The town is known for the famous Paulist monastery of Jasna Góra that is the home of the Black Madonna painting, a shrine of the Virgin Mary. Every year, millions of pilgrims from all over the world come to Częstochowa to see it. There is also a Lusatian culture excavation site and museum in the city and ruins of a medieval castle in Olsztyn, approximately 15 kilometres (ca. 10 mi) from the city centre.
The city was also known in German as Tschenstochau and in Russian as Ченстохов (Chenstokhov).
During the Napoleonic Wars, in 1807 it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw and since 1815 the Kingdom of Poland. This started a period of fast growth of the city. In 1819 renowned military architect Jan Bernhard planned and started the construction of Aleja Najświętszej Panny Marii - the Holiest Virgin Mary Avenue, which currently is the main axis of the modern city. The two existing towns of Częstochowa and Częstochówka (the latter received the city rights in 1717 as Nowa Częstochowa) were finally merged in 1826. In 1846 the Warsaw-Vienna Railway line was opened, linking the city with the rest of Europe. After 1870 iron ore started to be developed in the area, which gave a boost to the local industry. Among the most notable investments of the epoch was the Huta Częstochowa steel mill built by Bernard Hantke, as well as several weaveries and paper factories.
During World War I the town came under German occupation, and in 1918 it became a part of the newly-reborn Republic of Poland. The new state acquired large deposits of good iron ore in Silesia and the mines in Częstochowa became inefficient and soon were closed. This brought the period of prosperity to an end. At the same time a bishopric was relocated to the city in 1925.
After the Polish Defensive War of 1939, the town was occupied by Nazi Germany, renamed to Tschenstochau, and incorporated into the General Government. The Nazis marched into Częstochowa on Sunday, September 3, 1939, two days after they invaded Poland. The next day, which became known as Bloody Monday, approximately 150 Jews were shot dead by the Germans. On April 9, 1941, a ghetto for Jews was created During World War II approximately 45,000 of Częstochowa's Jews were murdered by the Germans, almost the entire Jewish community living there. The city was liberated from the Germans by the Red Army on January 16, 1945.
Due to the communist idea of fast industrialisation, the inefficient steel mill was significantly expanded and named after Bolesław Bierut. This, combined with the growing tourist movement, led to yet another period of fast city growth, concluded in 1975 with the creation of a separate Częstochowa Voivodeship.
Currently the city is one of the main tourist attractions of the area and is sometimes called the little Nuremberg because of the number of souvenir shops and historical monuments. It attracts millions (4.5 mln - 2005) of tourists and pilgrims every year.
Main road connections from the Częstochowa include connection with Warsaw (to the north-east) and Katowice (to the south) via the European route E75 (National Road ). There are also three another national roads number to Wieluń, to Opole and to Piotrków Trybunalski.
Furthermore, Czestochowa is a major railroad hub, located at the intersection of two important lines - west-east (from Lubliniec to Kielce) and north-south (from Warszawa to Katowice). Also, additional northbound line stems from Czestochowa, which goes to Chorzew Siemkowice, whera it joins the Polish Coal Trunk-Line. There are six railroad stations in the city, with the biggest ones being Czestochowa Osobowa and Czestochowa Stradom.
Sports highlights include:
The Members of the higher house of Parliament (Senate) elected by the Częstochowa constituency include: