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Bdg PocztaGl 3 10-2014.jpg Bdg ZSMechnicznych 17 07-2013.jpg Bdg nabrzezepldBrdy 12 07-2013.jpg
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Bdg fontannaPotop 8 10-2013.jpg Bdg OperaNova noc 16 07-2013.jpg Bdg FilharmoniaPomorska fountain 17 5-2014.jpg
Widok z mostu Sulimy-Kamińskiego w Bydg zmierzch panorama1.jpg
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Left to right: Main Post Office • School of mechanics • New Granaries and Lloyd Palace • Old Town Market Square • Deluge Fountain • Opera Nova • Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra House and Multimedia Fountain • The Brda • Władysław Jagiełło's Bridge • St Peter's and St Paul's Church • St. Vincent de Paul's Basilica • Bydgoszcz Cathedral
Flag of Bydgoszcz
Coat of arms of Bydgoszcz
Coat of arms
Bydgoszcz is located in Poland
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Country Poland
Voivodeship Kuyavian-Pomeranian
County city county
Established before 1238
Town rights 1346
 • President (Mayor) Rafał Bruski (PO)
 • City Council Chairperson Zbigniew Sobocinski (PO)
 • City 175.98 km2 (67.95 sq mi)
Elevation 60 m (200 ft)
Population (2014)
 • City 358,614
 • Density 2,000/km2 (5,300/sq mi)
 • Metro 470,285
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 85-001 to 85-915
Area code(s) (+48) 52
Car plates CB

Bydgoszcz /ˈbɪdɡɒʃ/ (Polish pronunciation: [ˈbɨdɡɔʂt͡ʂ], German: Bromberg [ˈbʁɔmbɛɐ̯k], Latin: Bydgostia) is a city located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers. With a city population of 358,614 (June 2014), and an urban agglomeration with more than 470,000 inhabitants, Bydgoszcz is the 8th-largest city in Poland. It has been the seat of Bydgoszcz County and the co-capital, with Toruń, of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999. Prior to this, between 1947 and 1998, it was the capital of the Bydgoszcz Voivodeship, and before that, of the Pomeranian Voivodeship between 1945 and 1947.

Bydgoszcz is part of the metroplex Bydgoszcz-Toruń, which totals over 850,000 inhabitants. Bydgoszcz is the seat of Kazimierz Wielki University, University of Technology and Life Sciences and a conservatory, as well as a Collegium Medicum of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Bydgoszcz hosts the Filharmonia Pomorska concert hall, the Opera Nova opera house, and the Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport. Due to its location between the Vistula and Odra rivers, and the water course of the Bydgoszcz Canal, the city forms part of a water system connected via the Noteć, Warta, Odra, and Elbe with the Rhine and Rotterdam.


Bydgoszcz, originally Bydgoszcza (feminine), is a pronoun name the second part of which – 'goszcz' comes from 'gost-jь' possibly or 'gost-ja' an old Slavic root which refers to an urban or suburban trading settlement. Other examples of this include the German 'Trebgast' in Bavaria, which until 1028 was known as 'Trěbigost-jь', 'Radogost-jь' in Austria is also a prominent example today known as Ratgoz. There are also a number of other Polish place-names which make use of the 'goszcz' suffix: i.e. Małogoszcz and Skorogoszcz. Bydgoszcz, however, has a long, rich history of etymological change: in 1239 known as Bidgosciam, in 1242 as castrum quod Budegosta vulgariter nuncupatur (castle, which is colloquially called Bydgoszcza), in 1279 as Bidgoscha, since 1558 as Bydgoszcz, that is, until the 16th century, and as Bydgoszcza "fishing village or campsite belonging to Bydgosta".

The name 'Byd-gost' contains archaic elements of the Proto-Slavonic root 'byd' which existed as a variant of the verb 'to raise' ( Ancient Russian 'vъzbydati' = stimulating, Proto-Slavonic 'bъděti' / 'bъd 'ǫ' = no sleep, to watch),[1] and the common Slavic root 'Goszcz' (fireplace). Some people identify the name of the town as 'Budorgis', a name from the 2nd century which is listed next to the village Calisia on the amber route.


Panorama of Bydgoszcz from 1657

During the early Slavic times a fishing settlement called Bydgozcya ("Bydgostia" in Latin), became a stronghold on the Vistula trade routes. In the 13th century it was the site of a castellany, mentioned in 1238. The city was occupied by the Teutonic Knights in 1331, and incorporated into the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. The city was relinquished by the Knights in 1343 with their signing of the Treaty of Kalisz along with Dobrzyń and the remainder of Kuyavia. King Casimir III of Poland, granted Bydgoszcz city rights (charter) on April 19, 1346.[2] The city increasingly saw an influx of Jews after that date. In the 15th and 16th centuries Bydgoszcz was a significant site for wheat trading.

