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Szczecin Cruises

Szczecin, Ger. Stettin, city (1994 est. pop. 414,900), capital of Zachodniopomorskie prov., NW Poland, historical capital of the Prussian province of Pomerania, on the Oder near its influx into the Zalew Szczecinski (Ger. Stettiner Haff). Poland's largest port complex, Szczecin is also an industrial center with shipyards, ironworks, and industries producing foodstuffs, fertilizers, and synthetic chemicals. Swinoujscie (Ger. Swinemande) is its outer port. A fortress and the largest Pomeranian town as early as the 12th cent., it was until 1637 the residence of the dukes of Pomerania and was an important member (from the 13th cent.) of the Hanseatic League. At the Peace of Westphalia (1648) it passed to Sweden, but at the end of the Northern War, Sweden ceded it (1720) to Prussia. Szczecin had a French garrison (1806'13) during the Napoleonic Wars. The construction (1914) of a canal to Berlin greatly enhanced the city as a commercial port, and its present harbor installations are very extensive. During World War II the city suffered heavy damage from repeated bombings. Although four fifths of Szczecin, including the old section, are on the left (western) bank of the Oder, the Potsdam agreement of 1945 transferring Pomerania E of the Oder to Polish administration was interpreted to include the city in the transfer. The German population was expelled and replaced by Poles.