The Golden Trail of Szczecin originates from the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle and takes you through the Polish Soldier’s Square, the Pope John Paul II Alley, the Grunwald Square, the Jasne Błonia Common, to further cross the Kasprowicz Park (with its Lake Rusałka), and leads up to the Arkoński Forest and Lake Głębokie. By embarking on this route, you can spend your leisure time in an active way, as it features comfortable segregated cycle facilities and parking spaces for bikes. While relaxing at Lake Głębokie, you can make use of pedaloes or kayaks. The trail is signposted with 22 plates featuring the city’s coat of arms.
1) The Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle. Between the years 1346-47, Barnim III built the „Stone House” castle and the Saint Otto’s Chapel. The castle was later extended during the rule of Bogusław X and Barnim XI. In 1571-82, it was rebuilt by order of John Frederick in the vein of Renaissance into its present form. From the year 1616 to the year 1619, during the rules of Philip II and Francis I, the western wing (Museum) was annexed to the building. Devastated after the air-raids in 1944, this castle is now home to the Opera and Operetta House, several cultural institutions, the Governor’s Office, the wedding ceremony hall of the Registrar’s Office and the Cultural and Tourist Information Centre. Of interest is that the Clock Tower features an astronomical clock from 1693. Among other things to see are exhibition halls, the dukes’ sarcophagi and an exhibition on the history of the castle. In addition, you can climb up to an observation point located inside the Bell Tower.
2) The monument of Prince Bogusław X and his wife Princess Anna Jagiellonka – designed by Leonia Chmielnik and Anna Paszkiewicz, the monument was unveiled in 1974. Its pedestal is marked with a sign that reads: „Bogusław X and Anna Jagiellon 1491.”
3) The Professors’ Houses – since 14th Century, these were home to the lecturers at St. Mary’s College. They were rebuilt in the first half of the 18th Century and in the 19th Century, and their current design is that of the 18th Century.
4) The mast of the „Kapitan K. Maciejewicz” steamship – dates back to 1929. Set up on the route in 1990, it is in its current location that the Municipal Theatre from 1848 once stood, but was damaged during the air-raids by the Allies and so devastated, that after World War II, it was pulled down in 1953.
5) The Sts. Peter and Paul Church – a Polish Catholic church. Initially, in 1124, it was built of wood. The present-day Gothic-style building dates back to the 15th Century. An interesting feature worth taking a look at are its console tables that are shaped like human heads.
6) The monument of the Angel of Freedom. Unveiled in 2005, the monument was set up to commemorate the Polish 1970 workers’ protests, which occurred on the streets of Szczecin and took a toll of 16 lives. The monument is a depiction of an angel standing on a boat and breaking down concrete slabs as it emerges from below the ground. Its arms extended forward, the Angel holds a crown of thorns. Also, there is a plaque commemorating the victims of the 1970 protests.
7) The Royal Gate. A Baroque-style gate from 1725-27. It is decorated with the sculpture of a shield with the Prussian Eagle encircled by a chain of the Order of the Black Eagle, Mars and Hercules. On the shield are the initials of King Frederick William I from Prussia, and panoplies.
8) A plaque to commemorate the 1934 establishing of the Polish scout troop in Szczecin. It features Rodło, the Polish emblem used by Polish Scouts in Germany.
9) The Monument of Gratitude dedicated to the Soviet Army soldiers. It was unveiled on 26 April 1950 to celebrate the 5th ceremony of the Soviet troops marching into Szczecin.
10) The Aviators’ Square with the monument of Condotierre Colleoni – one of the most eminent military leaders of the Republic of Venice. Unveiled in 1496, it is among the most exquisite horse sculptures of the Renaissance era. This faithfully rendered bronze casting was gifted to the Municipal Museum of Szczecin in 1913. It had been put on display, but was later gifted to Warsaw under unknown circumstances. There, around 1956, it was placed on the square of the Academy of Fine Arts. Its return to Szczecin and the ceremony of unveiling took place in 2002.
11) The building of the Office of Measures and Weights – erected at the beginning of the 20th Century.
12) The building of the State Archive – a building that dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century.
13) The Fountain Avenue – the Sailor’s Monument – a monument of a steersman at the steering wheel, unveiled in 1980. It is situated between the Aviators’ Square and the Grunwald Square. This avenue is commonly known among the Szczecin natives as the Fountain Avenue, and is lined with hedges and decorated with fountains. It is considered one of the city’s highlights.
14) The Grunwald Square – memorial plaques – surrounded by historic tenement houses, Grunwald Square is one of the most attractive places in Szczecin. It is often a venue for events that reach beyond the local audience.
15) The building of the Chancellor’s Office of the University of Szczecin – this building was put up in 1885-88 to initially house a junior house school. Its design is typical of Neo-Gothic Architecture, although it also shows some features of the Brick Gothic. Its red-brick walls can be seen from the distance, and its basement houses the Geological Museum.
16) The building of the Szczecin City Hall – it was constructed to serve as the seat of the central administrative office of the Province of Pomerania. The construction work began in 1924 to be completed in 1927 with a ceremonious consecration of the building. 1924 saw the central body of the Office’s building being completed, with its western wing and the remaining facilities being put up in 1926 and 1927. During 1933-45, the regional Nazi Party headquarters was based within its premises. At present, it houses the Szczecin City Hall, with its eastern wing being occupied by the Szczecin Concert Hall.
17) The monument of a Boy with an Accordion – the rear of the City Hall at Karol Szymanowski features a fountain made of Sudetes sandstone: the Boy with an Accordion. Almost 3-metres high, the sculpture came into being in 1927.
18) The John Paul II Jasne Błonia, the monument of Pope John Paul II, the Plane Tree Avenue – a spacious green area called the „Jasne Błonia”, set up in 1925-27 within the land belonging to the Quistrop family. It was designed to feature lines of London plane trees. With approximately 213 trees, it is the largest cluster of these species in Poland. On 11 June 1987, Pope John Paul II delivered here a mass which was attended by hundreds of thousands people.
19) The Monument of the Poles’ Deed („Three Eagles Monument„) – it depicts three eagles preparing to take off, which represents three generations of Poles involved in restoring Szczecin. The monument was erected to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the National Revival of Poland, and was unveiled on 3 September 1979. Placed around the monument are bronze plaques with the names of its co-founders.
20) Fire Birds by Hasior – situated in the Kasprowicz Park, the monument was crafted by Władysław Hasior in 1975, during his visit trip to the Pomerania Dukes’ Castle. 20 years later, it was moved near to the Summer Theatre.
21) Amphitheatre – it is located in the Kasprowicz Park on a naturally-formed scarp at Lake Rusałka. The venue hosts big concerts featuring stars, as well as local ceremonies and events. The Summer Theatre in Szczecin was named after Helena Majdaniec. With 4.5 thousand seats and a stage area measuring 670 sq. metres, it is among the biggest amphitheatres in Poland.
22) The Rose Garden, the Valley of Seven Mills – the Rose Garden in Szczecin has an area of 2 hectares. It was set up in 1928 to celebrate a convention of horticulturists. In 1935, the „Bird Fountain” was founded. The garden survived World War II untouched, and by the 1970’s, had become a recreational venue for the citizens of Szczecin. With scarce funds for its support, it gradually fell into ruin. In 2006-2007, with funds provided by the City of Szczecin, the garden was restored into its initial form from the 1930’s, the work being completed in 2007. More than nine thousand roses of 99 varieties were planted here, with stairs, avenues and a playground also being put up.