History - Bydgoszcz


History - Bydgoszcz
… commonly called the Church of the Poor Clares, is one of the main landmarks of Bydgoszcz.
The one-nave gothic-renaissance church was
built between the years 1582 and 1618. Only
a few elements of the original furnishing of the
church have remained up to this day, since after
the dissolution of the Order of Saint Clare, who
had cared for the church, the Prussians used the
church building for other purposes including as
a warehouse. Despite this, it is worthwhile having a look at the inside of the church to see the
17th century coffered wooden ceiling, on which
there are paintings of 112 flower rosettes. Three
times a day the bugle call of Bydgoszcz by Konrad Pałubicki can be heard from the
slender church tower that is topped with a baroque dome.
… (“Under the Eagle Hotel”) an icon of
turn of the century Bydgoszcz architecture, was designed by a prominent architect from Bydgoszcz – Józef Święcicki, the designer of over 60 excellent
buildings in the city. The construction
of the hotel was completed in 1896.
From the beginning the edifice functioned as a hotel, and was originally run
by Emil Bernhardt. Among the hotel guests we could find such notables as Arthur Rubinstein. The extremely rich facade of
the building is decorated with elements of neo-baroque architecture.
… was built in the years 1773-1774
as a part of the international waterway E70. It connects the Vistula River and the Odra River through their tributaries: the Brda River, the Notec River and the Warta River. The establishment of Bydgoszcz Canal has
contributed to the dynamic development of the city. The modern hydrotechnical devices have been used. The combination of the industrial, residential
and recreational buildings, has created the unique style of the city, its riverside
identity and a status of one of the main centers of inland waterway transport. In
the years 1908-1915 New Canal was built, along with its unique locks located in
Czyżkówko and Okole districts. It's equipped with expansion tanks that allow to
save most of the water. Nowadays, the old section of Bydgoszcz Canal with its five
locks and a beautiful park is used mainly for recreation.
 History
… in Bydgoszcz is a busy route connecting downtown to the Old Town. The focal point of the street is the J. Sulima-Kamiński Bridge, which offers
a beautiful view of the river Brda and numerous
monuments of the city centred around the river.
The panorama on the eastern side of the bridge
is dominated by the three famous granaries of
Bydgoszcz (18th/19th century), the official symbol of the city, now part of the Leon Wyczółkowski Museum. In the foreground, in turn, the attention of passers-by is drawn by a new symbol of
the city, a statue of a tightrope walker gracefully teetering on line – “Man crossing the River”
(2004). In the background of the sculpture there are new “granaries” designed by famous architects from Warsaw, the seat of the BRE Bank, a perfect example of contemporary Polish architecture. Also on the eastern side of the bridge we can admire 19th-century red-brick buildings: Lloyd’s Palace (1886), the building of the theological seminary (1858) and the majestic building of the Polish Post (1899) – one of
the largest historic buildings of its type in Poland. The panorama stretching on the
western side of the bridge is dominated by the interesting modernist block of the
Opera Nova (2006).
Useful addresses
Bydgoszcz Information Centre
2 Batorego St., 85-104 Bydgoszcz
tel. +48 52 34 04 550
Regional Branch of PTTK „Brda Trail”
1 Sienkiewicza St., 85-037 Bydgoszcz
tel. +48 52 322 35 89; +48 52 322 51 93
Tourist Agency VISITE.PL
4/6 Batorego St., 85-104 Bydgoszcz
tel. +48 52 521 47 96; +48 607 566 388
Leon Wyczółkowski
District Museum in Bydgoszcz
7-11 Grodzka St., 85-006 Bydgoszcz
tel. +48 52 585 99 74, www.muzeum.bydgoszcz.pl
BCI, 2.2014
fot. Rober Sawicki
Bydgoszcz is a city with an exceptionally rich, multicultural and very turbulent history. Initially, it was just an
earth and wooden castle guarding a crossing on the Brda
River, today it is a modern and dynamic city with a population of nearly 360 thousand people. Over the centuries the
settlement on the Brda experienced moments of glory and
of rapid growth (late 19th and early 20th centuries) and of
decline (beginning of the 18th century). However, the city
has always been able to rebuild after repeated invasions
and devastation, always using its full potential – a good location at the crossroads of land and water routes.
