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Sanok (Latin: Sanocum, , , Syanik, , in full The Royal Free City of Sanok, ), part of The Land of Sanok (Polish: Ziemia Sanocka, and Ruthenian Voivodeship), is a town in south-eastern Polandmarker with 39,110 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009.

Sanok is situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodshipmarker (since 1999); previously, it was in Krosno Voivodship (1975-1998) and in Ruthenian Voivodeship (1340 - 1772), which was part of the Little Poland Province.

This historic city is situated on the San Rivermarker at the foot of Castle Hill in Little Poland (Małopolska) region. It lies in a wooded, hilly area near the national road number 28, which goes along southern Poland, from Ustrzyki Dolnemarker to Wadowicemarker (340 km. away). It is located in the heartland of the Pogórze Bukowskiemarker part of Doły , and its average altitude is 300 metres above sea level, although there are some hills located within the confines of the city.


Settled in prehistoric times, the south-eastern Poland region that is now Podkarpaciemarker was overrun in pre-Roman times by various tribes, including the Celts (Anarti), Goths and Vandals (Przeworsk culture and Puchov culture). After the fall of the Roman Empire, of which most of south-eastern Poland was part (all parts below the Sanmarker), the area was invaded by Hungarians and Slavs.

The region subsequently became part of the Great Moravian state. Upon the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around 899, the Lendians of the area declared their allegiance to Hungarian Empire. The region then became a site of contention between Polandmarker, Kievan Rus and Hungarymarker starting in at least the 9th century.

The first traces of settlement in the area of modern Sanok date back to at least 9th century. The following century a Slavic fortified town was created there and initially served as a center of pagan worship. The etymology of the name is unclear, though most scholars derive it from the Celtic root - Sanmarker ,;. Certain archaeological excavations performed on the castle hill and on Fajka hill near Sanok-Trepczamarker, not only confirm the written resources, but date the Sanok stronghold origin to as early as the 9th century. On Fajka hill, where probably the first settlement of Sanok was situated, some remains of an ancient sanctuary and a cemetery were found, as well as numerous decorations and encolpions in Kievan type. Also two stamps of the Great Kievan Prince Rurik Rostislavich from the second half of the 12th century were found.


In 981 the gord, then inhabited by the Slavic tribe of Lendzians, was made a part of Land of Czerwień. This area was mentioned for the first time in 981, when Volodymyr the Great of Kievan Rus took the area over on the way into Polandmarker. In 1018 it returned to Poland, 1031 back to Rus, in 1340 Casimir III of Poland recovered it. The gord of Sanok in mentioned first time in Hypatian Codex in 1150. It was given the Magdeburg law by Boleslaus George II of Halych in 1339 .
It can be found in a Ruthenian chronicle Hypatian Codex, where at the date of 1150 one can read: The Hungarian King Géza II of Hungary crossed the mountains and seized the stronghold of Sanok with its governor as well as many villages in Przemyślmarker area. The same chronicle refers to Sanok two more times, informing, that in 1205 it was the meeting place of a Ruthenian princess Anna with a Hungarian king and that in 1231 a Ruthenian prince made an expedition to "Sanok - Hungarian Gate".
A view inside of The Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral

After 1339 Galicia-Volhynia was seized by King Casimir III of Poland, who reconfirmed the municipal privilege of Sanok on the 25 April 1366. At that time Sanok became the centre of a new administration district called Sanok Land which was a part of the Ruthenian Voivodeship. Several courts of justice operated in the town, including the municipal and rural courts of lower instance and also the higher instance court for the entire Sanok land, based on the German town law.

As early at the 17th century, an important trade route went across Sanok connecting the interior of Hungary with Poland through the Lupkov Passmarker.

18 February 1846 - beginning of the Galician peasant revolt.During World War I, the Russians came to the town in May 1915 and stayed there until July, leaving the town significantly damaged.

During the Second Polish Republicmarker (1919-1939), Sanok was a known centre of Ukrainian nationalism in Galicia, but also of cultural heritage of the Lemkos and other Rusniaks. In 1943 the foundation of the Waffen-SS Division Galizien took place in heavily Ukrainian-populated Sanok, with many locals volunteering in the ethnic Ukrainian Waffen-SS. Because of fear of Ukrainian separatism by both Sovietmarker and Polish authorities, the Ukrainian and Lemko population of Sanok and its region was mostly deported to by then Polish-regained former eastern territories of Germany in the Operation Wisła (1946-1947). Some the Lemkos expelled, remigrated to Sanok after 1989.

