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about Klodzko

Kłodzko (Czech Kladsko, German Glatz) is a town in south-western Poland in Lower Silesia. It is situated in the centre of the Kłodzko Valley, at the shores of Nysa Kłodzka river.

It is the capital of Kłodzko Powiat and is situated in the Lower Silesian Voivodship (until 1999 in Wałbrzych Voivodship ). With 30,100 inhabitants (2003) Kłodzko is the main commercial centre as well as an important transport and tourist node for the area. For its historical monuments it is sometimes referred to as Little Prague.

Klodzko history

Early history

The area of present-day Kłodzko has been populated at least since 1st century BC. There are several archaeological sites both in and around the town that indicate that there must have been a settlement located on the ancient Amber Road that conducted extensive trade relations with the Roman Empire.

The earliest mention of the town itself dates back to the 981 chronicle by Kosmas. He mentions the town of Cladzco as belonging to Sławnik, father of Saint Adalbert. Initially in Bohemia, the town was also claimed by Poland, which led to a series of conflicts which in turn devastated the city completely by the beginning of 12th century. In 1114 Bohemian prince Sobeslav burnt the town to the ground, but he rebuilt it shortly afterwards. He also rebuilt and strengthened the castle located on a high rock overlooking the town. After the peace treaty of 1137 Bolesław the Wrymouth ceded all claims to the land of Kłodzko to the Crown of Bohemia.

The town was located on a Magdeburg Law between 1253 and 1278, though the exact date is unknown. In 1278 it was taken over by Duchy of Wrocław, therefore considered part of Polish province of Silesia. In 1290 it was sold to Dukes of Świdnica and in 1301 it was sold to Dukes of Ziębice. However, in 1334 Duke Boleslav II sold the town back to Bohemia. The same year king John of Luxemburg relocated the town, which led to a period of fast growth. In 1341 a City House is built, the following year a brick manufactory is opened and since 1366 the town is guarded by a group of professional firemen. The town gained significant profits from its location on the ancient road through mountain passes in the Sudetes. The Augustian monks were invited to the city and in 1376 most streets were paved with stone setts. The Augustian Abbey became one of the most important centres of culture in the region and in 1399 the Florian Psalter (Psałterz Floriański, one of the earliest texts of the Polish language) was written there. In 1390 a Gothical stone bridge over Mlynovka (now Młynówka, a local branch of Nysa Kłodzka river) was built by the local prince. Local legend has it that all villages surrounding the town were to deliver 800 eggs for the masons to prepare the grout. One of the villages lacked a decent horse car to transport the raw eggs and brought boiled eggs instead. The inhabitants of that village are still being mocked of because of that.

15th to 17th centuries

Kłodzko developed rapidly until the advent of the Hussite Wars in 15th century. The wars left the town depopulated by plagues, partially burnt and demolished by several consecutive floods. In 1525 the area Duchy of Kłodzko became a fief of the Habsburg dynasty, though the local dukes retained their powers. It was not until 16th century when the local economy went back on tracks. In 1540 the sewer system was built and in 1549 all the remaining streets were paved while the City House was refurbished. Most of the houses surrounding the town square were rebuilt in a pure renaissance style.

In 1617 the first census is organised in all of the Duchy (Furstheim Glatz). The city itself had approximately 1300 houses and over 7000 inhabitants. However, two years after the census took place the Thirty Years War started. Between 1619 and 1649 the fortress is besieged several times. Although it was never captured, the city itself was severely destroyed. Over 900 out of 1300 buildings were destroyed by fire and artillery and the population drops by more than a half. After the war the Austrian authorities put an end to all local self-government and the Duchy of Glatz practically ceased to exist. The city was gradualy converted into a small garrison town attached to the ever-growing fortress.

Historical population of Kłodzko

Source: (

18th century until WWII

During the War of the Austrian Succession the town changed hands several times, but it was finally conquered by Prussia in 1743 and got annexed in 1763. The construction of fortress was continued and the (mostly Catholic) inhabitants of Glatz were persecuted by the new Protestant authorities. At the same time the town had to bear the costs of the fortress expansion. Both the town and the fortress were conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807 after a long siege, but it was returned to Prussia shortly afterwards. The restrictions in the city growth were not withdrawn until 1877. Since then the town started yet another period of fast modernisation and expansion. Some of the forts were demolished, several new bridges were built and new investments started to arrive to Glatz. The town is connected to the rest of Germany by a rail road. In 1864 the gas works are built and in 1880 an electric plant is opened. The buildings along the main streets are rebuilt in neo-gothical and neo-renaissance style while the city walls with all their gates are demolished.

End of the 19th century saw the whole Kłodzko Valley turned into one of the most popular tourist regions. Countless hotels, sanatoria and spa are opened to the public in the nearby towns of Bad Reinerz, Habelschwerdt and Bad Landeck. The area of former Duchy became a popular place among the rich burgeoisie of Breslau, Berlin, Vienna and Cracow. In 1910 the city had 17.121 inhabitants: 13.629 Catholics, 3.324 Protestants and 150 Jews.

Since 1936 the Jewish community of Glatz was targeted by waves of anti-Semitism and the authorities sanctioned the acts of violence. After the Kristallnacht the mayor of Glatz ordered all Jews to change their names to either Sara or Israel. Most of the Jews emigrated and by 1939 there were only 25 of them left. In 1938 Glatz was severely damaged by "the flooding of the century", but the damages done were quickly repaired.

WWII until now

During the World War II the fortress was changed into a prison. At first it was administered by the Abwehr, but was soon taken over by Gestapo who made it into one of the most cruel places of detention in whole Silesia. It was also used as a POW camp for officers of various nationalities. Since 1944 the casemates housed the AEG arms factory evacuated from Łódź. The slave labourers were kept in the stronghold which was turned into one of the sub-camps of Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

The town itself was not damaged by the war and was taken over by the Red Army without much opposition. However, shortly after the war the Kłodzko Valley became a scene of Wehrwolf activities. The Nazis managed to blow up all the bridges in Kłodzko, the only one to survive was the gothical stone bridge erected in 1390. After the capitulation of Germany the town was given to Poland. Glatz was renamed back to the name of Kłodzko and most of the German inhabitants of the city were expelled. At the same time the area was repopulated with Poles expelled from the territories annexed by the Soviet Union.

In 1950's and 1960's much of the city centre was damaged by landslides. It turned out that throughout the city's history whole generations of Kłodzko's merchants developed an extensive net of underground basements and tunnels. They were used for storage and, in times of trouble, as a safe shelter from the artillery fire. With time the tunnels were forgotten and after WWII many of them started to collapse - together with the houses above. Since 1970's the tunnels were conserved and the destruction of the city was stopped. Another disaster happened in 1997 when the city was damaged by a flooding even greater than that of 1938. However, the city quickly recovered.

Currently Kłodzko is one of the most important centres of culture, commerce and tourism in Lower Silesia.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Klodzko".

This city is also known as: Kłodzko.

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