|• President (Mayor)||Rafał Bruski (PO)|
|• City Council Chairperson||Monika Matowska (PO)|
|• City||175.98 km2 (67.95 sq mi)|
|Elevation||60 m (200 ft)|
(31 December 2019)
|• City||348,190 (8th)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
85-001 to 85–915
|Area code(s)||(+48) 52|
Bydgoszcz (UK: // BID-goshtch, US: /-( )/ -gawsh(tch), Polish: [ˈbɨdɡɔʂtʂ] (listen); German: Bromberg [ˈbʁɔmbɛɐ̯k]; Latin: Bydgostia, Brombergum) is a city in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers. With a city population of 348,190 (December 2019), and an urban agglomeration with more than 470,000 inhabitants, Bydgoszcz is the eighth-largest city in Poland. It has been the seat of Bydgoszcz County and the co-capital, with Toruń, of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999. Prior to this, between 1947 and 1998, it was the capital of the Bydgoszcz Voivodeship, and before that, of the Pomeranian Voivodeship between 1945 and 1947. Located in the historical region of Kuyavia, it is its largest city.
The city is part of the Bydgoszcz–Toruń metropolitan area, which totals over 850,000 inhabitants. Bydgoszcz is the seat of Casimir the Great University, University of Technology and Life Sciences and a conservatory, as well as the Medical College of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. It also hosts the Pomeranian Philharmonic concert hall, the Opera Nova opera house, and Bydgoszcz Airport. Due to its location between the Vistula and Oder rivers, and the watercourse of the Bydgoszcz Canal, the city forms part of a water system connected via the Noteć, Warta and Elbe with the Rhine and Rotterdam.
Bydgoszcz is an architecturally rich city, with neo-gothic, neo-baroque, neoclassicist, modernist and Art Nouveau styles present, for which it earned a nickname Little Berlin. The notable granaries on Mill Island and along the riverside belong to one of the most recognized timber-framed landmarks in Poland.
Bydgoszcz, originally Bydgoszcza (feminine), is a pronoun name the second part of which – 'goszcz' comes from 'gost-jь' possibly or 'gost-ja' an old Slavic root which refers to an urban or suburban trading settlement. There are also a number of other Polish place-names which make use of the 'goszcz' suffix: i.e. Małogoszcz and Skorogoszcz. Bydgoszcz, however, has a long, rich history of etymological change: in 1239 known as Bidgosciam, in 1242 as castrum quod Budegosta vulgariter nuncupatur (castle, which is colloquially called Bydgoszcza), in 1279 as Bidgoscha, since 1558 as Bydgoszcz, that is, until the 16th century, and as Bydgoszcza "fishing village or campsite belonging to Bydgosta".
The name 'Byd-gost' contains archaic elements of the Proto-Slavonic root 'byd' which existed as a variant of the verb 'to raise' (Ancient Russian 'vъzbydati' = stimulating, Proto-Slavonic 'bъděti' / 'bъd 'ǫ' = no sleep, to watch), and the common Slavic root 'Goszcz' (fireplace). Some people identify the name of the town as 'Budorgis', a name from the 2nd century which is listed as being next to the village Calisia on the amber route.
The etymology of the German name of the town developed later and derives from the river Brahe (Brda in Polish), on whose banks the city is located, and berg, elevation, mount(ain), combined to 'Brahenberg', with 'a' pronounced in East Pomeranian Low German rather like 'å', later contracted to Bromberg, dropping the weak 'h', with the 'n' assimilated as 'm' to the following labial sound 'b'.
During the early Slavic times a fishing settlement called Bydgozcya ("Bydgostia" in Latin), became a stronghold on the Vistula trade routes. The gród of Bydgoszcz was built between 1037 and 1053 during the reign of Casimir I the Restorer. In the 13th century it was the site of a castellany, mentioned in 1238, probably founded in the early 12th century during the reign of Bolesław III Wrymouth. In the 13th century, the church of Saint Giles was built as the first church of Bydgoszcz. It was later demolished by the Germans in the late 19th century. During the Polish–Teutonic War (1326–1332), the city was captured and destroyed by the Teutonic Knights in 1330. Briefly regained by Poland, it was occupied by the Teutonic Knights from 1331 to 1337 and annexed into their monastic state as Bromberg. In 1337 it was recaptured by Poland and was relinquished by the Knights in 1343 with their signing of the Treaty of Kalisz along with Dobrzyń and the remainder of Kuyavia. King Casimir III of Poland, granted Bydgoszcz city rights (charter) on 19 April 1346. The king granted a number of privileges, regarding river trade on the Brda and Vistula and the right to mint coins, and ordered the construction of the castle, which became the seat of the castellan. Bydgoszcz was an important royal city of Poland located in the Inowrocław Voivodeship. The city increasingly saw an influx of Jews after that date. In 1555, however, due to pressure by the clergy, the Jews were expelled and came back only with the annexation to Prussia in 1772. After 1370, the Bydgoszcz castle was the favourite residence of the grandson of the king and his would-be successor Duke Casimir IV, who died there in 1377. In 1397 thanks to Queen Jadwiga of Poland, a Carmelite convent was established in the city, the third in Poland after Gdańsk and Kraków.
