The history of Saint Mary Magdalene High School in Poznań began in 1302 when Bishop of Poznań, Andrzej Zaremba, issued a founding charter for the local authorities. The School Ad Sanctam Mariam Magdalenam started operating in 1303.  

In 1571, the school with its precinct was given to the Jesuit Order by the local authorities. In 1611, King Sigismund III Vasa issued a royal charter that raised the status of the Jesuit college to an academy. However, the establishment of the academy was blocked and delayed by the Kraków Academy. After the dissolution of the Jesuit Order, the last rector of the college, priest Józef Rogaliński, founded the Wielkopolska Academy, which was later acquired by the Commission of National Education (KEN) and transformed into a Faculty School under the Commission.


Under the partitions, the school operated as a Prussian middle school in a building in Gołębia street in Poznań. It went back to its traditional name Ad Sanctam Mariam Magdalenam. The school gained a lot of recognition and fame due to its high academic standards and the students participating in the November, January and Wielkopolska uprisings. In 1858, it changed its location and was moved to a new, more familiar to us, building near Bernardyński Square. Due to a demand for more classrooms, in 1879 a new wing was added. During World War II the building served military purposes.

The school reopened after the war but not for long. In 1947, Communist authorities arbitrarily decided to close down the school after an agent of UB (Ministry of Public Security) and an activist of ZWM (Union of Youth Struggle) were murdered in the ruins of the neighbouring Franciscan church by the members of a post-war independence conspiracy. Marynka students were moved to many different high schools in Poznań, yet most of them were transferred to the school in Różana street.

In 1990, thanks to long-standing efforts of Stowarzyszenie Wychowanków (School Alumni Association), Saint Mary Magdalene High School in Poznań resumed its educational activity in a building in Garbary street, where it is still located. The first high school-leaving exams took place there four years later. Since then, 5,330 graduates have left the school.

The nineteenth-century school building is constructed in the round-arch style, characterised by monumentality and simplicity. The wing added in the 1870s is not symmetrical, mainly due to the lack of finances and time for expansion. The shape of the school resembles the letter ‘L’. It has four floors – the basement with the boiler room; the ground floor and the first floor with the classrooms, the school office and the grand auditorium; and the attic with the library. The floors can be visibly distinguished from the outside of the building. Marynka was built of bricks from Promnice which, as can still be seen in some parts of the front facade, were once painted yellow.

On the facade, we can also see a recurring motif of Rundbogenstil. On the top there are oculi, which are small round windows. Looking at the facade of Saint Mary Magdalene High School in Poznań, we cannot forget about the architectural miracles it conceals. Passages are crowned with an elliptic arch which adds appeal and elegance to the rooms. The circle motif is also visible on the bannister patterns. It is worth keeping an eye out for ornamental keystones crowning stair pillars. The decorative motif of the squares, typical of historic joinery, is visible on some doors and on the seatbacks located in the school underground.

We hope that we were able to bring the history and architecture of our school building – the famous Marynka, closer to you. We believe that on your next stroll along the streets of Poznań, you will not pass our school indifferently.