"Echte Stettiner" (True Szczeciner) - this was the way to describe someone stubborn, resolute, courageous, raw - in XIX-th century. Genius loci of Szczecin is felt here easily: in the communist era Szczecin was the city, where strikes broke out, where people put up a continuous resistance to the communist regime. Today, Szczecin is also full people with a firm, but at the same time welcoming character.
Szczecin was the capital of the Duchy of Pomerania, but also had been ruled by Denmark, Prussia, France, Sweden, Germany. Today it's inside the Polish borders. This extraordinary past can be seen today on every step: in architecture, urban planning, squares, parks; while walking you pass the still operating water pumps, shelters, old signs.
During the Second World War, Szczecin was destroyed in 80%, so - in contrast to most of the cities - we don't have the Old Town. Currently, it is being re-built.
Even visiting pubs and discos brings you a trip in time: in one of the pubs you can move to the seventeenth century, to the time of the Swedish Szczecin (it is opened in the former city fortifications); in another - to the Communist times (when there was a militia station). One of nightclubs is located in the former headquarters of the Royal Iron Railway.
The past is everywhere here and it is always clearly visible - while walking in Poland's largest cemetery, which is both a park and botanical garden; the largest shelter in today's Poland, during the session in the oldest cinema in the world... Szczecin is also the history of technology: the wreck of the tanker made of concrete, Poland's only one railway drawbridge or the oldest floating dock in Europe.
At the same time Szczecin is not afraid of momentum and bold architecture. Two buildings that have won the highest architectural awards make this city even more woth visiting: Szczecin Philharmonic, that gained the Mies van der Rohe award and the Centre for Dialogue Upheavals with the World Building of the Year award that was won during the festival of architecture in Berlin in November 2016.
How much time is needed to see Szczecin? Someone may say that the one-day intensive tour will do the trick. But this is not true, because Szczecin is not only about the past. Szczecin is also the vastness of space, water and greenery, which is best viewed from boat or kayak. Szczecin is a Floating Garden - many rare species of aquatic plants and animals have here their home.
Szczecin has many faces. How much time is needed to see and get to know them all?