During 1629, near to the end of the Polish-Swedish War of 1626–29, the town was conquered by Swedish troops led by king Gustav II Adolph of Sweden personally. During the events of war the town suffered demolitions.[3] The town was conquered a second and third time by Sweden in 1656 and 1657 during the Second Northern War. On the latter occasion the castle was destroyed completely and has since then remained a ruin. After the war only 94 houses were inhabited, 103 stood empty and 35 were burned down. Also the suburbs had been damaged considerably.[4]

The Treaty of Bydgoszcz agreed in 1657 by King John II Casimir Vasa of Poland and Elector Frederick William II of Brandenburg-Prussia created a military alliance between Poland and Prussia while marking the withdrawal of Prussia from its alliance with Sweden.

Bydgoszcz was in 1772 annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the First Partition of Poland, renamed Bromberg, and incorporated into the Netze District in West Prussia. Around 1772 the town was seriously depressed and semi-derilect due to previous sieges and fires.[5] Under Frederick the Great the town was rebuilt, notably with his construction of a canal from Bromberg to Nakel (Nakło) which connected the north-flowing Vistula River via the Brda to the west-flowing Netze, which in turn flowed to the Oder via the Warta, to which the city's revival as a centre of commercial importance is owed.[6] The arrival of the railways contributed to the growth and importance of the city. By 1900 the city's population was 52,000 and it was the seat of government for the district. Polish historiographers refer to this period as the Drang nach Osten (German for "push eastward").[7]

In 1807, after the defeat of Prussia by Napoleon, and the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit, Bromberg became part of his new Duchy of Warsaw. With his defeat it returned to Prussian rule in 1815 as part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Poznań (the Province of Posen after 1848) and the capital of the Bromberg region. In 1871 the entire province was incorporated into the German Empire. In 1910 the city had 57,700 inhabitants of which 84 percent were Germans and 16 percent Poles.

Theatrical Square in 1911

In 1919 the city was assigned to newly sovereign Poland by the Paris Peace Conference and the Versailles Treaty. It belonged to the Poznań Voivodeship. The local populace were required to acquire Polish citizenship or leave the country. This led to a steady and significant decline of ethnic Germans, whose number within the town decreased from 74,292 in 1910 to 11,016 in 1926 and from 31,212 to 13,281 within the district.[8] In 1938 it was made part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.

From 1939–45 during World War II, Bydgoszcz was occupied by Nazi Germany, in the Invasion of Poland and annexed to the Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia as the seat of the district or county (kreis) of Bromberg. On September 3, 1939, shortly after the war started, the Bromberg Bloody Sunday incident occurred; the incident was used in Nazi propaganda and as an excuse for reprisals against the Polish population, following the occupation of the city by the Wehrmacht on September 9.

The history of Jews in Bydgoszcz ended up with the catastrophe of World War II and the German invasion of Poland. The city's Jewish citizens were sent to German death camps and/or murdered in the town itself. Bromberg was the site of Bromberg-Ost, a women's subcamp of Stutthof. A deportation camp was situated in Smukała village, now part of Bydgoszcz. According to Nowa encyklopedia powszechna PWN, 37,000 citizens of the city, Polish and Jewish, died during the war.[9]

In 1945 Bydgoszcz was seized from the German occupation by the Red Army. In the same year it was made the seat of the Pomeranian Voivodship, the northern part of which was soon separated to form Gdańsk Voivodship. The remaining part of the Pomeranian Voivodship was renamed Bydgoszcz Voivodeship in the year 1950. In March 1981 Solidarity's activists were violently suppressed in Bydgoszcz.


Stare Miasto (Old Town) in Bydgoszcz
The main Post Office in Śródmieście district (New Town)
The Eagle Hotel (Polish: Hotel pod Orłem)
Year Number of inhabitants Remarks
1346-1771 3,500 to 5,000[10] mostly Polish wheat merchants and bargees[10]
1771 approx. 1,000 including roughly 80% Catholics. The number of inhabitants declined as a result of the Great Northern War and plagues brought by the fighting armies[10] (1700–1721)
1772 approx. 600[5]
1780 2,046 without military persons[11]
1783 2,562 in 337 households, without military persons, including 27 Jews (three families)[11]
1788 3,077 without military persons[12]
1792 3,915 without military persons[12]
1816 6,100 including 41% Catholics
1831 approx. 8,000[5]
1852 12,900 mostly Germans, including 26% Catholics
1875 31,308[13]
1880 34,044[13]
1885 36,294[13]
1890 41,399 including 28,411 Protestants, 11,165 Catholics, 1,451 Jews and 372 other persons[13]
1900 52,204 including 34,415 Protestants, 15,663 Catholics and 1,519 Jews[13][14]
1910 57,696 including 37,008 Protestants, 18,539 Catholics and 2,149 other persons including Jews[13]
1921 88,000 including 64.000 Catholics and 22,500 Protestants (24,000 Germans)[15]
1939 141,000
1946 134,614
1975 322,657
1998 386,855
2012 368,286
2014 358,614