Although the first written mention of the city on the Brda River appeared
only in 1238, and Bydgoszcz received its city rights from the hands of
Casmir the Great on 19 April 1346, a fortified settlement on the area of
today’s Bydgoszcz had existed as early as the 11th century. The following centuries, especially after the granting of city rights and particularly
in the 15th and 16th centuries, marked a period of dynamic development
of the city. During that time, Bydgoszcz became one of the largest cities in Poland. The years 1655-1657, and also the beginning of the 18th
century, brought about the greatest disaster in the history of the city. Bydgoszcz was almost completely destroyed by the Swedish invasion of Poland (the so-called Swedish Deluge). The city irretrievably lost very many
of its oldest monuments, especially the powerful castle built by Casmir
the Great. In 1772, as a result of the 1st partition of Poland, Bydgoszcz
was incorporated into Prussia. The Prussians ‘invested’ a huge amount of
money in the city. In the years 1773-1774, by the order of King Frederick
II the Great of Prussia the Bydgoszcz Canal was built. In 1851 Bydgoszcz
had a railway connection with Berlin, in 1896, electric trams appeared
on the streets of Bydgoszcz. During that period many magnificent public
buildings were constructed in the city. All this translated into a time of
intensive development of the city, whose population at the beginning of
the 20th century reached 100 thousand.
… is the oldest part of Bydgoszcz, its spatial arrangement being planned by King Casmir the Great in
1346. The Old Town means primarily the Old Market
with its picturesque 19th-century houses and surrounding streets, all of which are located in the immediate vicinity of the Brda River. The most important, yet most original monuments of the Old Town
are the Cathedral (1502), the former Jesuit college –
today the City Hall (1653), the classical building of
the Provincial and Municipal Public Library (1778),
the neo-gothic market hall (1904), the majestic building of the Provincial District Court (1906) and, finally, the tallest building in Bydgoszcz, the neo-gothic Church of St. Andrzej Bobola with a 75-meter tower (1903).
… or to be more precise the Church of St. Martin and
Nicholas is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful
and, above all, the oldest building in the city. The
Parish church (Fara) as the Cathedral is still called, is
a late gothic three-nave church that was built between 1466 and 1502. One of the most valuable
items in the church is the late gothic painting in the
main altar called the image of Our Lady of Beautiful
Love, or the Madonna with a Rose. Inside the church
there is a very beautiful eye-catching, modernist
polychrome (designed by the architect Stefan Cybichowski in the years 1922 to 1925). Its extremely
bright colours cover the entire interior of the church. The Cathedral, picturesquely
situated at a corner of the Old Market and in the immediate vicinity of the Brda River, is one of the finest and most photographed objects of Bydgoszcz.
… is one of the most unusual and enchanting places in Bydgoszcz. What makes the
island unique is primarily its location in
the very heart of the city, just a few steps
from the Old Market Square. Starting from
the Middle Ages, for a few centuries the
island was the industrial centre of the city. Mill Island was the seat of a royal mint,
which operated in this place with some interruptions, from 1594 to 1688. The Bydgoszcz mint became famous for its 100
ducats of Sigismund III Vasa, perhaps the largest gold coin in the history of Europe
(7 centimetres in diameter). Currently, Mill Island is a salon of the city, a green oasis
in the centre of a nearly half a million people metropolis. Most of the buildings located on the island date back to the 19th century. However, the cellar of the so-called White Granary remembers the 15th century. Water, footbridges, old mills (now
museums), red-brick buildings reflected in the depths of Młynówka River (the so-called Venice of Bydgoszcz), groomed green areas - all this creates the atmosphere of today’s Bydgoszcz river island.
… is one of the most interesting urban
planning solutions of the city, and one
of the most charming and quietest corners of Bydgoszcz. The focal point of the
district is the expansive Jan Kochanowski Park, full of statues of eminent composers, surrounded on all sides by great architecture, and buildings housing institutions
of culture (mostly music). Music resounds in the park from the neo - classical building
of the I.J. Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic (1958) and the neo-baroque building
of the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music (1906). The Music District is also famous for the Hieronim Konieczka Polish Theatre (1949) together with one of the symbols of the city, situated opposite the entrance to the theatre, the sculpture of the “Archer Lady” by F. Lepcke (1910). In the vicinity of the park there are several outstanding examples of Art Nouveau in the form of fine villas and townhouses designed by
renowned architects of their times (4 Paderewskiego Street, 9 Mickiewicza Avenue).
