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  A small museum on Mill Island made up to look like the home of art nouveau painter Leon Wyczółkowski, showcasing a selection of his works. QB‑4, ul. Mennica 7, tel. (+48) 52 585 99 07, www.muzeum.bydgoszcz. pl. Open 09:00-16:00; Thu 09:00-18:00; Sat, Sun 10:00-16:00; closed Mon. Admission 5/3zł (District Museums' ticket 12/8zł). Sat - admission free only for permanent exhibition. U

Modern Art Gallery

  A collection of 20th century art, including works by Malczewski, Witkacy, Cybis, Kantor, and Libera, housed inside the Red Granary.QB‑4, ul. Mennica 8, tel. (+48) 52 585 99 03, www.muzeum.bydgoszcz.pl. Open 09:00-16:00; Thu 09:00-18:00; Sat, Sun 10:00-16:00; closed Mon. Admission 5/3zł (District Museums' ticket 12/8zł). Sat - admission free only for permanent exhibition. U

Money Museum

  Situated at the spot once occupied by the Bydgoszcz Mint, the interactive Money Museum traces the history of the universal currency process and houses the Bydgoszcz Treasure.QB‑4, ul. Mennica 4, tel. (+48) 52 585 99 18, www.muzeum.bydgoszcz.pl. Open 10:00-18:00; Thu 10:00-19:00; Sat, Sun 11:00-18:00; closed Mon. From November 09:00-16:00; Thu 09:00-18:00; Sat, Sun 10:00-16:00; closed Mon. Admission 5/3zł (District Museums' ticket 12/8zł). Sat - admission free only for permanent exhibition. U

Museum of Soap & the History of Dirt

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© OpenStreetMap contributors. Available under the Open Database License.

Bydgoszcz Airport

Getting There Bydgoszcz is connected by rail and bus routes with a number of major Polish cities, making getting to/from Poznań, Toruń, Gdańsk, and Warsaw a breeze. The nifty website e-podroznik.pl, which has English functionality, takes the guesswork out of travel planning. A small international airport offers flight connections to a handful of European cities.

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  One of Bydgoszcz's most popular attractions, a 60-minute romp through the strange history of hygiene, with a chance to make your own soap.QB‑5, ul. Długa 13-17, tel. (+48) 52 515 70 15, www.muzeummydla.pl. Open 10:0018:00. Admission 18zł, family ticket 59zł. U

Water Tower - Waterworks Museum

  A modest selection of sanitation paraphernalia inside a gorgeous 1899 water tower (see cover photo), with striking views of the city from a platform atop it.QA‑5, ul. Filarecka 1, tel. (+48) 882 05 06 56, www.muzeum.mwik. bydgoszcz.pl. Open 11:00-16:00; Sat, Sun 13:00-17:00; closed Fri. Opening Hours are subject to change. Admission 5/2zł, family ticket 10zł.

Nightlife

  Bydgoszcz has a small but sparkling airport, Bydgoszcz I.J. Paderewski, less than 5km south of the centre. On the main ground floor area find toilets, newspaper shop, currency exchange, and ATM. Upstairs find a café and car rental options like Hertz and Avis. Bus 80 leaves from outside the main exit and can drop you off at Rondo Jagiellonów (D-4), 1km from the main square. Taxis can be found parked outside after flights arrive. Assuming the meter is set correctly, expect to pay around 25zł to get to the city centre, a journey which should take no more than 10-15 mins providing there is no traffic. Make sure the taxi is clearly marked and has the fares advertised in the rear window.QAl. Jana Pawła II 158, tel. (+48) 52 365 46 50, www.plb.pl.

Main Train Station

  The main train station, Bydgoszcz Główna, is about 2km northwest of the Old Town in a sparkling but very oddly-shaped glass hall. The facilities are all up to 21st century standards, with wheelchair access, wi-fi, an ATM, luggage lockers, convenience stores, a pharmacy, a book store, and some food and coffee opportunities. To get to the centre head out of the doors and to the bus and tram stop straight across the road on ul. Dworcowa. Trams no. 5 and 8 will take you to Plac Teatralny (C-4) in 7 mins. If you’re using a taxi then you’ll find chariots standing a little to the right of the main entrance. These will usually charge you around 15zł to get to the Old Town; make sure the rates are displayed clearly on the taxi before getting in.QA‑1, ul. Zygmunta Augusta 7, www.pkp.pl. Open 24hrs. U

Main Bus Station

  Bydgoszcz bus station is a very basic affair with a single-story building set next to some run-down platforms, though fortunately there are refreshment options aplenty inside the Focus Mall right across the road. Inside the station itself (open 04:00 - 23:00) you’ll find a ticket office, convenience store, left luggage, toilets  (06:00-20:00), and two ATMs. While closer to the market square than the train station it is still a good 20-minute walk away, though trams tootle down ul. Jagiellońska and take about five minutes.QE‑4, ul. Jagiellońska 58, www.pks.bydgoszcz.pl. Ticket office open 07:00-18:00, closed Sat, Sun. International ticket office open 07:00-18:00; closed Sat, Sun.

Getting Around The historical centre of Bydgoszcz is tiny and you’ll rarely need more than a few minutes to reach your destination by foot, but getting to and from the train station, 2km away, is probably best done by public transport or taxi, as are trips to the Myślęcinek  recreational area, the Exploseum, the Valley of Death, and other destinations outside the city centre. 

