Friday, December 31, 2010

old days in Swinemünde

The town on the Swine river mouth with the Baltic Sea (or Ostsee = East Sea) called Swinemünde found itself in Poland after Stalin's redrawing of East European maps in 1945, but only just: the neighbouring nearby town on the coast of Ahlbeck is still in Germany. It has now been transliterated as Swinoujscie.

The pre-war population was put at 30,000, but the town was hard hit by a US Air Force bombing raid in 1945 which killed 23,000 and badly damaged the town although the landmark lighthouse survived, which at 68 metres high is still the tallest on the Baltic Sea.

The town is still split across the Swine river which is used by ships to and from the port of Stettin (Szczecin) to the south and that factor seems to have prevented the building of a bridge, but plans exist for the building of a tunnel. During summer months ferries run from the railway terminal in the eastern half of the town to Ystad in Sweden as well as Rønne and Copenhagen in Denmark. The pre-war railway connections that the western half of the town had with Ahlbeck and Anklam were severed in 1945, but a proposal has been made recently to re-establish the former.  

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