Słupsk, often wrongly omitted on the tourist map of Pomerania, hides much more than it might seem at first glance. Often considered a transit point on the way to more popular destinations, in fact it hides an inexhaustible wealth of culture, history and unique attractions.
In this article I will take you on a journey around Słupsk, showing why it is an ideal place for a day trip, especially for those who want to discover places hidden away from the main tourist routes.
From the historic Pomeranian Dukes' Castle, through the picturesque streets of the Old Town, to contemporary artistic murals - Słupsk surprises at every step. Forget about stereotypes and allow yourself to discover this city, underestimated by tourists, but full of charm.
History of Słupsk in brief
The history of the city begins with the first traces of settlement from the Bronze Age. The city, originally a stronghold, was built in the 8th century on a conical hill at the fork of the Słupia River, surrounded by impassable swamps and swamps.
The stronghold was surrounded by a wooden and earth rampart, reinforced with a stone structure, and existed until the 13th century. Life took place there from the 9th to at least the 13th century, during which time it was the prince's residence and the seat of the Teutonic commander in the 14th century
In the 13th and 14th centuries, Słupsk changed its nationality many times. Around 1236 it was incorporated into Eastern Pomerania (Gdańsk). In the second half of August 1265, the town received city rights from the prince of Gdańsk, Świętopełk, which initiated the process of settling the city by German colonists.
On September 9, 1310, the new owners of the city, the Margraves of Brandenburg, issued a relocation privilege, confirming city rights and enabling the development of the maritime economy.
In 1317, after the victorious war with Brandenburg, Słupsk came under the rule of the West Pomeranian princes. In 1341, after purchasing the city from the Teutonic Knights, Słupsk again became part of the rule of the Griffins and the Duchy of Vologda. In 1368, the city obtained a minting privilege. In 1382, Słupsk was admitted to the Hanseatic League, which significantly influenced the development of trade.
On April 16, 1477, the city almost completely burned down as a result of a great fire. The fire destroyed, among others, document confirming the location of the city under German law.
In the early 16th century, most of the city's inhabitants adopted Lutheranism, and Catholicism ceased to dominate.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Słupsk, like many other cities, was the scene of numerous wars and conflicts. In 1630, during the Thirty Years' War, the Swedes entered Słupsk, charging the city with contributions and the costs of accommodation for troops.
This period saw robberies, epidemics and fires, deepening the city's crisis. In 1637, the local Griffin dynasty expired, and in 1653, Słupsk, together with the eastern part of the duchy, became part of the Brandenburg-Prussian state. After the Thirty Years' War and the arrival of the French Huguenots, the economic situation of the city improved.
In 1798, a new town hall was built in Słupsk for almost eight thousand thalers, which caused the dissatisfaction of the authorities in Szczecin, who considered it an example of extravagance that was not worth following. . During the Napoleonic Wars, in 1807, Słupsk was captured by Polish soldiers under the command of General Michał Sokolnicki. There were intense fights in the area of the Mill Gate.
After collecting the contributions, after two weeks the Polish soldiers left the city. In 1816, Słupsk became the seat of the Słupsk poviat in the Koszalin region, and in 1898 it was excluded from the poviat and transformed into the grodzki poviat .
List of the 45 most important tourist attractions in Słupsk
Słupsk, a city often underestimated among Poland's tourist gems, hides much more than it might seem. As a place from which - as some say - "you only leave", it unfairly escapes the attention of many travelers.
In this chapter I will try to change this image by showing the wealth and diversity of attractions that Słupsk has to offer.
From architectural gems to cultural oases, this city is the perfect day trip destination. At the bottom you will find a large list of 45 attractions that everyone should see when visiting Słupsk - a city that definitely deserves more recognition.
Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes: Built in 1507 during the reign of Prince Bogusław X, initially in the Gothic style. In the years 1580–1587, the castle was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, gaining large windows and a decorative tower. Situated on the Słupia River, near the former medieval Słupsk stronghold, it was the residence of the Pomeranian princes from the Griffin dynasty. After German rule (from 1653), the castle was devastated. In the 18th century, it was rebuilt into a military barracks, and after a fire in 1821, it served as grain warehouses. Currently, it is the seat of the Museum of Central Pomerania in Słupsk. In 2007, the castle was thoroughly renovated, including the facade, windows and castle gardens.