Public Transport

A total of 51 bus and 9 tram routes plough the streets of Bydgoszcz, of which the latter are by far the most convenient. Tickets can be bought from ticket machines (onboard some buses/trams and scattered around the city), newspaper kiosks, or - rarely - straight from the driver. The cost is 3zł  for  a single-journey ticket (no changing buses/trams), 4.20zł for a one hour ticket (unlimited changes), and 12zł for a day pass. Note that there are no concessions for foreigners, and tickets must be validated in a special machine at the start of your journey, otherwise you might get caught by a plain-clothes inspector and forced to pay a 180zł fine (failure to pay after 7 days will increase it to 258zł). To figure out how to best reach your destination, use the invaluably helpful website bydgoszcz.jakdojade.pl, which figures out all connections for you (it also comes in app form). Taxi MPT ŁuczniczkaQtel. (+48) 52 191 91, www.bydgoszcz.mpt.pl.

Shopping

Boutique - Atelier

Symbols of precious moments

Karczma Młyńska

CAFES  Uber-cool interior design, indie magazines, cake, and fiendishly good coffee close to the Music District.QC‑3, ul. Gimnazjalna 6. Open 09:00-20:00; Sat, Sun 11:00-19:00. T­B­6

Ava 3.0

  Recently under new ownership, this popular 3-level nightspot caters to clubbers upstairs and those who love to groove to classics downstairs.QC‑4, ul. Stary Port 21, www.ava3.pl. Open 21:00-04:00 Fri, Sat only.

Kubryk

  It might look a little grim from the outside but Kubryk is just what this city needs – a salty sea shanty pub.QC‑5, ul. Podwale 3, www.pubkubryk.pl. Open 14:00-02:00; Thu 14:00-03:00; Fri, Sat 14:00-06:00. X­E

Cepelia

Karczma Kujawska

Manekin

PANCAKES  Cheap and tasty crepes including your choice off batter and dizzying selection of fillings from teriyaki beef to white chocolate.QC‑4, ul. Focha 14, tel. (+48) 52 349 39 76, www.manekin.pl. Open 10:00-22:00; Fri, Sat 10:0023:00. €. T­6­W

Ćma

MASQ

  Elegant dance club and cocktail bar close to the main train station lets you beat the old town crowds without compromising on quality.QA‑2, ul. Zygmunta Augusta 20, www.masq.com.pl. Open 21:00-04:00 Sat only. X

Folkstar

Meluzyna

INTERNATIONAL  Boasting steak, venison, goose, and rabbit, this white-tablecloth old-timer has been cooking up a storm for yonks.QD‑3, ul. Gdańska 50, www. restauracjameluzyna.pl. Open 12:00-22:00; Fri, Sat 12:00-23:00. €€€. T­W

ElJazz Club

Mózg

  The beatniks' choice, this legendary alternative venue is also a mecca for lovers of Pomeranian 'yass' music - a unique mix of jazz, punk rock, folk and improvised music.QC‑4, ul. Parkowa 2, www.mozg.art.pl. Open 20:0003:00 Thu-Sat only. X­E

Lilou

Parzymy Tutaj

CAFES  Specialty coffee sold, brewed, and appreciated in a small but instagrammable interior. Look for beans by local roast champion A. Sørbotten.QC‑5, ul. Długa 61. Open 08:00-20:00; Sat 10:00-20:00; Sun 11:00-18:00. T­6

Karafka

  A glitzy wine bar filled floor-to-ceiling with bottles of red and white, plus some stronger spirits.QC‑4, ul. Jatki 3, www.karafka-winebar.pl. Open 08:0022:00; Fri, Sat 08:00-23:00; Sun 08:00-18:00. E

Twenty Club

Tourist Information Centre

Sowa Confectionery

Kraftodajnia   Perfect for beer connoisseurs, Kraftodajnia offers a wide selection of microbrews both local and from further afield, plus food pairing.QC‑5, Plac Kościeleckich 5 1/2, www.kraftodajnia.pl. Open 16:00-23:00; Fri, Sat 16:00-02:00; Sun 16:00-22:00. 6

Warzelnia Piwa Bydgoszcz

Karramba

/bemylilou

Zielone Arkady

Landschaft

POLISH  Set in an old mill-house tucked inside a bend of the Brda River, this picturesque eatery offers hearty Polish cuisine in a folksy interior.QB‑4, ul. Mennica 1, tel. (+48) 661 01 73 01, www.karczmamlynska.com.pl. Open 12:00-23:00; Fri, Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-21:00. €€. T­E

/bemylilou

Karafka

INTERNATIONAL  Divided into two independent parts, a fancy restaurant and homey bistro, 'Garlic and Olive Oil' focuses on French and Italian cuisine.QB‑5, ul. Grudziącka 33, www.czosnekioliwa.pl. Open 12:00-22:00. €€€. T­U­6

Karczma Młyńska

BYDGOSZCZ, 14 Gdańska Street lilouparis.com

The dancefloor at Ava 3.0 | Photo by www.derblitz.pl

Czosnek i Oliwa

POLISH  Fabulously decorated Kuyavian tavern in the Myślęcinek recreational complex, featuring a traditional menu of meat and potato dishes.QH‑1, ul. Konna 14 (Myślęcinek), www.karczmabydgoszcz.pl. Open 11:00-21:00. €€. T­U­6­W

