Sandomierz (pronounced: [sanˈdɔmʲɛʂ] (About this soundlisten); Latin: Sandomiria; German: Sandomir) is a historic town in south-eastern Poland with 23,863 inhabitants (2017), situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Province) since 1999. It is the capital of Sandomierz County. Sandomierz is known for its preserved Old Town, a major cultural and tourist attraction which was declared a National Monument of Poland in 2017. In the past, Sandomierz used to be one of the most important urban centers not only of Lesser Poland, but also of the whole country. It was a royal city of the Polish Crown and a regional administrative centre from the High Middle Ages to the 19th century.

Market Square with the Town Hall
Market Square with the Town Hall
Flag of Sandomierz
Coat of arms of Sandomierz
Sandomierz is located in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship
Sandomierz is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°41′N 21°45′E / 50.683°N 21.750°E / 50.683; 21.750Coordinates: 50°41′N 21°45′E / 50.683°N 21.750°E / 50.683; 21.750
Country Poland
Voivodeship Świętokrzyskie
CountySandomierz County
GminaSandomierz (urban gmina)
Town rightsbefore 1227
 • MayorMarcin Marzec[1]
 • Total28.8 km2 (11.1 sq mi)
200 m (700 ft)
 • Total23,863
 • Density830/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 15
Car platesTSA


The name of the city might have originated from the Old Polish Sędomir, composed of Sędzi- (from the verb sądzić "to judge") and mir ("peace"), or more likely from the antiquated given name Sędzimir, once popular in several Slavic languages.[2] Sandomierz is known in German: Sandomir; Latin: Sandomiria and in Yiddish: צויזמיר‎, romanizedTzoyzmir.


Early historyEdit

Opatów Gate

Sandomierz is one of the oldest and historically most significant cities in Poland. Archeological finds around the city indicate that humans have 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 San 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 Kraków and Wrocław as one of the main cities of Poland. The testament (ca 1115–1118) of Bolesław III Wrymouth, in which he divided Poland among his sons, designated Sandomierz as the capital of one of the resulting principalities, the Duchy of Sandomierz.

Historic coat of arms of the Sandomierz Province
Aerial view of the Old Town in winter

In the early 13th century, the second oldest Dominican monastery in Poland (after Kraków) and one of the oldest in Europe was founded in Sandomierz. In the course of the 13th century the city suffered grievous damage during the raids by Mongols in 1241, 1260 and 1287. The old wooden buildings of the town were completely destroyed. As a result, in 1286 the High Duke of Poland Leszek II the Black, effectively refounded the city under Magdeburg Law and granted staple right.[3] The city archives preserve the founding document. (An important note: in 1260, as the Tartars invaded Christian Sandomir, a community of Dominicans was praying Matins while a novice read the martyrology for the next day: "the 49 martyrs of Sandomir". When the friars realized they were being warned of their death, they spent the remainder of the night and all the next day preparing to meet the Lord. At last, after the brethren had finished praying Compline, and as they processed singing the Salve Regina to Mary, the Tartars broke through the church door. While the Tartars intended to bring death to these Dominicans, they actually brought them great gifts - crowns of martyrdom. Ever since, at the death of every Dominican a song to his Beloved Mother is sung to usher him into her arms - the Salve Regina (or Hail, Holy Queen).[4]

After the re-unification of the Polish lands in the 14th century, the former principality became the Sandomierz Voivodeship, incorporating large areas of southeastern Poland. Until 1474, it was one of two voivodeships (administrative area/province) of Lesser Poland, together with Krakow Voivodeship (Krakowskie). In 1474, Lublin Voivodeship (Lubuskie) was created from eastern part of Sandomierz Voivodeship (Sandomierskie). At this time Sandomierz had about 3,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest Polish cities. In the middle of the 14th century the city was burned again during a raid by the Lithuanians. It was rebuilt during the rule of king Casimir III of Poland, who extended its privileges.[5] The layout of the city has survived practically unchanged since that time until the present day. In 1389 in Sandomierz the newly appointed prince of the Novgorod Republic, Lithuanian prince Lengvenis, paid homage to Polish King Władysław II Jagiełło, thus making Novgorod a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Poland.[6]

Modern eraEdit

In 1570 an alliance of non-Catholic Polish Churches, the Lutherans, the Reformed, and the Bohemian Brethren, drew up what is known as the Sandomierz Agreement, effecting a confederation of the work in order to stave off defeat at the hands of the Roman Church. Thanks to the efforts of the local starost Hieronim Gostomski, the Jesuits settled in the city and founded the Collegium Gostomianum,[5] one Poland's oldest high schools, at the beginning of the 17th century.

