Infobox Settlement
name = Kołobrzeg

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Town center
image_shield = Herb Kolobrzegu.svg

pushpin_label_position = bottom
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = POL
subdivision_type1 = Voivodeship
subdivision_name1 = West Pomeranian
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Kołobrzeg County
subdivision_type3 = Gmina
subdivision_name3 = Kołobrzeg (urban gmina)
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Janusz Gromek
established_title = Established
established_date = 10th century
established_title3 = Town rights
established_date3 = 1255
area_total_km2 = 25.67
population_as_of = 2006
population_total = 44794
population_density_km2 = auto
timezone = CET
utc_offset = +1
timezone_DST = CEST
utc_offset_DST = +2
latd = 54 | latm = 10 | lats = | latNS = N | longd = 15 | longm = 34 | longs = | longEW = E
postal_code_type = Postal code
postal_code = 78-100 to 78-106
area_code = +48 94
blank_name = Car plates
blank_info = ZKL
website = http://www.kolobrzeg.pl
Kołobrzeg Audio-IPA-pl|Pl-Kołobrzeg.ogg|k|o|'|ł|o|b|ż|e|k ( _de. KolbergAudlisten|Kolberg.ogg; _cs. Kòłobrzeg; _la. Cholbergensis) is a city in Middle Pomerania in north-western Poland with some 50,000 inhabitants (as of 2000). Kołobrzeg is located on the Parsęta River on the south coast of the Baltic Sea (in the middle of the section divided by the Oder and Vistula Rivers). It has been the capital of Kołobrzeg County in West Pomeranian Voivodship since 1999, and previously was in Koszalin Voivodship (1950-1998).


Historical population
of Kołobrzeg

The city was foundedFact|date=July 2007 in the 9th century, but traces of a previous settlement exist from the 6th century. In its early history, it was a major port on the Baltic Sea and produced much salt, which was then one of the most expensive trading goods. Along with the rest of Pomerania, the settlement was conquered several times, and first included (or possibly re-included,Fact|date=February 2007 as new archaeological finds seem to indicateFact|date=February 2007) into the Polish realm by Mieszko I of Poland in 972. Its old Slavic name came from the words "kół" and "brzeg", meaning a settlement surrounded by wooden defensive wall, and was later Germanised' into "Kolberg". [http://www.kolobrzeg.pl/miasto/modules.php?op=modload&name=Subjects&file=index&req=viewpage&pageid=5]

The chronicle of Thietmar of Merseburg (975-1018) mentions the town as "salsa Cholbergiensis" as the seat of a bishop, Reinbern of Saxony ("Hassegau"). With the Congress of Gniezno in 1000, the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III granted the Archdiocese of Gniezno the right to form a separate church hierarchy, with Kolberg as one of the dioceses. Direct links with the Polish kingdom ended when Bolesław I withdrew his troops from the area around 1013, driven out by pagan Pomeranians unwilling to convert to Christianity.

A century later (1107-1108), the town was taken by the Duke of Poland, Bolesław III Wrymouth. In the late 12th century, Pomerania gave homage to Denmark and the Holy Roman Empire.

On May 23, 1255, the town was chartered under Lübeck law by the Duke of Pomerania Warcislaw III,Fact|date=July 2007 and more German settlers from the Holy Roman Empire arrived. In 1361, Kolberg joined the Hanseatic League.

Kolberg and most of Hinterpommern was granted to Brandenburg-Prussia in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, becoming part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. In 1761 the town was captured by the Russian commander Peter Rumyantsev during the Seven Years' War, but at the end of the war it was returned to Prussia.

During Napoleon's invasion of Prussia during the War of the Fourth Coalition, the town was besieged by French armies from April 26 to July 2, 1807. The city's defense, led by then Lieutenant-Colonel August von Gneisenau, held out until the war was ended by the Treaty of Tilsit. Kolberg became part of the Prussian Province of Pomerania in 1815 after the final defeat of Napoleon. Until 1872 it was administered within the Fürstenthum District, after which it was within Kolberg-Körlin.

