|• Mayor||Janusz Żmurkiewicz|
|• Total||197.23 km2 (76.15 sq mi)|
|Elevation||5 m (16 ft)|
|• Density||210/km2 (550/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||72-600 to 72-612|
|Area code(s)||+48 091|
Świnoujście [ɕfʲinɔˈui̯ɕt͡ɕɛ] ( listen) (German: Swinemünde) is a city and seaport on the Baltic Sea and Szczecin Lagoon, located in the extreme north-west of Poland. It is situated mainly on the islands of Usedom and Wolin, but also occupies smaller islands, of which the largest is Karsibór island, once part of Usedom, now separated by the Piast Canal (formerly the Kaiserfahrt) dug in the late 19th century to facilitate ship access to Szczecin (Stettin).
Since 1999, Świnoujście has been a city with the administrative rights of a county (powiat) (Polish: miasto na prawach powiatu), within West Pomeranian Voivodeship. It was previously part of Szczecin Voivodeship (1975–1998). The city lies in the geographic region of Pomerania and had a population of 41,516 in 2012. Świnoujście is one of the most important areas of the Szczecin metropolitan region.
The first human settlements, in areas that are now Świnoujście appeared five thousand years ago, as confirmed by archaeological findings. For a thousand years the estuary of the river was part of the state of the Świnoujście who were annexed by Polish ruler Mieszko I. In later centuries local Pomeranian princes ruled the area, and on both sides of the river they built fortified castles, which were destroyed several times by the Danish invasions in the twelfth century in 1170 and 1173.
During the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) the city became part of Sweden.
The river Świna (German: Swine) was formerly flanked by the fishing villages of Westswine and Ostswine. Towards the beginning of the 17th century it was made navigable for large ships. The Kingdom of Prussia gained the area in 1720 from Sweden, and included it in her Pomeranian province. Swinemünde was founded on the site of Westswine in 1748, fortified, and received town privileges from King Frederick II of Prussia in 1765. It served as the outer port of Stettin (Szczecin) and was administered within the Province of Pomerania. Swinemünde became part of the German Empire after the Kingdom of Prussia completed the unification of Germany in 1871.
The town had broad unpaved streets and one-story houses built in the Dutch style, which gave it an almost rustic appearance, although its industries, beyond some fishing, were entirely connected with its shipping. The river mouth, which was the entrance to the harbor, and which was regarded as the best on the Prussian Baltic coast, was then protected by two curving long breakwaters, and was strongly fortified. On the island of Wollin, on the other side of the narrow Świna, a great lighthouse was erected. In 1897 the canal of the Kaiserfahrt was opened to navigation, and this waterway between the Stettin harbour and the Baltic Sea was deepened between 1900–01. From then on Stettin could be reached directly by ships, and Swinemünde's importance diminished somewhat.
On 12 March 1945 during World War II, refugee-crowded Swinemünde suffered heavy destruction by the USAAF, an estimated 5,000 to 23,000 were killed, most of whom are buried on the Golm War Cemetery west of the town, on the German side of the border. The unfinished German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was scuttled in the harbor in an attempt to prevent its capture by the advancing Red Army (it was nevertheless refloated by the Soviets later). After the German forces defending the city were evacuated Soviet forces occupied the city on the night of 4–5 May 1945. The city was placed under Polish administration on 6 October 1945 and since then has remained part of Poland, which was officially affirmed by both countries in 1990 after the fall of the Iron Curtain. After the war ended it was officially renamed Świnoujście. Its German population was expelled and replaced with Poles, themselves refugees from territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union. In the winter of 1945, former victims of German concentration camps and repressions during the war, now members of the Polish Security Forces, acted in revenge against local Germans and killed 40 civilians. They were later sentenced for robbery by a Polish court. The Soviet military occupied part of the city until 1957 and the navy harbour until the early 1990s.
Świnoujscie is situated in the oceanic climate, which is characterized by mild winters and relatively cool summers. Very large influence on the climate of the city is the location of the Baltic Sea. Świnoujscie often in winter is the warmest city in Poland.
|Climate data for Świnoujście|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.5
|Average high °C (°F)||3.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−22.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||33
|Avg. precipitation days||17||14||16||12||13||15||16||15||13||16||17||16||180|
|Average relative humidity (%)||92||90||86||79||80||82||84||85||86||90||91||91||86|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||38||55||92||147||206||234||223||211||147||96||44||31||1,524|
|Source #1: www.imigw.pl|
|Source #2: http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xchg/gus|
- 1875: 7,977
- 1880: 8,478
- 1890: 8,508
- 1900: 10,300
- 1925: 18,352
- 1933: 20,514
- 1939: 26,593
- 1947: 5,800
- 1960: 17,000
- 1970: 28,100
- 1975: 42,400 (included Międzyzdroje)
- 1980: 47,100
- 1990: 43,300 (disconnected Międzyzdroje)
- 1995: 43,361
- 2000 - 43 697
- 2001 - 43 351
- 2002 - 41 542
- 2003: 41,188
- 2004: 41,098
- 2005: 40,993
- 2006: 41,100
- 2007 - 40 871
- 2008 - 40 829
- 2009 - 40 765
- 2010 - 40 759
- 2012 - 41 516
The town is located on both banks of the river Świna, and since there is no road connection across it, transport is provided by regular ferries. Because the west section is otherwise wholly disconnected from the rest of Poland, this service is free of charge. Under current plans, a tunnel will be built under the river, but no money has been allocated for its construction as of mid-2011, so there is no chance for it to be completed before 2015.
