Toruń is a city in northern Poland, on the Vistula River, second-largest city of Kujawy-Pomerania Province, after Bydgoszcz. The medieval old town of Toruń is the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. In 1997 it was inscribed onto UNESCO's World Heritage List as a World Heritage Site.
Toruń has many monuments of architecture beginning from the Middle Ages, including 200 military structures. The city is famous for having preserved almost intact its medieval spatial layout and many Gothic buildings, all built from brick, including monumental churches, the Town Hall and many burgher houses. The most interesting monuments are:
- Gothic churches
- the Old Town Hall, one of the most monumental town halls in Central Europe
- city fortifications, mostly demolished in the 19th century, but partially preserved with a few city gates and watchtowers (among them the so-called Leaning Tower)
- a Gothic house from the 15th century, where Copernicus was allegedly born (now a museum)
- ruins of the Teutonic Knights' castle from the 13th century
- The House Under the Star
-Toruń has the largest number of preserved Gothic houses in Poland, many with Gothic wall paintings or wooden beam ceilings from the 16th to the 18th centuries
Toruń has two drama theatres (Teatr im. Wilama Horzycy with three stages and Teatr Wiczy), two children's theatres (Baj Pomorski and Zaczarowany Świat), two music theatres (Mała Rewia, Studencki Teatr Tańca), and numerous other theatre groups.
Toruń has a number of cinemas including a Cinema City.
Over ten major museums document the history of Toruń and the region. Among others, the "House of Kopernik" and the accompanying museum commemorate Nicolaus Copernicus and his revolutionary work, the university museum reveals the history of the city's academic past. The Center of Contemporary Art (Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej - CSW) opened in June 2008 and is one of the most important cultural facilities of this kind in Poland. The modern building is located in the very center of the city, adjacent to the Old Town. The Toruń Symphonic Orchestra (formerly the Toruń Chamber Orchestra) is well-rooted in the Toruń cultural landscape. Toruń is equipped with a planetarium (located downtown) and an astronomical observatory (located in nearby community of Piwnice). The latter boasts the largest radio telescope in the Eastern part of Central Europe with a diameter of 32m, second only to the Effelsberg 100m radio telescope. Toruń is well-known for Toruń gingerbread, a type of pierniki often made in elaborate moulds.
The transportation network in the city itself has been a subject of much criticism for years. Although the city proper is not very large, the underdeveloped street and road network is a source of problems. It has to deal not only with a traffic generated by Toruń itself, but also with heavy transit and metropolitan traffic. Even the construction of new wide avenues, both by reconstructing existing streets and by construction of others from scratch, has not been enough. The most serious problem, however, is that only a single car traffic bridge crosses the Vistula river inside the city's boundaries.
The mass transit system is composed of 5 tram lines and about 40 bus lines, covering the city and some of the neighbouring communities. Toruń is situated at a major road junction, one of the most important in Poland. The A1 highway reaches Toruń, and a southern beltway surrounds the city. Besides these, the European route E75 and a number of domestic roads (numbered 10, 15, and 80) run through the city. With three main railway stations (Toruń Główny, Toruń Miasto and Toruń Wschodni), the city is a major rail junction, with two important lines crossing there (Warszawa–Bydgoszcz and Wrocław–Olsztyn). Two other lines stem from Toruń, toward Malbork and Sierpc.