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Sandomierz ( ; ) is a city in south-eastern Polandmarker with 25,714 inhabitants (2006).

Situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeshipmarker (since 1999), previously in Tarnobrzeg Voivodeship (1975-1998). It is the capital of Sandomierz Countymarker (since 1999).

Sandomierz is known for its Old Town, a major tourist attraction.

History

The name of the city comes from Old Polish Sędomir, composed of Sędzi- (from the verb sądzić "to judge") and mir ("peace"). Sandomierz is one of the oldest and historically most significant cities in Poland. Archeological finds around the city indicate that humans inhabited the area since neolithic times. The city came into existence in the early Middle Ages, taking advantage of an excellent location at the junction of Vistula and Sanmarker rivers, and on the path of important trade routes. The first known historical mention of the city comes from the early 12th century, when the chronicler Gallus Anonymus ranked it together with Krakówmarker and Wrocławmarker as one of the main cities of Poland. In the testament of Bolesław Krzywousty, in which he divided Poland among his sons, Sandomierz was designated as a capital of one of the resulting principalities.

In the course of the 13th century the city suffered grievous damage during raids by Mongols in 1241, 1259 and 1287. The old wooden buildings of the town were completely destroyed. As a result, in 1286 the city was effectively refounded by Leszek Czarny, under Magdeburg Law. The founding document is still preserved in the city archives.

After Polish lands were reunified in the 14th century, the former principality became the Sandomierz Voivodeship, incorporating large areas of southeastern Poland. At this time Sandomierz had about 3000 inhabitants and was one of the larger Polish cities. In the middle of the 14th century the city was burned again during a raid by theLithuanians. It was rebuilt during the rule of king Casimir III of Poland. The layout of the city has survived practically unchanged since that time until the present day.

The following three hundred years, running until the middle of the 17th century, were quite prosperous for the city. The most important historical buildings were built during this period. This golden age came to an end in 1655 when Swedishmarker forces captured the city in the course of the Deluge. After briefly holding out in the city, the withdrawing Swedes blew up the castle and caused heavy damage to other buildings. In the next 100 years the economy of Poland suffered a decline, which also affected the city. A great fire in 1757 and the First Partition of Poland in 1772, which placed Sandomierz in Austria, further reduced its status. As a result Sandomierz lost its role as an administrative capital.

In 1809 the city was damaged during fighting between the forces of Austria and the Duchy of Warsawmarker during the Napoleonic Wars.After 1815 it found itself in the Russian Empiremarker (Congress Polandmarker). At this point it had just 2640 inhabitants.

The city again suffered damage during World War I. In 1918 it again became part of independent Poland. In the 1930s, due to the massive public works project known as Central Industrial Area, Sandomierz began to grow quickly. It was projected to become capital of the Sandomierz Voivodeship, and local authorities planned fast development of the city. The Greater Sandomierz was to turn in the 1940s into a city of 120 000.

In September 1939, following the German invasion of Poland, the city was occupied by Germany and made part of the General Government. The Jewish population of the city, consisting of about 2,500 people, perished during the Holocaust, mostly in the death camps of Bełżecmarker and Treblinkamarker. The city was captured by the Soviet army in August, 1944.

No major industrial development took place in Sandomierz, thus preserving it as a charming, small city full of historical monuments among unspoiled landscape.

Tourist attractions

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Principal tourist attraction in Sandomierz:

Education



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