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Bydgoszcz

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Bydgoszcz [1] (also Bromberg, in German) is the capital city of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voidship, Poland. It is located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers, with a population of roughly 360 000, agglomeration more than 460 000, which makes it the 8th biggest city in Poland. Bydgoszcz is part of the metroplex Bydgoszcz-Toruń with Toruń, only 45 km away, and over 850,000 inhabitants. Bydgoszcz is a major industrial, cultural and educational hub of the region, with the seat of Casimir the Great University, University of Technology and Life Sciences and a conservatory as well as a Collegium Medicum of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Bydgoszcz has a famous Concert Hall (Filharmonia Pomorska), opera house Opera Nova and presents varied architecture which wasn't badly damaged during the World War II.

Bydgoszcz old town

Understand[edit]

Bydgoszcz is an important Polish city, often underestimated as a tourist destination, with many parks and picturesque sites along the Brda river. It is the city with long and rich history, and experienced a dynamic growth in 19th and 20th centuries, after opening the Bydgoszcz Channel that connected Vistula river drainage bassin with the Odra's one.

Due to the important concentration of the 19th century architecture, the city is sometimes nicknamed as Little Berlin.

History[edit]

Bydgoszcz started to develop as a small fortress protecting the passage on the Brda river in the 11th century. City charter was granted on April 19, 1346 by the king Casimir III the Great. Located in northern Cuiavia, close to the Vistula river, it became an important harbour town connecting neighbouring areas with the major Polish trading city of Gdańsk.

In 1772 it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the First Partition of Poland and incorporated into the Netze District as Bromberg. During this time, a channel was built from Bydgoszcz to Nakło, that gave new impetus to the urban development.

In 1807, after the defeat of Prussia by Napoleon, and the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit, Bydgoszcz became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1815 it returned to Prussian rule as part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Poznań (the Province of Posen after 1848) and the capital of the Bromberg region. After 1871 the city was part of the German Empire. After World War I, Bydgoszcz was assigned to Poland in 1919. In 1938 it was made part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.

From 1939-45 during World War II, Bydgoszcz was retaken by Nazi Germany, in the Invasion of Poland and annexed to the Reichsgau Wartheland. On September 3, 1939, shortly after the war started, the Bromberg Bloody Sunday incident occurred in which numerous Germans and Poles were killed; the incident was used in Nazi propaganda and reprisals against the Poles followed after Bromberg was occupied by the Wehrmacht on September 9. The city's Jewish citizens were repressed and thousands of people were sent to concentration camps and/or executed.

In 1945 Bydgoszcz was overrun by the Soviet army. After the Yalta Agreement, it was assigned to Poland, which became a soviet puppet state in the Warsaw Pact.

People[edit]

People of Bydgoszcz were usually born there or in the region, although many has their roots in other parts of the country, due to the forced resettlements and work warrants after the World War II.

Inhabitants of the city are generally very friendly towards tourists and foreigners. This applies to younger part of population in particular, as Bydgoszcz participates in many youth exchange projects. One won't miss a chance to give tips to a tourist or even show them around, just to prove the old stereotype - that the city is not too pretty - wrong.

Talk[edit]

Foreign visitors should be aware that virtually all official information will usually be in Polish only. Street signs, directions, information signs, etc. are routinely monolingual, although schedules at bus and tram stations tend to be trilingual (Polish, English and German), as do signs describing some landmarks in the Old Town. Menus at restaurants are usually monolingual, though it has changed a lot during last few years among bigger ones. At all times you should remember to talk slower and more carefully than you would in your native country. Also, learn how to pronounce the names of places.

Most of the young people and teenagers know English well enough. When asking for directions, your best aim would be a person in their twenties. Older people will often speak German, eventually Russian.

Orientation[edit]

Majority of interesting places are situated within the city centre. Bydgoszcz main axis is Brda river, that flows into Vistula in the eastern part of the city. Major orientation roads in the centre are Gdańska street going in the northern direction, Jagiellońska street in the eastern direction, and Ferdinand Foch street heading west.

