Gorzów Wielkopolski

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Gorzów Wielkopolski
Sights of Gorzów Wielkopolski
Sights of Gorzów Wielkopolski
Flag of Gorzów Wielkopolski
Flag
Coat of arms of Gorzów Wielkopolski
Coat of arms
Motto: Miasto wielu możliwości
City of many opportunities
Gorzów Wielkopolski is located in Poland
Gorzów Wielkopolski
Gorzów Wielkopolski
Coordinates: 52°44′N 15°15′E / 52.733°N 15.250°E / 52.733; 15.250
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Lubusz
County city county
Established 13th century
Town rights 1257
Government
 • Mayor Tadeusz Jędrzejczak
Area
 • Total 85.72 km2 (33.10 sq mi)
Elevation 19 m (62 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 124,470
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 66-400 to 66-414
Area code(s) +48 095
Car plates FG
Website www.gorzow.pl

Gorzów Wielkopolski [ˈɡɔʐuf vʲɛlkɔˈpɔlskʲi] ( ) (abbreviated Gorzów Wlkp.; German: Landsberg an der Warthe; Kashubian: Łącbarg) is a city in western Poland, on the Warta river. It is the biggest city in the Lubusz Voivodeship with 125,149 inhabitants (June 2009) and one of its two capitals with a seat of a Voivodeship governor (the other is Zielona Góra). Previously it was the capital of the Gorzów Voivodeship (1975–1998).

Gorzów is famous for its fine sportsmen, including Olympic and world champions and national representatives. In recent years the city has been known for a former Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, who comes from Gorzów Wielkopolski. Around Gorzów there are two large forest areas: Gorzów Woods to the north, where the Barlinek-Gorzów Landscape Park is situated, and Noteć Woods to the southeast. The biggest oil fields in Poland are located near Gorzów.

The Spichlerz (City Granary)

Etymology[edit]

The Polish name Gorzów, written as Gorzew, is known from Polish maps and historical books dating back to 19th century or perhaps earlier.[1]

It appeared in a compendium called Ancient Poland according to its history, geography and statistics published in 1848 by Samuel Orgelbrand in Warsaw. Ten years earlier, in 1838, the same name Gorzew was used in a book published in Paris with a corresponding yet broader title encompassing all of Poland.[2]

The current spelling of "Gorzów" appears on the map featuring "Królestwo Polskie" published in Lwow in 1900 with "Landsberg an der Warthe" in parenthesis next to "Gorzów". The name is interpreted in several different ways according to rules of the old Polish language, originating from "gorzenie" or "pogorzelcy" (meaning: conflagration), or even "gorzelnia" or "gorzałka" meaning brewery.

The German name Landsberg an der Warthe derives from the German words land or 'state' and berg or 'mountain' combined with Warthe – the German name for the river Warta.

In Polish, it was the name 'Gorzów' which eventually stuck, beating the alternative postwar name "Kobylagóra", or 'Mare Mountain', which survives today as the name of a street in the city. The word Wielkopolski or 'Great Poland', after the voivodeship of that name of which Gorzów was a part from 1946–1950, was added later. However, Gorzow itself is not a part of the historical region of Greater Poland.

History[edit]

Until the mid-13th century, the land where the river Kłodawka meets the Warta was the location of a defensive fort established by the Polish Piast dynasty.[3] In 1249 the Silesian Duke Bolesław II Rogatka had sold Lubusz Land in the west to the Ascanian Margraves of Brandenburg, and the city of Landisberch Nova (named after Altlandsberg) was founded on the site in 1257. The city was at that time an eastern outpost of the newly established Neumark region of Brandenburg, close to the Greater Polish fortress of Santok. In 1325 Polish, in 1432 Hussite troops beleaguered the city. In the 16th century the city became Lutheran, with St. Mary's Cathedral changing its allegiance in 1537.

In 1701 Landsberg (Gorzów) - like all of Brandenburg - became ruled in personal union with the Kingdom of Prussia. On 4 February 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars the Russian Ataman Aleksandr Chernichev and his Cossack troops defeated a French battalion of 1,500 men of Louis-Nicolas Davout's corps. In 1815 - in the course of an administrative restructuring - Landsberg became part of Prussia's Province of Brandenburg. The city, like all of Prussia, was included in the German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany. Between 1249 and 1945 Landsberg became thoroughly German in population (amounting to 33,598 in 1900), mostly of Protestants (as of 1537, Lutheran until 1817, united since 1817) with sizeable minorities of Catholic (1,785) and German Jews (568) in the early 20th century.[4]

Lubusz Museum
Stamp of Prussia, 1SGr, cancelled at LANDSBERG an der Warthe (Brandenburg) in 1866
Bolesław Chrobry Street
Ul. Hawelańska
Park 111 shopping centre
Park Wiosny Ludów
Spartherm office building (due for completion in 2010)
Warta embankment by night
Staromiejski (Old Town) Bridge
Christ the King church tower
MAN in service

In early 1945 during World War II Landsberg was heavily damaged following the retreat of the Wehrmacht ahead of the Soviet Red Army. The Red Army arrived in the city on 30 January 1945, approaching from the left bank of the river Warta. The Wehrmacht had already evacuated most of the city, and the advancing forces met very little resistance. Over the course of the next few days, most of the city centre was destroyed, reportedly through the accidental spread of a fire started in order to light the outward march of the Red Army towards Küstrin.

