Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
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Sandomierz is one of the oldest and historically most significant cities in Poland. Archeological finds around the city indicate that humans 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. In the testament of Bolesław Krzywousty, in which he divided Poland among his sons, Sandomierz was designated as a capital of one of the resulting principalities.
In the course of the 13th century the city suffered grievous damage during raids by Mongols in 1241, 1259 and 1287. The old wooden buildings of the town were completely destroyed. As a result, in 1286 the city was effectively refounded by Leszek Czarny, under Magdeburg Law. The founding document is still preserved in the city archives.
After Polish lands were reunified in the 14th century, the former principality became the Sandomierz Voivodeship, incorporating large areas of southeastern Poland. At this time Sandomierz had about 3000 inhabitants and was one of the larger 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. The layout of the city has survived practically unchanged since that time until the present day.
The following three hundred years, running until the middle of the 17th
century, were quite prosperous for the city. 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 the city was damaged during fighting between the forces of Austria and the Duchy of Warsaw during the Napoleonic Wars.After 1815 it found itself in the Russian Empire (Congress Poland). At this point it had just 2640 inhabitants.
The city again suffered damage during World War I. In 1918 it again became part of independent Poland. In September 1939, following the German invasion of Poland, the city was occupied by Germany and made part of the General Government. The Jewish population of the city, consisting of about 2,500 people, perished during the Holocaust, mostly in the death camps of Bełżec and Treblinka. The city was captured by the Soviet army in August, 1944.
No major industrial development took place in Sandomierz, thus preserving
it as a charming, small city full of historical monuments among unspoiled
More on Sandomierz at this website.
Arms and flag adopted on September 17, 2003 (resolution # VIII/74/2003).
"Arms: on a blue shield a stone wall with the partially open gate and above it a watchtower covered with the trapezoid roof.
Behind the wall are two towers and between them is shield leaning to the right, with the crowned heraldic white eagle on red. Left corner of that shield is topped with
the knight's helmet having as a jewel a double plume of peacock feathers.
Flag: the city has a white-red-blue flag with the Arms in its middle."
The above description of the flag is very laconic, vague and open to various interpretations.
The proof sheet provided as an amendment to the city's law, Lajsikonik and wiki, all are showing only the vertical version of the flag.
Lajsikonik desribes the flag as follow: "rectangular piece of cloth in proportions 2:1 composed of three equal vertical bands: white-red-blue. In the middle of the flag the Arms are placed. Colors correspond to those of the Arms."
I have also the horizontal version of the flag provided to me some years ago by Jens Pattke and although it is not mentioned or shown in the documents it might have a photographic support. I have a photo of the street in Sandomierz decorated with the flags and taken in 2004 on the anniversary of John Paul II visit to the town.
The flag is not fully unfurled but seems to be a horizontal version.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 11 Nov 2008