MARK STORIES OF YOUR LIFE BY CREATING UNIQUE, ENGRAVED JEWELRY

Landschaft café | Photo: Adrian Urbanski

INTERNATIONAL  The only restaurant in Bydgoszcz that dry-ages its beef before cooking up mouthwatering steaks; pizza and seafood are the other attractions.QB‑5, ul. Stefana Batorego 1, www.restauracjakarramba.pl. Open 13:00-23:00; Fri 13:00-01:00; Sat 12:00-01:00; Sun 12:00-23:00. €€. T­6­W

King Fu Fusion

ASIAN  The exquisite sushi and curry served at this elegant establishment make this a local favourite of the city's restaurant scene.QC‑4, ul. Jatki 2, www.kingfu. pl. Open 12:00-22:00; Fri, Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:00-20:00. €€€. T­U­E­W

CAFES  A legendary Bydgoszcz sweets shop established way back in 1946, Sowa famous for pralines and cakes - is now a chain across the country.QC‑4, ul. Mostowa 5, www.sowa-restauracja.pl. Open 08:00-22:00; Fri, Sat 08:0022:00; Sun 10:00-21:00. T­6­W

  Tucked away in a historical townhouse, Ćma is a family-friendly bar offering a great selection of food, craft beer and whiskey.QB‑5, ul. Niedźwiedzia 11, www.cma.bydgoszcz.pl. Open 12:00-21:00; Mon 12:00-16:00; Wed, Thu 12:00-22:00; Fri, Sat 12:00-02:00. 6   The jazz nights at this cavernous old-timer are the stuff of legend and pair nicely with a cocktail or a glass of whiskey.QC‑4, ul. Kręta 3, www.eljazz. com.pl. Open 16:00-02:00; Fri 16:00-03:00; Sat 16:00-04:00. E

  The clientele skews younger at this 'modern and interactive' Main Square establishment.QB‑5, ul. Stary Rynek 20. Open 20:00-02:00; Fri, Sat 20:0004:00; closed Mon, Sun. X­W   This regional brewery and bar on the waterfront of the Brda continues Bydgoszcz's 600-year tradition of beer brewing.QB‑5, ul. Poznańska 8, www.warzelniapiwa.pl. Open 12:00-23:00; Fri, Sat 12:00-24:00; Sun 12:0022:00. E­W

GIFTS & SOUVENIRS  Everything folk-related from tapestries to wooden statuettes to a small selection of the more usual tourist detritus.QC‑3, ul. Gdańska 17, www. cepelia.pl. Open 10:00-18:00; Sat 10:00-14:00; closed Sun. GIFTS & SOUVENIRS  Surprisingly low on kitsch, this little shop carries loads of trinkets and household items with colourful and folksy floral patterns.QB‑5, ul. Jezuicka 7, www.folkstar.pl. Open 10:00-18:00. AMBER & JEWELLERY  Pendants, charms, and delicate chains abound in this boutique-y jewellery shop staffed by immaculately-attired ladies.QC‑4, ul. Gdańska 14, www. lilou.pl. Open 10:00-18:00; Sat 11:00-16:00; closed Sun. Opening hours subject to change in December. GIFTS & SOUVENIRS  Standard souvenirs including fridge magnets, postcards, t-shirts, and mugs, plus a helpful selection of brochures and other information.QB‑5, ul. Batorego 2, www.visitbydgoszcz.pl. Open 09:00-18:00; Sat, Sun 10:0016:00.

Zielone Arkady

SHOPPING MALLS   This modern shopping Mecca offers 200 shops, cafes, and restaurants, in addition to some striking architecture.QD‑6, ul. Wojska Polskiego 1, www. zielonearkady.com.pl. Open 09:00-21:00; Sun 10:00-20:00.


Introducing Bydgoszcz

History

Although it looks like a crossword cipher gone wrong, there is some linguistic logic behind the hard syllables of this northern city’s name: ‘Bydgoszcz’ comes from a combination of the Old Slavic words for ‘to be’ (or ‘to become,’ sort of) and ‘guest.’ As such the city’s name is an extension of its atmosphere, and a warm invitation to enjoy some Polish hospitality. Pronounced ‘Bidgoshch’ (go on, you’ve got it), this Pomeranian town on the Brda River may not be a common site on European travel itineraries, but is one of Poland’s best kept secrets, thanks to postcard perfect views, a wonderful museum island, quaint waterfront, charming footbridges, old granaries, and some rather fine examples of Art Nouveau architecture. Scratch below the scenic surface, and you’ll also discover dark tales of WWII horror, materialised in the gloomy Valley of Death and an absolute mustsee: the Exploseum, a former Nazi explosives factory hidden away in the Bydgoszcz Forest. For rest, relaxation and family fun, there’s the Myślęcinek Forest Park just 5km from the centre, which boasts numerous attractions for all seasons, from the city Zoo to a winter ski slope (yes, even in this very flat part of the country). Whatever your interests, use this guide to get the most out of your visit, and we hope you fall in love with this city as much as we have. For more in-depth info on Bydgoszcz, visit our website: iyp. me/bydgoszcz. Also, explore Bydgoszcz, plus dozens of other destinations across Europe, with our free app: iyp.me/app.