Just a few steps from the Music District there is Cieszkowskiego Street, whose unique,
eclectic (with original examples of Art Nouveau) buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century, presents the best lines of the architecture of the period.
… (Freedom Square), the 17th-century Poor Clare sisters former garden, located on Gdańska Street in
Bydgoszcz, creates a real “salon” of the city. Though
it had been laid out by 1854, it gained its exceptional
atmosphere only in the early 20th century after the
construction of the majority of the buildings that still
surround the square. Wolności Square exhibits primarily sophisticated turn of the
century architecture, we can find here perfect modernism (27 Gdańska Street), neo-baroque (1 Wolności Square), neo-gothic (building of Grammar School No1 in Bydgoszcz), and finally modest Art Nouveau (3 Wolności Square). However, the most distinctive structures in the square are: St. Peter and St. Paul church, built in 1876 by
Berlin architect Friedrich Adler and the fountain – monument “Deluge”,1904, by
Ferdinand Lepcke, the creator of the famous Bydgoszcz “Archer Lady”.
… built between 1925 and 1939, is
the largest church in Bydgoszcz, and
one of the largest in Poland. The Basilica is a monumental building designed by the Polish architect Adam
Ballenstaedt and modeled on the Roman Pantheon. The most characteristic element of the neoclassical building of the church is the reinforced concrete
dome with a diameter of 40 meters. The basilica is located in the immediate vicinity of Sielanka (the Idyll), the garden city of Bydgoszcz, the pre-war green residential area that was designed in 1910 by the famous German architect Joseph
Despite many wars, plagues and scourges that swept through the city,
Bydgoszcz boasts numerous monuments: very old ones – e.g. the Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin and Nicholas, unique ones as the Bydgoszcz
Canal, extremely valuable ones as the well-preserved 19th and early
20th century Art Nouveau buildings, monumental ones as the Vincent
de Paul Basilica, and post-industrial historic sites like the old German
dynamite factory “Bromberg DAG Fabrik” (now an open-air museum of
industrial architecture – “Exploseum”).
On 20 January 1920, as a result of the agreements after World War I, Bydgoszcz returned to Poland. Urban and economic development of the city
on the Brda continued. On September 5, 1939, German troops entered
the city and begun a period of extremely bloody German occupation. The
Nazis carried out mass executions of city residents. At the same time they
started the construction of a factory to produce high explosives “DAG Fabrik Bromberg,” in which hundreds of forced labourers worked. Bydgoszcz
was liberated in 1945 and in the same year the city became the capital
of the Pomeranian voivodeship. The years after the war were characterised by a further spatial development of the city. New city districts were
established, and in 1973 the town of Fordon was incorporated into the
city’s boundaries. In 1999, Bydgoszcz became a co-capital of the newly
created kujawsko-pomorskie voivodeship. In 2004, in connection with Poland’s accession to the European Union, Bydgoszcz gained a new symbol
of the city, the sculpture called “Man crossing the River”. The year 2004
was also the time of the establishment of the Diocese of Bydgoszcz, when
the gothic parish church was raised to the rank of a cathedral. A year later
the first university in Bydgoszcz was formed – Kazimierz Wielki University.
During the past few years, Bydgoszcz has consistently turned to the water.
The revitalised Mill Island along with a modern Marina has become a showcase of the city. Also, thanks to such investments as the reconstruction of
the Brda river embankments, and the revitalization of the Old Bydgoszcz
Canal Park, both residents and visitors have gained marvellous spaces for
leisure and recreation on the riverside. Other major investments in tourism infrastructure, such as the adaptation of the former German dynamite
factory "DAG Fabrik Bromberg" for visitors (and now called Exploseum),
or the Waterworks Museum, located in the historical water tower, and in
the Las Gdański (Gdański Forest) have made Bydgoszcz's tourist allure increasingly diverse. Unveiled in 2013, the Archer Lady Nova (by the Opera
Nova house) has become a symbol of changes taking place in Bydgoszcz.
At present, Bydgoszcz has a population of 361 thousand people.

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