Świnoujście has the largest and most modern ferry terminal in Poland, with regular connections to Denmark and Sweden. The city lies at the northern terminus of Polish National Route 3 (DK3, in the future express road S3), which is in turn part of the European route E65 running across Europe from Sweden to Greece. Świnoujście has four railway stations on the eastern bank of the Świna, on Wolin island, with regular regional connections to Szczecin and long-distance connections to other cities in Poland.
Land border controls were abolished 21 December 2007, and free automobile traffic to and from Germany was allowed for the first time since 1945 (when it was part of German territory), as Poland implemented the Schengen Agreement. From 20 September 2008 the city has a railway connection to its western portion as well, when the railway line to Ahlbeck was extended eastward to Świnoujście ("Świnoujście Centrum") giving it a direct link to the German railway network. The nearest airport at Heringsdorf in Germany, 13 kilometres (8 miles) west of Świnoujście, will likely become more important for travelling to the city, if it ever acquires year-round scheduled passenger connections; it currently has a number of summer connections to German cities only. The nearest airport with year-round traffic is the Szczecin-Goleniów "Solidarność" Airport, 80 km (50 mi) to the southeast in Poland.
- The former town hall houses the Museum of Deep Sea Fishing. Exhibits include the history of sea fishing, sea animals, the town and its region, and old navigation equipment.
- The Angel's Fort, built from 1845–1858, is a replica of Hadrian's Mausoleum (Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome).
- Concerts and art exhibitions are held at the Western Fort. Built between 1843–1863, it has been modernized a few times in the past. From after World War II until 1962 it was a headquarters of the Red Army.
- The 18th Christ the King Church in the centre of the town was erected on the site of a Gothic temple. A wooden ship replica is in the main nave. Organ concerts are presented during the summer.
- The neo-Gothic church of the Holy Mother "Stella Maris" has stained glass windows of great artistic value. It was erected at the end of 19th century.
- The "well" is a preserved tower of a Protestant church damaged during World War II and demolished afterwards.
- A shelter built in 1942 has the exposition "The town yesterday and now", presenting pictures of the town's history and other exhibits.
- The stawa Młyny is a navigation beacon built in the form of a windmill on the 19th century breakwater.
- The lighthouse, built in 1858, is at 68 m the highest lighthouse on the Baltic sea.
- The Eastern Fort, or Gerhard's Fort, is one of three preserved forts from the 19th century. An exhibition inside the building presents the history of the town's forts, as well as objects found there.
- The district of Karsibór contains an Evangelical cemetery established in the first half of 19th century.
- The Gothic church from the 15th century contains an altar from the 15th century and a pulpit from the 17th century.
- A monument honours the memory of Royal Air Force pilots shot down while raiding the town in April 1945.
- Karsiborska Kępa, an island near the town, contains a bird sanctuary with approximately 140 species.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Świnoujście is twinned with:
- Heringsdorf, Germany since 2007
- Nordenham, Germany since 1992
- Ostvorpommern, Germany since 1998
- Svetly, Russia since 1993
- Ystad, Sweden since 1990
Districts of Świnoujście
- Flota Świnoujście - plays in the second division of the Polish football league, Polish First League
- Prawobrzeże Świnoujście - plays in B-Klasa. (7 League)
- Alfred Ploetz (1860–1940)
- Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927), artist
- Christel Peters (1916–2009), actress
- Jürgen Harder (1918–1945), Luftwaffe pilot
- Hans-Werner Grosse (born 1922), Luftwaffe pilot
- Gisela Stein (1935–2009), actress
- Hans Jürgen Todt (born 1937), German modern pentathlete
Cities and towns near Świnoujście
- Szczecin (Poland)
- Międzyzdroje (Poland)
- Kamień Pomorski (Poland)
- Nowe Warpno (Poland)
- Ueckermünde (Germany)
- Ahlbeck (Germany)
- Torsten Mehlhase, Flüchtlinge und Vertriebene nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in Sachsen-Anhalt: ihre Aufnahme und Bestrebungen zur Eingliederung in die Gesellschaft, LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 1999, p.256, ISBN 3-8258-4278-9: 70,000 refugees in Swinemünde on 12 March 1945
- Hanno Ballhausen, Friedemann Bedürftig, Chronik des Zweiten Weltkriegs, wissenmedia Verlag, 2004, p.300, ISBN 3-577-14367-3: 100,000 people in Swinemünde on 12 March 1945 (refugees+locals)
- Helmut Schnatz, Der Luftangriff auf Swinemünde. Dokumentation einer Tragödie, Herbig 2005, ISBN 3-7766-2393-4
- Christoph Kucklick, Feuersturm. Bombenkrieg gegen Deutschland, Ellert & Richter 2003, ISBN 3-8319-0134-1
- Adam Zadworny,They Were Killing Germans in Revenge, 18 January 2008
- "Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Pommern, Kreis Usedom". Verwaltungsgeschichte.de. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Rocznik Statystyczny 1981, Główny Urząd Statystyczny, Warszawa 1981.
- Official website of Świnoujście: O mieście -> Świnoujście w liczbach (Polish)
- Nie ma pieniędzy na tunel. Może dadzą chociaż 10 mln
- Official website of Świnoujście (English) (Polish) (German)
- Tourist Information for Swinemünde (German) (Polish)
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