Tourist Information Centre

  A helpful information centre right on the main square (don't let the address fool you), providing maps (including your fave - wink), brochures, books, info about upcoming events, day trip ideas, and a wealth of other information about Bydgoszcz and the surrounding area from locals who are passionate about their city and are excited to share it with you! It's also an opportunity to pick up some nice souvenirs to take home. QB‑5, ul. Batorego 2, tel. +48 52 340 45 50, www.visitbydgoszcz.pl. Open 09:00 - 18:00; Sat, Sun 10:00 - 16:00.

Sightseeing

The first recorded mention of Bydgoszcz can be traced back to 1238. Its strategic position on the Brda River made the settlement an important trading point, and by 1252 a customs house was in operation. April 19, 1346 saw the city granted its civic rights by Polish King Kazimierz the Great, and the following year foundations were laid for the castle, and construction began on the town’s first church. The city continued to prosper and by the end of the 15th century it’s thought about 15% of the boats traversing the Wisła were using Bydgoszcz as their principal home. Bad times were around the corner however, as in 1655 the Swedes stormed into Poland burning and looting anything they could lay their mitts on. The city seems to have been right out of luck, as over the following century the population was decimated by outbreaks of cholera, typhus and plague. So much so that by the time Bydgoszcz was handed to the Prussians as part of the 1772 Partition of Poland, only 1,000 people were listed as residing in the city.

Mill Island | Photo by Kazimierz Mendlik

It was down to the Prussians to kick the town out of its slumber, and this they did with zeal, tearing down Polish historical buildings in the process (this included the castle ruins, the town hall, the coin mint, and more). Craftsmen and traders flocked into the city, and within the first year of Prussian rule the decision to build the Bydgoszcz Canal - connecting Bydgoszcz to Berlin - was rubber stamped. Six thousand workers flooded into the city, and what a job they did; by 1774 the 24.7 kilometre project was complete, and at quite a cost - an estimated 2,000 labourers died in the process. Eventually the Industrial Revolution rolled around and Bydgoszcz became the HQ of the Prussian Rail system, as factories and warehouses sprang up like a rash of blackened toadstools. By the turn of the century 50,000 people were living in Bydgoszcz, making it the fastest-growing urban area in Prussia.

1 Opera Nova   This stunning International Style opera house, reflected in the waters of the Brda, was a looooong time in the making - 33 years, to be exact. The idea to build a stage for Bydgoszcz’s operatic performers, who so far had to make use of the city’s theatres, came in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Soon afterwards the design phase started, and by 1973 construction could commence (already behind schedule), with plans to finish the building by 1982. However, what followed was a 20-year period of delays and impasses as funds kept getting tighter; things finally sped up in the 1990s, and the opera was officially opened in 2006. Today it stages a mix of opera, operetta and ballet performances, mostly on the weekends.QB‑4, ul. Marszałka Focha 5, tel. (+48) 52 325 15 02, www. opera.bydgoszcz.pl. Box office open Tue, Wed, Thu 15:00-18:30; Mon, Fri 1hr before performances start; Sat 15:00-18:30; Sun 16:00-18:30. Tickets 35-100zł.

Poles finally got their chance to reclaim what they felt was rightfully theirs at the end of WWI. Soon, over 80% of Bydgoszcz's German population had fled the city, and the Poles set about reinventing the town's cultural and social fabric. Then came WWII, marking the darkest chapter of the city’s history. Arrests and executions became standard under the new regime, and it’s estimated that 10-15,000 locals died during the war. Six years of hell came to an end when the Red Army rolled into town on January 27, 1945, though true liberation was still a long way off - it would take until 1989 for Poland to smash the Iron Curtain.

2 Mill Island   Bydgoszcz’s own ‘Museum Island,’ lovingly manicured and pedicured into the city’s most pleasant hangout. Surrounded by the Brda River, the Mill Island was once indeed a place of mills - grain mills, sawmills, fulling mills, malt mills - and in 1594 it also became home to a coin mint. The mint, one of the most important ones in Poland at the time, operated until 1688, and its buildings were torn down by the Prussians in the 18th century; look closely, though, and you’ll realise the street going through the Mill Island is still called ul. Mennica, or Coin Mint Street.

Stary Rynek

In addition to a lovely recreational green, a public beach, and a large playground, you’ll also find here the imposing 19th century Rother’s Mills (now in the process of being converted to Water Gardens and the Brain Museum, after years of standing empty) and a selection of museums: the Leon Wyczółkowski House, dedicated to the works of the famous Polish painter who lived just outside Bydgoszcz for a period of time, the Archaeological Museum (housed in the 1890’s White Granary), the Modern Art Gallery (housed in the 1861 Red Granary), and the Money Museum.QB‑5. 3 Stary Rynek (The Old Market Square)   The historical centre of town, Stary Rynek and the surrounding streets constituted their own island until the 18th century, when the moat to the south and east (fed by the Brda River) was filled in by the Prussians. The town square was first demarcated in 1346 by King Kazimierz the Great, and soon a wooden Town Hall was built at its centre; this burned down in a huge city fire in 1425 and was replaced by a stone building, which unfortunately turned out to be just as impermanent, burning down in another fire in 1511. The next iteration was to be more lucky: it lasted from 1515 until the 1830s, though it did fall into ruin during the Swedish Deluge (1655–1660) and a subsequent fire (yes, those used to happen very often). Its inevitable demise came not from flames, but from the hands of the Prussians - a fate shared with the city’s castle ruins, city walls, and the coin mint that once stood on Mill Island. In 2010, the foundations of the Town Hall were found underneath the surface of the Rynek and the most-recent excavations of the site were wrapped up in mid-2019. The main monument now residing on the main square is

