of Poland hangs. Strolling along the streets you will find picturesque ruins of a Teutonic castle situated at the edge of the Old Town. Once it was surrounded by defensive walls but nowadays only a part of them still exists.
The best point to admire the panorama of the Old Town is the left bank of the Vistula river. The spirit of the Gothic seems to be omnipresent there.
Torun was located on the trade route and in the Middle Ages it became an important member of the Hanseatic League (also known as the Hansa), an alliance of merchant associations in northern Europe. In the 17th century the city began to lose its significance. Fortunately, it avoided large-scale destruction during World War II.
In 1997 Torun’s historic center was inscribed on the UNESCO Heritage List as an excellent example of medieval trading town. It has remained unchanged for centuries and this makes it exceptionally valuable.