Lake Malta, a body of water located almost at the centre of Poznań, just a 10 minute walk from the cathedral, is the most important object in a modern sports-recreation complex called Malta. The international fame of the place is due to the regatta course on the lake, which year after year is host to rowing and kayak competition events. In close proximity of the finishing line of the regatta course, there is also the all-year-round ski slope and the summer toboggan track and playground – including a roofed slot machine pavilion, mini golf, ‘ little drivers’ school, rental centre for bicycles and other sports equipment, a coffee bar and a restaurant.
Malta is a place of daily recreation for residents and guests, the main junction point of the Wielkopolska bicycle trails, and of numerous walking and roller-skating paths. The main leisure center is called Malta Ski after the ski slope open all year, its central attraction. You will also find the Alpine Coaster ride, a summer toboggan run, wooden playground with slides, mazes, and obstacles, a mini-golf course, driving school for children, bike and sports equipment rental facility, coffee shops and a restaurant. Together with the nearby Pyrland Park climbing center these places are a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Prior to the Euro 2012 a complex of pools – Termy Maltańskie – Malta Thermal Baths, was opened on the north shore of the lake, composed of 18 pools, sauna zone and one of the largest SPA facilities in Poland. The complex boasts an Olympic pool adapted to the organisation of international events and swimming and water jumping competitions with an aqua park with recreation pools, water slides and warm external pools. The name ‘termy’ is completely justified, because the water in parts of the pool is actually geothermal water with healing properties.
At the eastern edge of the lake is the boundary of the terrain of the New Zoo – one of the largest in Poland, famous for the new Elephant House, Tiger Enclosure, Butterfly House and Nocturnal Animals’ Pavilion. In the summer season the easiest way to go is to ride on the narrow gauge railway – affectionately known as the Maltanka. A ride on the railway is one of the most important parts of any expedition to the zoo or Lake Malta, and it is absolutely obligatory if young children are in the group.
Guests, who during their stay in Poznań wish to rest after a whole day’s work, should take a room in one of the three 3-star hotels or the All Year camping facility, located next to the shore of the lake. Those interested in doing some shopping or going to the cinema should visit the Malta retail gallery, which boasts over 50 000 square metres, accommodating about 170 shops selling the most popular Polish and foreign brands and also a multiplex cinema with Platinum standard viewing rooms.
Why is such a dynamic place named after a Mediterranean island? From the middle of the XII century to the 30s of the XIX century the Knights of Malta had a base here. When the Prussians liquidated all religious orders in Wielkopolska, the Knights also left their estates. However grateful Poznanians began to refer to the former property of the order as Malta – and the name has lasted to this day. Not far from the lake stands the late Romanesque Church of the Knights of Malta dedicated to St John of Jerusalem beyond the Walls. The church is probably one of the earliest Polish places of worship built of bricks.