A bird’s eye view of Koszalin reveals a vast expanse of forested green: forests (mainly coniferous with a few deciduous trees thrown in) cover almost 40% of the city area, way beyond the Polish average of 26%.
But the green does not stop in the forest; if you add in gardens and assorted cultivated areas, the flora tops out at 72% of the land. Most of this is protected in 21 nature reserves and 7 landscape zones. So much greenery provides excellent housing for numerous animal species, such as deer, wild hogs, badgers, and otters. 250 bird species nest in the nature reserves, including black swans (rare in other parts of Poland), cormorants, grey herons, and black storks. Half of one of the oldest bird reserves – Lubiatowskie Lake – belongs to the Province of Koszalin. Without having to leave the city, guests can admire picturesque valleys and monumental trees that form the beautiful nature park “Wawozy grabowe”. The richness of nature and the absence of big industry in the Koszalin result in exceptionally clean air, comparable to the quality experienced in famous resorts.
Over the centuries, Koszalin alternated religion and commerce. The early Dzierzecinka River settlement conquered in 1107 by a Piast king became part of the Polish nation, and continued over the next few centuries to house and feed the visitors to the nearby religious site in the Chelmska Mountains.
It became a pilgrimage site in its own right when a chapel was constructed in the 13th century, and later a town when the local property holder Bishop Herman von Gleichen granted civil rights on 23 May 1266.
The Bishops of Koszalin were also its rulers, and that princely line continued to govern the city until it was incorporated by the Brandenburgs. But before that happened, Koszalin made a shrewd purchase that eventually established it as a major trading town that went on to membership in the Hanseatic League. In the middle of the 14th century, the city council agreed to purchase nearby Lake Jamno and with it access to the sea. Koszalin began exporting agricultural and forest products to Scandinavian countries, Gdansk and Lubeka.
Koszalin continued to strengthen, capping its prestigious position in the 16th and 17th centuries with the usual symbol of power: a castle built by the Bishop princes of the Gryfit Dynasty. It also served as a gathering point for the local assemblies, adding a political feather to its commercial cap.
Control of Koszalin changed hands after the Thirty Years War when together with the West Pomeranian region it became a part of Brandenburg and then Prussia.
In the 18th century, Koszalin again boomed economically by supplying the ever-busy Prussian army with cloth, soap, paper, leather products, and coaches. Its industrial role continued up to the present century, but signs of its long prosperity were destroyed by a 18th century fire, and then the 20th century WWII. After the war, it re-entered Polish hands and then revived its religious past when it became a seat of the Koszalin-Kolobrzeg Diocese.
original text courtesy of Koszalin Department of Promotions. Modifications by Internet Polska