Saturday, January 15, 2011


Few days ago, I uploaded the Heiligen-Familie-Kirche, a Catholic church in the now-Polish city of Schneidemühl (Pl. Piła). This church is probably the most important landmark in the city, for it is one of the few buildings that survived the war, and a recognizable structure in the town.

The city of Schneidemühl/Piła (sawmill and saw in German and Polish respectively) was on its early history a settlement of German people coming from the west (mainly Brandenburg and Pomerania). The area become Polish on 1368, and Schneidemühl got its city rights in the early 16th century. The town suffered two fires in the following century, along with an outbreak of the Plague in the mid-18th century.

Schneidemühl became officially part of Prussia (Province of Westpreußen) after the first Partition of Poland in 1772. Nine years later, the town was again devastated by fire. In the Napoleonic Wars, Schneidemühl was ceded to the Duchy of Warsaw after the Prussian defeat at Jena. However, the city was granted to Prussia in the Congress of Vienna in 1815. This time, the town belonged to the Grand Duchy of Posen, territory ruled by the King of Prussia in personal union. During this period, the city experienced a big development process. However, the town suffered another fire in 1834. Ironically, Schneidemühl was revisited by another catastrophe, this time a flooding, in the late 19th century.

But the worst was to come. In the final stages of WW2, Adolf Hitler declared Schneidemühl a Festung. The city was assaulted by a joint Polish-Soviet army, and after the attack, over 80% of the city was in ruins. The communist government didn't care about the buildings that could be salvaged. Schneidemühl was then converted into the model Communist city, an architectural mess full of Plattenbäuten, where a true jewel on the Küddow river once stood.

There are few remarkable buildings that survived the war.
  • The Heligen-Familie-Kirche, originally a wooden church from the late-14th century, was rebuilt in brick in 1726, and again in its current neo-baroque form in 1910-12.
  • The Moltkeschule.
  • The Hauptbahnhof, built between 1853-76, extended in the 1920s.
  • The Regierungsgebäude and Reichsbank building, both on Danziger Platz.
  • The Stanislauskirche in Bromberger Vorstadt.
  • The Postamt, which has retained part of its prewar facade.
Notable structures that were lost in the war include:
  • The Rathaus (city hall) on the Neuer Markt
  • The Evangelische Stadtkirche on the Neuer Markt.
  • The Polnisches Kirche (also known as the Alte Katholische Kirche), the oldest church in the city. First a wooden church from the 14th century, it was rebuilt in 1619-28 and 1742, when it got its final shape. The church burnt out in 1945 and its remains were demolished in the 1970s.
My plan is to rebuild some of these buildings in 3D. By now, you can see pictures and information about Schneidemühl/Piła in these two interesting websites (not mine): (German) and (Polish), by the same author. While its kind of difficult to find pictures of this city, I hope to upload more Piła-related models soon. See you!

1 comment:

  1. Your models in Google Earth brought me here. Very well done. Keep it up.