Museum in the Pomeranian Dukes' Castle: The museum offers five permanent exhibitions. You can visit the exhibition "Treasures of Pomeranian princes" with exhibits about the last Griffins, "From the past of Słupsk" presenting the history of the city, "Old art of Pomerania from the 14th to the 18th century" with Gothic sculptures and Renaissance tapestries, and "At the common table, i.e. cutlery and accessories culinary from the 17th to the 21st century. In the summer season, it is possible to access the observation deck on the castle tower. There is a restaurant in the basement. In front of the castle there is a monument to Bogusław
Castle Mill: This is the oldest preserved industrial facility in Poland, built in the first half of the 14th century as a water mill. Initially, it served as a granary. Rebuilt in the early 16th century, then in 1863, 1880 and at the beginning of the 20th century. In the years 1965-1968, conservation works were carried out, adapting the mill for museum purposes. Currently, it houses the exhibition and workshop of the Ethnographic Department of the Museum of Central Pomerania.
Mill Gate: It is part of the city's fortifications, so named because of its proximity to a water mill. These fortifications were built from the beginning of the 14th century to the mid-15th century. The walls were 6.5 meters high and were defended by the waters of the Słupia River and swamps. The Mill Gate was destroyed in 1945 by the Red Army and secured in 1950. The renovation and adaptation of the gate for the needs of the Museum of Central Pomerania took place in 1965.
Witches' Tower: The Witches' Tower, part of the city's fortifications built of erratic stones and bricks in the 14th and 15th centuries, was originally part of the defense system. In the 17th century, the interior of the tower was transformed into a prison where women suspected of witchcraft were imprisoned. In the 19th century, the tower was transformed into a stable, and later again into a prison. Damaged in 1945, it was rebuilt in 1970–1973 with the transformation of the interior and facade from the city side.
Church of St. Jacek: Built in the Gothic style in the 15th century, the church of St. Jacek has undergone many reconstructions, including in the 17th century, when its interior was transformed in the Baroque style. In the church you can see numerous historic works of sacred art, mainly from the Baroque period, including an altar, a pulpit, a unique baroque organ and tombstones of representatives of the Griffin and Croy dynasties. The main altar and the pulpit were founded by Erdmuta, wife of the Pomeranian prince John Frederick. The church also contains high-quality artistic sepulchral works commemorating Anna and Bogusław de Croy.
Defensive walls: The brick fortifications of Słupsk began to be built in the first half of the 14th century. Construction of the walls took approximately fifty years, with the original palisade dating from 1325. In 1441, Prince Bogusław allowed the expansion of the water system used to defend the city. In the 17th century, when medieval defensive devices lost their original function, the city walls began to lose their importance and gradually fell into ruin. The best preserved fragments of the medieval fortifications are the Mill and New Gates.
Neo-Gothic town hall: The current town hall in Słupsk is the third building of this function in the history of the city. The oldest town hall came from the Middle Ages and was replaced by a new building at the end of the 18th century. The current neo-Gothic town hall, built between 1899 and 1901, is the work of Berlin architects Karl Zaar and Rudolf Vahl. The building, located at Zwycięstwa Square, is included in the list of monuments protected by law and from the beginning has served as the seat of the city authorities.
Trail "In the Footsteps of the Bears of Happiness" in Słupskis a unique tourist attraction whose history dates back to the discovery of an amber bear figurine in 1887 while digging peat. Considered to be an amulet belonging to a bear hunter from approximately 3,700 years ago, the figurine has become a symbol of Słupsk. In response to this, since June 2017, casts of bears, painted by artists, have been placed in various places in the city. Each of them represents a unique theme and style, creating the Słupsk Bear of Happiness Trail. These include:
Rainbow bear at the Rainbow Puppet Theater.
A bear who reads a lot at the Municipal Public Library.
The Bear of Tolerance in the Park. Jerzy Waldorff.
A bear who likes pizza at ul. Polish Army.
Bear cub with leopard patches at ul. Niedziałkowski.
