Aerial view of downtown Ostrów Wielkopolski
|County||Ostrów Wielkopolski County|
|Gmina||Ostrów Wielkopolski (urban gmina)|
|Town rights||15th century|
|• Mayor||Beata Klimek|
|• Total||41.9 km2 (16.2 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||175 m (574 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||123 m (404 ft)|
|• Total||71,931 (53rd)|
|• Density||1,730/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
63-400 to 63-417
|Area code(s)||+48 62|
Ostrów Wielkopolski ( [ˈɔstruf vʲɛlkɔˈpɔlskʲi] ) (often abbreviated Ostrów Wlkp., formerly called simply Ostrów, German : Ostrowo, Latin: Ostrovia) is a city in west-central Poland with 72,364 inhabitants (2018), situated in the Greater Poland Voivodeship; the seat of Ostrów Wielkopolski County. It is the fifth-largest city in the voivodehip after Poznań, Kalisz, Konin and Piła.
Recently, a small fortified dwelling dating from the 10th century was discovered on the north-east side of the town's limits. An archeological excavation is now in progress. It was part of Poland since the establishment of the state in the 10th century.
Ostrów received town rights in 1404 but the economic stagnation caused by fires, wars, and a weak 16th-century nobility, led to the town’s officials dropping its town status in 1711. Administratively it was located in the Kalisz Voivodeship in the Greater Poland Province of the Polish Crown. In 1714, one of the nobles of Ostrów, Jan Jerzy Przebendowski, intervened at the royal court, for the status to be reinstated. To help the city grow, new settlers were exempt from taxes for six years. By the power of Grand Crown Marshal Franciszek Bielinski, the town received its status back with greater privileges. Another noble family, the Radziwiłł family took patronage over the town and looked over its many investments. The care of the town’s owners, work of its people, and dedication of its officials, as well as its location, favored the town’s continuous growth.
During the Second Partition of Poland, in 1793, the town was annexed by Kingdom of Prussia. Back under Polish rule as part of the short-lived Duchy of Warsaw between 1807 and 1815, it was re-annexed by Prussia, to be included within the initially autonomous Grand Duchy of Poznań in 1815. The cloth industry prospered in Ostrów until 1825, when Russia imposed tariffs on imported cloths, as a result of which many textile manufacturers moved east to the Russian Partition of Poland.In 1828 local noble Antoni Radziwiłł funded the construction of a new town hall. In 1845 the Royal Catholic Gymnasium was established, a significant Polish school in the Prussian Partition of Poland, which as the I Liceum Ogólnokształcące remains one of the most renowned high schools in Greater Poland. Ostrów then became an important center of Polish education, press and publishing in the region. Among the local Polish elites were Antoni Bronikowski, an outstanding Hellenist who translated the works of Plato, Homer, Thucydides and Xenophon into Polish, and poet Anastazy Cywiński . The establishment of a railroad hub in Ostrów was a vital turning point in its development, helping to lend the town prominent status on the local and national scene. In 1875 the first railway connections were opened, with Poznań and Kluczbork. The Primate of Poland Cardinal Mieczysław Halka-Ledóchowski was imprisoned in the local prison for two years by the Prussians, before they eventually expelled him from the country. After Poland regained independence, he was honored with a monument in the city.
Ostrów was an important center of Polish resistance and national liberation movements.One of the town’s historic episodes was the so-called Republic of Ostrów (Republika Ostrowska), which was the citizens’ upheaval of 1918. No blood was shed at that upheaval and all political powers were taken over from the Prussian authorities. The anniversary of the upheaval, November 10, is celebrated as the official Day of the City of Ostrów Wielkopolski. The first Polish mayor of Ostrów after regaining independence was Stefan Rowiński , one of the leading independence activists and publishers in Ostrów before 1918. In the interbellum, Ostrów was one of the fastest growing towns: the number of inhabitants doubled, showy houses were built, as well as new schools, stadiums and a swimming pool. Three new villa district were founded, and a modern railcar manufacturing (Fabryka Wagon) began. In 1934 the city limits were widely expanded and the villages of Stare Kamienice , Zębców , Wenecja and Krępa became new districts of Ostrów.
During the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II, the Einsatzgruppe III entered the city on September 7-9, 1939 to commit various crimes against Poles, and also the SS-Totenkopf-Standarte Brandenburg operated in the city.During the German occupation of Poland, local Poles were subjected to mass arrests, imprisonment, deportations to Nazi concentration camps, expulsions, forced labour and massacres.
