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Szczecin is a city situated in the north-west of Poland, where the river Odra meets the Baltic Sea (through Szczecin Bay). For centuries this location has been the junction for major European transit routes, from the west to the east and from the north, through the Baltic, to the south of Europe. Szczecin is also the capital of a new province, the Western Pomeranian Province. This is the result of the recent reform of the national administration.

Szczecin is a city with over a thousand years of tradition and turbulent history, and is also the historical capital of Western Pomerania. Its most illustrious period was the time of the reign of the dukes of the Griffin dynasty, when the city belonged to the Hanseatic League. At this time the city was one of the most powerful ports and trade centres on the Baltic. In the XVII century, after the termination of the line of descent of the Pomeranian dukes, the strategic location of Szczecin became the cause of numerous armed interventions from adjoining nations - Denmark, Sweden, Brandenburg and Germany. At the end of the XIX century the city experienced a period of particularly dynamic economic development, as capital flowed in from all over Europe. The port, maritime economy and cargo transport developed extremely rapidly. After the end of the Second World War, the reconstruction of the destroyed city was taken care of by settlers from all over Poland, who arrived in Szczecin and in the area of Western Pomerania in large numbers. Although the former image of the city changed, its unique character was preserved with the captivating charm of historical, secessionist architecture and the beauty of its lustrous vegetation.

Tourist paradise

Szczecin has a reputation as a 'green city', and not without reason. There are few cities in Poland so replete with vegetation, water areas, and convenient climatic conditions for residence or tourism. Only an hour's journey by car, rail or waterway divides the residents of Szczecin from well-known seaside resorts: Świnoujście (with its ferry services towards Denmark and Sweden), Międzyzdroje, Dziwnów, and Rewal. No lesser popularity is enjoyed by the towns situated on Szczecin Bay: Nowe Warpno, Trzebież and Stepnica.

Szczecin and the West Pomerania Province belong to the most attractive areas of Poland, as far as tourism is concerned. Over 400 thousand of tourists visit us every year. Almost half of them are foreign visitors.

With regard to the role of Szczecin in servicing tourism in the province a major difference between domestic and foreign tourism can be recorded. The dominating characteristic of tourist traffic in Szczecin and the province are one-day visits and visits of a few days by tourists from Germany, Sweden and Denmark. The second feature is transitory tourist traffic, which is mainly due to the fact that Szczecin is a rail and road junction, and the proximity of the Polish German border. The numerous retail and cultural establishments take advantage of this, many of which are oriented towards serving foreign tourists.

The growing interest of tourists in this region has been proved by the constant growth of expenditure on accommodation and catering for last few years. Tourists can use circa fifty overnight accommodation facilities (hotels, boarding houses, hostels) with almost five thousand beds (of which half are in hotels). There are 14 hotels in the city with services of various standards. The most important of them are: Radisson SAS, Neptun, Panorama, Arkona, Rycerski, Park, Campanile, Ibis and Novotel.

It should be added that the region of Szczecin is one of the most beautiful in Poland, with its vast forest and the 900 or so clear lakes that are perfect for yachting. The forest on the outskirts of Szczecin, and Szczecin`s vast parks are excellent areas for walking, jogging or hiking.

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