Rybomiś the Bear in the Park of Culture and Recreation.
A bear who talks a lot at Al. May 3.
Bear of Happiness in musical notes in the Park. Chopin.
Polish-American Friendship Bear at the corner of Starzyńskiego and Wojska Polskiego.
The Bear of Happiness in the Witkacy style at the City Hall.
New Gate: This is a historic, brick city gate located in the western part of the Old Town of Słupsk, constituting one of the most typical elements of the city's architecture. It was probably built in the first half of the 14th century. In 1325, a wooden palisade surrounding the city was mentioned, which was replaced over time with stone and brick fortifications, including the New Gate. In 1477, the gate was damaged by fire. In 1836, the passage was widened and the western façade was renovated. Inside the gate there is an art gallery and a contemporary art shop. The gate is part of the European Brick Gothic Route
Słowiniec Department Store: This building, located opposite the city hall, was once the largest shopping center in Słupsk. Inside there is the oldest, still working wooden elevator in Europe.
Tram on Nowobramska Street: The tram system in Słupsk operated in the years 1910–1959. Plans to build a tram network date back to the early 20th century, and the first lines were launched in 1910. Today, a memento of this system is a restored tram car at Nowobramska Street, which serves as a seasonal tourist information point. The wagon was built on the basis of a post-war tram from Elbląg, similar to pre-war trams, although modeled on wagons from the Warsaw company Lilpop, Rau and Loewenstein. In 2013, the tram was thoroughly renovated.
St. Mary's Church in Słupsk, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary, is a three-nave building erected in the 13th century in the Gothic style, with later reconstructions. Its construction began between 1276 and 1280. After the destruction, it was rebuilt in 1350, and then in a larger form after the city fire in 1476. In 1803, the chapels on the north side were demolished, and in 1853 a radical reconstruction was carried out. Inside the church there is a baroque pulpit and a Gothic passion group. In 2004, the baroque head of the tower, destroyed in a fire in 1945, was reconstructed. In 2009, the clocks on the tower were restored .
The Historic Building of the Main Post Office and Heinrich von Stephan: The Main Post Office in Słupsk, located at Łukasiewicza and Mikołajska streets, is a historic building in the neo-Gothic style from 1879. Initially, the post office operated at Mittelstraße (today's Mikołajska Street) with 3-5 people serving. The new post office building, designed by August Kind on the orders of Heinrich von Stephan, was built in response to the development of the city and the need for a new post office building. The building, completed on November 20, 1879, served, among others, connections with Szczecin, Gdańsk, Królewiec and Bytów, and also provided telegraph and telephone services.
City Public Library in the Former Church of St. Nicholas: Church of St. Nicholas, founded as a monastery temple for the Norbertines, was mentioned already in 1276. Initially wooden, built by Prince Świętopełk II, it was replaced by a brick structure in the 14th or early 15th century. After a fire in 1665, the church fell into ruin, only to be rebuilt in 1737 and serve as a garrison church. In later years, he performed various functions, including: warehouse, fire station and school. After a fire in 1945 caused by the Red Army, the ruined church was rebuilt. In 1971, the Municipal Public Library was officially opened there. Marii Dąbrowskiej
Ceramikarnia ceramic studio: Ceramikarnia is a place where traditional Słupsk pottery is made. Founded by Janina Dylewska and her daughter, the studio not only creates ceramics, but also educates and teaches. Several thousand people passed through the studio. The owners make various objects and are happy to share their knowledge and skills with others. Despite the difficulties, especially during the pandemic, Ceramikarnia remains an active center of culture and education.
