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Well off any track non-German tourists tread, the western port city of Szczecin (shcheh-cheen) is a lively city awash with students and a muddle of architecture inherited from wildly different ages. Crumbly German-era art-nouveau tenements and mansions, some now undergoing renovation, echo a past splendour but historical style is patchy. The authorities seem to have given up on the idea of rebuilding, choosing instead to fill the gaps in the city centre with glass-and-steel malls, sacrificing entire streets in the name of retail. Many of the main thoroughfares have been spruced up, but derelict buildings and overgrown plots are easy to find in the very heart of the city.

It's a busy working port, though you’d never know it wandering the city centre, with just enough to warrant a stopover between Berlin and Gdańsk, to which it has good connections.

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