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Sopot - one of the most beautiful cities on the Baltic coast came to create its reputation as a popular health resort at the beginning of 19th century. But it would take another century until the turn of 20 century when it was fully recognized. During that era, Sopot was a place of meetings of the international elite, mostly aristocrats and artists from Poland , Germany and Scandinavia .
Development of the settlement in the 1820's is connected to Jean Haffner, a doctor from the Napoleonic Army, who settled down in Poland after marching with Napoleon's Army to Gdansk , a nearby city. Haffner recognized this picturesque landscape and the health advantages of the shore line. He bought land and started the transformation of the fishing village, located downtown today, into a small spa resort.
In 1824, a new road was built from Gdansk to Sopot. This favoured Haffner, because more people could travel with ease to Sopot from the nearby large and well developed city, one of the biggest in North Europe . In 1823, Haffner built baths and later a spa house for patients. Also in this vicinity, he built dressing rooms for gentlemen and ladies, which later became the south and north baths. It is also due to Haffner that the first parks were created around this enterprise. This new development began attracting people and around mid 19th century 150 houses were constructed in what is today the downtown area. New settlers started to arrive who were soon employed at the baths and provided various services to the ever increasing number of patients. This became apparent after 1870 when a railway was laid down and Gdansk was connected to Warsaw and Koszalin. Sopot's pier was receiving cruise ships which came from cities and settlements within the Gdansk Gulf , like Gdansk , Gdynia , and Hel.
Before WWI regular cruise lines were serving connections between large cities like Pilawa (which lies on Vistula river 59 km southeast of Warsaw, it is known as an important railway node connecting many cities), Kaliningrad (formerly Konigsberg), Karlskrona (south Sweden) and Bornholm. The year 1874 is very important in the history of Sopot when a commune was created. Due to its establishment, many initiatives were created, which laid the foundation for future developments. In 1875, the pier was renovated, two years later; baths with their full facilities were bought from Haffner's inheritors. In 1880 a new spa was constructed with large circle porches on both sides towards the beach and was joined with pier to create one large body. This was the place were all social activities took place and the atmosphere being spiced up with its own orchestra. In 1897-1901, tennis courts were an addition to the attraction of the spa resort and on the lands of Siemirowo Village (which later become another town's district) a track for horse races was laid down, with a beautiful view of the Gulf panorama. Both places attract fans to local and international competitions and the tennis and horse racing clubs are a meeting place for many interesting people.
On October 8, 1901, by a decree signed by Emperor Wilhelm II, Sopot was granted status as a town. This new situation inspired the new city council to introduce new initiatives, which were supposed to bring the town's prestige to a new level. Properties and land were still being bought from various owners. In 1904, the remaining properties from inheritors of Przebendowski estate (who owned almost all lands covered today by Sopot). In 1912 Karlikowo farm was eventually gained by commune. Unfortunately due to a lack of funds, Ludwig Gralath's mansion was demolished in 1912, which was built in 18th century on site which belonged to the historical Kolmer mansion. During this time, a new urban plan was drawn, which ended the chaotic development of the town. It was at this point that it was decided to erect new elegant buildings, which reflected wealth of the visitors who were arriving in Sopot and at the same time bring the town's prestige to a new level.
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