Toruń is the capital of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province, located in the Toruń Valley, by the Vistula and Drwęca Rivers. The right-bank section of the city belongs to the region of Pomerania, while the left-bank section is part of Kujawy.
Historically speaking, Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland, as it was granted its borough rights in 1233. In the second half of the 13th Century, the city joined the Hanseatic League – it was a confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in North-western and Central Europe. It was instrumental in the fast development of Toruń and its becoming an important trade centre in mediaeval Europe.
During the time of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the city had royal status, and the granted privileges contributed to its economic development, making Toruń one of the richest and largest Polish cities at the time.
After the second Partition of Poland, the city was incorporated into territory under Prussian rule. During the imperial rule of Napoleon I, when the Duchy of Warsaw was established, Toruń became its capital and seat of Government for 21 days.
In the 19th Century, when Toruń was once again part of the Prussian State, many characteristic buildings were built in the city, which have been preserved to this day, among others, the Theatre in Toruń (today, the Wilam Horzyca Theatre), the post office and the Arthus House, the municipal hospital on ul. Przedzamcze (the outer bailey), and the so-called Richter’s mill. The Mediaeval Town of Toruń, the oldest historic district of the city, including the almost-intact urban arrangement dating back to the 13th Century, is considered one of the most-precious monumental complexes in Poland.
Since 1997, the mediaeval urban complex in Toruń was added as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland.
What attracts both artists and creators to the city is the unique area of the Old Town, which has been preserved almost in its entirety, the extremely beautiful charming Bydgoskie Przedmieście (Bydgoskie Suburbs), and the wharf of the Vistula River.
The historic town of Toruń has been used in numerous films, which are important for Polish cinematography.
Prawo i pięść/The Law and the Fist, made by Jerzy Hoffman and Krzysztof Skórzewski, often called the first western made in Poland, had its première at the Grunwald Cinema, which no longer exists. Almost the entire film was made in the area of the New-Town Market in Toruń and the streets stretching away from it, especially ul. Ślusarska. In the film, one can also see shoots done on ul. Ciasna, Mostowa, and Podmurna.
As far as ul. Podmurna is concerned, it was a favourite location for many other filmmakers, as is shown in Ludzie Wisły/The People of the Vistula by Aleksander Ford (it was also filmed as Bulwar Filadelfijski/Philadelphia Boulevard), in Panopticon by Marcin Gładych, and in Roku spokojnego słońca/A Year of the Quiet Sun by Krzysztof Zanussi.
When talking about films made in Toruń, you can find many filmings in them made in other locations, and using other buildings as background.
The Old Town Market and the Arthus House are featured in “Excentrycy, czyli po słonecznej stronie ulicy /Eccentricity, on the sunny side of the street” by Janusz Majewski. In addition, ul. Szewska and ul. Przedzamcze are also shown in this film. The latter of these was also used as background to shoot a number of scenes for Roku spokojnego słońca/A Year of the Quiet Sun by Krzysztof Zanussi, and Wściekły/Mad Dog by Roman Załuski.
In the directing début made by Master of Acting Andrzej Seweryn Kto nigdy nie żył/Who Never Lived, we see scenes shot near the Leaning Tower of Toruń, the Old Town Market, and ul. Żeglarska.
Not only Philadelphia Boulevard, but also ul. Żeglarska, became the background for the shooting of the cult film Rejs/A Trip Down the River by Marek Piwowski.
The Józef Piłsudski Road Bridge in Toruń was the location chosen for filming action scenes in Zamach/Assassination by Jerzy Passendorfer, which portrayed the assassination of SS and Police Leader Franz Kutschera, but also for other films. We can also see the bridge in Tatarak/Sweet Rush.
In Jeszcze nie wieczór/Before Twilight by Jacek Bławut, which featured performances by great actors of Polish cinema, including Beata Tyszkiewicz, Danuta Szaflarska, Irena Kwiatkowska, Nina Andrycz, Ewa Krasnodębska, Roman Kłosowski, and Jan Nowicki, the latter of who was born in the region of Kujawsko-Pomorskie, one can discern the rotunda-shaped prison in Toruń (Okrąglak in Polish).
The rotunda-shaped prison also became the setting for two films by Marcin Gładych, i.e. Hakerzy wolności/Hackers of Freedom and Panopticon, the latter of which was made in cooperation with Krystian Wieczyński.
A number of other locations in Toruń have been shown in Polish films, for example Bydgoskie Przedmieście (Bydgoskie Suburbs), which is the site of the action in such films as Dżej Dżej, and a film by Dorota Kędzierzawska Wrony/Crows, and the area of the Maria Znamierowska-Prüffer Ethnography Museum was shown in Głód/Hunger by Marika Krajniewska, and many others.
Toruń is either the birthplace or a place of attachment for numerous outstanding Polish actors and actresses, including Adrianna Biedrzyńska, Olga Bołądź, Magdalena Czerwińska, Joanna Koroniewska, Małgorzata Kożuchowska, Piotr Głowacki, Bogusław Linda, Jakub Gierszał, Katarzyna Żak , and a star of cinema from the pre-War period Helena Grossówna, as well as prominent filmmakers such as film Director and screenwriter Jędrzej Bączyk, outstanding Polish film expert and critic Bolesław Michałek, and composer of film music Kazimierz Serocki.
Toruń is one of the most-important cultural centres on the map of Poland. It is the location of many international festivals and cultural events. It is home to the following festivals: the Bella Skyway Festival, Międzynarodowy Festiwal Teatralny Kontakt (The Kontakt International Theatre Festival), Międzynarodowy Festiwal Filmowy Tofifest (The Tofifest International Film Festival), Festiwal Muzyki i Sztuki Krajów Bałtyckich „Probaltica (The PROBALTICA Music and Art Festival of the Baltic Countries), Międzynarodowy Festiwal Teatrów Lalek „Spotkania (The Meetings International Festival of Puppet Theatres), Międzynarodowy Festiwal Nova Muzyka i Architektura (The Nova Music And Architecture International Festival), Alternatywne Spotkania Teatralne Klamra (The Klamra Alternative Theatre Meetings), Jazz Od Nowa Festival, Toruński Festiwal Nauki i Sztuki (The Toruń Festival of Science and Art), The Forte Artus Festival, and many others.
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