Old Market Square in Słupsk: The Old Market Square is a place with a rich history. Its origins date back to the mid-13th century, when a German trading settlement developed here. Over the centuries, the market square has been a place of trade and the center of urban life. In the 18th century, the local town hall was demolished to build a new one, which survived until 1902. The market square also saw many fires, including a disastrous fire in 1477. In the 19th century, the Old Market Square became a center of trade in fashion and materials. Unfortunately, in March 1945, most of the market square buildings were destroyed
Warsaw Insurgents Monument: This monument, dedicated to the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising, is located in the square at Szarech Szeregów Street. The first monument to the Warsaw Insurgents in Poland was unveiled on September 15, 1946. Initially, it was a makeshift monument, later replaced by a more permanent structure. The monument designed by Jan Małeta and made by Stanisław Kołodziejski and S. Wąsowicz shows a brick wall with bullet holes and jagged edges, on which there is a figure of a fallen insurgent and a bas-relief of the Crucified against the background of the burning Castle Square in Warsaw
Chapel of St. Jerzy: This rectory chapel in Słupsk, located on the square of the blessed. Bronisław Kostkowski, probably dates back to the first half of the 15th century and is built of brick. In 1610, the church was renovated, and in 1681 it was destroyed by fire. In 1689, a domed roof with a lantern was built. In 1912, the church was moved brick by brick to the park at the southern corner of the Old Town. Since March 19, 2020, the church has been serving the pastoral care of the Catholic Tradition in Słupsk, Tridentine Masses are celebrated there
Town Hall in Słupsk: There are three town halls known in the history of Słupsk. The oldest one, dating from the Middle Ages, had a stepped gable and a turret on the roof. In 1897, a competition was announced for the design of the new town hall, won by a team of architects: prof. Karla Zaara and Eng. Rudolf Vahl. The construction of the town hall began in April 1899 and was completed in July 1901. The town hall is a neo-Gothic building located at Zwycięstwa Square, included in the list of monuments protected by law, from the beginning serving as the seat of the municipal authorities
Belwederek (New Town Hall, Tinplate Palace): A two-story building with an attic, built in the Art Nouveau style in 1866 by the banker Levy Friedländer. In 1887, the building was sold and later served as a municipal clinic. In 2002-2003, a thorough renovation was carried out, adapting the building for office purposes. Since 2003, Belwederek has housed several departments of the City Hall in Słupsk, including Construction Administration, Architecture and Urban Planning.
The seat of the District Office in Słupsk: The seat of the District Office in Słupsk, located at ul. Szarych Szeregów 14 is a historic building built in 1903 in an eclectic style. It was built on the site of the previous seat of the district authorities, which burned down in 1901. The building is characterized by rich architectural decoration with elements such as projections, columns, pilasters, stairs, portals and balconies. Designed by construction consultant Karl Bel, it was supposed to be functional and representative, which was a challenge due to the limited space of the plot. The building has a basement, some of the basement walls are made of erratic boulders, and there are six entrances to the building. The interior was equipped in the spring of 1903, and the grand opening took place on November 6 of the same year.
The Witches' Tower in Słupsk is part of the old city fortifications, built from the beginning of the 14th to the mid-15th century. The defensive walls, built of erratic stones and bricks, were reinforced with towers and were about 6.5 meters high. The Słupia River surrounding them provided additional protection. In the 17th century, the interior of the Witches' Tower was transformed into a prison where women suspected of witchcraft were held, often subjected to torture and held before execution - burning at the stake. The last victim of the witchcraft trial in Słupsk was Catholic Trina Papisten. During this period, the interior of the gates of the city walls were transformed into apartments. The tower is immortalized on the map by E. Lubinus.
Castle Mill: This is the oldest preserved industrial facility in Poland, built in the first half of the 14th century on the prince's estate. Initially, it served as a granary, which is visible from its large size and small, narrow windows. Rebuilt in the 16th century and in 1863, 1880 and at the beginning of the 20th century. In the years 1965-1968, the building was adapted for museum purposes and currently houses the exhibition and workshop of the Ethnographic Department of the Museum of Central Pomerania.
Richter's Granary: Built in 1780, it served as a feed warehouse after World War II. Until 1991, it was located at the corner of Kopernika and Wolności streets. In the years 1994–1998 it was moved to the Fisherman's Market Square, in the vicinity of the Pomeranian Dukes' Castle, the Castle Mill and the Mill Gate. Currently, the Granary houses the temporary exhibition hall of the Museum of Central Pomerania and a stylish tea room.