Main sights

The oldest building in the city is the Church of St Martin and Nicolaus, commonly known as Fara Church. It is a three-aisle late Gothic church, erected between 1466 and 1502, which boasts a late-Gothic painting entitled Madonna with a Rose or the Holy Virgin of Beautiful Love from the 16th century. The colourful 20th-century polychrome is also worth noticing.

19th-century water tower

The Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin, commonly referred to as "The Church of Poor Clares," is a famous landmark of the city. It is a small, Gothic-Renaissance (including Neo-Renaissance additions), single-aisle church built between 1582–1602. The interior is rather austere since the church has been stripped of most of its furnishings. Not a surprising fact, considering that in the 19th century the Prussian authorities dissolved the Order of St Clare and turned the church into a warehouse, among other uses. Nonetheless, the church is worth visiting and inspecting. In particular the original wooden polychrome ceiling dating from the 17th century draws the attention of every visitor.

Wyspa Młyńska (Mill Island) is among the most spectacular and atmospheric places in Bydgoszcz. What makes it unique is the location in the very heart of the city centre, just a few steps from the old Market Square. It was the 'industrial' centre of Bydgoszcz in the Middle Ages and for several hundred years thereafter, and it was here that the famous royal mint operated in the 17th century. Most of the buildings which can still be seen on the island date from the 19th century, but the so-called Biały Spichlerz (the White Granary) recalls the end of the 18th 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.

The Old Port Granary built in 1835

"Hotel pod Orłem" (Hotel Adler or The Eagle Hotel), an icon of the city's 19th-century architecture, was designed by the distinguished Bydgoszcz architect Józef Święcicki, the author of around sixty buildings in the city. Completed in 1896, it served as a hotel from the very beginning and was originally owned by Emil Bernhardt, a hotel manager educated in Switzerland. Its façade displays forms characteristic of the Neo-baroque style in architecture.

Saint Vincent de Paul's Basilica, erected between 1925 and 1939, is the largest church in Bydgoszcz and one of the biggest in Poland. It can accommodate around 12,000 people. This monumental church, modelled after the Pantheon in Rome, was designed by the Polish architect Adam Ballenstaedt. The most characteristic element of the neo-classical temple is the reinforced concrete dome 40 metres in diameter.

The three granaries in Grodzka Street, picturesquely located on the Brda River in the immediate vicinity of the old Market Square, are the official symbol of the city. Built at the turn of the 19th century, they were originally used to store grain and similar products, but now house exhibitions of the City's Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum.

The city is mostly associated with water, sports, Art Nouveau buildings, waterfront, music, and urban greenery. It is worth noting that Bydgoszcz boasts the largest city park in Poland (830 ha). The city was also once famous for its industry.

Unfortunately, some great monuments were destroyed, for example the church in the Old Market Square and the Municipal Theatre. Additionally, the Old Town lost a few characteristic tenement houses, including the western frontage of the Market Square. The city also lost its Gothic castle and defensive walls. In Bydgoszcz there is a great number of villas in the concept of garden suburbs.

Buildings on the Brda River


Office of Technical Inspection at Kamienna St.

In the city there are 38 banks represented through a network of 116 branches (including the headquarters of the Postal Bank), whilst 37 insurance companies also have offices in the city. JP Morgan Chase, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, has established a branch in Bydgoszcz. Most industrial complexes are scattered throughout the city, however, the 'Zachem' chemical works deserves attention, covering tens of square kilometers in the south-east of the city, the remnants of the German explosives factory built in World War II occupy an area which has its own rail lines, internal communication, housing, and large forested area.

Since 2000, Bydgoszcz has been annually subjected to international 'verification' ratings. In February 2008 the Agency 'Fitch Ratings', recategorised the city, increasing its rating from BBB-(stable forecast) to BBB (stable estimate).