Bydgoszcz Cathedral

the 1969 Bydgoszcz Battle and Martyrdom Monument, a memorial to the horrors of Nazi occupation and Stalinism. For something more light-hearted, search for the ‘Children Playing with a Goose’ fountain in the southeast corner, a 1909 work by Karol Kowalczewski. And to be completely weirded out, take up a spot in front of house no. 17 at 13:13 or 21:13, which is when legendary Polish sorcerer Pan Twardowski (who supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for magical powers) makes a jerky appearance in the little window at the top. This strange animatronic display, created by sculptor Jerzy Kędziora (also responsible for the Crossing the River sculpture) and a couple engineers, is meant to commemorate Twardowski’s three-month stay in Bydgoszcz in 1560. Also of note - you’ll find the Tourist Info Point at the corner of ul. Batorego. QB‑4, Stary Rynek. 4 Bydgoszcz Cathedral   Bydgoszcz’s oldest remaining church is an exquisite example of the so-called Vistulan Gothic style, and is, in a word, spectacular. Parts of the building date back to the middle of the 15th century, and while the exterior is handsome enough, what really sets this church apart from the rest is its glorious interior. Those who’ve visited Kraków might recognise its style - full of vivid reds and purples - as the design of Poland’s creative genius Stanisław Wyspiański. Painted between 1922 and 1925 by Henryk Jackowski, the polychrome masterpiece has its roots in the modernist ideas of the art nouveau ‘Młoda Polska’ (Young Poland) movement. Combined with no fewer than seven Baroque altars, a 1467 painting of Madonna with a Rose, and some other priceless antiques, this is a Bydgoszcz must-see.

The Granaries | © Filip Kowalkowski

In January of 2018, the Cathedral became the scene of something straight out of National Treasure - if you replace Nick Cage with a team of local conservators and labourers. During some renovation work, the team discovered true riches underneath the floor: 480 coins and some 200 other golden artefacts dating back to the 16th century, probably hidden away (very successfully) during the Swedish Deluge of 1655-1660. The treasure can now be viewed in the Money Museum - an obvious choice.QB‑4, ul. Farna 10, tel. (+48) 52 322 45 86, www.katedrabydgoska.pl. Open 8:00-18:00. No visiting during mass please. 5 The Granaries   These three clustered granaries are Bydgoszcz’s signature landmark, so signature that they found their way into the city’s logo. Though the waterfront was once jam-packed with buildings of this type, these granaries are some of the only to have survived to today. Built in  1793-1800 by merchant Samuel Gotlob Engelmann, they were used to store grain until the 1950s, after which they were turned over to the Municipal Museum, which turned them into their Historical branch. The tour begins with a lift trip to the temporary exhibits on the top floor. From there make your way down the steps to find the story of Bydgoszcz laid out in an earnest but not too successful attempt at an interactive multimedia exhibit. It’s small and lacks clarity, but might be of interest to those wanting to learn more of the local history.QC‑4, ul. Grodzka 7-11, tel. (+48) 52 585 99 74, www.muzeum. bydgoszcz.pl. Open 09:00-16:00; Thu 09:00-18:00; Sat, Sun 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission 5/3zł (ticket for all departments of the District Museum 12/8zł). Sat - admission free only for permanent exhibition. U

Cultural Venues

The Polish Theatre

City Cultural Centre

  The city's main cultural institution, organising exhibitions and concerts, as well as film screenings in the on-site Orzeł Cinema.Qul. Marcinkowskiego 12, tel. (+48) 52 325 55 40, www.mck-bydgoszcz.pl. Box office open MonFri 08:00-20:00 and Sat, Sun one hour before performances. Cinema tickets from 11 to 14zł.

BWA City Gallery   The municipality-owned contemporary art gallery showcases mixed-media art from home and abroad.QC‑3, ul. Gdańska 20, tel. (+48) 52 339 30 50, www.galeriabwa.bydgoszcz.pl. Open 10:00-18:00; Sat, Sun 11:30-16:30; closed Mon. Admission free. Polish Theatre

  The largest and best known theatre in Bydgoszcz with traditions dating back to 1820, staging mostly contemporary plays in Polish.QD‑2, Al. Mickiewicza 2, tel. (+48) 52 339 78 12, www.teatrpolski.pl. Box office open 14:00-18:00; Sat, Sun open 1 hour before performance. Tickets 25-75zł.

