This mostly flat region in western Poland has two capitals: the gubernatorial seat of Gorzów Wielkopolski, and the base of the regional assembly, Zielona Góra. Blessed with extensive forest areas and several lakes, the region’s southern portion is known for its wine-growing industry, which dates back to the 13th century.
Gorzów Wielkopolski is the capital and biggest city of Lubusz. It is filled with massive concrete Soviet blocks, except for a few monuments that survived the war, such as the brick Gothic Cathedral of the Virgin Mary in the Old Market Square.
Gorzów has wonderful public spaces, and has been called the “city of parks and gardens.”. In particular, Siemiradzki Park provides a stunning hilltop view of the forests and plains in the south.
The capital is noted for the major cultural influence of the nomadic Romani. Every July the city hosts the International Romani Gathering, highlighted by a series of musical concerts. Poland’s famed Romani poet, Bronisława Wajs, lived in Gorzów, and the city’s main library has an impressive collection of books about her. The city’s main museum is in two venues: a villa and an 18th-century granary by the Warta River bank, where art shows are often held.
Zielona Góra is called “the Wine City”, as wine is produced in nearby areas and the city itself hosts a wine festival every year. The local wine-making industry was started in 1250 by the monks at the nearby Paradyż Abbey. The grapes grown here produce white wine, the most famous being the Monte Verde.
Zielona Góra, whose name means “Green Mountain,” was built on thickly forested hills. Almost half of the city proper is also covered with trees. Old 19th century wine houses still stand, even though wine is no longer produced in the city itself.