Strzelno is a town located in Kujawy-Pomerania Province – specifically, in the so-called White Kuyavia area. Legends of St. Adalbert, who is said to have crossed this territory on his way to the mission expedition in the country of Prussians, are associated with Strzelno. The town is an important point on the Piast Route.
The origins of Strzelno remain obscure to an extent. The latter half of 12th century saw Norbertan Nuns incoming there from a nunnery at Kościelna-Wieś near Kalisz. In the years that followed, the cloister settlement was gradually developing. The year 1231 marked certain privileges granted for Strzelno, being indicative of the locality’s urban character; full municipal rights were bestowed to it in 1356. In the following dozens of years, dukes, princes and kings were paying their visits to the town; Władysław Jagiełło, for instance, stayed seven times in Strzelno. The town’s development was founded upon crafts and trades, as well as the activities of the cloister, adding splendour and attracting pilgrims. The town was situated near busy trade routes going from Poznań to Toruń/Thorn and then on, to Lithuania; and, from Kalisz to Gdansk.
Until the end of 18th century, by the time it was seized by Prussia, Strzelno was property of the Norbertan Sisters’ Order. 1837 was the date of the cloister’s abolishment, with churches being subject to bishopric’s authority. During the Spring of the Nations of 1848, the town remained in the insurgents’ hands for a week. 1863 marked the establishment by Emilia Sczaniecka, in the former cloister buildings, of a hospital for January Insurrection insurgents who fought behind the Russian Partition area frontier not far away from there. Between 1887 and 1932, Strzelno was a county (powiat) capital town; then on, it became part of Mogilno county. It resumed liberty on 2nd January 1919, during the Wielkopolska Uprising.
Today, Strzelno is a rather small-sized trade and services centre.
Some of the houses at the marketplace date to the late 19th or early 20th century, bearing modest Art-Nouveau traits. The corner building at Rynek/15-Grudnia St. bears on its wall a plaque commemorating Albert-Abraham Michelson (1852–1931), the outstanding U.S. physicist who was born in Strzelno. He dealt with diffusion of light, and his research having become one of the starting points for the theory of relativity; Michelson was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1907.
An interesting building constructed in an eclectic form is the end-19th-century house no. 18. It is adorned with the figure of a legendary cruel brigand named Małachowski. For his ignoble deeds, he was beheaded at the Strzelno Market.
East of the Market, on St. Adalbert’s Hill, is a complex of historic buildings (the small St. Procopius’s church and The Holy Trinity church), forming one of the Piast Route’s greatest attractions. Their interesting architectonic forms, good condition of the edifices, numerous Romanesque details – incl. the famous Strzelno columns and tympanums – determine these monuments’ high value.