Szczecin (Stettin [[Help:IPA|[ʃtɛˈtin]]] ; [[Help:IPA|[ʂtɛˈtənɔ]]]; Stetinum) is the capital city of West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. It is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. As of the 2005 census the city had a total population of 420,638, but in 2007 407,811.

Szczecin is located on the Oder River, south of the Lagoon of Szczecin and the Bay of Pomerania. The city is situated along the southwestern shore of Dąbie Lake, on both sides of Oder and on several large islands between western and eastern branch of the river. Szczecin borders with Police - a district town situated at an estuary of the Oder River.

The city is on the European Route of Brick Gothic.

Origins of the name

The most likely origin of the name is considered to be the Polish words Szczyt or Szczeć-the first being the name of a hill peak, the second being a description of grass In Latin, the city is known as Stetinum. Early medieval sources show: Stetin 1133, Stetyn 1188, Priznoborus vir nobilis in Stetin, Symon nobilis Stettinensis 1234, in vico Stetin 1240, Barnim Dei gratia dux Pomeranorum... civitati nostri Stetin 1243, Stityn 1251, Sigillum Burgoncium de Stitin municipal seal of the 13th century.

Because Wartislaw IV, Duke of Pomerania founded the city of Neustettin (literally "New Stettin", now Szczecinek) in 1310, the original Szczecin was sometimes called "Old Szczecin" (Stary Szczecin; Altes Stettin).


Historical and cultural milieu of the city spanning a thousand years have been shared by more than one nationality. The history of Szczecin began at the turn of the 7th and 8th centuries with a Slavic settlement on today's Castle Hill growing into a fortified borough in the 8th century at the ford of Oder River. Prince Mieszko I of Poland took control over the region in the years 967–972. Around 1005 a Pomeranian pagan rebellion took place. In approximately 1080 the area was again incorporated into the holdings of Piast dynasty.

After the decline of Wolin in the 12th century, Szczecin became one of the more important and powerful seaports of the Baltic Sea south coasts, with population of some 5,000 inhabitants. In 1121–1122 the city came under the influence of Boleslaus III of Poland who invited the Catholic bishop Otto of Bamberg to baptize its citizens. The Christianization mission was carried out in 1124. This second period of Polish feudal sovereignty over the Western Pomerania and Szczecin lasted 60 years (1121-1181). Wartislaw I, Duke of Pomerania is recorded to be the local duke. Wartislaw managed to expand his duchy westward, thereby forming the territorial body of the later Duchy of Pomerania, and organized the second visit of Otto in 1128. At this time the first Christian church of St. Peter and Paul was erected. The duchy was for the centuries being ruled by the Griffins dynasty (House of Pomerania), of which Wartislaw I is the first definite ancestor. Stettin was made the capital of the duchy and did not lose this status even during the partitions of Pomerania, when Pomerania-Stettin comprised large portions of the duchy and always was seat of Pomeranian dukes. As a result, Stettin was chosen to stay capital even in the Prussian Province of Pomerania set up after the 1637 death of the last Pomeranian duke.

In the second half of the 12th century, a group of German tradesmen (from various parts of the Holy Roman Empire) settled in the city around St. Jacob's Church, which was founded by Beringer, a trader from Bamberg, and consecrated in 1187. After the 1164 Verchen battle, Stettin dukes joined in to Saxony and in 1181 Stettin became part of the Holy Roman Empire. For centuries the dukes invited West and Central German settlers to colonize Pomeranian wastelands and to found towns and villages (see Ostsiedlung). Duke Barnim of Pomerania granted a local government charter to this community in 1237, separating the Germans from the Slavic majority community settled around the St. Nicholas Church (in the neighborhoods of Chyzin, Uber-Wiken, and Unter-Wiken). Barnim granted Stettin Magdeburg rights in 1243. Around that time the major ethnic group of the city had become German, while the Slavic population decreased.

Stettin joined the Hanseatic League in 1278. By the 1630s the city and surrounding area that hadn't been already German had become completely Germanized.

After the extinction of the Griffits dynasty, Stettin, along with the rest of Western Pomerania, was granted to Sweden at the Peace of Westphalia (1648), despite the protests of Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg, who had a legal claim to inherit all of Pomerania. In 1720 after the Great Northern War, the Swedes were forced to cede the city to King Frederick William I of Prussia. Stettin developed into a major Prussian city and became part of the Prussian-led German Empire in 1871. In 1939 Stettin had about 400,000 inhabitants. It was Germany's third-biggest seaport (after Hamburg and Bremen) and was of great importance for the supply and trade of Berlin. Cars of the Stoewer automobile company were produced in Stettin from 1899 - 1945.