During the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War in 1409 the city was briefly captured by the Teutonic Knights. In the mid-15th century, during the Thirteen Years' War, King Casimir IV of Poland often stayed in Bydgoszcz. At that time, the defensive walls were built and the Gothic parish church (the present-day Bydgoszcz Cathedral). The city was developing dynamically thanks to river trade. Bydgoszcz pottery and beer were popular throughout Poland. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Bydgoszcz was a significant site for wheat trading, one of the largest in Poland. The first mention of a school in Bydgoszcz comes from 1466. In 1480, a Bernardine monastery was established in Bydgoszcz. The Bernardines erected a new Gothic church and founded a library, part of which has survived to this day. In 1522, by a decision of the Polish king, a salt depot was established in Bydgoszcz, the second in the region after Toruń. In 1594, Stanisław Cikowski founded a private mint, which in the early 17th century was transformed into a royal mint, one of the leading mints in Poland. In 1621, on the occasion of the Polish victory over the Ottoman Empire at Chocim, one of the most valuable and largest coins in the history of Europe was minted in Bydgoszcz – 100 ducats of Sigismund III Vasa. In 1617 the Jesuits came to the city, and subsequently established a Jesuit college.
During 1629, near the end of the Polish-Swedish War of 1626–29, the town was conquered by Swedish troops led by king Gustav II Adolph of Sweden personally. During the events of war, the town suffered demolitions. The town was conquered a second and third time by Sweden in 1656 and 1657 during the Second Northern War. On the latter occasion, the castle was destroyed completely and has since then remained a ruin. After the war only 94 houses were inhabited, 103 stood empty and 35 were burned down. Also the suburbs had been damaged considerably.
The Treaty of Bromberg, agreed in 1657 by King John II Casimir Vasa of Poland and Elector Frederick William II of Brandenburg-Prussia, created a military alliance between Poland and Prussia while marking the withdrawal of Prussia from its alliance with Sweden.
After the Convocation Sejm of 1764, Bydgoszcz became one of three seats of the Crown Tribunal for the Greater Poland Province of the Polish Crown alongside Poznań and Piotrków Trybunalski. In 1766 royal cartographer Franciszek Florian Czaki, during a meeting of the Committee of the Crown Treasury in Warsaw, proposed a plan of building a canal, which would connect the Vistula via the Brda with the Noteć river.
In 1772, in the First Partition of Poland, the town was acquired by the Kingdom of Prussia as Bromberg, and incorporated into the Netze District in the newly established province of West Prussia. At the time, the town was seriously depressed and semi-derelict. Under Frederick the Great the town revived, notably with the construction of a canal from Bromberg to Nakel (Nakło) which connected the north-flowing Vistula River via the Brda to the west-flowing Noteć, which in turn flowed to the Oder via the Warta. During the Kościuszko Uprising, in 1794 the city was briefly recaptured by Poles, commanded by General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski.
In 1807, after the defeat of Prussia by Napoleon and the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit, Bydgoszcz became part of the short-lived Polish Duchy of Warsaw. With Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Nations in 1815, the town was re-annexed by Prussia as part of the Grand Duchy of Posen (Poznań), becoming the capital of the Bromberg Region. In 1871 the Province of Posen, along with the rest of the Kingdom of Prussia, became part of the newly formed German Empire. During German rule were demolished the oldest church of the city (church of Saint Giles), the remains of the castle, and the Carmelite church and monastery.
