GNESEN (Polish, Gniezno), a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Posen, in an undulating and fertile country, on the Wrzesnia, 30 m. E.N.E. of Posen by the railway to Thorn. Pop. (1905) 23,727. Besides the cathedral, a handsome Gothic edifice with twin towers, which contains the remains of St Adalbert, there are eight Roman Catholic churches, a Protestant church, a synagogue, a clerical seminary and a convent of the Franciscan nuns. Among the industries are cloth and linen weaving, brewing and distilling. A great horse and cattle market is held here annually. Gnesen is one of the oldest towns in the former kingdom of Poland. Its name, Gniezno, signifies "nest," and points to early Polish traditions. The cathedral is believed to have been founded towards the close of the 9th century, and, having received the bones of St Adalbert, it was visited in boo by the emperor Otto III., who made it the seat of an archbishop. Here, until 1320, the kings of Poland were crowned; and the archbishop, since 1416 primate of Poland, acted as protector pending the appointment of a new king. In 1821 the see of Posen was founded and the archbishop removed his residence thither, though its cathedral chapter still remains at Gnesen. After a long period of decay the town revived after 1815, when it came under the rule of Prussia.
See S. Karwowski, Gniezno (Posen, 1892).
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