In 1935 the German Wehrmacht made Stettin the headquarters for Wehrkreis II, which controlled the military units in all of Mecklenburg and Pomerania. It was also the Area Headquarters for units stationed at Stettin I and II; Swinemünde; Greifswald; and Stralsund. During the 1939 invasion of Poland, which started World War II in Europe, Stettin was the base for the German 2nd Motorized Infantry Division, which cut across the Polish Corridor. Allied air raids in 1944 and heavy fighting between the German and Soviet armies destroyed 65% of Stettin's buildings and almost all of the city centre, seaport and industries.

The Soviet Red Army captured the city on April 26, 1945. Many of the city's inhabitants fled before its capture, and Stettin was virtually deserted when it fell. In the following month the city was handed over to Polish administration three times, permanently on July 5, 1945. In the meantime part of the German population had returned, believing it might become part of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany. Stettin is located mostly west of the Oder-Neisse line, which was to be Poland's new border according to the Potsdam Conference. However, most of Pomerania, including all of Stettin and the mouth of the Oder River, was awarded to Poland.

The Polish authorities were led by Piotr Zaremba. Many of the remaining Germans were forced to work in Soviet military camps that were outside of Polish jurisdiction. In the early 1950s, most of Stettin's Germans were expelled from the city, although there was a significant German minority for the next 10 years.

In 1945 the Polish community in Stettin consisted of a few citizens from the pre-war population as well as forced laborers from the General government. The city's German population was expelled and Stettin was resettled with Poles, many of whom came from around Poznań and Bydgoszcz, where their homes had been destroyed under the German occupation and the fighting during the East Prussian Offensive. Additional Poles were moved to the city from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. This settlement process was coordinated by the city of Poznań, and Stettin's name was changed to the Polish name Szczecin. In 1947, after Operation Vistula, a significant number of Ukrainians came to Szczecin, having been forced by the Communist government to leave eastern Poland.

The new citizens of Szczecin rebuilt and extended the city's industry and industrial areas, as well as its cultural heritage, although efforts were hampered by the authorities of Communist Poland. Szczecin became a major industrial centre for Poland, as well as an important seaport for Poland (especially for Silesian coal), Czechoslovakia, and East Germany. The city witnessed anti-communist revolts in 1970 and 1980 and participated in the growth of the Solidarity movement during the 1980s. Since 1999 Szczecin has been the capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship.

Architecture and urban planning

Szczecin's architectural style is mainly influenced by those of the last half of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century: Academic art and Art Nouveau. In many areas built after 1945, especially in the city centre, which had been destroyed due to Allied bombing, social realism is prevalent.

Urban planning of Szczecin is unusual. The first thing observed by a newcomer is abundance of green areas: parks and avenues – wide streets with trees planted in the island separating opposite traffic (where often tram tracks are laid); and roundabouts. This makes Szczecin's city project quite similar to that of Paris. The reason is, Szczecin (like Paris) was rebuilt in the 1880s using a design by Georges-Eugène Haussmann.

This course of designing streets in Szczecin is still used, as many recently built (or modified) city areas include roundabouts and avenues.

Within Szczecin's boundaries is part of the protected area called Szczecin Landscape Park in the forest of Puszcza Bukowa.

Szczecin harbour and Oder River panorama

Municipal administration

The city is administratively divided into boroughs (Polish: dzielnica), which are further divided into smaller neighbourhoods. The governing bodies of the latter serve the role of auxiliary local government bodies called Neighborhood Councils (Polish: Rady Osiedla). Elections for Neighborhood Councils are held up to six months after each City Council elections. Attendance is rather low (on May 20 2007 it ranged from 1.03% to 27.75% and was 3.78% on average). Councillors are responsible mostly for small infrastructure like trees, park benches, playgrounds, etc. Other functions are mostly advisory. Official list of districts

Dzielnica Śródmieście (City Centre) Centrum, Drzetowo-Grabowo, Łękno, Międzyodrze-Wyspa Pucka, Niebuszewo-Bolinko, Nowe Miasto, Stare Miasto, Śródmieście Północ, Śródmieście-Zachód, Turzyn.

Dzielnica Północ (North) Bukowo, Golęcino-Gocław, Niebuszewo, Skolwin, Stołczyn, Warszewo, Żelechowa.

Dzielnica Zachód (West) Głębokie-Pilchowo, Gumieńce, Krzekowo-Bezrzecze, os.Arkońskie-Niemierzyn, Osów, Pogodno, Pomorzany, Świerczewo, os.Zawadzkiego-Klonowica.

Dzielnica Prawobrzeże (Right-Bank) Bukowe-Klęskowo, Dąbie, Majowe-Kijewo, Płonia-Śmierdnica-Jezierzyce, Podjuchy, os.Słoneczne, Wielgowo-Sławociesze, Załom, Zdroje, Żydowce-Klucz.

