More then a thousand years of tradition and turbulent history are encapsulated in Szczecin, which is historical capital of western Pomerania. Its most illustratious period was during the reign of the Dukes of the Griffin dynasty, when the city belonged to the Hanseatic League. At a time it was one of the most powerful ports and trading centerson Baltic. today it is cultural centre with an opera and operetta house, numerous theatres and exhibition halls, and its mixture of gothic and successionists architecture combine to give it a captivating charm.