Pomeranian Philharmonic

  This beautiful venue is home to two music troupes: the Symphonic Orchestra of the Pomeranian Philharmonic and Capella Bydgostiensis. QD‑3, ul. Andrzeja Szwalbego 6, tel. (+48) 52 321 04 67, www.filharmonia. bydgoszcz.pl. Box office open 14:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon, Sat, Sun. Open always one hour before performance. Tickets 20-70zł.

in the know independent indispensable

Events

Man Crossing the River

6 Lemara Barge   This small barge houses a museum dedicated to Bydgoszcz’s inland navigation heritage. Built in a Bydgoszcz workshop in 1937, the inland vessel originally belonged to skipper Adolf Schmidt, who named it after his parents, Leon and Maria. He wouldn’t enjoy it for long - once WWII rolled around, Lemara was confiscated by the Nazis, and after the war would up in the hands of the communist Polish state. The vessel was finally retired in 2006, and three years later city authorities decided to purchase it and recreate a traditional living-and-working interior - a tribute to skippers who lived on their barges. Lemara is also open for various concerts and performances, so by all means, barge right in (during opening hours, mind you!).Qul. Spichlerna 1, tel. (+48) 519 34 65 71, www.mck-bydgoszcz.pl. Open 12:00-17:00; Sat, Sun 12:00-16:00; closed Mon. Admission 3zł. 7 Man Crossing the River   This iconic sculpture, which balances precariously and yet perfectly on a wire over the river, is the work of Polish sculptor Jerzy Kędziora (whose gravitydefying art can also be seen in Kraków). The sculpture portrays a young man attempting to cross the river with a pole in one hand and an arrow in the other, with a pair of Roman sandals slung over his shoulder. Unveiled on the day Poland joined the European Union - May 1st, 2004 - the lad is said to be fetching an arrow shot by Bydgoszcz’s other well-known sculpture: Łuczniczka (aka The Archer). Look closely and you will also see that he is accompanied by a single swallow, said to be a tribute to Andrzej Szwalbe, the late director of the Pomeranian Philharmonic.QC‑4, Most Sulimy-Kamińskiego.

The Deluge Fountain

8 The Raftsman Monument (Flisak)   Co-financed by Bydgoszcz and the Hungarian government, this raftsman statue serves as a reminder that skippers weren’t the only people transporting goods through Pomeranian waterways. Once a common sight, raftsmen (flisacy in Polish) would float lumber and assorted cargo down the river. The statue’s author is Bydgoszcz artist Michał Kubiak, also responsible for the Marian Rejewski monument, a sculpture of Andrzej Schwalbe (the former director of the Pomeranian Philharmonic, social activist, and lawyer) near the Philharmonic, and a statue called The Wanderer at the intersection of ul. Gdańska, ul. Pomorska, and ul. Dworcowa. The full (Hungarian) name of this monument is Csáky gróf tutajosa - Count Csáky’s Raftsman, in honour of cartographer and engineer Ferenc Flórián Csáky, who first imagined and designed the Bydgoszcz Canal, making it possible to sail from Bydgoszcz all the way to Berlin.QC‑4, Northern bank of the Brda River, just west of ul. Mostowa. 9 The Deluge Fountain   This dramatic biblical fountain portraying animals and people trying to escape the Deluge is a reconstruction of a 1904 work by German sculptor Ferdinand Lepcke, also responsible for the famous Łuczniczka sculpture. The original, designed for a competition, met its demise during WWII, when the Nazis decided to melt the 9 tons of bronze down for military purposes - though a copy survived in Lepcke’s hometown, Coburg. Reconstruction works started in 2004, and the fountain was resurrected piece by piece until the final result was officially unveiled in 2014.QC‑3, Park im. Kazimierza Wielkiego.

Myślęcinek

ul. Cieszkowskiego

10 Marian Rejewski Monument   A monument to one of Bydgoszcz’s greatest minds - the man who helped crack the German Enigma Code during WWII, Marian Rejewski. Working for Polish Military Intelligence with two other young Poles, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki, Rejewski (1905-1980) made the first vital breakthrough using a mathematical theorem since described as ‘the theorem that won World War II’. The successful cracking of Enigma and the subsequent use of its intelligence at the famous Bletchley Park in England is believed to not only have shortened the war by some three years, but almost certainly to have saved Europe from a nuclear catastrophe. This monument, portraying Rejewski sitting modestly on a bench with a notepad, was created by Michał Kubiak and unveiled in 2005.QC‑3, ul. Gdańska. 11 ul. Cieszkowskiego   You are now squarely in Bydgoszcz’s ‘New Town’, an area built up almost entirely during a 50-year period between 1865 and 1915 around the thennew train station. Thanks to this quick development, the district is fairly uniform architecturally, with Fin De Siècle Eclecticism, Baroque Revival, and Art Nouveau being the styles du jour. Meanwhile, similar construction was taking place in Prussia’s capital, leading Bydgoszcz to earn the nickname can you guess it? - ‘Little Berlin.’ Bydgoszcz, however, has a claim on its own particular brand of Art Nouveau - known locally as ‘Bydgoska Secesja’ - and some of its best examples can be found along this picturesque 250m long street, which is packed with ornate, pastel-coloured townhouses.QC‑2, ul. Cieszkowskiego.

