Ustka is both a spa city and the municipality in Pomerania in northern Poland which is part of the administrative district of Slupsk. It is situated at the mouth of the River Slupia with the Baltic Sea and, apart from a spa, is also a seaport and seaside resort. An agreement links Ustka to the city of Slupsk which is connected by regular rail and bus services and the Naval Training Centre can be found in the nearby town of Ledowo, which is the main training facility of the Polish Navy. The resort has the characteristic of a marine spa and the area is rich in natural mineral waters and deposits of therapeutic mud but the main curative element is its climate. The typically harsh climate of coastal areas is tempered by the forested terrain that comes down the shores of the Baltic Sea. The Slowinski National Park is just a short distance from the city and about 50% of the city itself is forested. These natural pine forests protect the city from predominant westerly winds that gust along the sea coast but also infuses the air with a large proportion of essential oils in the form of an aerosol. The beneficial effect of this climate on the regeneration of the body is due mainly to the high content of iodine and calcium and magnesium salts in the atmosphere.
Like residents of other urban villages the people from Ustka were subjects of Slupsk. In this respect they had to take a supine oath, also known as the Ustka Oath, and pay taxes to the city, maintain the state of the port and wharfs, repair them, assist with the unloading and loading of ships and monitor the entry of vessels that came into the port. The inhabitants of Ustka were not only obliged to provide all the port-related services but also to pay a road tax, but not rent, and any services relating to the state. Until the 30 Years War, Ustka’s residents were economically independent and the majority of ship’s captains, innkeepers and the town’s major received the citizenship of the city of Slupsk and benefitted from the privileges that civic rights brought. Slupsk City Council laid down the statutes, regulations and port tariffs, appointed the mayor, decided on any work that needed to be carried out relating to the operation of the port, specified the type and of taxes that were to be paid by inhabitants of Ustka and held the patronage of the church and the school. The City Council also acted as a higher court in the event of appeals arising from lower court judgements. The Mayor of Ustka was also the mayor of the port and had executive power in Ustka with regard to its permanent residents, temporary guests like merchants and all matters arising with the day-to-day operation of the port.
History of the spa in Ustka dates back to 1832. Vacationers started to descend on the seaside resort wanting to relax in the fashionable way. Although the healing properties of bathing in the sea were talked about more and more, other treatments were, in the most part, unheard of. Many guesthouses and villas were built mainly for the convenience of the growing number of holidaymakers while spa facilities were enhanced with by the construction of a Balneological centre in 1911 whose main treatments initially involved swimming in heated seawater. With further investments in facilities, health treatments began being offered in Ustka all the year round. Development of the spa resort was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II and the late reactivation of spa operations after the end of hostilities was due to both the amount of destruction and a lack of a coherent approach to the promotion of this form of treatment. It was only opened in 1978 and in the following year the town received its spa status. It was one of the first privatised spa resorts in Poland. Today the spa resort in Ustka specialises in the treatment of musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases or endocrine and metabolism disorders. Outpatient treatment is also available for holidaymakers which are looking for an opportunity to improve their fitness. They can benefit from doctor’s advice at the clinic or specialist spa treatments at natural medicine centre.