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Szczecin

Szczecin is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. Located near the Baltic Sea, it is a major seaport and Poland's seventh-largest city. As of June 2011, the population was 407,811.Szczecin is located on the Oder River, south of the Szczecin Lagoon and the Bay of Pomerania. The city is situated along the southwestern shore of Dąbie Lake, on both sides of the Oder and on several large islands between the western and eastern branches of the river. Szczecin is adjacent to the town of Police and is the urban center of the Szczecin agglomeration, an extended metropolitan area that includes communities in the German states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.The city's history began in the 8th century as a Slavic Pomeranian stronghold, built at the site of the Ducal castle. In the 12th century, when Szczecin had become one of Pomerania's main urban centres, it lost its independence to Piast Poland, Saxony, the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark. At the same time, the Griffin dynasty established themselves as local rulers, the population was converted to Christianity, and German settlers arrived from Western European states. The native Slavic population was assimilated in the following centuries. Between 1237 and 1243, the town was rebuilt, granted vast autonomy rights, and eventually joined the Hanseatic League.
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