‘I did not expect this Bydgoszcz to be so nice’, ‘I must finally go because I heard a lot of good opinions’, these are real comments I heard or read somewhere on Instagram. Still, many people do not treat Bydgoszcz as a trip destination. It’s a mistake! It’s a great place, e.g. for a short weekend city break.
I’m inviting you for a walk around the center today!
You can walk the route in two hours, although if you add coffee, food or museum breaks it can take a whole day.
The Music District
I suggest starting the walk from the Music District. You will find there and the philharmonic and the Academy of Music, a theater and a beautiful park with sculptures of composers. In front of the concert hall a fountain working to the rhythm of music. In the park you will also find a sculpture of the city symbol, the Archer Lady (by Ferdinand Lepcke, who also made four copies of the sculpture, one of which is in a museum in Berlin).
The Philharmonic Hall was opened in 1958 and is known worldwide for its excellent acoustics.
The district is a green place and it is so peaceful, in addition to the Academy buildings, you can often hear students playing.
From there, you are only a few steps away from another attraction, Cieszkowskiego Street. Once, despite historic architecture, it did not arouse such good emotions, but since the renovation completed in 2017, you have to look at it necessarily. This is one of the prettiest streets of the city. Beautiful tenements (from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century), with elements of Art Nouveau, Neo-Baroque and Neo-Gothic, vegetation, neat signboards, benches, stylish lanterns.
We are coming back to Gdańska Street, and we are already heading towards the Old Town. With small stops😊
Along the way, it is worth paying attention to the beautiful tenements built between 1880-1914, some of them appear in the register of monuments.
At Plac Wolności (you can easily recognize by the booths with flowers and the monument), turn left to see the tenement houses and walk through the park. You will find there the Deluge fountain sculpture, also by F. Lepcke. The fountain was created in 1904, and in 1943 it was confiscated for war purposes. The fountain was reconstructed thanks to a social committee, the ceremonial unveiling took place in 2014.
From the park, it’s best to get back to Gdańska Street along Parkowa Street. On the left you can see an interesting mural and alley by the iconic club Mózg.
After returning to the main street, we will head “down”, but first look around. And up, because you will be at the Hotel Pod Orłem. The place and hotel has an interesting history (there was an inn here at the beginning of the 19th century), and the current building designed by Józef Święcicki was built in 1894-1896.
Moving towards the market square, you will also pass the Church of the Poor Clares and the mural dedicated to Marian Rejewski (you have to look back for a moment😉). You probably also passed a bench dedicated to him before (he was from Bydgoszcz). Just to remind you that he was the cryptologist who broke the Enigma code.
Around Brda river
We arrived at Brda, which is heart of the city and place most associated with it.
The bridge on which you will probably stop to take some pictures is a bridge named after Jerzy Sulima-Kamiński, writer, radio journalist and author of the book ‘The Queen Jadwiga’s Bridge’.
It is not very popular among readers outside the city, but it is worth it. A family saga about everyday life in interwar Poland and during the war (from the 1930s to 1956), with the city in the background. First of all, it is written in an interesting language, a dialect of Pomerania and Kujawy with germanisms. For this reason, it would be interesting to read it, e.g. to the inhabitants of Greater Poland region.
Above the river hangs ‘Man Crossing the River’, a sculpture unveiled on May 1, 2004, to commemorate Poland’s accession to the EU. It was said then that it was the first such sculpture in Europe. You also see the building of the Main Post Office, new granaries and antique granaries, another symbol of the city. There is a branch of the museum with an interactive exhibition on the history of the interwar city – I recommend it!
Old Market Square
Heading towards the market, you pass a famous chain cake shop, originally from Bydgoszcz. It is also worth turning left onto Jatki street. The street returned to the map after almost 50 years of absence and is now to be the city’s culinary center.
The old market, typical😊 the tenement houses, pubs, beautiful building of the city library. Town hall, monument and cathedral (near the market square). It is worth going inside (now or at the end of the walk, because we will be around). It is a monument built in the years 1466-1502, with preserved Rococo furnishings and strong colors, which honestly do not convince me.
It is also worth taking a look behind the cathedral. There is the Farny Weir (i.e. hydro technical construction) from 1899. During its last reconstruction, a mountain canoeing course was opened there. Weir is part of the Bydgoszcz Water Junction, which is worth reading about.
Before the war, there was also a church on the market square, demolished during the war. According to legend, it was destroyed by German occupiers due to the non-disappearing bloody trace of the hand of one of the victims of terror.
From the market we go towards Długa Street, by Jana Kazimierza Street. Along the way, look also at the passing street Zaułek. Do you see the old tram? You are on Długa Street😊 The tram dates from 1955 and is a seasonal tourist information point. In the past, two tram lines ran along this street.
Walk along Aleja Bydgoskich Autografów (Autographs Alley) which reflects the signatures of people distinguished for the city. On Długa you will also find tenements, pubs, as well as the Museum of Soap and History of Dirt. Don’t miss it, be sure to come, it’s the only such museum in Europe!
Mill Island (Wyspa Młyńska)
We go along Długa St. up to small stairs leading down. ‘Magic Stairs’ – named so because they “played” in the film ‘Magic Tree’ by Andrzej Maleszka.
You are going down and, welcome to Mill Island! A place where you can spend a lot of time. Take a walk, sit, eat, drink, visit museums. It is also worth noting that this is not an island only in name – bridges lead to it on each side, also from the old market.
Some years ago this area looked quite different, there were only buildings and grass and it was a place of summer Fridays youth meetings. Now they can meet in a highly revitalized area. For me it is a really beautiful and quite unique place. Tenement houses by the canal are called ‘Bydgoszcz Venice’. There is also a marina, a hotel and a vaporetto stop.
On the other side of the river you can see Opera Nova. Every year in May, the well-known Bydgoszcz Opera Festival takes place here. Near the opera house there is an amphitheater. In the summer, concerts from the River Music series take place here, and sometimes a boat is used as a stage.
You can reach the Opera House by Jan Kiepura (called also the Bridge of Lovers). In front of the building there is a sculpture of Archer Nova.
We made a circle from Łuczniczka to Nova Łuczniczka. I hope you enjoyed our walk😊
Of course, this is not all that is worth seeing in Bydgoszcz. There is also the Exploseum museum, Myslecinek, Water Tower and Waterworks Museum, Old Fordon … but these are places for another walk😊