European Regional Development Fund
One of the most scenic places in Bydgoszcz is Mill Island (Wyspa Młyńska), mainly due to its attractive location between the main channel of the Brda and an arm called Młynówka. Along with the nearby Old Town, it is the oldest and best-preserved historic area in the city. Among the lush greenery, old barns, mills and workshops can be found, all listed and strictly protected.
The island played a major role in the life of the city in the Middle Ages, but its golden age was the years 1594–1688 when the royal mint operated there. Two centuries later the Mint Island became the Mill Island with the advent of grain mills, cloth shops, shoe workshops and sawmills. Intensive industrial activity and years of neglect eventually led to environmental degradation and overall dilapidation. Fortunately, it is longer so.
Since 2006 revitalization of the island has gained momentum. New footbridges matching stylistically the surrounding architecture have improved its accessibility. One of them, leading to the Opera Nova, has become a “lovers’ bridge” as many couples seal their love here by hanging a padlock on it and throwing the key into the river. The house at ul. Mennica 6 is now home to the Work and Enterprise Centre supporting manufacturers, investors and those who look for business ideas.
Historic architecture that gets more and more charming every month, diversified cultural offerings, outdoor events and concerts attract increasing numbers of both locals and visitors. For strolling, there’s no better place than the waterfront along the Międzywodzie Canal that once divided the island into two parts, later was filled in and now has been re-created as a cascade. On its right bank, the so-called “Bydgoszcz Venice,” an evocative strip of 19th-century houses, old workshops and courtyards reflected in the water, is also regaining its former splendour. This romantic spot has become a favourite with lovers, photographers and painters.
The second phase of the revitalization work consisted in renovating five listed buildings, which are now not only beautiful, but also have gained new functions. The Red Granary is home to the interactive Art Museum; the Miller’s House contains the museum’s Visitor’s Centre; No. 4 in ul. Mennica houses the European Money Centre and the White Granary is occupied by the Archaeological Museum. At ul. Mennica 7, you can visit the Wyczółkowski House presenting the work of the painter and patron of the Regional Museum in Bydgoszcz.
For recreation, walking and biking trails have been laid out, playgrounds have been constructed and a modern marina offering accommodation is to be built in the near future. New lighting gives the island a fairy-tale charm after dark.
The project won the main award in the 3rd contest Poland Even More Beautiful. Seven Miracles of EU Funds in the Revitalization category.