The Lubuskie Voivodeship is situated in the western central part of Poland. Its area of 13 988 sq. km constitutes 4,47 per cent of the territory of the country. The voivodeship was formed of two earlier voivodeships: Gorzów and Zielona Góra in 1999. In consists of 14 districts, including 12 land districts (Gorzów, Krosno, Międzyrzecz, Nowa Sól, Słubice, Strzelce-Drezdenko, Sulęcin, Świebodzin, Wschowa, Zielona Góra, Żagań, Żary) and two city districts (cities of Gorzów Wielkopolski and Zielona Góra) and 83 communes , including 9 urban communes, 33 urban-rural communes and 41 rural communes. The Lubuskie Voivodeship borders on the Zachodniopomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Dolnośląskie Voivodeship and on Brandendburg and Saxony (Germany).
Lubuskie has 1 020 767 inhabitants constituting approx. 2,6 per cent of the total Polish population. The voivodeship is more urbanized than the rest of Poland. Not less than 63,5 per cent of population lives in cities. The population density amounts to 72,1 persons per sq. km. The main cities of the voivodeship with the population exceeding one hundred thousand are Zielona Góra and Gorzów Wielkopolski. They share competencies of the capital of voivodeship. Gorzów Wielkopolski is the seat of the governor (voivode) and of the Lubuskie Voivodeship (Urząd Wojewódzki) whereas Zielona Góra is the seat of the Regional Council of Lubuskie Voivodeship and of the Lubuskie Voivodeship Marshal Office. The most important cities of the Lubuskie Voivodeship apart from Zielona Góra and Gorzów are Nowa Sól, Żagań and Żary.
Lubuskie is situated at the intersection of natural routes North-South and East-West which together with the developing road network makes this a well communicated region, both with the rest of Poland and with Europe. The distance between the voivodeship and Warsaw is approx. 450 km and the German capital Berlin is in the distances of 134 km and 182 km from Gorzów Wielkopolski and Zielona Góra respectively. Fourteen border crossings (road, train and river) ensure adequate economic cooperation with the direct neighbour Germany, first of all making swift transportation of goods possible.
An important asset of the voivodeship are two airports: Zielona Góra/Babimost (IEG/EPZG) and sport airport of the Flying Club of Ziemia Lubuska in Przylep (EPZP). The Babimost airport covers international, domestic and chartered (passenger and cargo) flights and the Przylep airport deals with sport and recreation flights.
Poland’s green gate
The Lubuskie Voivodeship is on lowlands, nevertheless its landscape is quite diverse. The highest points are Góra Bukowiec (227 m a.s.l.) on the territory of the Łagów-Sulęcin Landscape Park and Góra Żarska (226,9 m a.s.l.). Approximately 49 per cent of the territory of the voivodeship is covered with forests which in some places form complexes of unique qualities such as eg. Puszcza Notecka (Noteć Forest). For this reason the Lubuskie voivodeship is often called the Poland’s green gate. It has also huge resources of surface waters. Clean environment create favourable conditions for developing of tourism and agrotourism enterprises. There are two national parks on the territory of the voivodeship: Ujście Warty National Park and Drawa National Park. Moreover 8 lanscape parks (Barlinek-Gorzów, Gryżyna, Krzesin, Lagów-Sulęcin, Łuk Mużakowa, Ujście Warty, Przemęt and Pszczew Landscape Park), 51 nature reserves and 1509 nature monuments, including "Chrobry" 750-years-old oak in Piotrowice with the trunk circumference of nearly 10 m.
The region has precious tourist values. Apart from natural resources they include also monuments of cultural heritage. The Lubuskie Voivodeship is ranked among the country’s cleanest regions. Numerous lakes and rivers create very good opportunities for developing tourism and going in for water sports (canoeing, sailing, windsurfing) recreation and angling. The precondition for development of water tourism is creating of infrastructure and adapting of existing marinas, harbours, equipment hiring points and camp and accommodation base. Some communes have already undertaken investments using aid of EU programmes. An example is the project „Odra dla turystów 2014” (Oder River for tourists 2014) realized within the framework of the transboundary cooperation of the Lubuskie Voivodeship with Brandenburg.
The catalogue of attractions is complemented with monuments. Monuments of Roman and Gothic times – churches and castles have survived in the region. Particular place on the cultural landscape of the voivodeship is occupied by wooden sacral architecture erected between the 15th and 19th century, first of all the Route of Wooden Churches of the Kozioł Region consisting of churches in Chlastawa, Klępsk and Kosieczyn. The result of 19th‑century architecture are eclectic and Art Nouveau bourgeois tenements which constitute a complement of spatial order of older urban development layouts. The distinctive tourist attractions are: decor and equipment of ancient sanatorium in Trzebiechów, unique complex of monuments composing the Post-Cistercian monastery complex in Gościkowo-Paradyż, Mużakowski Park being the biggest landscape park of English style in Poland and Germany, the only masterpiece in Poland of the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde, creator of the current of Art Nouveau and monuments of Żagań.
