Some photos from my visit to Tczew a couple of days ago. Unlike the other towns I visited this week, namely Elbląg and Malbork, this town was part of Poland after the First World War, not part of East Prussia. On a cold Sunday in January, there are a lot of locations that can feel a little drab, but there seemed to be a lot of buildings that needed restoration and repair in Tczew, some quite urgently. Not least the Post Office, which had to be cordoned off on the Monday morning as some of the roof tiles had fallen off and smashed onto the pavement.
There are a few cafes and restaurants in the town, but they were generally closed and there didn’t seem to be many people about. I’m not sure that the town is ever that touristy, most visitors are perhaps like me, particularly interested in the bridge, but more of that in another post. There are some areas which are looking like they’re receiving investment, but the old town is in need of a lot of funding. Although that partly means that the old town area has retained some of its charm, there’s an authenticity about it which isn’t evident in those towns which have been over-developed commercially.
It was also evident just how many monuments to war and death there are in Tczew, but this area has been fought over for centuries and it received a particularly bad time during the Second World War. In the communist influenced post-war period, the town wasn’t given the investment that it needed and it is fortunate that it is something of a rail hub to ensure that some money comes in. A small new shopping centre has been built, but the commercial development that is present in many Polish towns hasn’t reached Tczew yet. That importance of the rail network is evident in the modern railway station that they have, but there were hordes of Polish teenagers meandering around Tczew who were perfectly well behaved, but they looked bored. I get the impression that there isn’t much for them to do here, and if there is, they don’t want to do whatever it is that is in offer.
There’s something about this town that makes me think that its best years are ahead of it, as I can imagine economic growth and increased prosperity will come. The town council has launched a regeneration campaign to improve housing, transport and facilities, and they’re keen to increase the population size and enhance the charm and resources of Tczew. As for tourists, unless they want to walk along the river bank or go cycling, there’s not a vast amount here to see, although there is a branch of the Maritime Museum. But if facilities do improve, I can see more people happily spending a night here as part of a wider trip to Gdansk, as the town has a quirky and interesting feel to it.