The city was annexed by Poland in accordance with the provisions of the post-war Potsdam Conference, and most of the remaining German population was expelled. The last original inhabitants were forced to leave the city in the early 1950s. Between February and September 1945, the original population of the city was gradually replaced by Poles from central parts of Poland and those expelled from Polish territory annexed by the Soviet Union (also known as Kresy). It was at this time that Gorzów's significant Tatar and Romani communities arrived.

Main attractions[edit]

Although the centre of Gorzów was heavily damaged during the Second World War, there are still many notable tourist attractions in the city. The largest of these is the Gothic, red-brick Gorzów Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, dating from the end of the 1200s, situated on the old market square. The city centre is overwhelmingly occupied by Communist-era buildings, although many have been beautified, most notably those around the old market square. Many of the façades of the buildings in the centre were renovated in anticipation of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Gorzów in 1997. Due to the large number of parks and green spaces, Gorzów has been termed 'the city of parks and gardens'. In addition to the central Park of Roses, there is also a viewing area on the hilltop of Siemiradzki Park which commands impressive views across the plains and woods to the south of the city.

The city also contains the museum of Lubusz Voivodeship, which is divided between two sites. The Spichlerz or 'granary' dates from the 1700s and can be found on the left bank of the Warta. The museum, housed inside, frequently plays host to art exhibitions and has a permanent collection of artifacts and photographs relating to the history of the city. The other part of the museum, on Warszawska street, is housed in the secessionist villa of Gustav Schroeder. This section contains a wide range of artifacts, ranging from portraits of the 1600s, to weapons, pottery, and the biedermeier interior furnishings of the villa itself.

The Old Town was almost completely destroyed, but the New Town (1800s) has survived in good condition as a complex of hundreds of buildings and is in the Heritage Register. For the past few years, historical tenements have been successfully undergoing renovation.

The Jewish cemetery of Gorzów is on the western edge of the city. The cemetery was vandalised in the 1930s, but a number of graves still remain intact.

Economy[edit]

Gorzów is an economic centre of the region with almost 18,000 registered businesses (2008), the unemployment rate is 7,6%(December 2009). The City of Gorzów has received an air Play Commune-Certified Investment Location award in big cities classification. The city has a good shopping and services infrastructure. There are numerous petrol stations, branches of all major banks and insurance companies as well as car dealers.

Major shopping malls in the city are Galeria Askana, Panorama, Park 111, there are two Tesco hypermarkets and many discount and department stores and retailers.

Landsberg an der Warthe before the World War II was a very well developed and industrialized city. The most notable entrepreneurs included industralists Max Bahr and Herman Paucksch. After the War and Red Army liberation the city suffered from heavy losses especially in machinery which was stolen by the Soviets. In the postwar time Gorzów saw a fast economic development and new industries were founded like Stilon (chemical fibres), Silwana (fabrics) and Ursus (tractors) who remained major employers up to the mid-1990s. After Leszek Balcerowicz's free market reforms former state-owned companies either went bankrupt or had severe financial problems that resulted in radical employment and production reduction. In the 1990s and 2000s the city saw a new economic age. While public giants were collapsing new private companies were established. Currently the biggest employer in the city is Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze Sp. z o.o. (previously Volkswagen Elektro-Systemy Sp. z o.o.), car wiring systems. The then German company established in Gorzów in 1993 (taken over by Japanese Sumitomo Electric in 2006), it operates in Stilon industrial estate. Gorzów Heat and Power Plant (Elektrociepłownia Gorzów) is a modern company with over 300 staff and it holds an award of Fair Play Company. One of the most distinguished employers is Biowet Vetoquinol which has over 100 years of experience in veterinary medicines and chemistry. manufacturing. Gorzów is a Polish headquarters of Spartherm Feuerungstechnik GmbH. A recent economic development of the city was boosted by creation of Kostrzyn-Słubice Special Economic Zone and its Subzone Gorzów. At present there are two significant employers in the Subzone: Faurecia and TPV Displays and many other smaller companies operating there.

Development[edit]

Current investments[edit]

  • Askana shopping center (2009)
  • Gorzów Philharmonic (due for completion in 2011)
  • Amphitheatre renovation in Siemiradzki Park
  • Eastern Embankment (due for completion in 2010)
  • Gorzów Plaza shopping center
  • Spartherm office building (due for completion in 2010)
  • MediRaj medical center (due for completion in 2010)
  • Nova Park (2012)

Planned investments[edit]

  • Speedway Stadium extension (works due to commence in 2010)
  • Football stadium (date unknown)
  • Sports hall (date unknown)
  • Mieszka I Street further renovations (works due to commence in 2010)

Transport[edit]

Gorzów has a good public transport network. City Transport Company (MZK) which is in charge of transport services runs 27 daily bus lines, four night lines, and three tram lines. In the summer season there are services to nearby lakes. MZK services carry about 90,000 people everyday. The company owns one of the most modern bus fleets in Poland.