The historical attraction of the Lubuskie region is the Miedzyrzecz Fortified Region. This is an imposing system of fortifications made by the Germans in the period 1934–1944 to protect the eastern border of the Third Reich. It contains interesting military objects and the world largest fortified underground structures. The Międzyrzecz Fortified Region stretches out for approximately 100 kilometres from near Skwierzyna through Kaława, Wysoka, Boryszyn to the south of the Oder river. Its main part is the system of tunnels built near Międzyrzecz. The length of underground corridors in this place is estimated at approx. 35 kilometres. One of the interesting underground routes is in Pniewo where one can also visit open-air museum of military equipment and exhibition room with numerous exhibits related to history and nature of the Międzyrzecz Fortified Region. Another route starts at the so called Boryszyn Loop near Boryszyn and has many different variations. In the Międzyrzecz Fortified Region one can find also a unique bat reserve in which over 30 thousand specimens belonging to 12 species of these mammals spend winter. Because of protection of bats most underground tunnels are made accessible to tourists only in summer period – from April to October.
Apart from the fortification zone on the territory of the present Lubuskie Voivodeship there are also other interesting post-German fortifications, inter alia the Middle Oder Line, so called „Oderstellung” near Cigacice and munition plant „DAG Fabrik Christianstadt” in Krzystkowice near Nowogród Bobrzański. Inside these terrains there are many interesting examples of fortified and industrial architecture being unique on a world scale.
Despite possessing convenient conditions for development the tourism does not constitute an important branch of economy of the Lubuskie Voivodeship. The studies on development of the tourism of local communes have established that no commune has fully developed tourism function. The closest to reach this state is still the Łagów Commune, while in majority of communes the process of developing of tourism function has not yet started or is still remaining at its starting, poorly developed stage.
The barrier for making full use of tourist attractions for development of the region is underdevelopment of the tourist base. In 2009 tourists could use 306 objects of group accommodation (including almost 100 classified ones) which offered over 23 thousand beds. If calculated per 1000 inhabitants it amounted to 8,66 beds and it was one of the lower results in Poland. In the same year the available accommodation base was used in 27,4 per cent. The cities where the tourism is one of basic functions are: Lubniewice, Łagów, Sława, Słubice, Świebodzin and Torzym. Important tourist centres are also: Żagań, Międzyrzecz, Pszczew, Lubrza, Gorzów Wielkopolski. and Zielona Góra.
For spirit and body
The Lubuskie Voivodeship has a rich culture and sport offer. Theatres are operating in Gorzów Wielkopolski and in Zielona Góra. In 2010 they enjoyed similar interest reaching yearly figure of approx. 50 thousand spectators. Two theatres of the Lubuskie region represent 2,35 per cent of the total amount of such institutions in Poland. The accessibility of cinemas for inhabitants of the voivodeship looks better. In 2010 there was the number of 237,1 persons for one seat in permanent cinema in the whole region. Such institutions were operated in seven districts, including Gorzów Wielkopolski and Zielona Góra. In these very places the number of inhabitants for one seat was the lowest. Moreover it should be stressed that both largest cities of the region have their concert halls and that the Centre of Artistic Education – Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the most modern institutions of this kind in Poland.
Many sports reached a high national and international level, particularly rowing, canoeing, swimming, wrestling, speedway, and women’s and men’s basketball in team sports. In these and in some other sports (among other things acrobatics, cyclo-cross, athletics, football, sport shooting, tobogganing, table tennis) proven training systems are operating. The relatively high level of sports of children and youth and handicapped persons in the region has been sustained. Interest is rising for recreation, particularly in Nordic-walking and on bicycle lanes.
For the last couple of years the sport infrastructure of the region has been significantly improved (inter alia speedway stadiums, sport-recreation halls, sport fields, skating rinks, swimming pools, recreation and sport grounds). The Academy of Physical Education in Poznań External Branch of Physical Education in Gorzów Wielkopolski and academic sport clubs play an important role. Since 2009 the programme of modernizing and development of the Voivodeship Centre of Sports and Recreation in Drzonków has been effectively realized.
The big asset of the voivodeship are periodic cultural events which attract spectators from all over the country and from abroad. They are among other things: Lubuskie Film Summer (Lubuskie Lato Filmowe) in Łagów, Woodstock Festival Poland (Przystanek Woodstock) in Kostrzyn on the Oder, Yellow Water Lilly Night (Noc Nenufarów) in the Lubrza commune, International Meetings of Gipsy Bands ROMANE DYVESA in Gorzów Wielkopolski., Russian Song Festival and Cabaret Festival in Zielona Góra (city called also the Cabaret Region due to the number of cabarets emerging there) and the Great Escape (Wielka Ucieczka) in Żagań.