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Jablunkov ( ; Polish: , ) is a town in Frýdek-Místek Districtmarker, Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republicmarker. It has a population of 5,750 (2006), 23% of the population are the Poles. Jablunkov lies between the Silesian and Moravian-Silesian Beskids mountain ranges, in the historical region of Cieszyn Silesia, and is the easternmost town of the country. The Lomná Rivermarker flows into the Olza Rivermarker in the town.

History

According to historians, the beginnings of Jablunkov are to be found in the place where the present-day village of Hrádekmarker is located. It was first mentioned in a written document in 1435. In 1447 Magyars completely destroyed the settlement. In 1560 Wacław III, Duke of Cieszyn, granted town rights to the town. It continuously developed and by the end of the 16th century it had a mayor and a city council. The town profited from its location in the Jablunkov Passmarker. It was located on an ancient trade route going from the Mediterranean Seamarker to the Baltic Seamarker. The route was used by merchants of ancient Rome; frequent discoveries of Roman coins confirm that. Important trading routes to Krakówmarker (north) and to Upper Hungary (east) also run through the town. It became more and more important and also rich, as many citizens lived by trading. In the middle of the 17th century, it had, together with a suburb and a village of Piosecznamarker, 750 inhabitants. In the 18th century most of citizens worked in trade, craftsmanship and farming. At the end of the 19th century, many new buildings were built. A new Art Nouveau town hall was built in 1905. After the division of Cieszyn Silesia in 1920 it became a part of Czechoslovakiamarker. In October 1938 it was annexed by Polandmarker together with whole region known as Zaolzie, and during World War II was a part of Nazi Germany. After the war it once again became part of Czechoslovakia.

Landmarks and culture

The most important landmarks are the historic town square with a fountain and statue of the Virgin Mary from 1655, the Roman Catholic church built in 1620, and the Elizabethan Monastery. The latter was established by the priest Wawrzyniec Piontek, who wanted to improve medical treatment in the town: the nearest hospital was located in Ostravamarker. The Elizabethan hospital was built in 1856. It was located near the Olza River and was frequently flooded. A decision was taken to build a new one, which began operating in 1932. In 1948 the monastery and its properties were seized by the Communists, who forbade the further induction of new sisters. Former Elizabethan sisters were ordered to work in a state farm (JZD) with cattle. In 1989, after the fall of communism, it was returned to the Elizabethan sisters. The monastery in Jablunkov is one of only three Elizabethan monasteries in the Czech Republic, the other two being in Praguemarker and Brnomarker. There is also a sanatorium in Jablunkov. It was built in 1933-1935 and is a valuable landmark of modern architecture. It is surrounded by a park planted in 1936-1938. There are more than 500 species of trees and shrubs in the park. Several sculptures are also located in the park.

The most popular cultural event is the annual Gorolski Święto, or Highlander's Festival in English, organized every year in August since 1948 by the Polish Cultural and Educational Union (PZKO). It is a showcase of local Polish folklore and traditions that attracts visitors from all of Zaolzie and also from foreign countries.

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