WWII Bydgoszcz

The Archer (Łuczniczka) | © visitbydgoszcz

12 The Music District   This small patch of town - roughly 300 by 350 metres - is packed with the city’s top musical institutions: the Pomeranian Philharmonic, the Polish Theatre, the Music Academy, the Music School Group, and a headquarters of the Pomeranian-Kuyavian Polish Radio (a notable omission is of course Opera Nova, which resides near the river). It’s also one of the most pleasant places for a walk, with Kochanowski Park stretching north from the Philharmonic, peppered with statues of musical greats from Ignacy Jan Paderewski to Wojciech Kilar. In front of the Philharmonic you’ll also find a multimedia fountain, which puts on water-and-light shows with classical music in the warm season.QBounded by ul. Staszica, ul. Gdańska, al. Mickiewicza, and ul. Kołłątaja. 13 The Archer (Łuczniczka)   Bydgoszcz’s most famous and most recognizable statue, portraying a young female archer dressed in only a pair of Roman lace-up sandals. Sculpted in 1908 by Berlin artist Ferdinand Lepcke, it was bought for the city by the wealthy banker and philanthropist Lewin Louis Aronsohn. The naked athlete was initially too titillating for the laced-up public of the era and was subjected to numerous protests, camouflage attempts, and being dressed up in proper clothing during religious holidays. It wasn’t until Poznań mayor Cyryl Ratajski sought to buy the statue in the 1920s that the city had some second thoughts about the artistic value of Łuczniczka - and she stayed in Bydgoszcz, although moved back from the street somewhat to be less visible. After a few more place changes throughout the 20th century, she now resides in Kochanowski Park.QD‑2, Park im. Jana Kochanowskiego.

Ostromecko

Seasons greetings from Bydgoszcz’s Christmas Market!

Bydgoszcz Jazz Festival

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poland.inyourpocket.com Publisher: IYP City Guides Sp. z o.o. Sp.k., ul. Karmelicka 46/51, 31-128 Kraków tel. +48 606 749 676, poland@inyourpocket.com, iyp.com.pl Cover photo: The Water Tower - built in 1899 and home to the Waterworks Museum. Other photos as credited or courtesy of City of Bydgoszcz, In Your Pocket, Pixabay. Copyright Notice: Text, maps and photos copyright IYP City Guides Sp. z o.o. Sp.k. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the copyright owner. The brand name In Your Pocket is used under license from UAB In Your Pocket (Bernardinu 9-4, Vilnius, Lithuania tel. (+370-5) 212 29 76).

Oct 13 - Nov 01 Poland has always loved jazz and this is an opportunity to listen to the world’s best! The 2019 line-up includes such jazz giants as Protocol Simon Philips, Funkyou1 Band, QYaVY and the Opera Nova Chamber Orchestra. Eljazz BigBand will perform Krzysztof Komeda compositions and will join Krystyna Prońko, Greg Ozby (USA) and Tal Cohen (Israel) for ‘Zaduszki Jazzowe’ (Jazz Nights). Other events include jam sessions and Kinga Eliasz’s photo exhibit. QPerformances will be held at B-4, Opera Nova & C-4, El Jazz. Festival Pass 140zł, tickets 50-60zł, www.bydgoszczjazzfestival.com.pl.

Chamber Music Festival

Nov 03 - 17 Taking advantage of the amazing acoustics at the Waterworks Museum over a two-week period, performances include The Melo-M Cello Trio, Barock Quartet, Kroke, a jazz/dance concert featuring Szymon Łukowski and Piotr Dąbrowski, and 'At the source' - a chamber concert featuring Mariusz Patyra, Klaudia Marzec, Piotr Mocarski and the Michał Zaborski Quartet.QA‑5, Water Tower - Waterworks Museum, ul. Filarecka 1, tel. (+48) 882 05 06 56, Tickets 25-60zł, www.muzykauzrodel.com.

Christmas Market

Dec 06 - 22 Bydgoszcz’s Christmas Fair is all about arts and crafts, gift shopping and traditional Polish food like pierogi, goose, smoked fish, local honey and spices! This year, organisers intend to surprise everyone with a new format, therefore details will be revealed a couple weeks before the event! QB/C, 4 Plac Teatralny & 4 Staromiejski Bridge. Admission free.

Myślęcinek Forest Park

Covering some 800 hectares of glorious forest and meadow land north of the city centre, the leisurely Forest Park of Culture in Myślęcinek offers visitors a wealth of things to see and do. Originally a series of individual parklands, the park became one large entity in 1970 and is a hugely popular place yearround, but especially during the summer months. You’ll find here not only great space for picnicking and stretching out on the grass, but also a Zoo, expansive Botanical Garden with an ‘Alpinarium’, a horse riding centre, paintball and golf and an amusement park. Though most of these activities do not run in winter, you can look forward to the ski slope that gets active once the temperature drops below zero! For refueling and refreshment, you’ll find a few cafes scattered about and the traditional Karczma Kujawska (Kuyavian Inn) restaurant at the northern end, near the Botanical Garden. To get here take bus 52 specifically-marked ‘Myślęcinek’ from ‘Nowy Rynek’ (B5) or use bydgoszcz.jakdojade.pl to figure out other connections.

Bydgoszcz Zoo

 lookup Inside the spectacular Forest Park of Culture, Bydgoszcz’s small Zoo opened in 1978 and until recently was the only zoo in the country containing entirely native species. Nowadays, of its 300-or-so residents, you have the opportunity to see tigers, zebras and lemurs as well as bison, beavers and wolves. Of particular interest is the mini zoo, opened in 1994 for the purpose of both entertaining and educating local children. Exploring this collection of all things feathery, furry and slimey, offers a mildly interesting diversion for half an hour or so. QH‑2, ul. Gdańska 173/175, tel. (+48) 52 328 00 08, www.zoo.bydgoszcz.com. Open 10:00-17:00; closed Mon. From November open 10:00-16:00; closed Mon. Admission 18/12zł. Children under 3 free.