Some attractions may be found in the outermost parts of the city, like Myślęcinek Park, or Exploseum. In the east there is located a former town of Fordon, with its own history and a small historic centre.

Climate[edit]

Due to its location there are six climatic seasons in Bydgoszcz: early spring, spring, summer, autumn, early winter and winter. Temperatures in the city centre tend to be couple degrees higher than in suburbs and neighbouring areas.

Early spring comes usually in late February or early March and lasts until mid April. The temperatures are around 5°-10°C, with weather changing rapidly. Although it is quite muddy season, it is considered as pleasant one, because of first warmer days and signs of new leafs on trees.

Spring is beautiful in Poland, and lasts about two months until early June. It is a period of flowers, fresh green, and pleasant temperatures around 15°-20° C. It is a great time to visit Bydgoszcz’s parks and gardens.

Summer lasts for about three months until September and is usually hot and humid. Especially in July, there are several thunderstorms, but the temperatures are normally around 25°C and there is a lot of sun. Days are 17h long in June, due to the city’s relatively northern location. Often in August, there are one or two weeks of heat around 35°C that can be dangerous if you don’t drink enough water and don’t use sun protection.

Autumn is considered as a very beautiful season with the colourful trees. It lasts between September and October, and has pleasant temperatures around 15°-20° degrees, but there may come first colder days.

Early winter comes usually in late October and lasts until December. It is the quite muddy, grey season, days become shorter, with the temperatures slightly above 0°C, and regular fogs. Often there falls the first, small snow.

Winter is the coldest season, and lasts about three months. Temperatures are usually around 0°C, but often it can be colder. Sometimes the temperature can fall under -10°C or even -15°C. Some years, it can be snowy for couple of weeks, while other years the snow is short living. Days are short and in December there is less than 8 hours of sunlight.

The best time to come and enjoy good weather in Bydgoszcz is between May and September.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport, [2]. Operates direct international flights.

International flights: Düsseldorf (Airport Niederrhein, Weeze, 70kms), Frankfurt, Birmingham, London, Girona, Glasgow Prestwick and Dublin.

Due to moderate number of connections, tourists coming to the region also use to neighbouring airports in Poznań (140 km), Gdańsk (160 km), or Warsaw (280 km).

By train[edit]

Bydgoszcz has direct train connections with all major Polish cities and with Berlin in Germany. Almost all of them are served by Przewozy Regionalne (rebranded recently as POLREGIO), PKP Intercity or Arriva. Main direct connections:

Gdańsk-Bydgoszcz: 1h 30'
Poznań-Bydgoszcz: 1h 35'
Toruń-Bydgoszcz: 0h 45'
Łódź-Bydgoszcz: 3h 05'
Warsaw-Bydgoszcz: 3h 15' – 3h 30'
Katowice-Bydgoszcz via Częstochowa, Łódź: 6h
Kraków-Bydgoszcz: 6h
Szczecin-Bydgoszcz: 4h 10'
Wrocław-Bydgoszcz: 3h 45'
Berlin - Bydgoszcz: 4h 45'

Main station of Bydgoszcz is called Bydgoszcz Główna and lies approx. 1.5 kilometre from the main street of the city - is well connected by trams and buses. Address of the station is ul. Zygmunta Augusta 7. The best and the quickest way to get to the centre is to take a tram from the Railway Station. Other major stations are called Leśna and Wschód.

You can check the timetable here: [3]

By car[edit]

Many national roads lead to Bydgoszcz. Main are DK 5 from Poznań and Gdańsk, DK 10 and DK 80 that connect the city with Toruń, Warsaw and Łódź and DK 25 from Koszalin and Kalisz.

By bus[edit]

Main bus station is situated in the city centre (ul. Jagiellońska 58) and provides a number of connections with almost every bigger city of Poland, and majority of neighbouring towns and villages. Bus transport is provided by PKS Bydgoszcz enterprise [4] and other companies like Polski Bus [5]. There are direct buses to the bigger cities in Germany, UK, Czech Republic, and many other countries as well – they may go longer, but often offer a cheap alternative to the more expensive means of transport.

