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Wolgast

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Wolgast is a town in the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is situated on the bank of the river Peenestrom, vis-a-vis the island of Usedom that can be accessed by road and railway via a bascule bridge (Blaues Wunder). In December 2004, the town had a population of 12,725.HistoryThe precursor of present-day Wolgast was a Slavic Wendish stronghold located on an island within the Peenestrom sound. Contemporary sources called it Hologost(a), Ologost, Woligost, Woligast, Wologost, Wolegast, Wolegust, Walagost(um), Walogost(um), Waløgost(um), Waloguslum, Walagust, Walegusth, Walægust, Walgust, Wolgast, Valagust, Wołogoszcz or Valegust.Wilhelm Ferdinand Gadebusch traces the name through Wendish to mean a "large grove." It is unclear which of the tribes documented in the area the population belonged to, the Veleti/Lutici or Rani. In 1123/24, prince Henry of the Obodrites used the stronghold as a stepping stone in his campaign against the Rani.In 1128, after the Pomeranian duke Wartislaw I had subdued the area, the Wends were baptized by Otto of Bamberg on his second Pomeranian mission, while Wartislaw was also present in the stronghold. In this context, Wolgast was described as a opulentissima civitas by the chronicler Ebo, it is however unclear whether this should be read as meaning opulent or mighty "castle" or "town." Otto destroyed a local temple devoted to Gerowit, a god of war, and replaced it with a church. The thesis that this first church was a predecessor of today's St. Peter's church has not yet been confirmed.
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