Three historical Mazovian voivodeships in comparison with contemporary Polish voivodeships
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Mazovia or Masovia (Polish : Mazowsze) is a historical region in mid-north-eastern Poland. It spans the North European Plain, roughly between Łódź and Białystok, with Warsaw being the unofficial capital and largest city. Throughout the centuries, Mazovia developed a separate sub-culture featuring diverse folk songs, architecture, dress and traditions different from those of other Poles.
Historical Mazovia existed from the Middle Ages until the partitions of Poland and consisted of three voivodeships with the capitals in Warsaw, Płock and Rawa. The main city of the region was Płock,which was even capital of Poland from 1079 to 1138; however, in Early Modern Times Płock lost its importance to Warsaw, which became the capital of Poland. From 1138, Mazovia was governed by a separate branch of the Piast dynasty and when the last ruler of the independent Duchy of Mazovia died, it was fully incorporated to the Polish Crown in 1526. During the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth over 20% of Mazovian population was categorized as petty nobility. Between 1816 and 1844, the Mazovian Governorate was established, which encompassed the south of the region along with Łęczyca Land and south-eastern Kuyavia. The former inhabitants of Mazovia are the Masurians, who since the Late Middle Ages settled in neighboring southern Prussia, a region later called Masuria, where they converted to Protestantism in the Reformation era, thus leaving Catholicism, to which their relatives from Mazovia still adhered.
The borders of contemporary Mazovian Voivodeship (province), which was created in 1999, do not exactly reflect the original size of Mazovia, as they do not include the historically Mazovian cities of Łomża and Łowicz, but include the historically Lesser Polish cities of Radom and Siedlce.
Mazovia has a landscape without hills (in contrast to Lesser Poland) and without lakes (in contrast to Greater Poland). It is spread over the Mazovian Lowland, on both sides of the Vistula river and its confluence with Narew and Bug. Forests (mainly coniferous) cover one-fifth of the region, with the large Kampinos Forest, Puszcza Biała and Puszcza Zielona.
In the north Mazovia borders on the Masurian subregion of former Prussia, in the east on Podlachia, in the south on Lesser Poland and in the west on Greater Poland (subregions of Łęczyca Land, Kujawy and Dobrzyń Land). The area of Mazovia is 33,500 km2. It has population of 5 million (3 million of them inhabit the metropolis of Warsaw).
When the Slavs came to this region from the surrounding area of Polesie, they mingled with the descendants of Vistula Venetiand with other people who had settled here such as the Wielbark people. This created a Lechitic tribe: Mazovians.
The historical region of Mazovia (Mazowsze) in the beginning encompassed only the territories on the right bank of Vistula near Płock and had strong connections with Greater Poland (through Włocławek and Kruszwica). In the period of the rule of the first Polish monarchs of the Piast dynasty, Płock was one of their seats, and on the Cathedral Hill (Wzgórze Tumskie) they raised palatium. In the period 1037–1047 it was the capital of the independent, Mazovian state of Masław. Between 1079 and 1138 this city was de facto the capital of Poland. Since 1075 it has been the seat of the Diocese of Płock encompassing northern Mazovia; the south formed the archdeaconate of Czersk belonging to Poznań, and the Duchy of Łowicz was part of the Archdiocese of Gniezno (this division remained as long as until the Partitions of Poland).
During the 9th century Mazovia was perhaps inhabited by the tribe of Mazovians, and it was incorporated into the Polish state in the second half of 10th century under the Piast ruler Mieszko I. As a result of the fragmentation of Poland after the death of Polish monarch Bolesław III Wrymouth, in 1138 the Duchy of Mazovia was established, and during the 12th and 13th centuries it joined temporarily various adjacent lands and endured invasions of Prussians, Yotvingians, and Ruthenians. To protect its northern section Conrad I of Mazovia called in the Teutonic Knights in 1226 and granted them the Chełmno Land.
After the reunification of the Polish state by Władysław I in the early 14th century, Mazovia became its fief in 1351. In the second half of 15th century western Mazovia and in 1526/1529 the main part (with its capital in Warsaw) was incorporated into the Polish state. In the 15th century the eastern part of the region (Łomża) was settled, mainly by the yeomanry (drobna szlachta ). Mazovia was considered underdeveloped in comparison with Greater Poland and Lesser Poland, with the lowest urban population.