Other historical neigbourhoods

Babin, Barnucin, Basen Górniczy, Błędów, Boleszyce, Bystrzyk, Cieszyce, Cieśnik, Dolina, Drzetowo, Dunikowo, Glinki, Grabowo, Jezierzyce, Kaliny, Kępa Barnicka, Kijewko, Kluczewko, Kłobucko, Kniewo, Kraśnica, Krzekoszów, Lotnisko, Łasztownia, Niemierzyn, Odolany, Oleszna, Podbórz, Port, os.Przyjaźni, Rogatka, Rudnik, Sienna, Skoki, Słowieńsko, Sosnówko, Starków, Stoki, Struga, Śmierdnica, os.Świerczewskie, Trzebusz, Urok, Widok, Zdunowo.

Historical population

  • 12th century: 5,000 inhabitants
  • 1720: 6,000 inhabitants
  • 1740: 12,300 inhabitants
  • 1816: 21,500 inhabitants
  • 1843: 37,100 inhabitants
  • 1861: 58,500 inhabitants
  • 1872: 76,000 inhabitants
  • 1890: 116,228 inhabitants
  • 1900: 210,680 inhavitants (including annexed suburbs)
  • 1910: 236,113 inhabitants
  • 1939: 382,000 inhabitants
  • 1945: 260,000 inhabitants (German population largely expelled, plus war losses.)
  • 1950: 180,000 inhabitants (drop due to continuing expulsions of Germans)
  • 1960: 269,400 inhabitants (settling of Poles)
  • 1970: 338,000 inhabitants
  • 1975: 369,700 inhabitants
  • 1980: 388,300 inhabitants
  • 1990: 412.600 inhabitants
  • 1995: 418.156 inhabitants
  • 2000: 415,748 inhabitants
  • 2002: 415,117 inhabitants
  • 2003: 414,032 inhabitants
  • 2004: 411,900 inhabitants
  • 2005: 411,119 inhabitants
  • 2007: 407,811 inhabitants

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) from Szczecin


Szczecin has three shipyards (Stocznia Remontowa Gryfia, Stocznia Pomerania, Stocznia Szczecińska), of which one is the biggest in Poland (Stocznia Szczecińska, which five years ago went bankrupt and was reinstated. It has a fishing industry and a steel mill. It is served by Szczecin-Goleniów "Solidarność" Airport and by the Port of Szczecin, third biggest port of Poland. It is also home to several major companies. Among them is the major food producer Drobimex, Polish Steamship Company, producer of construction materials Komfort, Bosman brewery and Cefarm drug factory. It also houses several of the new business firms of the IT branch.


There is a popular public transit system operating throughout Szczecin including a bus network and electric trams.


Major cultural events in Szczecin are:

  • Days of the Sea (Polish Dni Morza) held every June.
  • Street Artists' Festival (Polish Festiwal Artystów Ulicy) held every July.
  • Days of The Ukrainian Culture (Polish Dni Kultury Ukraińskiej) held every May.
  • Air show on Dabie airport held every May.


  • National Museum in Szczecin (Polish Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie) collects arts, old jewelry, military equipment. It has three branches:
    • Museum of the City of Szczecin (Polish Muzeum Miasta Szczecina).
    • Maritime Museum (Polish Muzeum Morskie).
    • Gallery of Contemporary Arts (Polish Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej).
  • Museum of the Szczecin Archidiocese (Polish Muzeum Archidiecezjalne w Szczecinie) collects sacral arts and historical documents.
    • EUREKA - the miracles of science. EUREKA

Arts and entertainment

  • Bismarck tower Szczecin
  • Kana Theatre (Polish Teatr Kana)
  • Modern Theatre (Polish Teatr Współczesny)
  • Opera in the Castle (Polish Opera na Zamku)
  • Polish Theatre (Polish Teatr Polski)
  • (ruins of) The Quistorp's Tower (Polish Wieża Quistorpa, German Quistorpturm)
  • The Pomeranian Dukes' Castle in Szczecin (Polish Zamek Książąt Pomorskich w Szczecinie)
  • The Castle Cinema (Polish Kino Zamek)
  • The Cellar by the Vault Cabaret (Polish Kabaret Piwnica przy Krypcie)
  • The Crypt Theatre (Polish Teatr Krypta)

Education and science

Scientific and regional organizations


There are many popular professional sports team in Szczecin area. The most popular sport today is probably football (thanks to Pogoń Szczecin just promoted to play in the 1st league in season 2004/2005). Amateur sports are played by thousands of Szczecin citizens and also in schools of all levels (elementary, secondary, university).

Professional teams:

Amateur leagues

Twinning cities

The sister cities of Szczecin are:

Famous residents

Before 1945

After 1945


See also


  • W. H. Meyer, Stettin in alter und neuer Zeit (Stettin, 1887)
  • Jan M. Piskorski, Bogdan Wachowiak, Edward Włodarczyk: A short history of Szczecin, Poznań 2002, ISBN 83-7063-332-3.

External links

Internet guides

Regional media

History and culture

Economy and transportation

Education and Science


Local Businesses


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