Between 1924 and 1935 the American-German painter Lyonel Feininger, a tutor at the Staatliches_Bauhaus, visited Kolberg repeatedly and painted the cathedral and environs of the town.

In 1944 during World War II, the city was designated a "stronghold" ("Festung") — "Festung Kolberg". The 1807 siege was used shortly before the end of the war by Joseph Goebbels for the last Nazi propaganda film, "Kolberg". It was meant to inspire the Germans with its depiction of the heroic Prussian defence during the Napoleonic Wars. Tremendous resources were devoted to filming this epic, even diverting tens of thousands of troops from the front lines to have them serve as extras in battle scenes. Ironically, the film was released in the final few weeks of Nazi Germany's existence, when most of the country's cinemas were already destroyed.

In 1945, most of the inhabitants and tens of thousands of refugees from surrounding areas (about 70,000 were trapped in the Kolberg Pocket), as well as 40,000 German soldiers, were evacuated from the besieged city by German naval forces in Operation Hannibal. Only about two-thousand soldiers were left on 17 March to cover last sea transports.

Between 4 March and 18 March 1945, there were major battles between the Soviet and Polish forces and the German army. Due to a lack of anti-tank weapons, German battleships used their guns to support the defenders of Kolberg until nearly all of the soldiers and civilians had been evacuated. On 18 March, the Polish Army re-enacted "Poland's Wedding to the Sea" ceremony, which had been celebrated for the first time in 1920 by General Józef Haller.

The devastated city, along with all of the province of Pomerania east of the Oder River, was awarded to Poland by the Potsdam Conference. The remaining German population was either expelled or murdered after the Soviet victory. The city was then resettled with Poles and many of the historic buildings eventually restored.

Millennium Memorial

In 2000 the city business council of Kolobrzeg commissioned "The Millennium Memorial" as a commemoration of 1000 years of Christianity in Pomerania, and as a tribute to Polish-German Reconciliation, celebrating the meeting of Boleslaw I, king of Poland and Otto III, king of Germany, at the Congress of Gniezno, in the year 1000.

It was designed and built by the artist Wiktor Szostalo in welded stainless steel. The two figures sit at the base of 15' tall cross, cleft in two and being held together by a dove holding an olive branch. It is installed outside the Basilica Cathedral in the city center.

Tourist destination

Kołobrzeg today is a popular tourist destination for both Poles and the Germans. It provides a unique combination of a seaside resort, health resort, an old town full of historic monuments and tourist entertainment options (e.g. numerous "beer gardens").

The town is part of the European Route of Brick Gothic [http://www.eurob.org/index.php5/1/4] network, and located at a seaside bike path, the longest in Poland, commissioned on July 14, 2004. The path extends from Kołobrzeg to Podczele. It provides unique views of woods, beaches, swamps, impenetrable thickets, bird nesting grounds, and more. The path has been financed by the European Union.

An international airport was planned to be built 7 kilometres from Kołobrzeg in Bagicz. However, due to the protests of local population, the project has been scrapped.

South of Bagicz, some 4 km from Kolobrzeg, there is an 806 year old oak (2008). Dated in the year 2000 as the oldest oak in Poland, it was named Boleslaw to commemorate the king Boleslaus the Brave.

Notable residents

*Karl Wilhelm Ramler (1725-1798), poet
*Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), physician,sociologist and early 20th century Gay rights camaigner
*Paul Oestreich (1878-1959 ), educator
*Erika von Brockdorff (1911-1943), German resistance fighter
*Egon Krenz (born 1937), politician
*Agnieszka Rylik, boxing world champion (see: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnieszka_Rylik)
*Agata Stefanowicz (born 1978), humanitarian
*Dariusz Trafas (born 1972), athlete, javelin throw national record holder
*Robert Szpak (born 1989), athlete, javelin throw, 2008 World Junior Champion (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Szpak)

External links

* [http://www.kolobrzeg.eu Municipal website] pl icon, de icon and en icon
* [http://www.oldstratforduponavon.com/kolobrzeg A Few Views of Kolobrzeg in Old Postcards]
* [http://www.turystyka.kolobrzeg.eu/de/koscioly.htm]

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