Stargard ([ˈstarɡart] ; 1945: Starogród, 1950–2016: Stargard Szczeciński; German: Stargard in Pommern or Stargard an der Ihna; Kashubian: Stôrgard) is a city in northwestern Poland, located in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. In 2021 it was inhabited by 67,293 people.[1] It is situated on the Ina River. The city is the seat of the Stargard County, and, extraterritorially, of the municipality of Stargard. It is the second biggest city of Szczecin agglomeration. Stargard is a major railroad junction, where the southwards connection from Szczecin splits into two directions: towards Poznań and Gdańsk.

City Hall
Market Square and St. Mary's Church
Brama Pyrzycka (Pyrzyce Gate), part of the medieval town walls
From top, clockwise: City Hall, Pyrzyce Gate, St. Mary's Church
Flag of Stargard
Coat of arms of Stargard
Official logo of Stargard
Stargard - Klejnot Pomorza
Stargard - Jewel of Pomerania
Stargard is located in Poland
Coordinates: 53°20′N 15°2′E / 53.333°N 15.033°E / 53.333; 15.033
Country Poland
Voivodeship West Pomeranian Voivodeship
GminaStargard (urban gmina)
Established8th century
First mentioned1124
City rights1243
 • City mayorRafał Zając
 • Total48.1 km2 (18.6 sq mi)
20 m (70 ft)
 (31 December 2021)
 • Total67,293 Decrease[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
to 73-110
Area code+48 91
Car platesZST



The city's name is of Pomeranian (Kashubian) origin and stands for old (stari) town/city (gard or gôrd).[2]

In this meaning, the term gard is still being used by the only surviving Pomeranian language speakers, the Kashubs. However, some experts say that the name is of proto-Norse origin: starn (star) and gate (as in English).[3]



Middle Ages

St. Mary's Church, a Gothic architecture masterpiece and Historic Monument in Poland

The settlement was founded in the 8th century at the site of the present-day district of Osetno near downtown Stargard.[4] In 967 it became part of the emerging Polish state under the first Polish rulers from the Piast dynasty.[4][5] Stargard was first mentioned in 1124,[6] when it was part of Poland under Bolesław III Wrymouth. A church was founded in 1140.[7] Stargard received Magdeburg city rights in 1243 from Barnim I, Duke of Pomerania.

It was one of the most important towns and a major trade centre of the Duchy of Pomerania, after it split off from Poland as a result of the 12th-century fragmentation of Poland. From 1283, the city had a port at the mouth of the Ina River in the nowadays abandoned village of Inoujście.[6] Defensive city walls were built in the 13th century and expanded in the 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries.[8] In 1363 the city joined the Hanseatic League.

As a result of the ongoing fragmentation of Pomerania, in 1368 Stargard became part of the Duchy of Słupsk (Pomerania-Stolp) and in 1377 it became the capital of a separate eponymous duchy, which in 1403 fell back to Duchy of Słupsk, a vassal state of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1478 Stargard became part of the reunified Duchy of Pomerania.

In the meantime, the trade rivalry with the nearby city of Szczecin led to the outbreak of the Stargard-Szczecin war in 1454,[6] which ended in 1464. In 1477 Stargard helped Duke Wartislaw X recapture the town of Gartz during a Brandenburgian invasion.[9]

Modern period

Stargard in the 17th century

Stargard was part of the Duchy of Pomerania until its dissolution after the death of the last duke Bogislaw XIV in 1637.[6] During the Thirty Years' War the city was captured by Sweden in 1630.[8] It was besieged by the troops of the Holy Roman Empire in 1635,[10] and in order to hamper the attacks the Swedish commander set fire to the suburbs, causing a city fire, however, it was still captured by imperial troops.[11] In 1636 it was recaptured by the Swedes, then it was taken and plundered by Imperial troops to fall back to the Swedes again after the Battle of Wittstock.[12] In 1637 it was again captured by Imperial troops and then by Sweden.[12] As a result of the war, the population decreased by about 75%.[13]

In accordance to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, in 1653 it was incorporated, together with the rest of Farther Pomerania, into Brandenburg-Prussia.[6] In 1701 Stargard became part of the Kingdom of Prussia and in 1818, after the Napoleonic Wars, Stargard became part of the new district Szadzko (then officially Saatzig) within the Province of Pomerania. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), the Prussians established a prisoner-of-war camp for French troops in the city.[14]

As a result of the unification of Germany in 1871 the city became part of the German Empire. On 1 April 1901 it became an independent city, separate from the Saatzig District. According to the Prussian census of 1905, Stargard had a population of 26,907, of which 97% were Germans and 3% were Poles.[15] During World War I, the Germans operated a prisoner-of-war camp in Stargard, which housed in total some 50,000 POWs, including Russian (including ethnic Poles from the Russian Partition of Poland conscripted to the Tsarist army), French (including Algerians), Belgian, American, English, Serbian, Romanian, Portuguese, Italian and Japanese.[16] In interwar Germany, the town was the site of a concentration camp for unwanted Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.[17] The Stargarder Zeitung was as a local newspaper published in Stargard. In the March 1933 German federal election the Nazi Party received 58.7% of the vote in the city.[18]

