Welcome to Stargard, a historic city located in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship of northwestern Poland. With a population of over 67,000 people, Stargard is the second largest city in the Szczecin agglomeration and a major railroad junction connecting Poznań and Gdańsk. The city is situated on the Ina River and is home to many landmarks and monuments that showcase its rich history. Let’s explore what makes Stargard a must-visit destination.

Stargard’s name is of Pomeranian (Kashubian) origin and stands for old town/city. The city was founded in the 8th century and became part of the emerging Polish state in 967 under the first Polish rulers from the Piast dynasty. Stargard was first mentioned in 1124 and received Magdeburg city rights in 1243 from Barnim I, Duke of Pomerania. It was one of the most important towns and a major trade center of the Duchy of Pomerania.

Stargard’s medieval fortifications, including ramparts, walls, gates, and towers, are prime examples of the city’s rich history. The Brama Młyńska (The Mill Gate) from the 15th century is the only Polish water gate still in existence and one of two in Europe. The Wałowa Gate from the 15th century, Pyrzycka Gate from the 13th century, Red Sea Tower (Baszta Morze Czerwone) from 1513, Weavers Tower (Baszta Tkaczy) from the 15th century, and White Head Tower (Baszta Białogłówka) from the 15th century are also notable surviving examples. St. Mary’s Church, a distinctive Brick Gothic landmark of the city, dating back to the 15th century, is one of the largest brick churches in Europe and is listed as a Historic Monument of Poland. St. John’s Church from the 15th century, Gothic tenement houses, Gothic Arsenal (Arsenał), and Renaissance town hall are other notable landmarks.

Heavy bombing during World War II devastated most of Stargard’s fine historical sites and destroyed over 75% of the city. However, some of these monuments, such as St. Mary’s Church and the 16th-century town hall, have been rebuilt. The newly restored buildings are on the European Route of Brick Gothic. Other sites include the Granary (16th century), the largest conciliation cross in Europe (1542), Bolesław I the Brave Park (Park im. Bolesława Chrobrego), the oldest and largest park in Stargard, Jagiellonian Park (Park Jagielloński), Baroque guardhouse at the marketplace, now housing a museum, Panorama Park with the Panorama Palace, Holy Spirit church, Church of the Transfiguration, War cemetery where about 5,000 soldiers of various nationalities were buried during World War I and II, and the 15th Meridian Monument (Pomnik 15. Południk).

Stargard is also home to Spójnia Stargard, a men’s basketball team, which competes in the Polish Basketball League, the country’s top division, and Błękitni Stargard, formerly a multi-sports club, now a men’s association football team, best known for reaching the Polish Cup semi-final in 2015.

In conclusion, Stargard is a city with a rich history and many landmarks and monuments that showcase its past. From its medieval fortifications to its Brick Gothic landmarks, Stargard is a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. Its location on the Ina River and its status as a major railroad junction make it easily accessible for travelers. Come and explore the hidden gem of northwestern Poland, Stargard.

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