Świdnica (Polish: [ɕfidˈɲitsa] (listen); German: Schweidnitz; Czech: Svídnice) is a city in south-western Poland in the region of Silesia. It has a population of 59,002 inhabitants according to 2014 figures. It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, being the seventh largest town in that voivodeship. From 1975–98 it was in the former Wałbrzych Voivodeship. It is now the seat of Świdnica County, and also of the smaller district of Gmina Świdnica (although it is not part of the territory of the latter, as the town forms a separate urban gmina). Świdnica became part of the Wałbrzych agglomeration on 23 January 2014.
Market Square in the Old Town
|Gmina||Świdnica (urban gmina)|
|• Mayor||Beata Moskal-Słaniewska (SLD)|
|• Total||21.76 km2 (8.40 sq mi)|
|Elevation||250 m (820 ft)|
|• Density||2,700/km2 (7,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
58-100 and 58-105
|Area code(s)||+48 74|
The city's name was first recorded as Svidnica in 1070, when it was part of Piast-ruled Poland. Świdnica became a town in 1250, although no founding document has survived that would confirm this fact. The town belonged at the time to the Duchy of Wrocław, a province of Poland. By 1290, Świdnica had city walls and six gates, crafts and trade were blossoming. The city was famous for its beer production. In various cities of the region (Wrocław, Oleśnica, Brzeg) and Europe (Kraków, Toruń, Prague, Pisa) there were so-called "Świdnica Cellars" – restaurants serving beer from Świdnica. Wrocław's Piwnica Świdnicka exists to this day as the oldest restaurant in Europe.
In 1291-1392 Świdnica was the capital of the Piast-ruled Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor. The last Polish Piast duke was Bolko II of Świdnica, and after his death in 1368 the duchy was held by his wife until 1392; after her death it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Bohemia by Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia. From about 1469 to 1490 it was under the rule of the Kingdom of Hungary and after that it was part of Jagiellonian-ruled Bohemia. In 1493, the town is recorded by Hartmann Schedel in his Nuremberg Chronicle as Schwednitz.
In 1526, all of Silesia, including Świdnica (as Schweidnitz), came under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy as part of the surrounding Duchy of Schweidnitz. The Thirty Years' War (1618–48) ravaged the Duchy. Schweidnitz was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia during the First Silesian War (1740–42). The town was turned into a fortress.
It was captured again by Austria in late 1762, during the Third Silesian War, or Seven Years' War, but remained Prussian after the end of the war. Subsequently, it became part of the Prussian-led German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany and stayed within Germany until the end of World War II. In addition, the World War I flying ace Lothar von Richthofen was buried here, until the city became owned by Poland after World War II in which the graveyard was leveled.
After the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the town, like most of Silesia, became again part of Poland under border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference. Those members of the German population who had not already fled or had been killed during the war were subsequently expelled to the remainder of Germany and the town was repopulated with Poles, many of whom had themselves been expelled from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.
Points of interestEdit
The 16th-century town hall has been renovated numerous times and combines Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural elements. The Baroque Church of St. Joseph and the Church of St. Christopher are from the same era. One remaining element of the former defensive works is the Chapel of St. Barbara.
Świdnica is home to a College of Data Communications Technology (Wyższa Szkoła Technologii Teleinformatycznych).
In 2003, Świdnica hosted a session of the Warsaw-based International Chapter of the Order of Smile, when a Child Friendship Centre was established. Świdnica was officially titled the "Capital of Children's Dreams".
Twin towns — Sister citiesEdit
Świdnica is twinned with:
- Johann Ambrosius Haude (1690-1748), of Berlin's oldest publishing house, Haude und Spener
- Thomas Stoltzer (ca. 1480-1526), composer
- Maria Cunitz (1604–1664), astronomer
- Benjamin Schmolk (1672–1737), composer, poet
- Johann Christoph Glaubitz (c. 1700-1767 in Vilnius) architect
- Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1763), composer
- Emil Krebs (1867–1930), sinologist
- Ferdinand Friedensburg (1886–1972), politician
- Michael Graf von Matuschka (1888–1944), resistance fighter
- Hubert Schmundt (1888–1984), Kriegsmarine Admiral
- Manfred von Richthofen (1892–1918), World War I ace known as "The Red Baron"
- Peter Adolf Thiessen (1899–1990), physical chemist
- Heinz Starke (1911–2001), politician, Bundesfinanzminister 1961-1962
- Georg Gärtner (1920–2013), known as "Hitler's last Soldier in America"
- Gunther Gebel-Williams (1934–2001), animal trainer
- Manfred Kanther (born 1939), politician
- Henning Eichberg (born 1942), cultural sociologist
- Dorota Świeniewicz (born 1972), volleyball player, member of Poland women's national volleyball team
- Bartosz Huzarski (born 1980), cyclist
- Anna Werblińska (born 1984), volleyball player
- Arkadiusz Piech (born 1985), footballer, member of Poland women's national volleyball team
- Karl Theodor Robert Luther (1822–1900), astronomer
- Press release, Siedem nowych gmin w Aglomeracji Wałbrzyskiej. Swidnica24.pl. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- Janusz Czerwiński, Ryszard Chanas, Dolny Śląsk – przewodnik, Sport i Turystyka, Warszawa, 1977, p. 178–186 (in Polish)
- See Die Schedelsche Weltchronik on German Wikisource.
- Офіційний сайт міста Івано-Франківська. mvk.if.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 7 March 2010.
- "Partnerská města: Jičín".
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Świdnica.|
- Silesia Map of 1600s with Town of Schweidnitz in Duchy of Schweidnitz
- Website of the municipality of Świdnica
- Jewish Community in Świdnica on Virtual Shtetl
- Peace Church Panoramic view
Media related to Świdnica at Wikimedia Commons
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .