Polička (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpolɪtʃka]; German: Politschka) is a town in Svitavy District in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 8,900 inhabitants. The historic town centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument zone.

Palackého Square with the Marian column
Palackého Square with the Marian column
Flag of Polička
Coat of arms of Polička
Polička is located in Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 49°42′54″N 16°16′3″E / 49.71500°N 16.26750°E / 49.71500; 16.26750
Country Czech Republic
 • MayorJaroslav Martinů (ODS)
 • Total33.12 km2 (12.79 sq mi)
555 m (1,821 ft)
 • Total8,910
 • Density270/km2 (700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
572 01

Administrative parts edit

Polička is made up of town parts of Polička-Město, Dolní Předměstí and Horní Předměstí, and villages of Lezník, Modřec and Střítež.

Etymology edit

Polička was founded in the area of meadows and forests called Napolickach, which most likely meant "on the plains", and the town's name was derived from this local name.[2]

Geography edit

Polička is located about 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of Svitavy and 49 km (30 mi) southeast of Pardubice. It lies in the Svitavy Uplands. The highest point is at 650 m (2,130 ft) above sea level. It is situated on the borderline of historical lands of Bohemia and Moravia. The Bílý brook flows through the town and supplies Synský pond in the centre of the town.

History edit

Part of the town walls

Until 1200, the area was under the administration of the Praemonstratensian monastery in Litomyšl. Polička was founded in 1265 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia to defend the country's trading route from Moravia to Bohemia through dense forests. On 27 September 1265, Ottokar II issued a decree in which he ordered the lokator Conrad of Lewendorf to take care of setting up the new town.[2]

In the first decades of its existence, the town was administered from the Svojanov Castle. In 1307, Polička was donated to Queen Elizabeth Richeza by her husband King Rudolf I and for next centuries became a dowry town, administered by Bohemian queens. During the reign of Charles IV, the town streets were paved, stone houses built, and the town fortified.[2]

In 1421, Polička was taken by Jan Žižka and afterwards plundered by one of Hungarian armies of Sigismund. After the Hussite Wars, Germans were expelled and Polička became a purely Czech town.[2]

16th–18th century edit

Church of Saint Michael

Polička enjoyed the favour of the Jagiellonian dynasty during their rule. Later, the town actively participated in the fight against Ferdinand I. In 1547 after Ferdinand I got to power, Polička was punished by suspension of its rights, fined, and its real estate was confiscated. Twelve years later, the town had to purchase the property for additional money.[3]

In the second half of the 16th century, the town prospered and Renaissance-style buildings started to be built. including the Church of Saint Michael. In 1613, Polička was devastated by fire. Only the southwestern part of the town the Gothic town hall, church, rectory and school were spared. Polička did not prosper well during the Thirty Years' War either and was conquered and looted several times. The town subsequently depopulated.[3]

Until the end of the 17th century, Polička recovered. In the 18th century, it again prospered and baroque reconstructions were made all over the town.[4]

19th–20th century edit

Polička kept its baroque appearance until 1845 when it was hit by another fire, which destroyed most of the houses and the Church of Saint James the Great. The fire has considerably slowed development of the town and therefore the town walls were not torn down and are preserved to this day. During the second half of the 19th century the town experienced a significant cultural development. In 1896, Polička was connected to the national railway network. This started the industrial development of the town.

In the first half of the 20th century a number of significant building were built in the town, for example Tyl House, Sokol Gymnasium or the building of the current secondary grammar school. Until 1918, Polička was part of Austria-Hungary, in the district of the same name, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia.[5] In October and November 1938 Polička was occupied by Nazi Germany. Between 1939 and 1945, the town belonged to the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. After the World War II, the town lost about thousand inhabitants which left to the abandoned areas from where the original German population was expelled.

Demographics edit

Historical population
Source: Censuses[6][7]

Economy edit

The largest employer based in the town is Ravensburger Karton, manufacturer of toys and games.[8]

Transport edit

Polička lies on the railway line of heading from Česká Třebová and Svitavy to Skuteč.[9]

Sights edit

Town hall

The historic centre is formed by Palackého Square and adjacentr streets. The square includes one of the most notable Baroque town halls in the country. It replaced an old Gothic town hall and was built in 1739–1744. The baroque 22-metre (72 ft) high Marian column was built in 1727–1731. Both the town hall and the Marian column were probably designed by the architect František Maxmilián Kaňka.[10][11]

Massive stone walls with 19 bastions are among the best-preserved fortifications in Central Europe. They are 1,220 metres (4,000 ft) long and surround the entire historic town centre.[10]

The original Church of Saint James the Great was built in 1265. It was replaced by new church in the 1360s–1380s, which was later baroquely rocenstructed. After the fire in 1845, a new Neo-Gothic church was built on its site in 1853–1865. The tower of the church serves as a lookout point and contains the room in which the composer Bohuslav Martinů, the most notable person born in Polička, was born. It is open to the public.[12]

The Church of Saint Michael was built before 1580. It is a Renaissance cemetery church with Gothic elements.[13]

Notable people edit

Twin towns – sister cities edit

Polička is twinned with:[14]

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2023". Czech Statistical Office. 2023-05-23.
  2. ^ a b c d "Od založení města do husitské revoluce (13.–15.stol.)" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  3. ^ a b "Dvě století pohrom (15.–17.stol.)" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  4. ^ "Obnova mírového života a "zlatý věk" feudálního měšťanstva (17.–18. stol.)" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  5. ^ Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm Klein, 1967
  6. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Svitavy" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 2015-12-21. pp. 13–14.
  7. ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 2021-03-27.
  8. ^ "Registr ekonomických subjektů". Business Register (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved 2023-05-11.
  9. ^ "Detail stanice Polička" (in Czech). České dráhy. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  10. ^ a b "O městě" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  11. ^ "Barokní skvosty na Palackého náměstí" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  12. ^ "Kostel sv. Jakuba s rodnou světničkou Bohuslava Martinů" (in Czech). National Heritage Institute. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  13. ^ "Kostel sv. Michala" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  14. ^ "Partnerská města" (in Czech). Město Polička. Retrieved 2021-10-15.

External links edit