SZCZECIN

 

 


Szczecin is a city located in north-western Poland (53º26'N, 14º35'E), where the Odra river meets the Baltic Sea through the Szczecin Bay. For centuries, Szczecin has been the junction for major European transit routes from the west to the east and from the north, through the Baltic Sea, to the south of Europe. Additionally, Szczecin is the capital of the Western Pomeranian Province. Now, Szczecin is occupied by over 400 thousands people.

Last four phots. by S. Porada

The history of the city Szczecin began at the turn of the 7th and 8th centuries, as first reports of a Slavonic settlement on today's castle hill inform. At the end of the 10th century, Szczecin became a feudal estate of the Polish Prince Mieszko I, and in 1005 Pomerania gained a full independence.

In the years 1124/1125 and 1128, when Poland was managed by the first Polish king, Boleslaw Krzywousty, the bishop Otto from Bamberg carried a Christianizing mission in Pomerania.

The years 1121 to 1181 were the second 60-year period of the Polish feudal superiority over the Western Pomerania and Szczecin.

In the years 1184-1227, Szczecin together with Pomerania was under Danish sovereignty. About 12th century, first German people arrived to Szczecin, and in 1247 they dominated the old Slavonic town.

In 1243, Szczecin received municipal rights and from that time the town started to play an important political role in Pomerania.

In 1278, Szczecin became a member of Hanza, a great part of the Gryphites' dynasty playing an important role in the history of Pomerania. The dynasty, e. g., has built an autonomous Pomeranian state and its representatives governed over 500 years in Pomerania.

In 1121-1637, the Duchy of Pomerania was a buffer state between Poland, Brandenburg, and the Teutonic Order. In the 17th century, the prosperity of the town began to decrease and was highly influenced by the negative consequences of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). In 1648, the Pomeranian Duchy was divided and incorporated into Sweden and Brandenburg. Szczecin, with a considerable part of Pomerania, was included into Sweden.

In 1720, after the great North War, Szczecin was included to Prussia and obtained the status of capital of the Pomerania Province. The Prussian authorities made Szczecin a strong military center. During Napoleonic wars, Szczecin was a very important French fortress.

Once the town returned to Prussia, the shipbuilding industry revived and Szczecin became an important center of that industry in Prussia. Very dynamic development of the town was recorded. The spatial development of Szczecin followed a classical pattern of geometrical town planning. It was based on radial-like squares and triangle building plots, within which Neoclassical and Secessional tenement-houses, as well as functional public useful buildings were built.

At the end of the 2nd World War, on 26 April 1945, Szczecin was conquered by the 65th Russian army and the Polish administration started to manage the town on 5 July 1945. During the Potsdam Conference, the Great Threesome decided to include Szczecin into Poland.

During the 2nd World War, 60-70% of the buildings, 70-80% of the harbour, and 90% of industrial objects were destroyed. The main parts suffered were the terrace near the Odra River called "Waly Chrobrego" and some buildings in the center of the town, including the Old Town. Szczecin was among the most ruined towns of Germany during the 2nd World War.

Although the original image of the city changed, its unique character remained with the captivating charm of historical, secessional architecture and the beautiful vegetation.

Szczecin is called "a city of parks and verdure". Among 301 km2 of the total area of Szczecin, parks occupy 142.5 ha, greenstones 55 ha, verdure extending along roads 143.01 ha, and cemetery verdure 179.41 ha.


REFERENCES

Borowka R., Friedrich S., Heese T., Jasnowska J., Kochanowska R., Opechowski M., Stanecka E., Zyska W. 2004. The natural world of Western Pomerania. OFICYNA IN PLUS, Szczecin.

Stachak A., Grinn U., Nogal-Haas M., Kubus M., Nowak G., Nowakowska M. 2000. Zielen Szczecina. OFICYNA IN PLUS, Szczecin.