World War II

Stalag II-D, 1939–1945

In 1939, during the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II, the Germans established the Dulag L temporary camp for Polish (including Kashubian) prisoners of war and civilians near Stargard, which in October 1939 was transformed into the large prisoner-of-war camp Stalag II-D.[19] Then, after the battle of France in 1940, also the French, the Dutch and Belgians were held there, from 1941 also Yugoslavian and Soviet POWs, from 1942 also thousands of Canadians captured at Dieppe, one of whom was Gerald MacIntosh Johnston, a Canadian actor, who was killed trying to escape, and after 1943 also Italians. The POWs were subjected to racial segregation, and Poles, Africans, Arabs, Jews and Soviet troops were separated from POWs of other nationalities and subjected to worse treatment.[20] Serbs also faced more severe treatment.[21]

There were also two subcamps of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, one in Stargard and one in the present-day district of Kluczewo,[22] as well as seven forced labour camps.[6] The Polish resistance organized a district of the Union of Armed Struggle and Home Army in Stargard, under the cryptonym "Starka".[23] Polish underground press was distributed in the city.[24]

In February 1945, one of the last German armoured offensives, Operation Solstice, was launched from the Stargard area. The local population was evacuated by the Germans on the order of Heinrich Himmler before the approaching Soviets in the final stages of the war.[13][4]

As a result of World War II the town again became part of Poland, under territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union at the Potsdam Conference. Polish local administration was appointed on March 23, 1945.[13] The town was repopulated by Poles, many of whom were displaced from former eastern Poland annexed by the Soviet Union.

Post-war period


In 1950 the city was renamed Stargard Szczeciński by adding the adjective Szczeciński after the nearby city of Szczecin to distinguish it from Starogard Gdański in Gdańsk Pomerania.[13] In 1961 the city limits were expanded by including the settlement of Kluczewo as a new district.[6]

In 1979 the city suffered a flood.

In 1993 the city celebrated the 750th anniversary of receiving city rights.[13]

In 2004 a north-western part of the town was made into an industrial park - Stargardzki Park Przemysłowy. Another industrial park is located in the south - Park Przemysłowy Wysokich Technologii.

On January 1, 2016, the town was renamed back to Stargard.[25]

Landmarks and monuments

Sights of Stargard
Renaissance Town Hall
A Gothic townhouse, today a music school
Medieval town walls with the Pyrzycka Gate
St. John's Church
Wałowa Gate
War cemetery

Heavy bombing during World War II devastated most of Stargard's fine historical sites and destroyed over 75% of the city. Some of these monuments, such as St. Mary's Church (13th–15th centuries) and the 16th-century town hall, have been rebuilt.[26] The newly restored buildings are on the European Route of Brick Gothic. Some of the notable surviving examples include:

  • St. Mary's Church, a distinctive Brick Gothic landmark of the city, dating back to the 15th century, one of the largest brick churches in Europe, listed as a Historic Monument of Poland[27]
  • St. John's Church from the 15th century
  • Medieval fortifications, including ramparts, walls, gates and towers, also listed as a Historic Monument of Poland,[27] prime examples:
    • Brama Młyńska (The Mill Gate) from the 15th century, the only Polish water gate still in existence and one of two in Europe
    • Wałowa Gate from the 15th century
    • Pyrzycka Gate from the 13th century
    • Red Sea Tower (Baszta Morze Czerwone) from 1513
    • Weavers' Tower (Baszta Tkaczy) from the 15th century
    • White Head Tower (Baszta Białogłówka) from the 15th century
  • Gothic tenement houses
  • Gothic Arsenal (Arsenał)

Other sites include:

  • Renaissance town hall, that has been known as one of the most remarkable examples of 16th-century central European architecture[28]
  • Granary (16th century)
  • The largest conciliation cross in Europe (1542)
  • Bolesław I the Brave Park (Park im. Bolesława Chrobrego), the oldest and largest park in Stargard
  • Jagiellonian Park (Park Jagielloński)
  • Baroque guardhouse at the marketplace, now housing a museum
  • Panorama Park with the Panorama Palace
  • Holy Spirit church
  • Church of the Transfiguration
  • War cemetery where about 5,000 soldiers of various nationalities were buried during World War I and II: Polish, French, Serbian/Yugoslav, Russian/Soviet, Italian, Romanian, Belgian, British, Moroccan, Portuguese and Dutch
  • The 15th Meridian Monument (Pomnik 15. Południk)
  • Monument to the Victims of Siberia and Katyn
  • Monuments of the Polish bards Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki
  • Red Barracks (Czerwone Koszary), the largest military barracks in Pomerania


Polish Basketball League match between Spójnia Stargard and Anwil Włocławek in Stargard in 2019

The city is home to Spójnia Stargard, a men's basketball team, which competes in the Polish Basketball League (the country's top division), 1997 runners-up, and Błękitni Stargard, formerly a multi-sports club, now a men's association football team, best known for reaching the Polish Cup semi-final in 2015.


