Gryfice (pronounced Gri-fitse [ɡrɨˈfʲit͡sɛ] (About this soundlisten); Kashubian: Grëfice, German: Greifenberg)[1] is a historic town in Pomerania, north-western Poland, with 16,600 inhabitants (2017). It is the capital of Gryfice County in West Pomeranian Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Szczecin Voivodeship (1975–1998). The town is situated approximately 22 kilometres from the Baltic Sea coast and seaside resorts.[2]

Victory Square and Saint Mary's Church
Victory Square and Saint Mary's Church
Flag of Gryfice
Coat of arms of Gryfice
Gryfice is located in Poland
Gryfice is located in West Pomeranian Voivodeship
Coordinates: 53°54′53″N 15°11′55″E / 53.91472°N 15.19861°E / 53.91472; 15.19861
Country Poland
Voivodeship West Pomeranian
CountyGryfice County
GminaGmina Gryfice
City rights1262
 • MayorAndrzej Wacław Szczygieł
 • Total12.4 km2 (4.8 sq mi)
 • Total16,600
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Car platesZGY


Middle AgesEdit

Wysoka Gate was once part of the medieval defensive walls which surrounded the town

The region was part of Poland during the reign of the first Polish rulers Mieszko I and Bolesław I the Brave. The Battle of Niekładź took place in the area of Gryfice in 1121, in which Polish ruler Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated Wartislaw I, Duke of Pomerania and Swantopolk I, Duke of Pomerania.[3][4] The area was part of the Duchy of Pomerania, a vassal state of Poland, which later on separated itself from Poland as a result of the fragmentation of Poland.

In 1262 Wartislaw III, Duke of Pomerania founded a town under Lübeck law on the Rega river to attract German settlers. After his death, his successor, Barnim I, Duke of Pomerania, named the settlement Civitat Griphemberch super Regam (Middle High German 'Griphemberch' meaning Griffin's mountain) after the coat of arms symbol of the Dukes of Pomerania. In 1365 the town entered the Hanseatic League and prospered due to the right of free navigation on the Rega.

A town wall was built and at the end of the 13th century the construction of the St. Mary's church was begun. In a document of 1386 a Latin school is mentioned, which is generally called the oldest in Pomerania.

Modern eraEdit

In the 16th century, the local Germans pursued a policy of Germanisation towards the indigenous population, which, however, did not bring results quickly.[5] At that time, some of the indigenous peasants fled to Poland,[6] while Scottish immigrants settled in the town.[7] As a result of the Thirty Years' War, the population of the town decreased dramatically.[7] The town was occupied by the Imperial and Swedish armies.[7] After the death of the last Pomeranian Duke and by the Treaty of Westphalia Greifenberg became part of Brandenburg-Prussia in 1648 and part of Imperial Germany in 1871. In 1818 the town became the capital of the Greifenberg district (Kreis Greifenberg).

Panorama of the town in 1940

In 1894 the town was connected to the railway line Dąbie (Altdamm) - Kołobrzeg (Kolberg). On July 1, 1896 the Greifenberger Kleinbahn was opened, a narrow-gauge railway today used as a railway Museum. In 1933 a Polish association of agricultural workers was established in Gryfice.[8] Local Poles and Jews were subjected to increased repressions, after the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933.[9] After the German invasion of Poland, forced labourers from Poland were brought to the town.[10]

At the end of World War II, on March 5, 1945, the Soviet Red Army conquered the town, and on March 8, Poles entered the town. Approximately 40 percent of the town was destroyed, however many historical monuments stayed intact or were reconstructed. Following the post-war boundary changes, the town became part of Poland. Initially called Zagórze, it was eventually given the Polish name Gryfice. The Germans who did not escape during the battle with the Soviets, were expelled and the town was populated with Poles, some of them expellees themselves from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. The post-war administration of Gryfice was created with the participation of the just freed Polish forced labourers.

The medieval Stone Gate (Brama Kamienna)

After the war, the life of the town was being rebuilt. In 1945, the first post-war schools, a hospital and a cinema were opened and the following year a mill, a gasworks and a marmalade factory were opened.[11] In 1948 a sugar factory was established, which already in 1951 was one of the leading sugar factories in Poland.[11]

A pedestrian precinct along Ruta Street
Historic tenement houses
District Court in Gryfice


Between its foundation and 1945, Greifenberg was predominantly inhabited by German-speaking people. By the 18th century, almost all inhabitants where Lutheran Protestants, with small Jewish and Catholic minorities. With the expropriation and expulsion of the German inhabitants at the end of World War II and the occupation of the vacated buildings by Polish settlers, the majority of its population has been composed of Roman Catholics.

Number of inhabitants in years
Year Inhabitants Notes
1740 1,724[12]
1782 1,890 incl. 20 Jews.[12]
1794 2,138 incl. 19 Jews.[12]
1812 2,445 incl. 15 Catholics and 35 Jews.[12]
1816 2,610 incl. 44 Catholics and 35 Jews.[12]
1831 3,272 incl. 13 Catholics and 82 Jews.[12]
1843 4,027 incl. 9 Catholics and 132 Jews.[12]
1852 4,886 incl. 15 Catholics and 129 Jews.[12]
1861 5,361 incl. 31 Catholics, and 134 Jews.[12]
1900 6,477[13]
1925 8,370 incl. 110 Catholics, 80 Jews and 630 others.[14]
1939 10,800
1946 4,900 after expulsion of Germans after World War II and war losses
1950 8,700
1960 11,600
1970 13,200
1980 15,300
1990 17,600
2000 17,300

Notable residentsEdit

International relationsEdit

Twin towns — Sister citiesEdit

Gryfice is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Baynes, T. S.; Smith, W.R., eds. (1880). "Greifenberg" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 (9th ed.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 183.. 1880.
  2. ^ "Gmina Gryfice - Położenie".
  3. ^ Rodowód książat pomorskich Szczecin 2005 page 94-95, 98
  4. ^ Richard Roepell: Geschichte Polens, vol. I, Hamburg 1840, pp. 267-268 (in German)
  5. ^ Stanisław Rzeszowski. Ważniejsze momenty dziejów Gryfic. „Szczecin, czasopismo regionu zachodnio-pomorskiego” p. 32. (in Polish)
  6. ^ Ziemia Gryficka 1969, p. 103 (in Polish)
  7. ^ a b c "Gmina Gryfice - XVI-XX wiek" (in Polish). Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Ziemia Gryficka 1969, p. 130-131 (in Polish)
  9. ^ A. Poniatowska, B. Drewniak, Polonia szczecińska (1890-1939), p. 61 (in Polish)
  10. ^ K. Golczewski, Miasto Gryfice i powiat na przełomie lat 1944-1945, p. 60-61 (in Polish)
  11. ^ a b "Kronika wydarzeń 1945-1989" (in Polish). Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kratz (1965), p. 176.
  13. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, vol. 8, Leipzig and Vienna 1907, p. 272.
  14. ^ Der Große Brockhaus. 15th edition, vol. 2, Leipzig 1929, p. 488.


External linksEdit

"Greifenberg" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 557.

Coordinates: 53°54′53″N 15°11′55″E / 53.91472°N 15.19861°E / 53.91472; 15.19861