Last modified: 2014-06-28 by andrew weeks
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The first mention, which names Krosno as one of 34 estates in Małopolska
(Lesser Poland) granted to the Lubusz (German: Lebus) Bishopric,
appears in a document signed by Leszek II the Black, Duke of Cracow, in
However, the oldest traces of settlement in the fork of the Wisłok and Lubatówka Rivers, found during archaeological research, date back to the 10th and 11th centuries.
Today it is difficult to determine definitely the etymology of the place-name of Krosno. Scholars give several versions explaining the origin of the name. Some researchers thought that the name is connected with "weaving loom" (in Polish:" krosno"), while others traced it back to "pustules", "pimples" or "being pimply" (in Polish: "krosta", "krostowatość"), which apparently reflected the bumpy shape of the area where the first settlement was founded. Finally an opinion was adopted that the original Polish name disappeared and the existing name is the result of a transformation of the German (Walddeutsche) name "Krossen".
The date of the first foundation charter of the town is not known though we may presume that the oldest preserved royal document of Casimir the Great, dating from 1367, regarding the sale of the Krosno aldermanship, was modelled on an earlier foundation act. Hence it should be assumed that about the middle of the 14th century, King Casimir transformed Krosno from a settlement into a town chartered according to the Magdeburg rights and brought in a numerous group of German settlers.
Krosno, a royal town from its origin, used the coat of arms of the Piasts
from Kujawy (half an eagle and half a lion with a crown over their heads)
and, owing to the king's foundation, was surrounded with a defensive wall
as early as the 14th century. During the reign of Casimir the Great the
construction of stone fortifications was
begun to encircle the hill. But it was only under King Ladislaus Jagiello that the full-length stone and partly earth town fortifications were completed. Two gates led into the town: the Hungarian one from the south-east and the Cracow one from the north-west. The well-fortified and secure town provided perfect conditions for the development of craft and trade. The statutes of the butchers guild were known as early as 1403 and in the middle of the 15th century the guilds of bakers, shoemakers, tailors, blacksmiths as well as clothiers and fullers were constituted. Krosno became an important production centre of cloths and fustians.
The mediaeval town had waterworks and a sewage system, which is the evidence of its importance and the wealth of its inhabitants.
The privilege granted by King Casimir IV Jagiellon in 1461 shows that Krosno, next to Cracow and Lwow, was the third town in the Kingdom of Poland with such facilities. The archaeological research conducted recently, based on the dendrochronological method, enabled scholars to move the date of the system's installation back to the middle of the 14th century. The pipe-line master dealt with repairs and maintenance of the whole water-supply and sewage systems. From the research conducted by the Krosno archaeologists it appears that the system was used until the beginning of the 19th century.
The 15th century meant the beginning of commerce development for Krosno. Apart from local trade during weekly Monday fairs the town participated in a large-scale import-export and transit commerce. The main trade routes led to the Red Ruthenia, Hungary and the countries of southern Europe. The largest transactions were made during yearly fairs held three times a year. The trade was mainly in local cloths and baizes, horses, cattle, copperware and imported commodities made of copper and iron, and obviously, in Hungarian wine, on which several Krosno merchant families made fortunes.
In spite of natural disasters (flood in 1497, the fire of a suburb in 1474 and of the town in 1500), Thomas Tarczay's troops raids (1473 and 1474), pestilence, which nearly depopulated the town, the 16th century was the most favourable for the development of Krosno. The town had its own bleachery, fullery, brickyard, flour mill, municipal baths, it enjoyed the royal privilege for limestone excavation, it had the customs chamber and the right of storage of commodities. High standards of living in Krosno, called at that time parva Cracovia (little Kraków), resulted partially from the activity of the local parish school. In the years 1400-1600 173 natives of Krosno studied in the Cracow Academy, which is evidenced by the entries in Album studiosorum.
Krosno of the 16th century was renowned not only for the wealth of its inhabitants, thrift and wide commercial contacts. It was also one of the most populous towns in the province of Lesser Poland: the population is estimated at about 4 thousand. The view of Krosno was included in the work of J. Braun and F. Hoghenberg entitled The Towns of the World, published in Cologne in 1617 or in Andreas Cellariuśs work entitled Regin Poloniae Magnique Ducatus Lithuaniae omniumque regionum subiectorum novissima descriptio, published in Amsterdam in 1659.
At the beginning oh the 17th century there were about 11 collective guilds in which craftsmen representing 79 production and service trades were associated. Apart from traditional specialties connected with basic functions of the town there were also goldsmiths, painters, comb-makers, armourers, pavers, leather-dressers, violin makers and soapboilers. But it was commerce that provided the town with most revenues, both from goods exchange and from services for visiting merchants. Local clerks, scribes, innkeepers, brewers, and even townspeople providing accommodation and letting shops and cellars earned a lot. Higher donations were given to the clergy for church expenses. At that time many Hungarian merchants settled in Krosno, mainly those trading in wine. Scots, who specialised in large-scale commerce, also came to stay and the most outstanding person among them was Wojciech (Adalbert) Portius. There were also Armenians and Ruthenians from Lwow, but the most numerous group of traders were Jews, although Krosno had a privilege de non tolerandis Judeis.