There are railway connections with major Polish cities, mostly with interchange in Krzyż or Kostrzyn. There are plans to start fast through trains to Poznań, Szczecin, Wrocław and Berlin. Gorzów main station was renovated in 2009 and 2010 and it offers bed and breakfast, restaurant and retail services.

The S3 expressway provides a fast road connection to Szczecin and Zielona Góra.

Culture[edit]

Gorzów is well known for the International Romani Gathering Romane Dyvesa which is held every summer in the first week of July. The gathering includes a series of concerts held in the outdoor amphitheatre near the centre of the city. The festival is organised by Edward Dębicki, the founder of the Romani music group Terno, which also performs as part of the series of concerts.

Romane Dyvesa continues Gorzów's strong tradition of Romani culture, of which the most widely known member was the poet Bronisława Wajs, often known as Papusza. Wajs's former home on Kosynierów Gdyńskich street is marked with a plaque, as is the main city library on Sikorskiego street. The library itself holds a collection of books about Papusza, as well as the manuscripts of her correspondence with Julian Tuwim. In Poland the city is famous for its Jazz Club Pod Filarami which every autumn organizes Gorzów Jazz Celebrations a festival which hosts internationally recognized musicians from Poland and around the world.

Tourism and leisure[edit]

There are several hotels in Gorzów, major ones include:

  • Qubus (4 stars) located in the city centre, about 300 m from railway and coach stations,
  • Mieszko (3 stars), in the historic New Town district, the biggest hotel in the city
  • Gracja (3 stars)- leisure complex with swimming pool situated at the Klodawka river.
  • Hotel Gorzów
  • U Marii

There are several small hotels including railway station bed and breakfast.

The city offers leisure facilities. Sports and Rehabilitation Centre "Słowianka" offers 50 m Olympic pool, aqua park facilities, saunas,gym, massage and spa. Gracja hotel offers a 25 m pool. There are a few gyms and sports hall in the city. New rowing centre at the Warta river has been completed in 2009. Speedway stadium is undergoing major extension works this year.

Gorzów embankment, which is undergoing major renovation in 2011, is a new nightlife centre. There are many restaurants and pubs around the embankment and others are coming soon.

Education[edit]

Politics[edit]

In recent years Gorzów Wielkopolski has been known for former Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, who was born and worked here. After stepping down as the PM he was appointed as acting mayor of Warsaw and then as a counsel to a chairman of PKO BP bank. In 2007 he became one of the directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He now works for Goldman Sachs.

Gorzów Wielkopolski/Zielona Góra constituency[edit]

Members of Parliament (Sejm) by party[edit]

The Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska)

Stefan Niesiołowski
Bożenna Bukiewicz
Witold Pahl
Bogdan Bojko
Bożena Sławiak
Marek Cebula

Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość)

Marek Ast
Elżbieta Rafalska
Jerzy Materna

The Left and Democrats (Lewica i Demokraci)

Jan Kochanowski
Bogusław Wontor

Polish People's Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe)

Józef Zych

Senators[edit]

Henryk Maciej Woźniak
Stanisław Iwan
Władysław Dajczak

Sports[edit]

Gorzów is famous in Poland for its great clubs and fine athletes. There are two Olympic champions from Gorzów: Tomasz Kucharski and Michał Jeliński, both in rowing. It is a home for many world champions and Olympic medalists.

A historical sport is also volleyball. GTPS holds to a great tradition and has had many outstanding players with the best ever, Sebastian Świderski, born in Gorzów.

International relations[edit]

Michał Kwiatkowski, singer, Star Academy musical show winner, graduate of Tadeusz Kotarbiński Liceum in Gorzów
Sebastian Świderski, volleyball player, Japan 2006 World Championship silver medalist

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Gorzów Wielkopolski is twinned with:

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henryk M. Wozniak, Gazeta Zachodnia, "Gorzów tak - Wielkopolski nie."
  2. ^ Polska Bibliografia Literacka Polska w kształcie dykcjonarza historyczno-statystyczno-jeograficznego opisana przez Jędrzeja Słowaczyńskiego
  3. ^ Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN Warsaw 1976
  4. ^ Cf. Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon: 20 vols., 6th ed., Leipzig and Vienna: Bibliographisches Institut, 1903-1908, vol. 12: L-Lyra (1906), article: Landsberg an der Warthe, p. 120. No ISBN
  5. ^ "Саранск - столица Мордовии - Официальный сайт Администрации городского округа Саранск". Adm-saransk.ru. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Gorzów Wielkopolski at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 52°44′N 15°14′E / 52.733°N 15.233°E / 52.733; 15.233