Gorzow Wielkopolski serves as a significant river port and road connection between northern and southern Poland, and between Poland and Germany. It is a scenic city, built on seven hills and it forms a perfect starting point to explore the surrounding rivers, lakes and woodlands. Located not far from Gorzow is Europe’s biggest bat colony as well as a reserve for wildfowl. Within the boundaries of the city itself, one can visit a large number of valuable monuments and other places of interest – both historic and contemporary.
A city with a rich history, Gorzow Wielkopolski has numerous interesting places for the leisurely visitor. Above the old town rises the 14th-century gothic Cathedral of Assumption, completed in several phases starting from the 13th century. Its tower is a later addition, dating from the 14th century. You can also find some superb houses built in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries still standing in the city.
On display in the Jan Dekert Lubuskie Museum are works of tinware; however, it is the arboretum surrounding the museum that really deserves a visit. Walking along the paths of this beautiful garden it is impossible not to appreciate the richness of the fauna, particularly the large variety of unique trees to be found there.
Another interesting museum you may enjoy in Gorzow is the Museum of Ancient Art, only a few steps away from the neo-Romanesque Church of St. Stanislaw dating from the 18th century.
After touring the Museum of Santok City, with its range of archaeological exhibits, why not climb to the top of the watchtower for a marvellous view of the city and its surroundings?
Interestingly, Gorzow has earned itself a reputation as the greenest city in the region, with a total of 12 parks covering some 128 hectares. Their intersecting paths are ideal for strolling along and contemplating the loveliness of the area.
The largest city and one of the two capital cities of the Lubuskie Voivodship of western Poland (together with Zielona Gora), Gorzow Wielkopolski is a city of the Warta River, a tributary of the country’s second longest river, the Odra. Gorzow is located in the centre of a region that has long been known as the green lungs of Poland, and only 35 km from the border with Germany (130 km from Berlin). Consisting of a little more than 125,000 inhabitants, it covers an area of 86 km2.
Due to its geographical position at the crossroads between Szczecin, Poznan, Zielona Gora and Western Europe, Gorzow Wielkopolski is recognised as a busy commercial and transportation centre. In addition, the city has industries manufacturing synthetic textiles as well as well as many food products.
On 2 July 1257 a document was signed by Johann I of the Askan Dynasty, duly authorising Albrecht de Luge to establish a town called Landsberg. Its location was the area of Kasztelania Santocka, destined to be a part of the dowry of Constance, daughter of Przemyslaw 1st (the Prince of Wielkopolska), who married Konrad (Brandenburger Margrave). Gorzow was one of the first towns situated on the Lower Warta, at the mouth of the river Klodawa (Klodawka).
With a network of water and land transport, it was not long before the town became a significant trade and manufacturing centre. Landsberg’s location had both advantages and disadvantages: whilst the rivers exerted a beneficial effect on the town’s well-being, they also caused frequent major floods. Throughout its 700-year-long history Landsberg was many times afflicted by fire and wars, and its population often thinned by plagues. Other misfortunes include the onslaught of the Hittites in 1433 and the Swedish occupation during the 17th century. Moreover, the town was forced to maintain the Russian army during the period of the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and to give donations to Napoleon’s army.
The years between the People’s Spring and World War I marked one of the most flourishing and calm periods for Landsberg. As it grew larger, its medieval walls were found to be too narrow, and new manufacturing bases and housing were developed beyond them. There were only short intervals between the advent of steam navigation and the opening of the new road and rail connections to other municipalities, further strengthening the town’s prosperity. Landsberg soon earned recognition as being an economically stable town and, interestingly enough, one of beautiful parks and gardens too.
Unfortunately, World War II caused a lot of misery and damage to the town. When the German garrison was withdrawn from Gorzow they destroyed two of the bridges, and then the Old Town was set on fire by the Russian Army.
The city was controlled by Germany up to the end of World War II. It was only during the 1945 post-war border settlements that it was granted to Poland. On 30 January 1945 Landsberg was renamed Gorzow in Polish, an event which spurred rapid growth. Already by the mid-1950s, the town’s population had reached 50,000 residents, greater than ever before. The late 1960s saw Gorzow’s second period of post-war expansion, developing it into the medium sized city it is today.