The middle of the 17th century witnessed the beginning of a gradual
loss of the earlier position of the town. Natural disasters, raids of the
Swedish, Transylvanian, and Tatar troops, pestilences and war requisitions
brought Krosno to a desperate state at the end of 17th century. In the
time of the partitions of Poland and under the Austrian rule, once rich
and importance, the town experienced a period of severe impoverishment.
It became one of many small towns of Galicia. Weaving was the only handicraft which enjoyed prosperity at that time. Large-scale flax and hemp plantations provided work for many weaving shops near Krosno. Korczyna and Kombornia were the strongest centres of this industry but there were thousands of home weaving shops in the vicinity of Krosno.
It was not until the middle of the 19th century, the period of the Galician autonomy from 1867 to the outbreak of the World War I, that Krosno started to rise from the decline. The birth of Polish oil industry undoubtedly contributed to the notable and rapid increase of importance of the town. The first oil company started by Ignacy Łukasiewicz, Tytus Trzecielski and Karol Klobassa in 1856 and the refinery they erected in Chorkówka caused gradual inflow of foreign capital. As a results of the new administrative division the Krosno district (powiat) was established and in 1867 Krosno became the seat of the offices of the district authorities (starostwo). At the turn of the 20th century many societies, schools and institutions were established in the town: Loan Society, Nation-Wide Weaving School, Teacher Training School, Real Secondary School, "Zgoda" (Accord) Townspeople's Society, "Sokół" (Falcon) Gymnastic Society, Bleach and Finish Plant, an oil refinery, the First Domestic Factory of Tower Clocks. This state of relative progress lasted until the outbreak of World War I.
During the war Krosno suffered serious damages. The inhabitants of the town, bombed and looted several times, suffered both from the Austrian and the tsarist troops. In the period between the wars Krosno evolved gradually into an important industrial centre: a licence was issued to establish a flax straw breaking plant and a linen weaving plant, in the 1920s Polish Glass Factory, Joint-Stock Company was set up, in 1928 the construction of the airfield was begun and the aviation school was moved to Krosno from Bydgoszcz, in the 1930s the hangars were erected. The prosperous development of Krosno was interrupted by Word War II. The machinery and equipment of the glass factory, the refinery and the flax processing plant were stolen or devastated. The Krosno industry was completely ruined.
In September 1944, almost immediately after liberation, the reconstruction of the industry, destroyed during World War II, began. The glass factory and the flax plant were put into operation. Later on research in geology and oil drilling began, "Polmo" Shock Absorbers Factory and Transport and Aircraft Equipment Factory (WSK) were set up. Oil industry was and still is of importance for the town. Oil Industry Engineering Institute, "Naftomet" Oil Drilling Equipment Factory, Oil Drilling Establishment and "Naftomontaż" enterprise ( assembling oil drilling equipment on oil fields) are organizations which continue the oil industry traditions of the region.
Krosno has a football (soccer) team - 'Karpaty Krosno' and good speedway team - 'KSM Krosno'
Arms, old in origin, were officially adopted on December 30, 2002 (resolution
These Arms are a family Coat of Arms of King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) who bestowed them, together with civic rights, in the XIV century.
That Coat of Arms represents the Łęczyce-Kujawy branch of the Piast dynasty and appears, in variations, in the Arms of several communes of the region (see: Brześč Kujawski, Gniewkowo and Rypin).
The Arms show on the red shield a half of the golden lion and half of the white eagle, both crowned (gold crown).
The flag proposal was accepted by the City Council during its XXVI session
on May 30, 2008 and submitted for an opinion to the Heraldic Commission
and Ministry of Internal of Internal Affairs and Administration in Warsaw
with the hope of approval for the city's holiday in summer of 2009.
Among the symbols adopted are the flag, standard, seals, city's key and other insignia.
The project is a result of the work of the team of historians and heraldists led by Ms.Ewa Mańkowska, director of the Museum of Crafts in Krosno.
Flag: a rectangle in the ratio of 5:8 composed of four equal horizontal
bands: yellow-white-red-blue with the Arms placed centrally on it.
Colors yellow, white and red come from the Arms of the city. Color blue, Marian, was added to honor Our Lady of Murków, whose revered painting is on display in the local Franciscan church. The city is requesting the papal authority in Vatican to have Our Lady of Murków declared as the patroness of the town.
Long story, but the city is truly beautiful, unique and quite ancient
as explained in its motto: "Niepowtarzalne miasto w wyjatkowym miejscu"
- "Unique city in uncommon place"
Jens Pattke, 16 May 2002