In the mid-19th century, the arrival of the Prussian Eastern Railway (Preußische Ostbahn) contributed greatly to the development of Bromberg. The first stretch, from Schneidemühl (Piła) to Bromberg, was opened in July 1851. The city grew from 12,900 in 1852 to 57,700 in 1910 – of whom 84 percent were German settlers and 16 percent indigenous Poles, all holding German citizenships.
During World War I, Poles in Bydgoszcz formed secret organizations, preparing to regain control of the city in the event of Poland regaining independence. After the war, despite the town's German majority, Bromberg was assigned to the recreated Polish state by the 1919 Versailles Treaty. The handover of the city to Poland by Germany in 1920 was smooth, as German officials and military came from Germany and did not identify with the city, the soldiers were not willing to fight, and there were no ethnic conflicts among the inhabitants, who were focused on the hardships of life, including large unemployment and poverty, during the war. Now officially Bydgoszcz again, the city belonged to the Poznań Voivodeship. The local populace was required to acquire Polish citizenship or leave the country. This led to a drastic decline in ethnically German residents (German minority in Poland), whose number within the town decreased to 11,016 in 1926. In 1938, it was made part of the Polish Greater Pomerania.
During the invasion of Poland, at the beginning of World War II, on September 1, 1939, Germany carried out air raids on the city. The 15th Infantry Division, which was stationed in Bydgoszcz, fought off German attacks on September 2, but on September 3 it was forced to retreat. During the withdrawal of Poles, as part of the diversion planned by Germany, local Germans opened fire on Polish soldiers and civilians. Polish soldiers and civilians were forced into a defensive skirmish in which several hundred people were killed on both sides. The event, referred to as the Bloody Sunday by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, which exaggerated the number of victims to 5,000 "defenceless" Germans, was used as an excuse to carry out dozens of mass executions of Polish residents in the Old Town Market Square and in the Valley of Death. Some of the murders were carried out as part of the Intelligenzaktion, aimed at exterminating the Polish elites. In total, around 10,000 inhabitants, mostly Poles, but also Jews, were killed during the war. On September 5, the Wehrmacht entered the city, German-Polish skirmishes still took place in the Szwederowo district, and the German occupation of the city began.
It was annexed to the Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia as the seat of the district or county (kreis) of Bromberg. However, the annexation was not recognised in international law. The history of Jews in Bydgoszcz ended with the German invasion of Poland and the Holocaust. The city's Jewish citizens, who constituted a small community in the city (about 2 percent of the pre-war population) and many of whom spoke German, were sent to Nazi death camps or murdered in the town itself. The city renamed Bromberg was the site of Bromberg-Ost, a women's subcamp of Stutthof concentration camp near Gdańsk (Danzig). A deportation camp was situated in Smukała village, now part of Bydgoszcz. During the occupation, the Germans destroyed some of the historic buildings of the city with the intention of erecting new structures in the Nazi style. The Germans built a large dynamite factory (DAG Fabrik Bromberg) in which they used the slave labor of several hundred forced laborers.
In the same year, it was made the seat of the Pomeranian Voivodship, the northern part of which was soon separated to form Gdańsk Voivodship. The remaining part of the Pomeranian Voivodship was renamed Bydgoszcz Voivodeship in 1950. In 1973, the former town of Fordon, located on the left bank of the Vistula, was included into the city limits and became the easternmost district of Bydgoszcz. In March 1981, Solidarity's activists were violently suppressed in Bydgoszcz.
|1346–1771||3,500 to 5,000||Mostly Polish wheat merchants and bargees|
|1771||≈ 1,000||Including about 80% Catholics. The population declined as a result of the Great Northern War and plagues brought by the fighting armies. (1700–1721)|
|1780||2,046||Excluding military personnel|
|1783||2,562||In 337 households, excluding military personnel, including 27 Jews (three families)|
|1788||3,077||Excluding military personnel|
|1792||3,915||Excluding military personnel|
|1816||6,100||Including 41% Catholics|
|1852||12,900||Mostly Germans, including 26% Catholics|
|1890||41,399||28,411 Protestants, 11,165 Catholics, 1,451 Jews and 372 others|
|1900||52,204||Including 34,415 Protestants, 15,663 Catholics and 1,519 Jews|
|1910||57,696||37,008 Protestants, 18,539 Catholics and 2,149 others including Jews|
|1921||88,000||Including 64,000 Catholics and 22,500 Protestants (24,000 Germans)|
The oldest building in the city is the Church of St Martin and Nicolaus, commonly known as Fara Church. It is a three-aisle late Gothic church, erected between 1466 and 1502, which boasts a late-Gothic painting entitled Madonna with a Rose or the Holy Virgin of Beautiful Love from the 16th century. The colourful 20th-century polychrome is also worth noticing.
The Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin, commonly referred to as "The Church of Poor Clares," is a famous landmark of the city. It is a small, Gothic-Renaissance (including Neo-Renaissance additions), single-aisle church built between 1582–1602. The interior is rather austere since the church has been stripped of most of its furnishings. Not a surprising fact, considering that in the 19th century the Prussian authorities dissolved the Order of St Clare and turned the church into a warehouse, among other uses. Nonetheless, the church is worth visiting and inspecting. In particular, the original wooden polychrome ceiling dating from the 17th century draws the attention of every visitor.
Wyspa Młyńska (Mill Island) is among the most spectacular and atmospheric places in Bydgoszcz. What makes it unique is the location in the very heart of the city centre, just a few steps from the old Market Square. It was the 'industrial' centre of Bydgoszcz in the Middle Ages and for several hundred years thereafter, and it was here that the famous royal mint operated in the 17th century. Most of the buildings which can still be seen on the island date from the 19th century, but the so-called Biały Spichlerz (the White Granary) recalls the end of the 18th century. However, it is the water, footbridges, historic red-brick tenement houses reflected in the rivers, and the greenery, including old chestnut trees, that create the unique atmosphere of the island.
"Hotel pod Orłem" (Hotel Adler or The Eagle Hotel), an icon of the city's 19th-century architecture, was designed by the distinguished Bydgoszcz architect Józef Święcicki, the author of around sixty buildings in the city. Completed in 1896, it served as a hotel from the very beginning and was originally owned by Emil Bernhardt, a hotel manager educated in Switzerland. Its façade displays forms characteristic of the Neo-baroque style in architecture.
Saint Vincent de Paul's Basilica, erected between 1925 and 1939, is the largest church in Bydgoszcz and one of the biggest in Poland. It can accommodate around 12,000 people. This monumental church, modelled after the Pantheon in Rome, was designed by the Polish architect Adam Ballenstaedt. The most characteristic element of the neo-classical temple is the reinforced concrete dome 40 metres in diameter.
The three granaries in Grodzka Street, picturesquely located on the Brda River in the immediate vicinity of the old Market Square, are the official symbol of the city. Built at the turn of the 19th century, they were originally used to store grain and similar products, but now house exhibitions of the City's Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum.
The city is mostly associated with water, sports, Art Nouveau buildings, waterfront, music, and urban greenery. It is worth noting that Bydgoszcz boasts the largest city park in Poland (830 ha). The city was also once famous for its industry.
Unfortunately, some great monuments were destroyed, for example, the church in the Old Market Square and the Municipal Theatre. Additionally, the Old Town lost a few characteristic tenement houses, including the western frontage of the Market Square. The city also lost its Gothic castle and defensive walls. In Bydgoszcz, there is a great number of villas in the concept of garden suburbs.
In the city, there are 38 banks represented through a network of 116 branches (including the headquarters of the Postal Bank), whilst 37 insurance companies also have offices in the city. JP Morgan Chase, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, has established a branch in Bydgoszcz. Most industrial complexes are scattered throughout the city, however, the 'Zachem' chemical works deserve attention, covering tens of square kilometers in the south-east of the city, the remnants of the German explosives factory built in World War II occupy an area which has its own rail lines, internal communication, housing, and large forested area.
Since 2000, Bydgoszcz has been annually subjected to international 'verification' ratings. In February 2008 the Agency 'Fitch Ratings', recategorised the city, increasing its rating from BBB-(stable forecast) to BBB (stable estimate).
In 2004, Bydgoszcz launched an Industrial and Technology Park of 283 hectares, an attractive place for doing business as companies which relocate there receive tax breaks, 24-hour security, access to large plots of land and to the media, the railway line Chorzów Batory – Tczew (passenger, coal), the DK5 and DK10 national roads, and future freeways S10 and S5. Bydgoszcz Airport is also close by.
The city has, in recent years, become one of Poland's most important economic centres. This is especially true for the role the city plays in the economy of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, of which it is, along with Toruń, capital.