In the Early Modern Times Mazovia was known for exporting grain, timber, and fur. It was also distinct because there was no reformation here. Mazovia was divided into three voivodeships, each of them divided into lands (Polish : ziemie, Latin : terrae), each of them divided into counties (Polish : powiaty, Latin : districtus) and all three voivodeships formed part of the larger Greater Poland Province of the Polish Crown. The Polish-Lithuanian Union of Lublin (1569) established Mazovia as the central region of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, with Warsaw rising to prominence as the seat of the state legislature ( sejm ). In 1596 King Sigismund III Vasa moved the Polish capital from Kraków to Warsaw. During the 17th and 18th centuries Swedish, Transylvanian, Saxon, and Russian invasions wreaked havoc on the region.
In 1793 western Mazovia, and two years later the rest of the region were annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the Second and Third Partitions of Poland, while the south-eastern portion was annexed by Austria. In 1807 it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1815 the region was incorporated into the Congress Kingdom of Poland, which was dependent on Russia. In the 19th century Mazovia was the site of large Polish uprisings (November Uprising and January Uprising) against Russian rule. In that era pre-partition Mazovia was divided among Warsaw, Płock and Augustów (the last one replaced later by Łomża).
Since 1918 Mazovia has been a part of the resurrected Poland, being roughly equivalent to the Warsaw Voivodeship. Under the German occupation during World War II, the population was subjected to mass arrests, executions, expulsions and deportations to forced labour, Nazi concentration camps and Nazi ghettos. Numerous sites were looted. The large Palmiry massacres were carried out in the village of Palmiry near Warsaw. It is one of the most infamous sites of Nazi German crimes against Poles. The population of Warsaw decreased sharply as a result of executions, the extermination of the city's Jews, the deaths of some 200,000 inhabitants during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and the deportation of the city's left-bank population following the uprising. Shortly after the uprising, Adolf Hitler ordered German troops to destroy the city. The rebuilding of the Polish capital was the main task of the postwar period.Those times Warsaw Voivodeship was still roughly similar to historical Mazovia and used to be informally called so, but in 1975 it was divided into several little voivodeships. However, in 1999 Mazovian Voivodeship was created as one of 16 administrative regions of Poland.
The Mazovian language probably existed as a separate dialect until the 20th century.The ethnonym Mazur has given the name for a phonetic phenomenon known as mazurzenie (although it is common in the Lesser Polish dialect as well).
There is no specific regional cuisine of Mazovia. Formerly, dairy foods dominated the peasant cuisine. Nobles used poultry, geese, chickens and ducks. The most separate Mazovian culinary regions are Kurpie and Łowicz, where traditional dishes survive to the present day. In Kurpie, traditional dishes are prepared with ingredients collected in the forest: berries, honey and mushrooms. There are several traditional Polish dishes like flaki (tripes), kluski (noodles and dumplings), which are prepared in different way than in other parts of Poland.
Mazovian Voivodeship is ranked decidedly first in Poland according to the Gross Domestic Product.This is thanks to Warsaw, which is a financial centre of East-Central Europe. The majority of state enterprises are headquartered in this metropolis. It is a hub for both rail and vehicular traffic, with access throughout Poland and across Europe. Warsaw Chopin Airport is the nation's busiest. There are many branches of industry and services well developed in this city. The other economical center is Płock, where large petrochemical plants PKN Orlen operate. The rest of Mazovia belongs to the poorest parts of Poland. In agriculture the most typical Mazovian crops are potatoes and rye, but the most popular (as in the whole of Poland) is wheat. Others are barley, sugar beets, fruits (with their biggest Polish basin in the south of the region), and vegetables. Pigs are commonly bred, often also cows and chickens.
Kampinos National Park is one of Poland's largest national parks and is popular with tourists making day trips from Warsaw to hike among the park's primeval forests, sand dunes, and marshland. The main cultural centre of the region, and, alongside Kraków, in all of Poland, is Warsaw, which is home to dozens of theatres, the National Philharmonic, the National Opera House, the National Library, the National Museum, Centrum Nauki Kopernik, Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego, Temple of Divine Providence, and the Sanctuary of Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko. Warsaw has many magnificent historic buildings and monuments, including those in the Old Town and the New Town, both of which were almost completely demolished during World War II but were meticulously restored and were designated UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1980. Several important edifices has been built at the adjacent street Krakowskie Przedmieście. There are also royal palaces and gardens of Łazienki and Wilanów. The most interesting building from post-war period is Pałac Kultury i Nauki.
Historical monuments elsewhere include the manor house in Żelazowa Wola where composer Frédéric Chopin was born and his museum is located nowadays. Płock, once the seat of the Mazovian princes, and Łowicz, the residence of the archbishops of Gniezno, are noted for their cathedrals. There are also palaces and parks in Nieborów and Arkadia, the Modlin Fortress, castles in Czersk, Pułtusk, Ciechanów, Opinogóra, Rawa Mazowiecka, Sochaczew and Liw, as well as churches in Niepokalanów, Góra Kalwaria, Warka, Skierniewice, Czerwińsk, Wyszogród, Zakroczym, Szreńsk, Przasnysz, Ostrołęka, Łomża, Szczuczyn, Wizna, Brok, Zuzela, Rostkowo, and Boguszyce. Interesting folklore is found in the subregion of Kurpie; another skansen has been established in Sierpc.
