an outline of the history of Kostrzyn...


Since time immemorial, Kostrzyn land had been an arena of many turbulent conflicts which resulted in violent clashes between Slavic and German peoples. These events could serve as a scenario for many action films. During five centuries, between 10th and 15th Cent. their sovereigns changed like in a kaleidoscope.  Up till 10th Cent. the land was ruled by the Pomeranians; since 10th till 13th Cent. it was influenced by the Polish. However, due to the disastrous diplomatic steps of the Piast dynasty resulting in the loss of the Lubusz Land, the town was ruled by the Order of Knights Templar and Knights of Saint John, respectively. Finally, the area was controlled by the Brandenburg sovereigns for the couple of next centuries.


Kostrzyn was granted the city charter on the initiative of the margrave Albrecht III in approx. 1300. The city increased its significance. Its prosperity fell within the 36 years of reigns of the margrave Johann von Brandenburg who selected Kostrzyn for his residence in 1536. This is how ”Coszterine” had become the capital of the New March.


The former settlement was transformed into a spacious Renaissance castle surrounded by bastion fortifications. Owing to such transformations, the town of Kostrzyn was perceived as one of the greatest European fortresses for a long time. Johann von Brandenburg would go down in the town’s history as a fortress’ constructor and received a kind nickname: “John of Kostrzyn”. 


The years of peaceful existence did not last for a long time. Apart from havocs wrecked by natural disasters such as floods and fires, the town’s inhabitants were not spared the political conflicts as well. During the next couple of decades the town was  hit by the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) as well as the Seven Years’ War (1753-1760). Since 1806 till 1818 Kostrzyn was occupied by the French. The end of the 19th Cent. brought hope to the town’s inhabitants that the situation would improve.


The town  gained in value due to its prompt economic development. In 1939 the town was inhabited by nearly 24 thousand of residents. However, World War II put an end to this positive trends. The town fortress played a dramatic role in the conflict. In 1945 it became a strategic point of resistance against the Russian Red Army marching towards Berlin. As a result of fierce battles, Kostrzyn was totally destroyed.


As a result of the Potsdam conference agreements dated August 1945, the German east border was shifted towards the rivers of Oder and Nysa Łużycka (Lusatian Neisse). Kostrzyn’s German inhabitants moved to the west whereas the town was inhabited by the Polish resettled from the former area of Eastern Poland. 


Would you like to learn more about the history of this land? We would like to invite you to participate in one of our guided tours around the Kostrzyn old town, the museum as well as the battlefield at the Seelow hills. The guided tours’ schedule may be found in our events’ calendar.