Bydgoszcz (bĬd´gôshch), Ger. Bromberg, city (1994 est. pop. 384,000), capital (with Toruń) of Kujawsko-Pomorskie prov., N central Poland, on the Brda River, a tributary of the Vistula. One of Poland's major inland ports, it stands on the Bydgoszcz Canal (built 1773–74), which links the Brda and Noteć rivers and is part of the Vistula-Oder waterway. The city is also an important railway junction. Its chief industries produce wood products, textiles, metal goods, and chemicals. Chartered in 1346, the city developed during the Middle Ages around the site of a prehistoric fort. In the 15th and 16th cent. it became an important commercial center. It passed to Prussia in 1772 and was returned to Poland in 1919. Occupied by German forces from 1939 to 1945, the city suffered heavy damage in World War II. The most notable surviving building is a 15th-century Gothic church.