Get around[edit]

The city has a well developed bus and tram system. Tickets may be purchased from any of the little newsstands/kiosks around the city or ticket machines. Once on the tram or bus, you must punch your ticket in one of the ticket punchers located near the doors. A normal ticket costs 3 zł (~0.75€, January 2017) and is valid for one ride. There are also other tickets available, like one hour ticket that costs 4.20 zł (~1€), 24h ticket for 12 zł (~3€) etc. Fares you can check on this website: [6]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Old Town (Stare Miasto). Relatively small, but nice medieval core of the city near the Brda river. Here you will find many of the oldest structures in the city:  edit
    • Cathedral (fara). Late gothic church from 15th century with rich decorations and paintings inside representing all styles from gothic to art nouveau.  edit
    • Town Hall, Jezuicka 1. Built in 1650's as a Jesuit college, extended at the beginning of the 18th century.  edit
    • Spichrze nad Brdą, Grodzka 7-11. Old garners are the symbol of the city. Structures built at the end of the 18th century, they currently host the regional museum.  edit
  • Man crossing the river, (left from the bridge as you walk towards old town, close to the garners). a Przechodzący przez rzekę sculpture, balancing on cords  edit
  • Klaryski church, Jagiellońska 1. Small late gothic-renaissance church in the old northern Gdańsk Suburb, with nice ceiling paintings from the early 16th century.  edit
  • Main Post Office, Jagiellońska 6. Old, neo-gothical building.  edit
  • Mills Island (Wyspa Młyńska), (Westwards from the Old Town). An Island on the Brda river with many historic buildings, museums, park and recreation places. Waterfront on the south-western side is called Venice of Bydgoszcz.  edit
  • St. Vincent a Paulo church, Aleje Ossolińskich 2 (It is a little walk from old town towards the area with parks and the conservatory), +48 52 58 58 913. The biggest church in the City, known simply as the Basilica; it is a replica of the Roman Pantheon.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Muzeum Okręgowe im. Leona Wyczółkowskiego, [7]. Wonderful series of museums (art, history, ethnography) in a park on the Mill Island. Museums are modern and often interactive.  edit
  • Visit some of the city parks in the city centre or suburbs. Bydgoszcz is one of the greenest cities in Poland and Europe, with many parks and is surrounded by forests. The biggest park is Myślęcinek in the north of the city. </do>
  • Visit the Myślęcinek park (Leśny Park Kultury i Wypoczynku (LPKiW), eng. Forest Park of Culture and Recreation), (north of the city, along Gdańska street, it is just outside of the build area and railway tracks), [8]. Largest park in the city, and one of the largest in Poland (8km², 2,5 times bigger than New York’s Central Park) and the favourite recreation zone of the local people. Park offers many attractions, including ZOO, amusement park, ski resort open in winter, botanic garden, picnic areas among others.  edit
    • Botanic garden, ul. Gdańska 173-175 (in the northern part of the Myślęcinek park), +48 (52) 328 00 09, [9]. Large area rich of flora and fauna. See interesting nature such as rocks, water streams and lakes.  edit
  • Go to the iconic, modern opera house, Marechal Foch Street, 5, [10].  edit
  • Go to the Pomeranian Philharmonic, Andrzeja Szwalbego street 6, [11]. , known for the amazing acoustic, one of the best in Europe.  edit
    • Musica Antiqua Europae Orientalis, [12]. is held once for three years music festival with the best orchestras and ensambles specialised in old music from all around the globe.  edit
  • Muzeum Wojsk Lądowych (Army Museum), ul. Czerkaska 2, 85-641 Bydgoszcz (at Gdanska street), tel. (+48 52) 378-20-26 fax (+48 52) 378-23-31. Exceptional war museum for its outdoors arsenal of tanks and rockets. In addition to that there is lots of information on 6th and 8th century history. Admission 5/2.5zł, Sun free.  edit
  • Camerimage, [13]. International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, one of the major in Europe. Usually starts in the last week of November. Former hosting cities Toruń (from 1993 to 1999) and Łódź (from 2000 to 2009).  edit
  • [14]. The Brda, the river that flows through Bydgoszcz, the water tram and other things are discussed and shown.
  • Mill Island, City Centre. Wyspa Młyńska (Mill Island) is among the most spectacular and atmospheric places in Bydgoszcz. What makes it unique is the location in the heart of the city centre, few steps from the Old Market Square. Most of the buildings which can still be seen on the island date from the 19th 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.  edit
  • Music District (Dzielnica Muzyczna), City centre, close to Gdanska street. Very charming and calm place close to the city centre. In the Music District you will find the Polish Theatre, Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra House, Primary and Secondary Music School, park, few restaurants and many well preserved villas. It's a great place for a walk or lunch.  edit
  • Take a trip with the water tramway. from April to September.  edit.
  • Rent a bike. and ride around the city and surrounding area.  edit

