Łeba (pronounced: Web-ah, Kashubian, Pomeranian and German: Leba) is a seaside town in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of northern Poland. It is located in the Pomerelia sub-region, near Łebsko Lake and the mouth of the river Łeba on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
|Gmina||Łeba (urban gmina)|
|• Total||14.8 km2 (5.7 sq mi)|
(31 December 2019)
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
The Pomerelian settlement of Łeba was first mentioned in a 1282 document of Mestwin II, Duke of Pomerania. At that time the village was located about two kilometers (1.2 miles) west from the present mouth of the Łeba River. The church of St. Nicholas was mentioned in 1296. Łeba was part of fragmented Poland until 1309, when it was annexed by the Teutonic Order after their takeover of Gdańsk. Łeba received municipal rights by the State of the Teutonic Order in 1357. Located at the Łebsko Lake at the Baltic Sea, it developed to a fishing port and a wood marketplace.
In 1440, the town joined the Prussian Confederation, which opposed Teutonic rule, and upon the request of which King Casimir IV Jagiellon reincorporated the territory to the Kingdom of Poland in 1454. With Lauenburg Land it became a Polish fief during the Thirteen Years' War in 1455, held by the Dukes of Pomerania.
Old Łeba was threatened for many centuries by floods and expanding sand dunes and therefore was rebuilt in a safer location after 1558. The town was reintegrated with the Polish Crown after the death of the last Pomeranian duke Bogislaw XIV as part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, until King John II Casimir Vasa enfeoffed Elector Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia with Lauenburg Land by the 1657 Treaty of Bydgoszcz.
With the First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, Leba was incorporated into Prussia. Soon after a large port was built on instruction of the Prussian king, whereby a 34-metre (112-foot) broad channel between the Leba lake and the Baltic Sea was dug, which however did not weather the storms on the coast. Due to its picturesque setting, the Leba seaside after World War I became a popular resort for German bohémiens. The painter Max Pechstein and other expressionists frequented the place.
In the proximity of Leba there is a large former testing area for long-range rocket weapons operated by the Rheinmetall company. On the Leba spit the German long-range rocket Rheinbote was tested between 1941 and 1945. Also the V-1 flying bomb was tested here from 1943 to 1945. Between 1963 and 1973 33 Meteor sounding rockets were launched from Łeba.
In March 1945, shortly before the end of World War II, the region was occupied by the Red Army. Following the Potsdam Conference, after the end of the war the town was put together with Farther Pomerania under Polish administration. The local populace fled or was expelled and replaced by Poles.
There is an abundance of architectural and natural attractions near Łeba, above all the Słowiński National Park with its moving sand dunes, about 8 kilometres (5 miles) west of the city. Further objects of interest include:
- ruins of the St. Nicholas church west of the city on the way to the beach
- fishermen's church of 1683 with a painting by Max Pechstein
- fishermen's dwellings from the 19th century in Kościuszki street
- the 19th century casino on Nadmorska street, today the Hotel Neptun
- former rocket test site near Pletka
- the dinosaur park south of the city
|1812||707||incl. four Catholics and 16 Jews.|
|1816||639||incl. two Catholics and 12 Jews.|
|1831||806||incl. seven Catholics and two Jews.|
|1843||948||incl. four Catholics and two Jews.|
|1852||1,093||incl. seven Catholics and eight Jews.|
|1861||1,236||incl. seven Catholics, eight Jews and one German Catholic.|
Łeba is twinned with:
- "Local Area Data". Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- "Historia Łeby". Leba.eu (in Polish). Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- Karol Górski, Związek Pruski i poddanie się Prus Polsce: zbiór tekstów źródłowych, Instytut Zachodni, Poznań, 1949, p. XXXVII (in Polish)
- Górski, p. 54
- "Encyclopedia Astronautica".
- "Ostseebad Leba" (in German).
- "Łeba Park" (in Polish).
- Kratz (1865), p. 254 (in German)
- Ludwig Wilhelm Brüggemann (Hrsg.): Ausführliche Beschreibung des gegenwärtigen Zustandes des Königlich-Preußischen Herzogtums Vor- und Hinterpommern. Part II, vol. 2, Stettin 1784, p. 1044 (in German).
- Topographisch-statistisches Handbuch des preußischen Staats (Kraatz, Hrsg.). Berlin 1856, p. 340 (in German).
- Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, vol. 12, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig and Vienna 1908, p. 277 (in German).
- Der Große Brockhaus. 15th edition, vol. 11, Leipzig 1932, p. 203 (in German).
- Johannes Hinz: Pommern. Wegweiser durch ein unvergessenes Land. Flechsig-Buchvertrieb, Würzburg 2002, ISBN 3-88189-439-X, p. 211 (in German).
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Łeba.|
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