Located at the confluence of the Brda and Vistula rivers, Bydgoszcz is a city in the north of Poland and co-capital of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. It has been known by numerous names throughout its rich history, including Bidgosciam and Bidgoscha, as well as Bydgoszcza which translates as the "fishing village belonging to Bydgosta”.
Among Bydgoszcz’s architectural highlights is the Church of St Martin and Nicolaus, a 15th century late Gothic church renowned for its two images of the Virgin Mary. The small Gothic-Renaissance Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin is also of note, once home to the Poor Clares convent and featuring a wooden polychrome ceiling which dates to the 17th century. The largest church in the city is Saint Vincent de Paul's Basilica which was designed by renowned Polish architect Adam Ballenstedt during the early 20th century and modelled on Rome’s Pantheon. Just to the west of the Old Town is WyspaMłyńska, or “Mill Island”, which was the industrial centre of Bydgoszcz during the Middle Ages and where the royal mint operated in the 17th century. Its 19th century red-brick tenement houses, footbridges and old chestnut trees give the island a distinct atmosphere. Three historic granaries line Grodzka Street on the Brda riverfront and have become symbols of the city, built at the turn of the 19th century to store grain and now housing the Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum. Across the river is the iconic Hotel Pod Orłem “Eagle Hotel”, which was designed by distinguished local architect Józef Święcicki. It is situated a short walk from the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul which nestles on the edge of Casimir the Great Park, home to the monumental “Deluge Fountain”.
The Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport lies a few kilometres outside of the city with connections to limited European destinations, while the main railway station has frequent train services across Poland. There are also frequent intercity and international bus routes, while local buses and trams access all corners of the city.
A fishing settlement was established here during Slavic times in the 6th and 7th centuries and became an important trade hub along the Vistula. Teutonic Knights occupied the settlement in 1331 and incorporated it into their monastic state before relinquishing it a decade later, with King Casimir III of Poland granting it city rights in 1346.