Learn[edit]

Bydgoszcz is home to many schools of all stages of education. There are numberous higher education institutions, the best being Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy and Nicolaus Copernicus University School of Medicine (Collegium Medicum UMK).

Work[edit]

Bydgoszcz is the biggest economic centre of the region and offers wide spectrum of jobs, including IT, heavy industry, electronics, telecommunications, services, food industry.

Inform[edit]

Bydgoszcz Information Centre (situated on the Old Market) has a good variety of products connected with Bydgoszcz and voivodeship. You may visit the official Bydgoszcz Tourism portal [15]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Bydgoszcz has many supermarkets and shopping malls, where you can buy clothes, food, sports equipment, books etc. If you want, you can also go to one of many small stores – this way you can better support local economy. Major shopping street is Gdańska street, although recently its importance decreased due to heavy competitions from shopping malls.

You can also visit local markets (pol. targowisko), open all year round except major holidays. You may find there local farmers offering their products and other small businesses.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

There are many small fast food places around the city. Mostly they are clean and safe and offer simple food. You should try traditional Polish fast food: zapiekanka.

Mid-range[edit]

The town square has a variety of good restaurants that are quite reasonably priced.

Dolce Vita (Italian), Stare Miasto, ul. Podwale (close to the Old Square). Best pizza in town!

Karczma Młyńska (Polish, traditional), Mennica 1, restaurant with a nice old world atmosphere right on the canal.

Meluzyna (Polish, traditional) ul. Gdańska 50, not directly on Gdańska, entrance around the corner on the right side. Best restaurant for quality and price relation, beef recommended.

Sami Swoi (Polish, traditional), old square (Stary Rynek), serves a variety of Polish specialties, including many types of pierogi. Their żurek (Polish rye soup) and golonka (pork knuckle) are quite good.

Sowa (international), off Old Square (Stary Rynek), serves a variety of Italian and Polish dishes, including pizza. One of the busiest restaurants on the main square.

Splurge[edit]

Veranda, (Polish, international) right side to the park "Kazimierska Wielkiego". A nice restaurant in art nouveau style, probably best cuisine in Bydgoszcz.

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are a ton of places to eat and drink around Bydgoszcz, including Kredens, Browar Pub, Mozg, Grandmother's Pub, Jack Daniels Pub, and along the river and on the main square. There is also a new brew pub (as of spring 2011) across the canal from Miller's Island (Wyspa Młyńska).

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • The local Szkolne Schronisko Młodzieżowe w Bydgoszczy (SSM) is only a few steps away from the Main train station at street Sowińskiego 5. It is often overlooked, because besides dorm rooms for the youth they also offer good double rooms at low rates for all ages. [16] There is English speaking staff, but not always.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Karczma Rzym [17]
  • Pawłówek near Bydgoszcz,(at the Grunwaldzka street Bydgoszcz’s exit, on the route to Nakło, Piła and Szczecin)

Best place to stay if you have business in the western part of the city, you avoid most of the daily traffic jams. Good restaurant, Polish traditional cuisine (same owner as Veranda)

  • The Holiday Inn is two blocks from the town square and sits right next to the river. The hotel is exceptionally clean, has english speaking staff and has very good food. It is near many other restaurants and bars.

Splurge[edit]

Bohema [18] this centrally located boutique hotel is the only in town with five stars. Friendly staff who speak English fluently.

City Hotel [19] located in the center, most destinations like Stare Miasto, Gdańska and restaurants around you can walk, ask for weekend special rates and seasonal offers.

Stay safe[edit]

Bydgoszcz is considered as a safe city, though pickpocketings do occur. Robberies rarely happen, especially in the day light. Take the usual precautions. Major danger can come from fanatic football fans. Try to avoid comments about Polish football teams because it can easily annoy them.

Keep an eye out on the traffic. Some drivers drive way too fast in downtown or other parts and will pull off crazy maneuvers just when you thought it was safe to cross the streets. Crashes and run over pedestrians do happens. Just be more alert than you are in your home town.

Contact[edit]

Postal Service[edit]

  • Main Post Office, ul. Jagiellońska 6.

Internet[edit]

Overall, Bydgoszcz is not as well connected to the internet as other big central and western European cities, but that doesn't mean you can't get access to the internet. Internet cafés (Polish: kawiarenka internetowa) are very rare to come across, but can be occasionally found. Shopping centres are good places to look for them. Wi-fi is becoming increasingly accessible for travelers too (Old Town's Square is covered by free wi-fi connection, for example). Some cafés and restaurants offer free wi-fi for guests. There's a free wi-fi in many fast-food restaurants like McDonald's.

Telephones[edit]

The area code for Bydgoszcz is 52 and, as of the present, you'll need to use the area code even when making local calls. Pay phones are very rare, nowadays.

If you want to purchase a SIM card in Bydgoszcz, you can buy a pre-paid SIM card from just about any major carrier and you'll have a Polish number. SIM cards can cost as little as 5zł a pop and you just add credit when needed. Going this route might be a wise investment if you'll be traveling around Poland.

The mobile network (3G/GPRS/GSM) covers the whole city. If you are coming from a non-GSM standard country check your mobile phone for GSM compatibility.

Respect[edit]

Bydgoszcz citizens are usually friendly and open. The city is not the major tourist destination, so they are happy when they see visitors, and will be extremely pleased if you will complement their city.

As usual, there are sensitive issues that are better to avoid, especially highly politicised ones. Bydgoszcz has also a very complex and often hostile relations with its eastern neighbour, Toruń. Local rivalry is known in whole Poland, try to avoid comparisons of two cities if not necessary – you never know how involved is your interlocutor and you may hear a long litany of complaints, or jokes.

Get out[edit]

  • Toruń – historic old town inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus, it takes only 45 min by train or an hour by bus.
  • Go along Piasts' Route and visit many monuments, including several from the time of the formation of Poland, including Inowrocław, Kruszwica, Kościelec Kujawski, Mogilno, Strzelno, Pakość or the first Polish capital Gniezno. Most of these places are well connected by train or by bus with Bydgoszcz.
  • Pałuki Żnińskie area – 50 km south from Bydgoszcz is also a part of the Piasts' Route. It comprises many attractions around the picturesque town of Żnin, including:
    • Biskupin – archaeological reservation of the Lusatian Culture settlement (650-550 year BC);
    • Wenecja – Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, ruins of a medieval castle and a small 19th century church;
    • Gąsawa – wooden baroque church with rich, freshly renovated decorations.
  • Lubostroń – a neoclassical palace with a nice park, 25 km south from Bydgoszcz, close to a small town of Łabiszyn.
  • Ostromecko – a nice English landscape garden with two palaces (18th and 19th century), 4 km from the eastern border of the city.
  • Koronowo – a nice small town with a big gothic-baroque church, 30 km north from Bydgoszcz. The town is located near an artificial lake, a popular recreation area in the summer.
  • Go along Lower Vistula Valley where you can admire nice landscapes and visit nice villages and towns, in particular Topolno, Chrystkowo, Gruczno, Świecie and Chełmno – beautiful well preserved medieval town in 40 km north from Bydgoszcz, called Carcassonne of the north. You can do this trip by car or by bike, and to some places you can get by bus as well.
  • Take a rest in Ciechocinek, one of the major Polish Spa resorts 70 km east from Bydgoszcz. Near the town you can visit calm and picturesque towns of Raciążek and Nieszawa.