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Szczecin is one of the most important Polish harbours although it is not strictly situated at the seaside (it is 65 km from it). It is situated by Polish-German border and by the Oder River and Dębie Lake. The city itself is the capital and the biggest city of Zachodniopomorskie region of Poland. It is seventh biggest city in Poland with population of almost 401 thousand inhabitants. Due to its frontier location it is attractive not only for the Poles but also for German and Dannish tourists. Szczecin impresses with its star shape street layout, thanks to this fact, it is compared to Paris.

 

The spatial layout of Szczecin's central district, preserved to this day, dates back to the 19th century and was implemented according to the classic geometric urban design pattern. It is a combination of a chess street grid with their radial distribution from the starry squares. The star pattern of squares towards the Oder river is the same as the star pattern in the Orion constellation towards the Milky Way or the Giza pyramids towards the Nile. Almost a quarter of the city is covered with water which gives Szczecin its unique character and in terms of area Szczecin is the third city in Poland. There are as many as 26 islands within the city, and a significant part of them is covered by green areas. Due to the large acreage of water and green areas, Szczecin is said to be the Green Venice of the North or the Floating Garden.

Top Szczecin attractions include:

Attractions chosen by ITS Poland tourists are described below.

Architectural landmarks

Wały Chrobrego is a half-kilometer viewing terrace stretching along the Odra River. From here tourists can admire picturesque views of the Oder River flowing at its foot and ships mooring at its quays, as well as the port. On Wały Chrobrego there are monumental buildings of the National Museum, the Provincial Office and the Maritime University. National Museum shows a collection of copies of ancient bronze sculptures, ancient Greek ceramics, as well as a collection of sculptures, totems and other products of African culture. Wały Chrobrego is a must see point on every tourist list and the image most often put on Szczecin postcards.

Ducal Castle is a renaissance building rebuilt after the WWII. Currently, tourists can find here a concert hall, cinema, theater, cabaret and an opera. It is also a place where numerous concerts and other cultural events are organized. People who like to admire nice views and feel a little adrenaline at the same time have to climb over two hundred steps and reach the Bell Tower. It offers a view of Szczecin, the Bukowe Hills and Lake Dąbie.

St. Jacob Apostol Archcathedral is the second , after Licheń, highest church in Poland as it has 110 m. It is the most important church in the city, and at the same time the second tallest building in Szczecin. The first church erected in this place was built in the 12th century. Still, the present shape of the basilica is due, among others, to reconstructions in the 17th century, general renovation in the second half of the 19th century and restoration after World War II. There is an observation deck on the church tower, accessible by elevator.

Szczecin Philharmonics since 214 has been housed in a modern building. The four-storey, beautifully illuminated and very interesting building inside is to resemble the tip of an iceberg. The Philharmonic was designed by Spanish architects from the Barozzi / Veiga studio. The building was numerously rewarded for its architecture and is one of Szczecin’s modern landmarks. The philharmonic can pride itself on two concert halls, of which a large hall with 1000 seats is the fourth largest philharmonic hall in Poland.

There are three Szczecin Underground Routs. The soundtrack imitating a bombing raid, the organization of life in a shelter, everyday life in the city during military operations and more can be expected on the "World War II" route. Wondering what an atomic phobia means? You will learn about this and the use of tunnels as shelters during the Cold War from the path "Cold War - life in the People's Republic of Poland". For tourists looking for more adrenaline, there is a thrill route option, in which you can venture only with a flashlight in your hand. Sightseeing of each route takes about 1 h.

The Museum of Technology and Transport - Art Depot (Polish: Zajezdnie Sztuki) is a very interesting museum. Inside, you can admire old vehicles, trams and buses from bygone eras. The tram simulator of the most popular Polish model Konstal 105Na allows tourists to feel like a real tram driver. Visitors can enter many vehicles and see what travel by public transport was like in the past.

Breakthrough Dialog Centre is modern exhibition showing the groundbreaking events of 1939 -1990. The exhibition commemorates, above all, hidden from the general public events in the People's Republic of Poland. It shows the highlight moments in the history of post-war Szczecin and the entire Western Pomerania, turning points that have changed different areas of citizen’s lives after which nothing was the same.

Harbour and Royal Gates are also popular Szczecin landmarks. Brama Portowa (Harbour Gate) once stood on the outskirts of the city welcoming travelers from Berlin. It is a characteristic object of Szczecin, created on the initiative of Frederick William I, who made a deal of his life buying the city from Sweden. The Royal Gate was also built thanks to Frederick William I. On the one hand, it is inspired by the shape of the triumphal arches, and on the other, there are references to Prussia and Greek mythology.

 

Semi-natural attractions of Szczecin

Różanka Rose Garden is a perfect place for walks, and for rose and garden lovers. On 2 hectares area there are 9,000 roses in 99 varieties. The garden was established in 1928. Another “green” attraction includes Central Cemetery in Szczecin, the largest necropolis in Poland and the third largest in Europe. Established at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, modeled on the Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg, is to be a combination of a resting place with a park, and even a garden.

Emerald Lake was created in the mine excavation of chalk and marl (similarly to chalk, sedimentary rock). The lake is about 18 m deep, less than 300 meters long and more than 150 meters wide. Tourists and residents of Szczecin eagerly come here, especially since there are several interesting places in the area: the ruins of the Baresel Tower, the remains of military buildings from World War II and the years preceding it, the ruins of the Toepffer mansion, the owners of the local brickyard. Near the southern part of the lake there is also an old bunker which was a protection against air raids. In spring and summer periods (April-September), the Underground Tourist Route starts here.

 

Unique events

Tall Ship Rally in Szczecin is an extraordinary event during which Szczecin is a home for Tall Ships from various parts of the world. The event is accompanied by the celebrations of the Sea Days. Every year the rally is a magnet for thousands of tourists from Poland and abroad. The main celebrations venue is Wały Chrobrego in Szczecin. Usually, in the Tall Ships events there are about 100 vessels. To take part in the Regatta they have to be at least 9.14 m long. Usually tourists can admire about 50 vessels during the race. Apart from regatta there are usually also concerts, shows, displays and fairs.

Another interesting Szczecin festival is Pyromagic. It is the largest fireworks festival in Poland that takes place in August. During this event the sky over Szczecin shines with tens of thousands of colorful fireworks. Viewers witness the competition of pyrotechnic companies from all over the world and also participate in excellent concerts and parties.

 

The unique location, proximity to Berlin, easy communication with Scandinavia, its own harbor, large green areas, numerous water bodies, interesting monuments, and an attractive cultural offer are Szczecin's potential that is successively used for development of tourism. We invite all our groups to discover this interesting city. ITS Poland DMC can organize your stay in Poland, just contact one of our professional group coordinators.

 

Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska

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