Introduction

Grudziądz (groo-jonts), located some 30km down the Vistula River from Chełmno, probably doesn’t have enough to warrant a special trip, but could be a minor diversion on the way between Toruń and Malbork. Some post-WWII renovation of the Old Town has been attempted and trams still trundle through the now pretty main square, lending it atmosphere. The remainder of Grudziądz is made up of thundering motorways, communist-era blocks and scrappy streets of 19th-century tenements.

The town may not be too focused on appearances, but its history is certainly colourful. It started life as an early Piast settlement, came under the rule of the Teutonic Knights as Graudenz in the 1230s, then returned to the Polish crown in 1466. The city was caught up in the 17th-century wars with Sweden – it was burnt down while being liberated by Polish troops in 1659. In the First Partition of 1772, Grudziądz was swallowed by Prussia, developing as an industrial centre before returning to Poland in the aftermath of WWI.

Grudziądz was severely damaged in 1945 but was rebuilt and developed into a bustling, if fairly unremarkable, urban centre.