Görlitz – Zgorzelec

The Oder–Neisse line is the basis of the international border between Germany and Poland. It runs mainly along the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers It divided several river cities into two parts – Görlitz/Zgorzelec, Guben/Gubin, Frankfurt (Oder)/Słubice, Bad Muskau/Łęknica. The border was recognized by East Germany in the Treaty of Zgorzelec in 1950, by West Germany in 1970 in the Treaty of Warsaw, and by reunified Germany, in 1990 in the German–Polish Border Treaty of the same year. The border were partially open from 1971 to 1980, when Poles and East Germans could cross it without a passport or a visa; it was however closed again after few years, due to economic pressure on the East German economy from Polish shoppers and the desire of the East German government to diminish the influence of the Polish Solidarity movement on East Germany.

Following the reunification of Germany and the collapse of communism the border became the external border of the EU. Following 2004 with Poland’ membership of the EU and then 2007 with the introduction of the common travel area the border moved from one of being heavily policed to one with no controls.

The Altstadtbrücke (old town bridge) between Görlitz and sister city Zgorzelec was rebuilt between 2003 and 2004. A bus line connects the German and Polish parts of the town, and there is a common urban management, with annual joint sessions of both town councils. In 2006 the twin towns applied to the European City of Culture unsuccessfully. Increasingly however, cultural and art events are jointly planned.

New Pedestrian Bridge
Passport Checks in place
Welcome to Poland
Riverside Cafe

YouTube Video


  1. A tale of two sister cities DW https://www.dw.com/en/a-tale-of-two-sister-cites/a-17893481

Date of Visit: 23rd July 2006

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