Town in the northwesternmost point of the Republic of Poland in the voivodship "Eastern Pomerania" (=województwo zachodniopomorskie), directly at the border to Germany.
The town is situated on the river Swina (in German Swine) on two islands: Uznam (German: Usedom) on the left bank and Wolin (German: Wollin) on the right bank.
45.000 inhabitants and size: 314 km2
The port on Wolin-island has ferry connections to Lübeck-Travemünde (Germany), Ystad (Sweden), Copenhagen (DK) and Gdansk (former Danzig).
Until 1945 the city was German in Pomerania Province on the Baltic shore and capital of the local district 'Usedom-Wollin'
The end of WW II and the Allies' decision to transfer all German territory east of the rivers Oder and Neisse to Poland, have also consequences for Swinemünde: it becomes a Russian depot and military-base. Only a few years later, the Sovjetunion transfers the city to Poland.
The strange border situation is created: as the city (now with the Polish name of Swinoujscie) can only be reached from the rest of Poland by two ferry connections, yet from the German side via land 'dry'.
Swinoujscie Portal - commercial homepage of Swinoujscie with lots of pictures.(in Polish, English and German)
|Behind the check-point: arrival by foot-walk on the Polish side, a few minutes ago we were still on the German side of Usedom island, if we want to visit Polish 'mainland' we need to take the ferry.|
| Polish Baltic
The Gulf of Pomerania, an idyllic view, however we have reached the EU-boundary. The first barbed wire is the Polish border, the 2nd wire is the German one. This border is 'closed' and trespassing forbidden.
The red sign says in Polish "Borderline - access forbidden" In the background a border patrol house in the sand can be spotted, since 1945 this is the frontier.
| Baltic shore:
Polish beach, in the background the skyline of the German seaside resort Ahlbeck can be seen, however you cannot reach it by walking along the shore.
|The eastern terminus of 'Usedom Spa-Railway' called Ahlbeck Grenze. The final buffer just is 6 feet from the border pole. In the background the Polish parking lot for busses and horse-drawn carriages waiting for tourists to be brought to downtown Swinoujscie .|
|The border crossing along German Federal Road B111 seen from the Polish side: German and Polish customs and immigrations is in wooden provisional houses next to the road. The litter bin on the left side, marks the border accidently.|
|The border line north of the check point along an empty sand stroke, behind the horizon two more border poles and the Baltic sea shore and dunes.|
|The terminus seen from the Polish
side with train at the stop. The buffer is covered by
bushes in the photo.
The border is secured on both sides with barbed wire. In the middle border poles of both countries can be spotted, as well as a smaller border stone.
|The state frontier just 2/3 mile south of trunk road B111: no fences and no wire, one could pass unnoticed here apparently.|
|Two border poles in the woods near Lake Wolgast (Wolgastsee). There is some barbed wire on the German side, but outside this photograph.|
|End of German trunk road B110, which once led from Rostock via Anklam to Swinemünde (now Polish: Swinoujscie). Today it ends only 1.5 miles from Swinoujscie-city. There is no border crossing point here.|
|The first yards of German B110 towards the other side, more a secundary street than a federal trunk road at this place. Although neither cars nor foot passangers could officially cross the border here, Germany put up National street board and info-panel with national speed limits. Call it German efficiency. Also by car you can only get close as half a mile to this point.|
|The last two border-poles on Usedom near the village Kamminke. On the right side of the picture frame, it's just 50 yards to the Stettin Bay (Stettiner Haff / Zalew Szczecinski). The houses in the background are in Polish Paprotno, called Friedrichsthal in German until 1945.|
|350 miles farther east: The Polish-Russian border in the former province 'Eastern Prussia'. This border also was created in 1945 without any historic background.|
(c) Text and photos by BK 2000, UM 2002, CS 2002
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