The early modern period, running until the middle of the 17th century, was quite prosperous for the city.[citation needed] The most important historical buildings were built during this period. This golden age came to an end in 1655 when Swedish 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, during the Napoleonic Wars, fighting between the forces of Austria and of the Duchy of Warsaw caused damage to the city. It became part of the short-lived Polish Duchy of Warsaw and after 1815 it found itself in the Russian Empire (Congress Poland). At this point it had just 2640 inhabitants.

Sandomierz Cathedral and St Paul's Church blood paintingEdit

Blood libel. Sandomierz Cathedral, ca. 1750.

This cathedral contains a series of paintings built into the church's wooden panelling depicting the Martyrologium Romanum. The third painting shows the scene which, it is claimed:[7] "...depicts ritual murders committed in Sandomierz by Jews on Christian children. The inscription above the painting reads filius apothecary ab infidelibus judaeis sandomiriensibus occisus (son of an apothecary, by infidel Sandomierz Jews killed) [8]

The St Paul's Church contains a different series of paintings including one in the chancel, depicting the torment of Jerzy Krassowski who was allegedly strangled by the Jews. Discussion on these pictures has taken place with the participation of the Polish Jewish Community."The Polish Council of Christians and Jews has offered to finance a plaque with explanations of the painting and information about the official statements by various Popes".[9] This plaque is now displayed in the St Paul's Church next to the picture in question.

The world warsEdit

1914. Wounded in action Austro-Hungarian soldiers in Sandomierz during World War I

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 the 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 Polish and Jewish population were subjected to various crimes. Poles expelled in late 1939 by the Germans from Złoczew, which was directly annexed by Germany, were deported to Sandomierz.[10] Others were conscripted for forced labour and many were sent to labor camps. The largest mass arrests of Poles, including teachers, local officials and activists, were carried out in March 1940.[11] In June 1940 in Brzask Forest, Germans murdered 760 Poles as part of the German AB-Aktion in Poland directed to exterminate Polish intelligentsia. Bodies were buried in unnamed mass grave. That was the largest massacre in the Kielce Region. Poles were then held in the local prison and deported to German concentration camps.[11] At the same time, the nearby village of Góry Wysokie was the site a massacre of 117 Poles from the region.[12] Despite this, the Polish underground resistance movement was active in Sandomierz, and in late 1940 it even launched a secret printing house in Sandomierz and issued the Polish underground newspaper Odwet, which was also distributed to nearby villages.[13] In March 1942, the Germans carried out mass arrests of around 150 members of the Polish resistance.[14] Among those arrested was local Polish writer Roman Koseła, one of several Polish writers murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp.[15]

Memorial plaque at the site of the former secret printing house of the Polish resistance movement

In May 1942, the Jewish and Polish population were confined to a ghetto area and hundreds of Jews and Poles from around the region were brought there, increasing the population to more than 5000. In October 1942, about 3000 prisoners were sent to Bełżec where they were immediately gassed. After that deportation, hundreds of Jews came out of hiding and others were sent to Sandomierz from elsewhere. Now the population was more than 6000 confined to another ghetto where as many as twelve people shared each room and some lived in the streets. Sanitary conditions were horrid and many became ill. Those who reported to the hospital were usually shot after a few days. Some prisoners during this time were sent to labor camps, but in January 1943, the SS and German police,[citation needed] surrounded the ghetto, set some houses on fire and bombed others. They rounded up 7000 people, send a few hundred to a labor camp, and escorted the rest to the railway station, shooting hundreds en route. The trains took the prisoners to Treblinka where they were murdered by gas the same day. Poles who were not sent to camps were persecuted for helping Jews, some were even imprisoned for barely "transporting Jews illegally".[16] The city was captured by the Red Army in August 1944.

No major industrial development took place in Sandomierz during the communist era, thus preserving its look of a charming, small city full of historical monuments among the unspoiled landscape.


