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Zlotoryja travel guide — Zlotoryja tourism and travel information

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about Zlotoryja

Złotoryja (Latin Aureus Mons, former German names: Aureum, Aureus Mons, Goldberg) is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodship, southwestern Poland. It is located in the Kaczawa river valley, close to Legnica.

Since the Middle Ages the town was a centre of gold and copper mining. Currently it has approximately 17 000 inhabitants and is one of the important centres of basalt mining.

Zlotoryja history

In late 12th century and early 13th century a small settlement of gold miners was founded on the slopes of Mount St. Nicholas (Góra św. Mikołaja), at the shores of Kaczawa river. The village grew rapidly and in 1211 it was named Aurum (Latin for gold) and located on the Magdeburg law by the overlord of Poland Henry I the Bearded. It was attached to the Duchy of Legnica. The local golden ore deposits were rich and the town attracted both miners and gold washers from all the nearby areas. In 13th century a Ioannites and Franciscan monasteries were founded in the town, which thus became one of the important cultural and religious centres of the region. In 1241 many of the miners took part in the Battle of Legnica, where most of them died, but the mining quickly recovered. In 1290 the town was granted with a privilege to trade salt, one of the most expensive and valuable minerals in the Middle Ages.

In 1328 whole Duchy of Legnica became a fief of Bohemia, yet it retained its local self-government. During the Hussite Wars the town was captured by the Hussite forces in 1427, 1428 and 1431. It was severely pillaged, but it quickly recovered and the local city council decided to build city walls in order to spare the city such troubles in the future. Much of the mediaeval fortifications is preserved until today.

Although by early 15th century most of the gold deposits have depleted, the town started to gain significant income from the nearby road linking Wrocław with Leipzig. A brewery and several weavers shops were opened soon afterwards. In 1504 a school was opened by Aurimontanus. In 1522 the first Protestant priests arrived to Złotoryja and soon afterwards the school is turned into a Latin gymnasium. One of its rectors, Valentina Trozendorf, wanted to turn it into a university and these plans were approved by prince Friedrich II of Legnica, but the prince died soon afterwards and the town was struck by a severe fire in 1554, which made the plans obsolete.

In 1526 the town together with rest of Silesia was annexed by the Habsburgs. Aureus Mons continued to prosper until 1608, when the prosperity was stopped by a major flood that killed approx. 50 of the inhabitants and damaged large part of the city. Five years later, in 1613 the town yet again was struck by great fire that destroyed 571 houses.

During the Thirty Years War Aureus Mons changes hands several times. After that it never recovered. In 1742 it was annexed by Prussia and in 1871 became part of the newly-formed Germany. During the Napoleonic Wars, on August 26, 1813, the armies of French marshal Macdonald was defeated near the town by the forces of Prussian general von Blücher.

At the end of 19th century the town started to recover after almost 200 years of crisis. In 1862 the town (then renamed to Goldberg) was connected with Berlin by a telegraph. In 1884 the town was connected to Legnica by a rail road and by 1906 two additional lines were opened: to Świerzawa and Chojnów. In 1900 the first telephone line was started. At the same time various companies tried to recover the gold mining in and around the city, but the plans were soon abandoned. Instead the copper ore mines were opened, but they faced serious financial difficulties by the end of 1920's. During the 1933 Reichstag elections 25% of the inhabitants backed the NSDAP.

Historical population of Złotoryja

The town survived the World War II almost untouched. In 1945 it was captured by the forces of the Red Army 2nd Ukrainian Front under Ivan Konev. Following the decisions of the Potsdam conference it was transferred to Poland and renamed to Złotoryja. By 1949 most of local German inhabitants either fled or were expelled. A large number of them settled in Solingen. In the nearby villages of Wilków and Nowy Kościół two important copper mines were founded and a large number of local engineers also participated in the development of the industrial region of Legnica. However, in early 1970's the mines were closed down due to the fact that ore deposits of much higher quality were found around Lubin.

Many factories were founded, including a shoe factory, Christmas tree ornaments factory and a basalt mine. Since 1989 the town of Złotoryja started to look for its past. The historical old town was restored and the traditions of gold mining were started. In 1992 a local Polish Guild of Gold Prospectors was started, which ever since organises the Polish Gold Panning Championships. In 2000 World Championships were held there.

Currently the town is one of the main tourist centres of the area. The heavy industry is also playing an important part in the development of the area. The local quarries are ones of the most profitable in Poland and the Christmas tree ornaments factory is exporting millions of ornaments every year, mostly to Western Europe and the United States.

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

This city is also known as: Złotoryja.

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