A county town situated at the bend of the Warta river, in the Śrem Dale, ca. 45 km south of Poznań. Among the outstanding natives of Śrem, mention is deserved of Heliodor Święcicki (1854–1923), the first chancellor of the University of Poznań, and the Rev. Piotr Wawrzyniak (1849–1910), chairman of the Union of the Earnings and Economic Societies, who was born in the nearby Wyrzeka.
The town was located (founded) under the Magdeburg law in 1253 by Wielkopolska Dukes Przemysł (Premislaus) I (1220–1257) and his brother Boleslaus the Pious (Bolesław Pobożny; 1224–1279). In 1393, the town was relocated to the river’s right-bank area and located (founded) anew. It blossomed in the late Middle Ages, thanks to its cloth-manufacturing industry and resilient trading activity.
In the seventeenth century, Śrem lost on importance due to numerous epidemic outbreaks, natural disasters and the activity of the Brandenburgians who, in alliance with the Swedes, burned the city down. Enough to say that in the pestilence epidemic of 1753–1756, 70% of the city dwellers lost their lives.
Following 2nd Partition of Poland in 1793, Śrem was passed over to the Prussian authority. After the Duchy of Warsaw (1807–1815) ceased to exist, it was reabsorbed by the Prussian invader. The Śrem insurgents liberated the town, virtually without fighting, in the night of 30th December 1918.
In the twenty-year interwar period, industry developed in the town – to quote, by means of example, Franciszek Malinowski’s farming machinery and carts factory, employing some 300 workers. The Nazi occupation period was put an end to on 23rd January 1945, as the town was eventually liberated.
Today, Śrem is an important industrial and services hub; its natural values make it a tourist centre, too.
In the northern frontage of the centrally situated 20-Października Square stands a town hall, built in 1838. The square’s name and a commemorative plaque are devoted to execution of nineteen locals by a Nazi firing squad.
North of the market is a late-gothic church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven (the Parish Church), featuring a 62-metre tower.
The wall of another local monument, at 3 Wawrzyniaka St., has a walled-in board showing the Rev. Piotr Wawrzyniak, sculpted by Władysław Marcinkowski in 1933. The board is namely fixed on the Art-Nouveau building of a local Cooperative Bank, itself a symbol of thriftiness and economic efficiency of the Wielkopolska people.
In Ostrówek area is a former Franciscan baroque convent complex dating to the late 17th/early 18th century, featuring the church of the Nativity of Our Lady.
By the overpass leading to the bridge over the Warta, you will find a Holy Spirit church of 1614. Once taken over by the dissenters, the temple was rebuilt into a Protestant mould, with its characteristic galleries (constructed in 1840).
In Mickiewicza Street, you can see a 44-metre-high water tower of 1909, resembling in its shape a mediaeval fortified bastion. Right aside the water tower, at 89 Mickiewicza St., is the Museum of Śrem – a place worth your visit.
Yet another object of historic interest in the same street is the chapel of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and the eighteenth-century former Poor Clares’ convent with St. Ignatius of Loyola’s church.
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