Bydgoszcz is a major cultural center in the country, especially for music. Traditions of the municipal theater date back to the 17th century, when the Jesuit college built a theater. In 1824, a permanent theater building was erected, and this was rebuilt in 1895 in a monumental form by the Berlin architect Heinrich Seeling. The first music school was established in Bydgoszcz in 1904; it had close links to the very well-known European piano factory of Bruno Sommerfeld. Numerous orchestras and choirs, both German (Gesangverein, Liedertafel) and Polish (St. Wojciech Halka, Moniuszko), have also made the city their home. Since 1974, Bydgoszcz has been home to a very prestigious Academy of Music. Bydgoszcz is also an important place for contemporary European culture; one of the most important European centers of jazz music, the Brain club, was founded in Bydgoszcz by Jacek Majewski and Slawomir Janicki.
Muzeum Okręgowe im. Leona Wyczółkowskiego (Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum) is a municipally-owned museum. Apart from a large collection of Leon Wyczółkowski's works, it houses permanent as well as temporary exhibitions of art. It is based in several buildings, including the old granaries on the Brda River and Mill Island and the remaining building of the Polish royal mint.
In Bydgoszcz the Pomeranian Military Museum specializes in documenting 19th- and 20th-century Polish military history, particularly the history of the Pomeranian Military District and several other units present in the area.
The city has many art galleries, two symphony orchestras and chamber[clarification needed] and choirs. Bydgoszcz's cultural facilities also include libraries, including the Provincial and Municipal Public Library with an extensive collection of volumes from the 15th to the 19th centuries, and old books from Germany.
Teatr Polski im Hieronima Konieczki (Hieronim Konieczka's Polish Theatre): Despite its name, the theatre offers a wide variety of shows both of national and foreign origin. It also regularly plays hosts to a large number of touring shows. Founded in 1949, since 2002 the theatre has taken part in the "Festiwal Prapremier" where the most renowned Polish theatres stage their latest premieres. There are also a number of private theatre companies operating in Bydgoszcz.
In the years 1960–1986 there was an outdoor theater, the reactivation of which is currently being pursued by the Theatre Culture Association, "Fides" and the Acting School A. Grzymala-Siedlecki.
The Pomeranian Philharmonic named after Ignacy Jan Paderewski has existed since 1953. The concert hall, which can hold 920 people is classified, in terms of sound, as one of the best in Europe, which is confirmed by well-known artists and critics (including J. Waldorff). Due to the phenomenon of acoustics, it attracts the interest of many famous artists. Bydgoszcz's stage has been frequented by many global celebrities, including Arthur Rubinstein, Benjamin Britten, Witold Malcuzynski, Luciano Pavarotti, Shlomo Mintz, Mischa Maisky, Kevin Kenner, Kurt Masur, Kazimierz Kord, Jerzy Maksymiuk and Antoni Wit. In recent years, the city has also hosted an excellent range of bands such as the BBC Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and others.
The Opera Nova, in existence since 1956, started the construction of a new building in 1974 which was to consist of three main halls, situated on the Brda. The Opera Nova has become a cultural showcase of Bydgoszcz in the world. Considering the short history of the Opera, its success has been astounding; a large number of famous opera singers have performed there and theatrical troops from the Wrocław Opera, Theater of Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk and Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon have also made appearances.
Bydgoszcz is one of the biggest railway junctions in Poland, with two important lines crossing there – the east-west connection from Toruń to Pila and the north-south line from Inowrocław to Gdańsk (see: Polish Coal Trunk-Line). There are also secondary-importance lines stemming from the city, to Szubin and to Chełmża. Among rail stations located in the city, there are:
Members of Polish Sejm 2007–2011 elected from Bydgoszcz constituency:
Members of Polish Senate 2007–2011 elected from Bydgoszcz constituency:
It is also said that Pan Twardowski spent some time in the city of Bydgoszcz, where, in his memory, a figure was recently mounted in a window of a tenement, overseeing the Old Town. At 1:13 p.m. and 9:13 p.m. the window opens and Pan Twardowski appears, to the accompaniment of weird music and devilish laughter. He takes a bow, waves his hand, and then disappears. This little show gathers crowds of amused spectators.
Main Library on the Old Market Square
Former headquarters of the
Prussian Eastern Railway
Bydgoszcz Cathedral's fascade
Birthplace of Marian Rejewski
Brda River in the city centre
Former DAG Fabrik Bromberg (built in Bydgoszcz during WWII)
Sluice gate on Bydgoszcz Canal
Statue of John of Nepomuk