Pominican Church of St. Saint Jacka: Built in the 15th century in the Gothic style, later rebuilt many times. In the 17th century, the interior of the church was rebuilt in the Baroque style, and the tower was topped with a Baroque dome. The temple contains many historic works of sacred art, mainly baroque, including an altar, a pulpit, a unique baroque organ and tombstones of representatives of the Griffin and Croy dynasties.
Gothic chapel of St. Jerzy: Probably dating from the first half of the 15th century, built of brick. Mentioned since 1492, it was renovated in 1610. In 1681, it was destroyed by fire, which destroyed the richly decorated vault and tower. In 1689, a domed roof with a lantern was made. In 1912, the church was moved brick by brick to the park at the southern corner of the Old Town, and in 1960 a roof was made of shingles.
St. Mary's Church Blessed Virgin Mary: A three-nave Gothic church, whose construction began between 1276 and 1280. It was rebuilt in 1350 after destruction, and in 1476 it was seriously damaged by fire. In 1803, the chapels on the north side were demolished, and in 1853 a radical reconstruction was carried out. Inside there is a baroque pulpit, a Gothic passion group and contemporary stained glass windows. In 2004, the baroque head of the tower, damaged in 1945, was reconstructed, and in 2009 the clocks on the tower were restored.
Church of St. Sacred Heart of Jesus: Built in 1869 on the site of an ancient pagan place of worship. Originally, on this site, in 1281, the Duke of Gdańsk, Mściwoj II, founded the church of St. Peter. This facility served parish functions.
St. Evangelical-Augsburg Church Krzyża: Old Lutheran Church, built in 1857-1859. The architectural design was prepared by C. Tape. In 1906, a sacristy was added. After World War II, in 1947, an Evangelical-Augsburg parish was established and took over the church. The building is characterized by a neo-Gothic style, with a two-story tower and a rectangular presbytery. The interior of the church is decorated with, among others, wooden pulpit and altar with a lamb relief.
Neo-Gothic church of St. Otto in Słupsk, built in 1873, is a unique religious building with a rich history and architecture. It is one of the examples of neo-Gothic architecture in the city, characterized by elements typical of this style, such as tall, soaring windows and a richly decorated interior. The church is an important point on the map of Słupsk's monuments, witnessing many historical events and changes in the city. Thanks to its architecture and importance to the local community, the church of St. Ottona is a popular destination among tourists and history buffs.
The granary at ul. Szarech Szeregów No. 12 (Biały Spichlerz): This historic granary is one of the most valuable examples of industrial construction in Słupsk. The construction of the military warehouse began in 1804 and was completed in 1814. Initially, it served as a storage facility for horses. The building stood out among other structures in the city for its size, brick and plastered walls and classicist architectural style. It served as a granary until 1945 and was later used for a variety of purposes, including a temporary prison, grain granary and warehouse. In 1995, it fell into private hands and was used as a warehouse. In 2012, it became the property of the Pomeranian Voivodeship Local Government, and then was handed over to the Museum of Central Pomerania in Słupsk. From 2017 to 2018, renovation and construction works were carried out, and then the interior was decorated for museum purposes
The granary at ul. Kopernika No. 10 (Richter's Granary): Built in the second half of the 18th century, it was originally located at the corner of Kopernika and Wolności streets. In the post-war period, it served as a warehouse for the Commune Cooperative and the Provincial Internal Trade Company, where fodder, construction materials, lime and coal were stored. In 1986, the facility became the property of the Museum of Central Pomerania. In 1991, the building was demolished, and then in 1998 it was rebuilt on a new site at the Fisherman's Market Square, next to the Pomeranian Dukes' Castle. Currently, in addition to the museum function, the granary part houses a tea room offering a wide selection of teas. The granary together with the adjacent buildings form a complex of historic buildings of the Museum of Central Pomerania.
Bourgeois villa, ul. Kościuszki No. 11 (1912): This is a historic villa from 1912, located at Kościuszki Street in Słupsk. This facility is registered in the register of monuments.
Bourgeois villa – State Music School, ul. Szczecińska No. 106: This building, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, currently serves as the seat of the State Music School of the 1st and 2nd degree. I.J. Paderewski. The school, nationalized in 1951, originally operated under the name "Szkoła Muzyczna im. Stanisław Moniuszko.