Myślęcinek Ski Slope

Botanical Garden in Myślęcinek  lookup This 60-hectare stretch of land looks more like a large meadow than a standard botanical garden, but it is home to 800+ plant species and is a favourite place for leisurely strolls. The highlight is without a doubt the Alpinarium, an Alpine-style section of the garden formed to remind visitors of mountains - yes, that’s a 20m stone wall you see, and a ridge, and a gorge, and even a mountain lake complete with a stream and waterfall. The plants are Alpine as well, from mountain pine to edelweiss. Elsewhere you’ll find an arboretum, a garden of ‘cherry and apple blossoms,’ collections of pine trees and other evergreens as well as many native plants.QH‑1, ul. Gdańska 173175, tel. (+48) 52 328 00 09, www.myslecinek.pl. Open 09:00-19:00. From November open 09:00-16:00. From February open 09:00-17:00. Admission free. Myślęcinek Ski Slope  lookup Open in the cold season; weather-dependent. Whilst the Pomeranian region is not known for its mountains, this man-made slope gives northern Poles and tourists an opportunity for ski recreation. The length of the slope is 42m and the altitude at the top is 107m above sea level, so hardcore skiers may not be so blown away. That being said, it’s perfect for beginners and young families and, with two T-bar lifts, equipment rental and modest pricing (see below), there’s alot of fun to be had!QG‑1, ul. Gdańska 173-175, tel. (+48) 52 328 00 09, www.myslecinek.pl. Open 11:00-21:00; Sat, Sun 10:00-21:00. Mon-Thu 2zł for one ride up with the ski lift, 15zł for 10, or 18zł for one hour of unlimited skiing; Fri-Sun respectively 2,50zł, 17zł, and 24zł. Ski rental is 10zł per hour, boots 5zł, poles 2zł, helmets 5zł.

Exploseum | © Wojciech Woźniak

Exploseum DAG Fabrik Bromberg

 lookup Completely surreal, this former German DAG explosives factory hidden in the Bydgoszcz Forest looks like an extremely sinister hobbit village, with small, moss-covered buildings spread over an area of 23km² (the building in the picture up top is one of the few large ones). In 2011, eight factory buildings - apparently just 1% of the entire complex! - were turned into a state-of-theart museum detailing the history of dynamite and nitroglycerin, the tales of DAG, and the realities faced by 10,000 forced labourers who toiled here during the war. Exhibits are unfortunately in Polish only, but international visitors are assigned to an English-speaking guide who converts the written to the spoken. To get here, take bus 56 from ‘Nowy Rynek’ to ‘Glinki’, then 68E from ‘Glinki’ to ‘Park Przemysłowy / Exploseum’, then follow the signs; or use bydgoszcz. jakdojade.pl for the most up-to-date bus schedules.Qul. Alfreda Nobla, tel. (+48) 883 36 60 56, www.exploseum.pl. Open 09:00-15:30; closed Mon. Admission 12/10zł; Sat free.

Valley of Death

 lookup A chilling site where some 1200-1400 Poles and Polish Jews (the exact number is unknown) were murdered by the Nazis and buried in a mass grave between October 10th and November 26th, 1939. The site is marked by a 1975 memorial depicting broken stalks of wheat and a more recent Way of the Cross, which culminates in a striking, modular ‘Gate to Heaven’ monument. To get here, take tram no. 3 or 5 from ‘Plac Teatralny’ to ‘Przylesie’, then change to bus 69 or 89 and get off at ‘Twardzickiego’. Better yet, let bydgoszcz. jakdojade.pl figure out the optimal route for you.QDolina Śmierci.

The Old Palace in its idyllic location in Ostromecko Park Complex

Ostromecko Palace Complex

 lookup Situated three kilometres east of Bydgoszcz and accessed by road 80 to Toruń, this complex makes for a nice daytrip after having experienced all that Bydgoszcz proper has to offer, and is recommended for anyone with a passing interest in 19th-century architecture (or those wishing they were an old-fashioned lord, with butler on hand and all). The complex is composed of a variety of buildings, but the first of the lot was the Old Palace, built around 1750 at the behest of Governor Paweł Michał Mostowski. Not too long after, in 1772, Poland was annexed by Prussia, Russia, and Austria, and Ostromecko found itself in Prussian hands. The property went through a number of different owners before it was purchased by the Schoenborn family. In 1832 Jacob Martin Schoenborn, apparently dissatisfied with one palace, started to build another. Completed in 1848, the classicist New Palace dwarfed its older brother significantly. WWII saw the complex taken over by German soldiers, and during communism it was converted into a boarding school for deaf children, and later became a branch of the Pomeranian Philharmonic. Since the fall of the regime, Ostromecko has once again emerged as a lordly manor, and today the Old Palace is open to visitors with a fantastic collection of historic pianos thanks to Andrzej Szwalbe, the former-director of the Pomeranian Philharmonic. The New Palace features a restaurant, guest rooms and conference facilities. The surrounding gardens aren’t to be missed either, and feature the neo-Romanesque tomb of its former owners, century-old oaks, and the original mosaïc flooring of a chapel which once stood by the gate.Qul. Bydgoska 9, Ostromecko, tel. (+48) 52 364 64 11, www.palacwostromecku.pl. Open 10:00-16:00; Sat, Sun 11:0016:00; closed Mon. Admission free.

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Bydgoszcz Mini Guide - Autumn 2019 - Winter 2020 - Map  

Bydgoszcz Mini Guide - Autumn 2019 - Winter 2020 - Map