Częstochowa

Częstochowa

[chen-staw-haw-vah]
Częstochowa, city (1993 est. pop. 258,800), Śląskie prov., S Poland, on the Warta River. It is an important railway and industrial center, known especially for its iron and steel plant and iron-smelting works. Other industries include iron-ore mining, food processing, sawmilling, and the manufacture of chemicals and textiles. Iron ore is mined in the vicinity. Częstochowa is a celebrated religious center, and a world-famous place of pilgrimage. Its monastery stands on the Jasna Gora [mountain of light] and contains an image of Mary known as the Black Madonna, supposedly painted by St. Luke and brought to Częstochowa in the 14th cent. In 1655, when Charles X of Sweden overran Poland, the prior and a handful of soldiers defended the monastery and its relic for 40 days until the Swedes abandoned the siege. Fired by what they thought to be a miracle, the Polish people rose to successful resistance. The event figures prominently in Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel The Deluge. The monastery was again defended against the Swedes in 1702. Venerated as the "Queen of Poland," the image became the national symbol of Poland.
Częstochowa is a city in south Poland on the Warta River with 248,894 inhabitants (2004). It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship (administrative division) since 1999, and was previously the capital of Częstochowa Voivodeship (1975-1998). However, Czestochowa historically is part of Lesser Poland, not of Silesia and before 1795 (see: Partitions of Poland), it had belonged to the Kraków Voivodeship.

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.

City name

The name of Częstochowa means Częstoch's place and comes from a personal name of Częstoch mentioned in the mediaeval documents also as Częstobor and Częstomir. The original name was mentioned as Częstochowa, spelled Czanstochowa in 1220, or Częstochow in 1382 and 1558. A part of today's city called Częstochówka was a separate municipality mentioned in 14th century as the Old Częstochowa (Antiquo Czanstochowa, 1382) and Częstochówka in 1470-80.

The city was also known in German as Tschenstochau and in Russian as Ченстохов (Chenstokhov).

History

1200s-1500s

The village of Częstochowa was founded in 11th century. It is first mentioned as a village in historical documents from 1220. In 1382 the Paulist monastery of Jasna Góra was founded by Władysław Opolczyk (Ladislav of Opole) - the Polish Piast prince of Upper Silesia. Two years later the monastery received its famous Black Madonna icon of the Virgin Mary and in subsequent years became a centre of pilgrimage, contributing to the growth of the adjacent town. Before 1377 Częstochowa received a town charter, which was later changed to the Magdeburg Law in 1502.

1600s-1700s

In the 17th century the local monastery was turned into a fortress, which was one of the pockets of Polish resistance against the Swedish armies during The Deluge in 1655. The Jewish community in Częstochowa came into existence by about 1700. After the second Partition of Poland it was annexed by Prussia. After 1760, Jacob Frank, the leader of a Jewish religion mixing Kabbalah, Catholicism and Islam, was imprisoned in the monastery by the church. His followers established near him, establishing a cult of his daughter Eve Frank. In August of 1772, Frank was released by the Russian general Bibikov, who had occupied the city.

1800s

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.

1900s

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.

Tourism

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.

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery, is a particularly popular attraction.

Transport

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.

Education

Some of the educational institutions in Częstochowa include:

Sports

Sports highlights include:

Politics

Częstochowa constituency

The Members of the lower house of Parliament (Sejm) elected by the Częstochowa constituency include:

The Members of the higher house of Parliament (Senate) elected by the Częstochowa constituency include:

  • Jarosław Lasecki (independent)
  • Czesław Ryszka (Law and Justice)

Twin towns

Altötting, Fatima, Loreto, Lourdes, Pforzheim, Rezekne, South Bend, Šiauliai

References

External links

General

History


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