In 2004, Bydgoszcz launched an Industrial and Technology Park of 283 hectares, an attractive place for doing business as companies which relocate there receive tax breaks, 24-hour security, access to large plots of land and to the media, the railway line Chorzów Batory – Tczew (passenger, coal), the DK5 and DK10 national roads, and future freeways S10 and S5. Bydgoszcz airport is also close by.

The city has, in recent years, become one of Poland's most important economic centres. This is especially true for the role the city plays in the economy of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, of which it is, along with Toruń, capital.

Major corporations


Bydgoszcz is a major cultural center in the country, especially for music. Traditions of the municipal theater dates back to the 17th century, when the Jesuit college built a theater. In 1824, a permanent theater building was erected, and this was rebuilt in 1895 in a monumental form by the Berliner architect Heinrich Seeling. The first music school was established in Bydgoszcz in 1904, it had close links to the very well known European piano factory of Bruno Sommerfeld. Numerous orchestras and choirs, both German (Gesangverein, Liedertafel) and Polish (St. Wojciech Halka, Moniuszko) have also made the city their home. Since 1974, Bydgoszcz has been home to a very prestigious Academy of Music. Bydgoszcz is also an important place for contemporary European culture; one of the most important European centers of jazz music, the Brain club was founded in Bydgoszcz by Jacek Majewski and Slawomir Janicki. Bydgoszcz was a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2016. [17]


The town museum on Gdańska Street, originally 17th-century nunnery

Muzeum Okręgowe im. Leona Wyczółkowskiego (Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum) is a municipally-owned museum. Apart from a large collection of Leon Wyczółkowski's works, it houses permanent as well as temporary exhibitions of art. It is based in several buildings, including the old granaries on the Brda River and Mill Island. In Bydgoszcz the Pomeranian Military Museum specializes in documenting the latest (19th- and 20th-century) Polish military history, particularly the history of the Pomeranian Military District and several other units present in the area. The city has many art galleries, two symphony orchestras and chamber and choirs. Bydgoszcz's cultural facilities also include libraries (including the Provincial and Municipal Public Library with an extensive collection of volumes from the 15th to the 19th centuries, and old books from Germany).

Classical music

Popular music

  • Smooth Festival Złote Przeboje Bydgoszcz
  • Eska Music Festival Bydgoszcz
  • Hity na Czasie Festival Bydgoszcz
  • Bydgoszcz Hit Festival


Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra House

Teatr Polski im Hieronima Konieczki (Hieronim Konieczka's Polish Theatre): Despite its name, the theatre offers a wide variety of shows both of national and foreign origin. It also regularly plays hosts to a large number of touring shows. Founded in 1949, since 2002 the theatre has taken part in the "Festiwal Prapremier" where the most renowned Polish theatres stage their latest premieres. There are also a number of private theatre companies operating in Bydgoszcz.

In the years 1960–1986 there was an outdoor theater, the reactivation of which is currently being pursued by the Theatre Culture Association, "Fides" and the Acting School A. Grzymala-Siedlecki.

Opera Nova on the Brda River bank

The Pomeranian Philharmonic named for Ignacy Jan Paderewski has existed since 1953. The concert hall, which can hold 920 people is classified, in terms of sound, as one of the best in Europe, which is confirmed by well-known artists and critics (including J. Waldorff). Due to the phenomenon of acoustics, it attracts the interest of many famous artists. Bydgoszcz's stage has been frequented by many global celebrities, including Arthur Rubinstein, Benjamin Britten, Witold Malcuzynski, Luciano Pavarotti, Shlomo Mintz, Mischa Maisky, Kevin Kenner, Kurt Masur, Kazimierz Kord, Jerzy Maksymiuk and Antoni Wit. In recent years, the city has also hosted an excellent range of bands such as the BBC Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and others.

The Opera Nova, in existence since 1956, started the construction of a new building in 1974 which was to consist of three main halls, situated on the Brda. The Opera Nova has become a cultural showcase of Bydgoszcz in the world. Considering the short history of the Opera, its success has been astounding; a large number of famous opera singers have performed there and theatrical troops from the Wrocław Opera, Theater of Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk and Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon have also made appearances.






Bydgoszcz is one of the biggest railroad junctions in Poland, with two important lines crossing there – the east-west connection from Toruń to Pila and the north-south line from Inowrocław to Gdańsk (see: Polish Coal Trunk-Line). There are also secondary-importance lines stemming from the city, to Szubin and to Chełmża. Among rail stations located in the city, there are:

  • Bydgoszcz Zachód
  • Bydgoszcz Łęgnowo
  • Bydgoszcz Bielawy
  • Bydgoszcz Osowa Góra
  • Bydgoszcz Fordon

Buses and trams

  • Local buses and trams are operated by ZDMiKP Bydgoszcz
  • PKS Bydgoszcz – operates inter-city and international bus routes.


The sport, show and fair arena Łuczniczka.

Sports clubs

Sports facilities

Sports events


Bydgoszcz constituency

Members of Polish Sejm 2007–2011 elected from Bydgoszcz constituency:

Members of Polish Senate 2007–2011 elected from Bydgoszcz constituency:

International relations

Twin towns and friendship relations

Łuczniczka (The Archeress), erected by Ferdinand Lepcke
Twin Towns
City/Town Country Year
 Reggio Emilia Italy Italy 12.04.1962
 Kragujevac[18] Serbia Serbia 23.07.1971
 Mannheim[19] Germany Germany 26.11.1991
 Hartford United States United States 30.09.1996
 Pavlodar Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 10.04.1997
 Perth Scotland Scotland[20] 9.05.1998
 Cherkasy Ukraine Ukraine 13.09.2000
 Kremenchuk Ukraine Ukraine 30.06.2004
 Patras Greece Greece 8.10.2004[21]
 Ningbo China China 28.12.2005
 Wilhelmshaven Germany Germany 19.04.2006


It is also said that Pan Twardowski spent some time in the city of Bydgoszcz, where, in his memory, a figure was recently mounted in a window of a tenement, overseeing the Old Town. At 1:13 p.m. and 9:13 p.m. the window opens and Pan Twardowski appears, to the accompaniment of weird music and devilish laughter. He takes a bow, waves his hand, and then disappears. This little show gathers crowds of amused spectators.


People born in Bydgoszcz

See also


  1. Franciszek Sławski (pod red.), Słownik prasłowiański, Warszawa 1974, s.459
  2. Heinrich Gottfried Philipp Gengler: Regesten und Urkunden zur Verfassungs- und Rechtsgeschichte der deutschen Städte im Mittelalter. Volume I, Enke, Erlangen 1863, pp. 403-404 and pp. 976-977.
  3. Ludwig Kühnast: Historische Nachrichten über die Stadt Bromberg – Von der Gründung der Stadt bis zur preußischen Besitznahme. Bromberg Berlin Posen 1837, pp 64-68.
  4. Ludwig Kühnast (1837), pp. 112-117.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 August Eduard Preuß: Preußische Landes- und Volkskunde. Königsberg 1835, p. 381.
  6. Baedeker, Karl, Northern Germany, London, 1904, p.163.
  7. Jerzy Jan Lerski, Piotr Wróbel, Richard J. Kozicki, Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966–1945, 1996, p. 118, ISBN 0-313-26007-9, ISBN 978-0-313-26007-0
  8. Kotowski, Albert S. (1998). Polens Politik gegenüber seiner deutschen Minderheit 1919–1939 (in German). Forschungsstelle Ostmitteleuropa, University of Dortmund. p. 56. ISBN 3-447-03997-3.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Encyklopedia PWN". Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-05. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Historia Bydgoszczy (ed. by M.Biskup). PWN. 1991. pp. 156–164. ISBN 83-01-06667-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Johann Friedrich Goldbeck: Vollständige Topographie des Königreichs Preußen. Teil II, Marienwerder 1789, p. 82-83.
  12. 12.0 12.1 August Karl von Holsche: Der Netzedistrikt, ein Beytrag zur Länder- und Völkerkunde mit statistischen Nachrichten. Königsberg 1793, p. 111.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Provinz Posen - Stadtkreis Bromberg (2006).
  14. Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 6. Auflage, Band 3, Leipzig und Wien 1906, p. 448.
  15. Der Große Brockhaus. 15. Auflage, Band 3, Leipzig 1929, p. 366.
  16. "PESA Bydgoszcz SA". Retrieved 2011-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. City of Bydgoszcz Municipal website
  18. "Kragujevac Twin Cities". ©2009 Information service of Kragujevac City. Retrieved 2009-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Partner und Freundesstädte". Stadt Mannheim (in German). Retrieved 2013-07-26.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Miasta partnerskie". City of Bydgoszcz (in Polish). 18 October 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2015. Perth, SzkocjaCS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Διεθνείς Σχέσεις". Retrieved 2011-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Ludwig Kühnast: Historische Nachrichten über die Stadt Bromberg – Von der Gründung der Stadt bis zur preußischen Besitznahme (Historical news about the town of Bromberg – From the town's founding to the Prussian occupation). Bromberg Berlin Posen 1837 (Online) (in German).

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