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Gorzów Wielkopolski is a city in western Poland, on the Warta river. It is the biggest city in the Lubusz Voivodeship with 125,149 inhabitants (June 2009). and one of its two capitals with a seat of a Voivodeship governor (the other is Zielona Góra); previously it was the capital of the Gorzów Voivodeship (1975–1998).Gorzów is famous for its fine sportsmen including Olympic and world champions and national representatives. In recent years the city has been known for a former Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, who comes from Gorzów Wielkopolski. Around Gorzów there are two large forest areas: Gorzów Woods to the north, where the Barlinek-Gorzów Landscape Park is situated, and Noteć Woods to the southeast. The biggest oil fields in Poland are located near Gorzów.
The Polish name Gorzów, written as Gorzew, is known from Polish maps and historical books dating back to 19th century or perhaps earlier.
It appeared in a compendium called Ancient Poland according to its history, geography and statistics published in 1848 by Samuel Orgelbrand in Warsaw. Ten years earlier, in 1838, the same name Gorzew was used in a book published in Paris with a corresponding yet broader title encompassing all of Poland.
The current spelling of “Gorzów” appears on the map featuring “Królestwo Polskie” published in Lwow in 1900 with “Landsberg an der Warthe” in parenthesis next to “Gorzów”. The name is interpreted in several different ways according to rules of the old Polish language, originating from “gorzenie” or “pogorzelcy” (meaning: conflagration), or even “gorzelnia” or “gorzałka” meaning brewery.
The German name Landsberg an der Warthe derives from the German words land or ‘state’ and berg or ‘mountain’ combined with Warthe – the German name for the river Warta.
In Polish, it was the name ‘Gorzów’ which eventually stuck, beating the alternative postwar name “Kobylagóra”, or ‘Mare Mountain’, which survives today as the name of a street in the city. The word Wielkopolski or ‘Great Poland’, after the voivodeship of that name of which Gorzów was a part from 1946–1950, was added later. However, Gorzow itself is not a part of the historical region of Greater Poland.
Gorzow Wielkopolski serves as a significant river port and road connection between northern and southern Poland, and between Poland and Germany. It is a scenic city, built on seven hills and it forms a perfect starting point to explore the surrounding rivers, lakes and woodlands. Located not far from Gorzow is Europe’s biggest bat colony as well as a reserve for wildfowl. Within the boundaries of the city itself, one can visit a large number of valuable monuments and other places of interest – both historic and contemporary.
A city with a rich history, Gorzow Wielkopolski has numerous interesting places for the leisurely visitor. Above the old town rises the 14th-century gothic Cathedral of Assumption, completed in several phases starting from the 13th century. Its tower is a later addition, dating from the 14th century. You can also find some superb houses built in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries still standing in the city.
On display in the Jan Dekert Lubuskie Museum are works of tinware; however, it is the arboretum surrounding the museum that really deserves a visit. Walking along the paths of this beautiful garden it is impossible not to appreciate the richness of the fauna, particularly the large variety of unique trees to be found there.
Another interesting museum you may enjoy in Gorzow is the Museum of Ancient Art, only a few steps away from the neo-Romanesque Church of St. Stanislaw dating from the 18th century.
After touring the Museum of Santok City, with its range of archaeological exhibits, why not climb to the top of the watchtower for a marvellous view of the city and its surroundings?
Interestingly, Gorzow has earned itself a reputation as the greenest city in the region, with a total of 12 parks covering some 128 hectares. Their intersecting paths are ideal for strolling along and contemplating the loveliness of the area.
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