Goldap is a spa town in the Warmian and Masurian Province in north-eastern Poland which was once the historic land known as Lithuania Minor. The city is in Goldap County and the administrative seat of the urban and rural municipality of Goldap. It stands on the Goldap River between the Szeskie Hills and the Romincka Forest.
The city was originally founded in 1565 by Duke Albrecht close to the border with Lithuania in order to strengthen this region of Eastern Prussia. Urban privileges were granted in 1570 by Krolewiec, which was tantamount to granting civic rights. Unfortunately the city suffered first at the hands of King Zygmunt August in 1623 when every building, with exception the town hall, was destroyed. The next disaster, which led to the almost total depopulation of the city, was the plague which broke out in 1625. The town suffered regularly during the numerous battles in this region, particularly during the attacks of the Swedes, and the Tatar raids between 1656 and 1657 resulted in its complete destruction. By the end of the 19th century the geographical and natural attractiveness of the regions around Goldap begin attracting attention and the Romincka Forest becomes a favourite hunting ground of Kaiser Wilhelm II. After damage again during the Great War the city of Goldap and its surrounds began again to develop economically. The railway line was extended, the city was electrified and a system of sewers installed in the 1920’s. During World War II the city changed hands regularly and was an important strategic point for both the German and Russian armies at various stages of the conflict.
Today the city has the status of a lowland spa resort, which was granted in 2000 and as a climatic and mud spa offers treatment for disorders of the locomotive system as well as certain rheumatic, respiratory and gynaecological diseases. Treatments are also available for cases of obesity, osteoporosis, difficult healing wounds and bed sores, diabetes and various skin conditions. The therapeutic mud used at the resort is extracted around the region of the village of Niedrzwica and the local climate is characteristic of an averagely stimulating lowland forest which is moderated by the large tracts of woodland that surround the region. In 2010 the city received additional external funding for investment in further spa facilities which included a fourth brine graduation tower in Poland, which is scheduled for completion by December 2012.
With good geographical and natural conditions the region promotes sport and relaxation throughout the year. Visitors to Goldap will benefit from complete relaxation as the air quality of this region has been proven to be the cleanest in Poland. The city is a good base for visiting the surrounding towns and villages as well as improving overall fitness on the numerous hiking or cycling trails in the region.
Goldap has also become known a skiing resort. On the slopes of Piekna Gora there are more than 2000 metres of prepared pistes which are serviced by five ski lifts including one chair lift on a ski slope which is more than 750 metres in length. A kilometre long toboggan run, built from concrete, also operates in good snow conditions.
Several international events are staged here annually. These include the „Yotvingian Ski Run” on the slopes of Piekna Gora in January and in the autumn there is the running of the Goldap Cross-country Race, which is part of the Polish Cup, as well as the International Goldap – Gusiew Race, which crosses into Kaliningrad.