The following table lists the cities in Mazovia with a population greater than 20,000 (2015):
|City||Population (2015)||Voivodeship in 1750||Voivodeship in 2016||Additional information|
|1.||Warsaw||1 724 404||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Capital of Poland, former royal city of Poland.|
|2.||Płock||122 815||Płock Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Historical capital of Masovia, former capital of Poland, former royal city of Poland.|
|3.||Łomża||62 711||Masovian Voivodeship||Podlaskie Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|4.||Pruszków||59 570||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|5.||Legionowo||54 231||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|6.||Ostrołęka||52 917||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|7.||Skierniewice||48 634||Rawa Voivodeship||Łódź Voivodeship||Former private bishop town of Poland.|
|8.||Otwock||45 044||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|9.||Piaseczno||44 869||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland, part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|10.||Ciechanów||44 797||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|11.||Żyrardów||41 096||Rawa Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship|
|12.||Mińsk Mazowiecki||39 880||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|13.||Wołomin||37 505||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|14.||Sochaczew||37 480||Rawa Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|15.||Ząbki||31 884||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|16.||Mława||30 880||Płock Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|17.||Grodzisk Mazowiecki||29 907||Rawa Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former private town of the Mokronoski family, part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|18.||Łowicz||29 420||Rawa Voivodeship||Łódź Voivodeship||Temporary de facto capital of Poland in years 1572–1573, former private bishop town.|
|19.||Marki||29 032||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|20.||Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki||28 287||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former private town, part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|21.||Wyszków||27 222||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former private bishop town of Poland.|
|22.||Piastów||22 826||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
|23.||Ostrów Mazowiecka||22 796||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|24.||Płońsk||22 494||Płock Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|25.||Zambrów||22 451||Masovian Voivodeship||Podlaskie Voivodeship||Former royal city of Poland.|
|26.||Grajewo||22 246||Masovian Voivodeship||Podlaskie Voivodeship||Northernmost and easternmost town of Mazovia. It borders the regions of Podlachia and Masuria.|
|27.||Kobyłka||20 855||Masovian Voivodeship||Masovian Voivodeship||Part of the Warsaw metropolitan area.|
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Masovian Voivodeship or Mazovia Province is the largest and most populous of the 16 Polish provinces, or voivodeships, created in 1999. It occupies 35,579 square kilometres (13,737 sq mi) of east-central Poland, and has 5,411,446 inhabitants. Its principal cities are Warsaw in the centre of the Warsaw metropolitan area, Radom (212,230) in the south, Płock (119,709) in the west, Siedlce (77,990) in the east, and Ostrołęka (52,071) in the north. The capital of the voivodeship is the national capital, Warsaw.
Gniezno is a city in central-western Poland, about 50 kilometres east of Poznań, with 68,943 inhabitants making it the sixth-largest city in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. One of the Piast dynasty's chief cities, it was the first historical capital of Poland in the 10th century and early 11th century, it was mentioned in 10th-century sources, possibly including the Dagome Iudex, as the capital of Piast Poland. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Gniezno is the primate of Poland, making it the country's ecclesiastical capital. It has belonged since 1999 to the Greater Poland Voivodeship, and is the administrative seat of Gniezno County (powiat).
Płock is a city in central Poland, on the Vistula river. It is in the Masovian Voivodeship, having previously been the capital of the Płock Voivodeship (1975–1998). According to the data provided by GUS on 31 December 2019 there were 119,425 inhabitants in the city. Its full ceremonial name, according to the preamble to the City Statute, is Stołeczne Książęce Miasto Płock. It is used in ceremonial documents as well as for preserving an old tradition.
Łowicz is a town in central Poland with 28,811 inhabitants (2016). It is situated in the Łódź Voivodeship ; previously, it was in Skierniewice Voivodeship (1975–1998). Together with a nearby station of Bednary, Łowicz is a major rail junction of central Poland, where the line from Warsaw splits into two directions - towards Poznań, and Łódź. Also, the station Łowicz Main is connected through a secondary-importance line with Skierniewice.
Ciechanów(listen) is a town in north-central Poland. As of 2018, it had 44,209 inhabitants. From 1975 to 1998, it was the capital of the Ciechanów Voivodeship. Since 1999, it has been situated in the Masovian Voivodeship.
South Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1793 to 1807.
Kuyavia, also referred to as Cuyavia, is a historical region in north-central Poland, situated on the left bank of Vistula, as well as east from Noteć River and Lake Gopło. It is divided into three traditional parts: north-western, central, and south-eastern.
Brześć Kujawski Voivodeship was a unit of administrative division and local government in the Kingdom of Poland, from the 14th century to the Second Partition of Poland in 1793. It was part of the historic Kujawy region and the Greater Polish prowincja. Originally, its name was Brzesc Voivodeship, but after the 1569 Union of Lublin, it was renamed into Brzesc Kujawski Voivodeship, to distinguish it from Lithuanian Brest Litovsk Voivodeship.
Duchy of Masovia was a district principality and a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Poland, existing during the Middle Ages. The state was centered in Mazovia in the northeastern Kingdom of Poland, and during its existence, its capital was located in the Płock, Czersk and Warsaw. It was formed in 1138 from the territories of the Kingdom of Poland, following its fragmentation, that was started by the testament of Bolesław III Wrymouth. The country existed in the years: 1138–1275, 1294–1310, 1370–1381, and 1495–1526, between that time, going through fragmentations of its territory into smaller duchies and its unification. The states formed during its fragmentation were duchies of Kuyavia, Dobrzyń, Czersk, Płock, Warsaw, Rawa and Belz. In 1526, the country was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland.
The Masovian dialect, also written Mazovian, is the dialect of Polish spoken in Mazovia and historically related regions, in northeastern Poland. It is the most distinct of the Polish dialects and the most expansive.
Masovian Voivodeship was an administrative region of the Kingdom of Poland, and of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, from the 1526 to the partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1795). Together with Płock and Rawa Voivodeships, it formed the province of Masovia. Its area was 23,200 km2., divided into ten lands. The seat of the voivode was Warsaw, local sejmiks also convened in Warsaw, at St. Martin's church.
Nowogród is a small town in northeastern Poland located about 13 kilometres away from the city of Łomża, in Łomża County, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, with 1,998 inhabitants (2004). It is centered on the area known as Skansen Kurpiowski which is an open-air museum, with several examples of mostly 19th century architecture from the region of Kurpie. The museum is dedicated to local Kurpie culture and is a popular folk tourist attraction. It was established by Adam Chętnik in 1927, and now features over 3000 items.
Dobrzyń Land is a historic region, with the capital in the town of Dobrzyń nad Wisłą, in central-northern Poland, within the Greater Poland, between Mazovia and Prussia. It lies northeast of the Vistula River, south of the Drwęca, and west of the Skrwa. The territory approximately corresponds with the present-day powiats of Lipno, Rypin, and half of Golub-Dobrzyń within the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, although it encompasses parts of other counties as well. Totally, it has about 3,000 km2 and 200,000 inhabitants.
Congress Poland was subdivided several times from its creation in 1815 until its dissolution in 1918. Congress Poland was divided into departments, a relic from the times of the French-dominated Duchy of Warsaw. In 1816 the administrative divisions were changed to forms that were more traditionally Polish: voivodeships, obwóds and powiats. Following the November Uprising, the subdivisions were again changed in 1837 to bring the subdivisions closer to the structure of the Russian Empire when guberniyas (governorates) were introduced. In this way, Congress Poland was gradually transformed into the "Vistulan Country". Over the next several decades, various smaller reforms were carried out, either changing the smaller administrative units or merging/splitting various guberniyas.
Kurpie is one of a number of ethnic regions in Poland, noted for its unique traditional customs, such as its own types of traditional costume, traditional dance and distinctive type of architecture and livelihoods. Kurpie is also the name of the people of this culture.
Czersk is a settlement in the administrative district of Gmina Góra Kalwaria, within Piaseczno County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It lies approximately 2 kilometres (1 mi) south-east of Góra Kalwaria, 19 km (12 mi) south-east of Piaseczno, and 33 km (21 mi) south-east of Warsaw. The village also lies on the Czersk Lake, which is an oxbow lake of the Vistula.
Chełmno land is a historical region, located in central-northern Poland.
National costumes of Poland vary by region. They are not worn in daily life but at folk festivals, folk weddings, religious holidays, harvest festivals and other special occasions. The costumes may reflect region and sometimes social or marital status.
Łomża Land, named after the town of Łomża, was an administrative unit (ziemia) of both the Kingdom of Poland and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was part of Masovian Voivodeship, and existed from the 14th century until the Partitions of Poland. Łomża Land was the largest province of the historic region of Mazovia.
Greater Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska, is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief and largest city is Poznań followed by Kalisz, the oldest city in Poland.