Sanok contains an open air museummarker in the Biała Góra district, where examples of architecture from all of the region's main ethnic groups have been moved and carefully reassembled in a skansenmarker evoking everyday rural life in the 1800s. Nearby stands Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (1786-1947) presently, the tserkva of the Orthodox cathedral of the Holy Trinity.


It is a strong industry base - home to Stomil Sanok (established in 1932) and Pass Gummiwerke plants, producers of various rubber and metal-rubber seals, strings and laggings for automotive sector, construction industries and electrical household goods sector, PGNiG and Sanok Bus Car Factory "Autosan" (established in 1832), a producer of high capacity buses, cabins for the Polish Army and bodies for rail-vehicles . Stomil and Autosan is a 20 minute walk from the train station in Sanok, while the city centre is a 15 minute walk in the other direction.
Adam Mickiewicz Public Park, the most visited city park in Sanok.

Culture and education

The town has several schools and a branch of the Polish High School of Technology. The town also has a football club Stal Sanok and some other sport clubs (volleyball, swimming, handball, ice hockey). The Castle near the centre of the town houses a museum displaying over 300 fine icons.


A variety of choices of active pastime is offered in Sanok, both for the inhabitants and for visitors. Many facilities for different kinds of sports are provided. The greatest complex of those facilities is The Civic Sports and Recreation Centre, situated near the San Rivermarker. The Centre includes: artificial speed skating ice-rink, a complex of indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hotel, a tourist hostel, a camp-site, a sports stadium with technical facilities, etc. There is also another artificial ice-rink in the centre of the town, designed for hockey and managed by the hockey club HC Sanok. there are two more sports facilities at Stróżowska street: a stadium of sports club STAL, and a gymnasium of the Technical Schools Complex. In the summertime, one can enjoy sun- and waterbathing at the banks of the San river. In the wintertime, a ski-lift is operating in the nearby Karlikówmarker
  • KH Sanok hockeyclub

Notable People


In 1900 the town had 6123 inhabitants, 57% Polish, 30 % Jewish and others. The town had a high percentage of Jews before World War II.
In 1589 - 1700, 1883 - 5.181, 1939 - 15.600, 2000 - 41 401 inhabitants.
Ethnic Groups

Further reading


  1. "Puisqu'il est impossible de les enumerer tous citons moins: Brda, Brenna, Bzura, Drwęca, Mroga, Nida, Raba, San, etc. Bzura selon Jan Rozwadowski correspond avec Brigulos, Drwęca aves Druentia, Durance, Nida avec Nidder, Raba avec Raab, San avec Sadne et Sein." [in:] Ethnologia Polona. Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej (Polska Akademia Nauk). 1981. p. 49.
  2. "[...] San (lateinische Graphie wie bei Sandomierz, Santok usw. Vgl. altind. sindhu- "Fluß", den irischen GN Shannon und den Maizzufluß Sinn" [in:] Irena Kwilecka. Etnolingwistyczne i kulturowe związki Słowian z Germanami. Instytut Słowianoznawstwa PAN. 1987. ISBN 8304024721 S. 64.
  3. "An adouci en san, eau, rivière; stach, sinueux, qui tourne. Allusion au cours sinueux de la Charente". op. cit. Antiq. de France. [in:] Revue des ëtudes historiques. Société des études historiques. 1835. p.242.; Senne, nom propre de rivière. - Scène, ». L liou on l'on joue. — Seine, sf, sorte de «lot. 17. Cen», sm, impôt. — San, np Sen», sm, jugement [...]". [in:] Dictionnaire de pédagogie et d'instruction primaire. Ferdinand Edouard Buisson. 1883. p. 980.
  4. City privilege in latin in:] Digitalbibliothek of AGAD, Nr 7226.
  5. "Thus the region adjoining the Carpathians and extending to a line Tarnów-Rzeszów-Jarosław, the hithero almost uninhabited regio pedemontana was settled by German-spealing Silesian and soon abounded in large Waldhufendorfer with Frankish hides and in towns whose German names were in many case indentical with place-names in Silesia (Landskron, Grunberg, [...] Göttinger Arbeitskreis. Eastern Germany. Holzner-Verlag, 1961. p. 79.
  6. Rubber Factor Stomil Sanok
  7. [1] PGNiG S.A. Branch in Sanok is a forerunner of underground gas storing in Poland and currently is operating four underground gas storages of total working capacity of 705 MM standard cu.m.
  8. Sanok Bus Car Factory
  9. KH Sanok (pl)

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