The city experiences a humid continental climate with notably warm summers (Köppen: Dfb), much more consistently pronounced in eastern Poland. Precipitation, especially in the form of rains, is concentrated in the summer, reducing until the end of winter. Sandomierz has four well defined seasons of the year, hot summers (sometimes), usually bearable and cold winters but with slightly moderate extremes.[17]

Climate data for Sandomierz (Chwałki), elevation: 217 m, 1961-1990 normals and extremes
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.5
Average high °C (°F) −1.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.9
Average low °C (°F) −6.8
Record low °C (°F) −27.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 29
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.9 6.9 6.8 6.9 9.6 10.3 10.3 8.0 8.0 6.2 8.3 8.8 97
Source: NOAA[18]

Points of interestEdit

Panorama of Sandomierz, landmarks seen from the left: Royal Castle, Cathedral Basilica, Jan Długosz House, cathedral bell tower, Collegium Gostomianum, Old Town with the town hall in the middle and the Opatowska Gate on the right end
Virgin and Child with Saint Catherine of Alexandria, (1518-1520) by Lucas Cranach the Elder in the Diocesan Museum


Collegium Gostomianum, one of the oldest schools in Poland
  • Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczno-Przyrodnicza Studium Generale Sandomiriense
  • Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne w Sandomierzu
  • 1 Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace Collegium Gostomianum
  • 2 Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Tadeusza Kościuszki
  • Zespół Szkół Gastronomicznych i Hotelarskich
  • Zespół Szkół Technicznych i Ogólnokształcących


The local football team is Wisła Sandomierz [pl]. It competes in the lower leagues.

International relationsEdit

Twin towns — Sister citiesEdit

Sandomierz is twinned with:


Notable residentsEdit

Mikołaj Trąba, first Primate of Poland


Virtual walksEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Sandomierz (świętokrzyskie)". Polska w liczbach (in Polish). Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  2. ^ Stanisław Rospond, Słownik etymologiczny miast i gmin PRL, Wrocław 1984, ISBN 83-04-01090-9.
  3. ^ Stan Lewicki, Historja handlu w Polsce na tle przywilejów handlowych: (prawo składu), Warszawa 1920, p. 134 (in Polish)
  4. ^ Blessed Sadoc and Companions "the 49 martyrs of Sandomir"
  5. ^ a b "Sandomierski skład soli". (in Polish). Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Jagiełło". Na stronach ksiąg i Internetu. Bitwa pod Grunwaldem przez wieki (in Polish). Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  7. ^ Fr Edward Górecki Ph.D, A Guide to Sandomierz Cathedral.
  8. ^ Joanna Toarska-Bakir Ph.D., Sandomierz Blood-Libel Myths. Final Report 2006 by University of Warsaw.
  9. ^ Poland and the Jews p.199, Stanislaw Krajewski, Kraków 2005
  10. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Wysiedlenia ludności polskiej z okupowanych ziem polskich włączonych do III Rzeszy w latach 1939-1945, IPN, Warszawa, 2017, p. 182-183 (in Polish)
  11. ^ a b Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, IPN, Warszawa, 2009, p. 251 (in Polish)
  12. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, p. 252
  13. ^ Włodzimierz Gruszczyński, Odwet i Jędrusie, Zagnańsk, 2011, p. 32, 215 (in Polish)
  14. ^ Gruszczyński, 63-64
  15. ^ Stanisław Sierotwiński, Kronika życia literackiego w Polsce pod okupacją hitlerowską: próba przeglądu zdarzeń w układzie chronologicznym, "Rocznik Naukowo-Dydaktyczny" Zeszyt 24, Wydawnictwo Wyższej Szkoły Pedagogicznej w Krakowie, Kraków, 1966, p. 22 (in Polish)
  16. ^ Rejestr faktów represji na obywatelach polskich za pomoc ludności żydowskiej w okresie II wojny światowej, IPN, Warszawa, 2014, p. 148, 166 (in Polish)
  17. ^ "Sandomierz climate: Average Temperature, weather by month, Sandomierz weather averages -". Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  18. ^ "City (12585) - WMO Weather Station". NOAA. Retrieved January 13, 2010. Archived December 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ a b "Home". 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2011.

External linksEdit