Województwo Kujawsko-Pomorskie ([vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ kuˈjafskɔ pɔˈmɔrskʲɛ]) is a province in Poland. It is situated in mid-northern Poland, on the boundary between the two historic regions from which it takes its name: Kujawy (sometimes rendered in English as Cuiavia or Kuyavia or variations thereof) and part of Pomorze (Pomerania).
For centuries, the area of the present-day Kujawsko-Pomorskie has been under the political and cultural influence of both Poland and Germany, resulting in unique heritage. It has also historically been quite prosperous, while also becoming a front line for many conflicts in the Middle Ages. As a results, it boasts a number of medieval castles, fortresses and impressive old towns, most of which survived the subsequent wars relatively unscathed.
The picturesque landscape also makes the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship a good destination for nature lovers, and the traditions and concentration of the foodstuffs industry in the region makes the visit delightful to the palate as well.
Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship is unique in that it has a fairly distributed population and many medium-sized cities and smaller towns spread across the region, so there is plenty to visit and see besides the region's capitals. Capitals in plural, as the region in governed from a dupolis formed by two of its largest cities:
- Bydgoszcz — often called "Little Berlin" because of the beautiful Art-Nouveau, Neo-Baroque and Eclecticist architecture
- Toruń — the city with the most sites to visit in Poland after Kraków, famous for its large, well-preserved medieval old town, for being the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus and delicious gingerbread called katarzynki
Other cities and towns of interest to tourists:
- Chełmno — a gothic and renaissance old town surrounded by almost intact city walls
- Ciechocinek — spa at the Vistula River
- Golub-Dobrzyń - a charming little town rife with historic architecture
- Grudziądz — brick gothic town on the Vistula River - and the smallest tram system in Poland
- Inowrocław — known for its saltwater baths and salt mines
- Kruszwica — a city with a history that spans millennia and played a major role in the very early history of Poland
- Nakło nad Notecią — a small but important town with many 19th century buildings
- Strzelno — with an impressive baroque church
- Biskupin - a unique Iron-Age settlement recreated at the archeological site where it was discovered, with a lively open-air exhibit
- Bory Tucholskie National Park — national park protecting the Tucholskie Forests
In the early Middle Ages the region was a part of Greater Poland which was the central region of Poland in the 9th and 10th century. In the 11th century a bishopric was established in Kruszwica and later Włocławek. Poland was divided into several duchies in 1138 under the rule of the senior from Kraków. In the 12th century the political influence of local dukes was extended to large parts of Masovia, but in 1186 the area was conquered by Duke Mieszko III the Old of Greater Poland. In 1195 the region it was incorporated into Mazovia and Duke Konrad I of Mazovia re-established the duchy in 1231. After 1267 the duchy was further divided into two separate lands with capitals in Inowrocław and Brześć Kujawski. Between 1248 and 1352 Kuyavia, the southern part, was connected with Dobrzyń Land, the northern part of this region, which was later lost to the Teutonic Knights. In 1287 Kuyavia became a separate duchy and was conquered by the Teutonic Knights in 1332 who controlled it until the Treaty of Kalisz in 1343. As part of the Kingdom of Poland, the area retained its traditional division into two separate parts, The Inowrocław Voivodeship and the Brześć Kujawski Voivodeship. During the 17th century, Dutch and Frisian colonists founded numerous towns with individualistic architecture in this region. They developed independent village communities and brought their agricultural knowledge to the region, specializing in the cultivation of lakes and rivers in moorland and fallow land. Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772, the northern part and following the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 also the southern part of this region was annexed by Prussia. Between 1807 and 1815 the region was a part of the Duchy of Warsaw and later split between Prussia and the Russian Kingdom of Poland. In 1918 it became part of the Second Polish Republic, was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II, and was restored to Poland in 1945.
Since 1999 it is included within the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship.
The people of Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship speak standard Polish with little if any local dialect. Due to its history, many inhabitants have at least cursory knowledge of German. As in the entirety of Poland, English knowledge is on the rise, particularly among the younger generations. The region sees a fair amount of tourist travel and thus many service-sector employees have a reasonable fluency in English.
The only airport in the region with scheduled passenger service is the Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport (BZG) , with a growing but limited number of connections. One may also use the more major airports in the cities close to Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship - Poznań, Gdańsk, or Warsaw (the latter offers intercontinental connections).
With a well-developed railway network, traveling into Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship by train is a good choice.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Old Town in Toruń brick gothic town hall and churches form a unique medival panorama at the east Vistula shore. Nicolaus Copernicus was born in one of the fine Gothic houses.
Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship borders five other Polish voivodeships: