Bolesławiec (Bunzlau) is a town in southwestern Poland with 40,837 inhabitants (2006). Situated in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship since 1999, Bolesławiec was previously in Jelenia Góra Voivodeship (1975-1998). It is the administrative seat of Bolesławiec County, and of Gmina Bolesławiec (although it is not part of the territory of the latter, the town being an urban gmina in its own right). Bolesławiec in Lower Silesia was first mentioned in 1201 and took part in the battles against the Mongols in 1241. After that a renewed city with city walls was established. The city seal, still used today, was first used in 1316. 1346 Bolesławiec came under government by Imperial Bohemia. It was again heavily destroyed during the Hussite Wars in 1429. After that a double city wall was started in 1479.
With the majority of burghers in 1522 becoming Protestant early on, Bolesławiec became an important center of the Reformation. The city town hall was rebuilt by the famous Wendel Roskopf in 1525 and at the same time construction of a sewerage system was started. This was an unusual and difficult undertaking, that was finished in 1565 and it was the first canalisation system in that part of Europe. In 1558 the first apothecary was established.
Martin Opitz brought an impressive circle of poets to Bunzlau and with his works and travels made it famous in far away places.
Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov died there in 1813.
One of the biggest Soviet Red Army contingents was stationed in Bolesławiec until its withdrawal in 1992. Perhaps this explains, why a rare event took place after 1945. Poland received administration of most of eastern Germany from the Soviet Union. However the Bunzlau German Evangelical church continued even after 1945 until 1950 This is in contrast to what happened to other parts of Germany east of the Oder-Neisse line.
For a long time Bolesławiec has been famous for its Bunzlauer pottery works. Pottery was an early trade and already in 1511 the Bolesławiec pottery guild is mentioned. This entire region has a history of pottery making dating back to the early 7th century. Early pieces from the 1700s and 1800s were used by farmers as storage pieces and had a chocolate colored glaze. At the end of the 19th century, the potters of Bolesławiec began to introduce new lines of pottery intended for use in the parlor. At the same time, they began to experiement with colored glazes, sponging techniques, and various decorations. Much of the pottery is of high-quality, handpainted stoneware. In 1898, the German government established the Keramische Fachschule (Ceramic Technical Training School) to foster development of the art. ()