14 January, 2013

A Star City of Angels

Photo Copyright Patrick L Young

Anna began the odyssey of cities in our modest little design blog with the amazing industrial expanses further to the east while others have explored the magnificent historic vibrance of Rome, the stunning nature of San Francisco and of course mega-cities like London and New York and countless other great metropolitan areas have been mentioned.

Photo copyright Patrick L Young

However, while I have been lucky enough to visit, spend extended time and even live in multiple magnificent cities in the world, I am not going to rush to a massively popular mega-city despite the wondrous attractions of NY, SFO, London or wherever...

Photo Copyright Patrick L Young

 Rather I am coming closer to the home of this blog, in fact right to the heart of this blog's home go mid-way between Gdansk and Warsaw on the Vistula River and you reach Torun, a Hanseatic (fresh water) port which is a jewel of medieval Poland...with the added advantage of a few modern touches too...

 Photo Copyright Patrick L Young

From the Star House with its museum of Asian antiquities to the Ratusz (old town hall) across the road and the Dwor Artus Guild Hall opposite, the old town square leads into a warren of fascinating medieval streets as befits a city first given its city status in 1231AD.

Photo Copyright Patrick L Young

On every street corner the old town throbs with history, the place Napoleon stayed when he visited the birthplace of Copernicus, a true multi-disciplinarian genius: economist, astronomer, apothecary, military tactician, church administrator and much more!

 Photo Copyright Patrick L Young

 UNESCO recognised Torun as a world heritage city a decade ago - the funky lighting in some of the photos here was part of a 10th anniversary celebration of Torun's UNESCO status in December 2012.

Photo Copyright Patrick L Young

Overall Torun isn't big (250,000 people) and it is in need of more tender loving care to bring the whole city up to a perfect level of preservation but it has a magnificent atmosphere that can only be found in genuine medieval cities - yes they were often fought over and true they have been vandalised over time (mostly by the cretinous forces of municipal government in past decades and centuries) but ultimately it's a beautiful place, a wonderful modern internet-connected city with an incredible future and thankfully was never destroyed by the all-out destructive warfare of the 20th century which ravaged so much of the European continent in particular.

So welcome to Torun, at the heart of the Vistula Vision and the home to the team at the Design Vistula blog. For me it's a little corner of municipal perfection, a historic gem with modern twists (e.g. Poland's only purpose built modern art gallery) in a fabulous, pulsating and wonderful world.

...Oh and there's great sushi too.

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