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Sanok town (Poland)

Sanok county, Podkarpackie voivodship

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
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[Sanok city flag] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 16 Jun 2009
adopted in early 1990's See also:


Sanok city

Sanok - urban commune, Sanok County, Podkarpackie Voivodship - Latin name:Sanocum, German name: Saanig, Yiddish name: Sonik, Hungarian name: Sánók
Motto: Libera Regia Civitas (Free Royal City)
"This historic city is situated on the San River at the foot of Castle Hill in Little Poland (Małopolska) region. It lies in a wooded, hilly area near the national road number 28, which goes along southern Poland, from Ustrzyki Dolne to Wadowice (340 km. away). It is located in the heartland of the Pogórze Bukowskie part of Doły (Pits), and its average altitude is 300 metres above sea level, although there are some hills located within the confines of the city.
Area: 38.15 sq.km (14.7 sq.mi); Population: 39,481 (2006)

Settled in prehistoric times, the south-eastern Poland region that is now Podkarpacie was overrun in pre-Roman times by various tribes, including the Celts (Anarti), Goths and Vandals (Przeworsk culture and Puchov culture). After the fall of the Roman Empire, of which most of south-eastern Poland was part (all parts below the San), the area was invaded by Hungarians and Slavs.
The region subsequently became part of the Great Moravian state. Upon the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around 899, the Lendians of the area declared their allegiance to Hungarian Empire. The region then became a site of contention between Poland, Kievan Rus and Hungary starting in at least the 9th century.

The first traces of settlement in the area of modern Sanok date back to at least 9th century. The following century a Slavic fortified town was created there and initially served as a center of pagan worship. The etymology of the name is unclear, though most scholars derive it from the Celtic root - San. Certain archaeological excavations performed on the castle hill and on Fajka hill near Sanok-Trepcza, not only confirm the written resources, but date the Sanok stronghold origin to as early as the 9th century. On Fajka hill, where probably the first settlement of Sanok was situated, some remains of an ancient sanctuary and a cemetery were found, as well as numerous decorations and encolpions  in Kievan type. Also two stamps of the Great Kievan Prince Rurik Rostislavich from the second half of the 12th century were found.

In 981 the gord, then inhabited by the Slavic tribe of Lendzians, was made a part of Land of Czerwień. This area was mentioned for the first time in 981, when Volodymyr the Great of Kievan Rus took the area over on the way into Poland. In 1018 it returned to Poland, 1031 back to Rus, in 1340 Casimir III of Poland recovered it. The gord of Sanok in mentioned first time in Hypatian Codex in 1150. It was given the Magdeburg law by Boleslaus George II of Halych in 1339.

It can be found in a Ruthenian chronicle Hypatian Codex, where at the date of 1150 one can read: The Hungarian King Géza II of Hungary crossed the mountains and seized the stronghold of Sanok with its governor as well as many villages in Przemyśl area. The same chronicle refers to Sanok two more times, informing, that in 1205 it was the meeting place of a Ruthenian princess Anna with a Hungarian king and that in 1231 a Ruthenian prince made an expedition to "Sanok - Hungarian Gate".

After 1339 Galicia-Volhynia was seized by King Casimir III of Poland, who reconfirmed the municipal privilege of Sanok on the 25 April 1366. At that time Sanok became the centre of a new administration district called Sanok Land which was a part of the Ruthenian Voivodeship. Several courts of justice operated in the town, including the municipal and rural courts of lower instance and also the higher instance court for the entire Sanok land, based on the German town law.

As early at the 17th century, an important trade route went across Sanok connecting the interior of Hungary with Poland through the Lupkov Pass.
18 February 1846 - beginning of the Galician peasant revolt. During World War I, the Russians came to the town in May 1915 and stayed there until July, leaving the town significantly damaged.
During the Second Polish Republic (1919-1939), Sanok was a known centre of Ukrainian nationalism in Galicia, but also of cultural heritage of the Lemkos and other Rusniaks. In 1943 the foundation of the Waffen-SS Division Galizien took place in heavily Ukrainian-populated Sanok, with many locals volunteering in the ethnic Ukrainian SS. As a consequence of the war and collaboration, and the fear of Ukrainian separatism by both Soviet and Polish authorities, the Ukrainian and Lemko population of Sanok and its region was mostly deported to by then Polish-annexed former eastern territories of Germany in Operation Wisła (1946-1947).
Some of the Ukrainians and Lemkos expelled, remigrated to Sanok after 1989.

Sanok contains an open air museum in the Biała Góra district, where examples of architecture from all of the region's main ethnic groups have been moved and carefully reassembled in a skansen evoking everyday rural life in the 1800s. Nearby stands Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (1786-1947) presently, the tserkva of the Orthodox cathedral of the Holy Trinity."
(From Wikipedia)

Arms and flag were adopted in early 1990's. There is no record of the exact date of adoption as the archives of BIP (Bureau of Public Information) go back to only 2002.
The original Arms date back to the first half of 16th century.
Arms: the field divided into three parts. Two vertical fields with the red triangle added at the top.
On the red field - the Polish white eagle, crowned.
On the right field - blue  - Archangel Michael slaying the Satan.
On the left field - silver - Coat of Arms of the Italian princely family - Sforzas - green dragon-serpent swallowing the Saracen.

Bona Sforza d'Aragona (1494-1557), daughter of Giovanni Galeazzo II, Duke of Milano, was the Queen of Poland, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, Princess of Ruthenia, Prussia and Masovia, Princess of Bari and Rosano and pretender to the crown of the Kingdom of Jerusalem (Brienne claim). She was the second wife of the Polish King Sigismund I and mother of King Sigismund Augustus. Her children ascended to many thrones of Europe - Hungary, Sweden  Brunswick and Poland-Lithuania.
She was a great benefactor of the city of Sanok (and arts and education in general).
She is also credited with the introduction of many "new" vegetables to the Polish tables, like asparagus and Milan sprouts, along with macaronis, spices and wines.
To this day the Polish name for the vegetables is "włoszczyzna" - the "Italian stuff", in her honor.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 16 Jun 2009


Sanok city arms

[Sanok city coat of arms] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 16 Jun 2009
adopted in early 1990's; originally from first half of 16th century