Youth Culture Centre
District court
Sugar refinery in the Kluczewo district
Number of inhabitants in years.[29][30][13][18]
Year Inhabitants
1618 12,000
1640 1,200
1688 3,600
1720 400
1740 5,529
1782 5,612
1786 6,243
1794 5,971
1812 8,900
1816 8,042
1831 9,907
1843 11,192
1852 12,473
1861 14,168
1875 20,173
1885 22,112
1900 26,858
1905 26,907
1910 27,551
1913 28,000
1929 34,600
1933 35,773
1939 39,760
1945 2,870
1950 20,684
1960 33,650
1970 44,460
1980 59,227
1990 71,000
1995 72,254

Notable people

Margaret, singer-songwriter

International relations


Twin towns — sister cities


Stargard is twinned with:[31]

In fiction


In The Cross Time Engineer science fiction series of novels the main character falsely claims Stargard origin to conceal he is a time traveler.




  1. ^ a b "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved 15 August 2022. Data for territorial unit 3214011.
  2. ^ Brücker, Aleksander (1927). Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego (in Polish). oboczne gard zachowały nazwy na Pomorzu (Stargard, 'starogród', ...)
  3. ^ Kociuba, Jarosław (2012). Pomorze - Praktyczny przewodnik turystyczny po ziemiach Księstwa Pomorskiego (in Polish). Szczecin: Walkowska Wydawnictwo. p. 422. ISBN 9788361805496.
  4. ^ a b c "O powiecie". BIP Starostwo Powiatowe w Stargardzie (in Polish). Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  5. ^ Labuda, Gerard (1993). "Chrystianizacja Pomorza (X–XIII stulecie)". Studia Gdańskie (in Polish). Vol. IX. Gdańsk-Oliwa. p. 47.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Stargard". Encyklopedia PWN (in Polish). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  7. ^ Labuda, p. 52–53
  8. ^ a b Grzegorz Podruczny Niezrealizowane projekty twierdzy w Stargardzie, "Stargardia X" (2015), p. 282 (in Polish)
  9. ^ Kratz, Gustav (1865). Die Städte der Provinz Pommern. Abriss ihrer Geschichte, zumeist nach Urkunden. Berlin. p. 363.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ Podruczny, p. 283
  11. ^ Kratz (1865), p. 367-368
  12. ^ a b Kratz (1865), p. 368
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Stargard. Historia miejscowości". Wirtualny Sztetl (in Polish). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  14. ^ Aniszewska, Jolanta (2011). "W obowiązku pamięci... Stalag II D i formy upamiętnienia jeńców wojennych w Stargardzie Szczecińskim". Łambinowicki rocznik muzealny (in Polish). 34. Opole: 11. ISSN 0137-5199.
  15. ^ Belzyt, Leszek (1998). Sprachliche Minderheiten im preussischen Staat: 1815 - 1914 ; die preußische Sprachenstatistik in Bearbeitung und Kommentar. Marburg: Herder-Inst. ISBN 978-3-87969-267-5.
  16. ^ Aniszewska, Jolanta (2019). Nekropolia dwóch wojen światowych (in Polish). Szczecin: IPN. p. 8.
  17. ^ Stone, Dan (2017). Concentration Camps: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-19-103502-9.
  18. ^ a b "Stadtkreis Stargard". Archived from the original on 17 September 2010.
  19. ^ Aniszewska (2011), p. 9, 14
  20. ^ Aniszewska (2011), p. 14
  21. ^ Aniszewska (2011), p. 17
  22. ^ Megargee, Geoffrey P. (2009). The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933–1945. Volume I. Indiana University Press, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. pp. 1210, 1226. ISBN 978-0-253-35328-3.
  23. ^ Chrzanowski, Bogdan (2022). Polskie Państwo Podziemne na Pomorzu w latach 1939–1945 (in Polish). Gdańsk: IPN. p. 25. ISBN 978-83-8229-411-8.
  24. ^ Chrzanowski, p. 57
  25. ^ "Premier - Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów - Portal".
  26. ^ "Stargard Szczeciński | Poland".
  27. ^ a b Rozporządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 17 września 2010 r. w sprawie uznania za pomnik historii "Stargard Szczeciński - zespół kościoła pod wezwaniem Najświętszej Marii Panny Królowej Świata oraz średniowieczne mury obronne miasta", Dz. U., 2010, vol. 184, No. 1236
  28. ^ Wolfgang Schulz (1991). Reise nach Pommern ! Stettin und Umgebung. Die Ostseeküste von Swinemünde bis Leba. Stiftung Deutschlandhaus Berlin. p. 47.
  29. ^ Kratz (1865), p. 370
  30. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, vol. 18, Leipzig and Vienna 1909, p. 857.
  31. ^ "Miasta partnerskie" (in Polish). Retrieved 13 March 2022.