Sławno is a town located in the north-eastern part of the Zachodniopomorskie Province at Wieprza and Moszczenica Rivers. It is located on the Koszalin Coast, approx. 40 km north-west from Koszalin, approx. 20 km south from the Baltic Sea. You can get there by train, by bus or by car.
Sławno is a town with long and stormy history. The first people arrived near Sławno in the Neolithic times. However, only in the early Middle Ages permanent settlements started to appear in the region. Defensive settlements were built from the 7th century by Slavs coming from the south-east. In the 10th century Sławsko played a leading role in the region. It is also called “the Old Sławno”. When in the 12th century the Sławieńskie Principality appeared on the stage of history, Sławno became its capital. In the next century the principality frequently changed its owners – Pomeranian dukes, kings of Denmark and margraves of Brandenburg competed for it. For a short time it was also owned by the kings of Poland. Finally – at the beginning of the 14th century – the capital of the Sławieńskie Principality was moved several kilometres to the south. The house of Święcowie performed the incorporation of new Sławno according to the Lubeck law. It is known that the town received the crest of the founding family – it has a sea griffin on it. It was granted municipal rights on 22 May 1317.
Thanks to an eight-year period when the town was exempt from tax and its convenient location on the route between two capitals of Pomeranian principalities, new Sławno could develop dynamically. First fortifications and necessary municipal buildings were built quickly. The town hall and brick and stone walls were built probably in the middle of the 14th century. Currently the only remains of the old fortification system include gates: Koszalińska and Słupska Gates, through which the road from the west to the east went through. The chapel of St. Nikolai constituted the religious building in the town. Soon in 1321 construction works of the parish church were commenced and they took approx. 100 years. This three-nave church still exists and now it is called the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The residents of Sławno were involved in typical activities of the times – agriculture, trade and craftsmanship. An especially significant roles was played by professions related to the production of food and wool processing.
During the Middle Ages Sławno was rules by the dukes of Pomerania. Only as a result of the Thirty Years' War in 1637 the town came to be ruled by the Brandenburgians. The Thirty Years' War, which ruined Central Europe, did not spare Sławno. In the 18th century under the Prussian rule the town started to regain its position. Textile factories were established and a multi-discipline market was organized which attracted merchants from Pomerania, Wielkopolska and Baltic countries.
The development of Sławno and the region was partially inhibited by the war contributions imposed on the Prussians by Napoleon. The industrial revolution resulted in a road connection (1828-1835) and a railway connection (the 60’s of the 19th century) with Szczecin and Gdańsk. From 1852 at the local post office it was possible to send a telegraph. Also education was significantly developing – a primary school, a progymnasium and a private school for girls were opened. Modern production plants were also established, such as sawmills, breweries, oil mills, iron foundry, factories of agricultural machinery and furniture. The early production profile of the town did not undergo significant changes in the following century.
The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century are related to numerous investments in the infrastructure of Sławno. The Public Library, slaughterhouse, a gas plant, a dairy, a modern sewage system and electricity were ensured in the town. Before the 1st World War in Sławno two competing newspapers were published, and the residents had 208 telephones. In the inter-war period educational institutions in the town were developing further, while apart from telephones also radio appeared in the town and it gained a wide group of enthusiasts.
After the 2nd World War Sławno was attached to Poland. The town was destroyed by the Red Army. Many buildings – especially in the centre – burnt, and the equipment of the factories was transported to USSR. The population decreased from 9 768 to 4 800. New authorities started to reconstruct Sławno – new production plants and communal residential estates were built. Unfortunately they did not pay attention to maintaining the old charm of this coastal town.
The 90’s of the 20th century brought more investments, e.g. a water treatment plant was established, a detached house estate, a sports hall and a sewage treatment plant were built. In 2003 the modernization works of the sewerage network were completed. The beginning of the 21st century is also connected with construction of cycling trails and sports pitches, as well as renovations of neglected streets and development of trade. However in last 25 years numerous unprofitable production plants went bankrupt and the town suffered from unemployment. Sławno still has a lot of unused potential – it is well-situated between Szczecin and Gdańsk, and it has a large undeveloped land for investment. The largest industrial plants in the region of the town are: ABWood spółka z o.o. and Zakłady Drzewne „Poldan” – Eksport – Import.
Today in Sławno there are the headquarters of the municipality and the County (even though Darłowo is the largest town in the region). The town hall and the municipal office are situated in the former building of the district office. However, the current County district office is located in a new building at Sempołowskiej Street. In Sławno there are two primary schools, a gymnasium, the Complex of Schools of J. H. Dąbrowski, the Complex of Agro-technical Schools, a branch of the National School of Music in Słupsk, 1st and 2nd grade, and the Educational Centre for Disabled Children and Youth. There is also a three-star hotel located in the building of the old cinema. The most important attractions of the town include the previously mentioned gates – the remains after the medieval fortifications. The high and soaring towers made of red brick dominate the landscape of the old town. More evidence that the town history reaches back to the 14th century is the church under invocation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, overlooking the market square. The church was damaged during the 2nd World War and its historic equipment was not preserved. However from the outside it is still impressive. It is also worth paying attention to various buildings from the 19th and 20th century. In Sławno you can admire townhouses, industrial and municipal buildings. The church under invocation of St. Anthony from Padua is especially interesting, as it is the first catholic church in the town from the time of reformation. It is a modest church built in the modern style and made of clinker bricks. The original equipment from the inter-war period was preserved up until now. The post office, the railway station and the headquarters of the former district office are also impressive. In the later, there are currently the town hall and the Sławno municipality office. Next to Koszalińska Gate you can find a sculpture which conveys the message of the artist for the 21st century: the monument of “Christ coming to Sławno”. It was designed by a former resident of the town Heinrich Eugen von Zitzewitz and it undoubtedly constitutes one of the most interesting works of art in the town. A large green space in Sławno was designed in the middle of the 19th century. The Park of the Polish Military Organization stretches north from Słupska Gate. It is a peaceful and well-kept place to which an interesting story is related. In 1999 a group of German wandering artists decorated the park in Sławno with a gazebo and sandstone sculptures. Another place encouraging the residents to go for a walk is a park located close to the centre just next to the Municipal Gymnasium. There is a large playground for children and an open-air gym within the park, as well as some cycling trails. Nearby there is a sports complex, i.e. a sports hall, a stadium and an amphitheatre.