Former Villa "Patria" - Municipal Kindergarten No. 1, ul. Kilińskiego No. 33: Villa "Patria", built in 1908, currently functions as Municipal Kindergarten No. 1 "Zaczarowany Ogród". The complex also includes a farm building from the early 20th century, a bandshell from the 1920s and an aviary from the 1930s. Unfortunately, I was unable to find detailed information about the history of the villa itself.
Former Villa "Patria" - Municipal Kindergarten No. 1, ul. Kilińskiego No. 33: A building from 1908, which currently serves as Municipal Kindergarten No. 1. The villa also has an outbuilding from the early 20th century, a concert hall from the 1920s and an aviary from the 1930s
Słowiniec Department Store: This building, located at Plac Zwycięstwa No. 11 opposite the city hall in Słupsk, was once the largest shopping center in the city. Inside there is the oldest, still working wooden elevator in Europe.
Poczta Główna: The historic, neo-Gothic post office building in Słupsk, located at the intersection of Łukasiewicza and Mikołajska streets, was built in 1879. Currently, it houses the Post Office No. 12 of the Polish Post. The building was designed by August Kind and approved by Heinrich von Stephan, who personally participated in the commissioning ceremony.
Agricultural Bank - currently Bank Gospodarki Żywnościowej: The Agricultural Bank building, located at Plac Zwycięstwa No. 2, was built around 1912 .
Restored tram at Nowobramska Street: This is a historic element of Słupsk's urban infrastructure, witnessing the historical development of communication in the city.
Blücher Barracks - currently the building of the Pomeranian Academy: Located at Bohaterów Westerplatte Street No. 64, the barracks were built at the end of the 19th century. Currently, the building serves educational purposes as part of the Pomeranian Academy.
Metro restaurant building: Located at Łajming Street No. 3, the Metro restaurant building dates back to the late 19th century and is part of the historic urban architecture
Brewery building complex: The Brewery building complex at 26 Kilińskiego Street, built in 1857, includes, among others, a production building, a water tower and an administration building. It is an important element of the city's industrial heritage.
Church of Saints Peter and Paul: This neo-Gothic church, formerly an evangelical church from the end of the 19th century, is located at Zygmunta Krasińskiego Street. It was adapted for the needs of the Orthodox parish in 1946. The church underwent a general renovation in 1993 and again in 2021.
Ustka - If anyone didn't have enough attractions in Słupsk
Whoever wants to spend a successful holiday by the sea will certainly appreciate their stay in Ustka. It is a popular health resort and summer resort that attracts with its very good development, picturesque surroundings and numerous attractions. When in Słupsk, it is worth considering a trip to Ustka, it is literally half an hour away from the center of Słupsk, but it is worth it.
Ustka offers beautiful views, nearby forests and the possibility of organizing a trip to the Słowiński National Park. There are also interesting monuments and museums that will make your holiday by the sea an even more interesting experience. What is worth seeing in this town?
It is worth planning your visit to Ustka to see one of its tourist attractions - a lighthouse from the end of the 19th century, which tourists can visit without any problems. Lovers of religious architecture may be enchanted by the 19th-century Church of the Holy Savior - a neo-Gothic building with impressive galleries and organs from the Völkner factory in Duninowo.
Ustka is also a popular pier where you can walk as much as you want and enjoy beautiful views, and there are also beaches where you can spend time having carefree fun in beautiful scenery. Another important point on Ustka's tourist plan is the Ustka Land Museum, where you can see Ustka in photos from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
And those who want to focus on natural attractions can go on a trip to the Modła Lake nature reserve, which is located within the Protected Landscape Area "The Coastal Strip west of Ustka". This reserve is an important refuge for water and marsh birds, and a stay there will be a real treat for every ornithology enthusiast.
Trips around Ustka can also become an interesting proposition for those who are interested in history. For them, the Bluecher Battery will be a real treat - bunkers that are an interesting souvenir from the times of the Third Reich. Gajki, located near Ustka, is also tempting with war attractions, where there are bunkers with nuclear warheads.
And those who dream of further expeditions can go on a long cruise from Ustka, e.g. to the picturesque island of Bornholm.