Szczecin – Practical Travel Guide
By B. Kozinska, M. Slominsk & G. Solecki
62.99 zł / £13.50
From a geographical perspective, there’s something curiously intriguing, if not lissomly about Szczecin. Apart from being the capital of the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship – try saying that with a mouth full of pierogi – it’s situated at the epicentre of the historic, cross-border of region of Pomerania in northwest Poland. Its social, historical and architectural persuasion therefore, stems from that of a menagerie of outside influences: most notably German, but also Prussian and Swedish.
But its heart remains quintessentially Polish.
Twinned with Hull in England (as well as among others: Malmo in Sweden, Murmansk in Russia, St. Louis in the USA and Bremerhaven, Lübeck, Rostock and Griefswald in Germany); it’s a city of almost half a million people that luckily, still remains relatively undiscovered by the marauding hoards of back-packers and ghastly thrill seekers in search of squalid sex and kebabs. The latter twain of which, do occasionally meet. Alas, no packs of cackling tarts to be found teetering on heels (and not a whole lot else) amid the quaint, cobbled streets of Downtown Szczecin.
This in itself really is rather marvellous. For as fantastic as the likes of Milan, Madrid and Manchester invariably are, far too many infestations of the sparkly, gun-slinging, puke-drenched masses, can after a while, wear a little thin to say the least. So yeah, if it’s a touch of culture and civility you’re after, then Szczecin, which dates back to the 9th Century, could well be the place for you. Reason being, as surprisingly unknown as it is, the city really does have a great deal to offer – much of which is perfectly and more than proficiently captured through out this super, fab, travel guide.
The only one I have so far come across might I add.
As the editors of Szczecin – Practical Travel Guide have written at the outset: ‘’Szczecin is constantly changing, new buildings and facilities are created, additional areas are built-up and offers for tourists are increasing […]. This guide is intended for both tourists visiting Szczecin and Szczecin’s inhabitants wanting to know more about their city. Information included in the guide is meant to make both the history of the city and the vision of its future closer to the readers, to facilitate visiting historical sites and moving around the city, taking advantage of the cultural, entertainment, recreational and dining options.’’
Replete with an assortment of wonderful photographs (predominantly colour, but also black and white) and well proportioned maps (of both the city as a whole as well as the numerous areas such as the Old Town, the City Centre, the harbour and shipyards at Lasztownia, Szczecin’s many parks and vast Central Cemetery), these 280 pages contain everything one might ever need to make a visit to the city as pronounced, plain sailing and pleasant as possible.
From the utmost of helpful sections, ‘Practical Information’ towards the back of the book, to ‘Visiting Szczecin’ (which inevitably includes the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, along with St. James Cathedral Basilica, The National Museum, White Eagle Square, Chrobry Embankment, not forgetting the largest shelter in Poland beneath the Central Railway Station), to ‘Szczecin History, this guidebook really is so much more than its title might imply.
Szczecin – Practical Travel Guide is in fact, a very worthwhile read in its own right; a commendable and inspiring example of which appears amid the eight pages of the city’s highly ambitious ‘Floating Garden 2050’ project: ‘’[…] if a vision is not a bit utopian, it’s not a real vision […]. Aimed on traditional and stereotypical understanding of a city: We want to create a city that will amaze the world. Surrounded by greenery, an ecological city on water. A conglomerate of islands, channels, beaches and bays. A Floating Garden is going to be a Baltic Neopolis – a city that will change thinking about why and how the human being lives – the most inventive city of Europe.’’
Suffice to say, there’s a lot more to read on said project, much of which is just as enlightening as it is enterprising. Thus making for an all round book/travel guide, that’s as equally reflective of the city it represents, as the city itself is ambitious and visionary.
The Travel Guide can be found at merlin.pl and empik.com – links below