In late 1939 and early 1940, many Poles were arrested during the Intelligenzaktion , then imprisoned in Kalisz and murdered in large massacres in the Winiary forest near Kalisz.Among the victims were activists, school principals, former participants of the Polish Greater Poland uprising (1918–19) against Germany, and pre-war mayor Stanisław Musielak. The Germans also established a Nazi prison for Poles in Ostrów. Further mass arrests of around 400 Poles from the county were carried out in April-May 1940, and many of the victims were then imprisoned in the local prison. Teachers from Ostrów were among Polish teachers murdered in the Mauthausen concentration camp. A Nazi German labor camp, Staatspolizeistelle Litzmannstadt Arbeitserziehungslager Ostrowo, operated within the town's limits, where 193 people died.
The Germans carried out first expulsions of Poles in October 1939, focusing on owners of bakeries, cafes, workshops and large apartments, which were then handed over to German colonists as part of the Lebensraum policy, while expelled Poles were held in a transit camp in nearby Nowe Skalmierzyce for several weeks, and then deported to the General Government (German-occupied central Poland).Further 160 Poles were expelled in December 1939 to the Radom District of the General Government. Also a transit camp for Poles expelled from nearby villages was established in the local church. Further expulsions of Poles were carried out in 1940–1941.
The town was one of the major Polish conspiracy centers in the Greater Poland region. In 1941, after the Gestapo's crackdown on the headquarters of the Poznań branch of the underground army Union for Armed Struggle-ZWZ, the headquarters were moved to Ostrów. From here the re-structure of the Poznań region of the Union was conducted. Ostrów was liberated from German occupation on January 23, 1945.
After the war Ostrów Wielkopolski was part of the Poznań Voivodeship, and from 1975 to 1998 it was the second largest city of the Kalisz Voivodeship (behind Kalisz). In 1979 Ostrów's city limits were widely expanded for the second time, including the former villages Pruślin, Szczygliczka, Zacharzew, Piaski, Stary Staw and Nowy Staw as new districts.
Ostrów has a well-preserved city center, with such sights as:
Places of interest outside the city center include:
From 5 July to 20 July 2013 Ostrów Wielkopolski hosted the 17th European Gliding Championships. Local pilot Łukasz Błaszczyk took a bronze medal in the Club Class.
Ostrów Wielkopolski is twinned with:
Greater Poland Voivodeship, also known as Wielkopolska Voivodeship, Wielkopolska Province, or Greater Poland Province, is a voivodeship, or province, in west-central Poland. It was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Poznań, Kalisz, Konin, Piła and Leszno Voivodeships, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. The province is named after the region called Greater Poland or Wielkopolska(listen). The modern province includes most of this historic region, except for some western parts.
Kalisz ( is a city in central Poland with 100,246 inhabitants making it the second-largest city in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. It is the capital city of the Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of Greater Poland, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce.
Września is a town in west-central Poland with 28,600 inhabitants (1995). It is situated in the Września County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, previously in Poznań Voivodeship (1975–1998), on the Wrześnica River.
Środa Wielkopolska is a town in western-central Poland, situated in the Greater Poland Voivodeship, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Poznań, with 22,001 inhabitants (2009). It is the seat of Środa Wielkopolska County, and of Gmina Środa Wielkopolska.
Nakło nad Notecią is a town in northern Poland on the river Noteć with 23,687 inhabitants (2007). Since 1999, it has been in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. It was in Bydgoszcz Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998. It is the seat of Nakło County, and also of Gmina Nakło nad Notecią. It is located in the ethnocultural region of Krajna.
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Turek is a town in central Poland with 31,282 inhabitants as of 2009. It is the capital of Turek County.
Gostyń is a town in western Poland, seat of the Gostyń County and Gmina Gostyń in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. According to 30 June 2004 data its population was 20,746.
Kościan is a town on the Obra canal in west-central Poland, with a population of 23 952 inhabitants as of June 2014. Situated in the Greater Poland Voivodeship, previously in Leszno Voivodeship (1975–1998), it is the capital of Kościan County. Polish nobleman Ignacy Wyssogota Zakrzewski was born nearby.
Leszno(listen) is a historic city in western Poland, within the Greater Poland Voivodeship. It is the seventh-largest city in the province with an estimated population of 64,197, as of 2017. Previously, it was the capital of the Leszno Voivodeship (1975–1998) and is currently the seat of Leszno County.
Śrem is a town on the Warta river in central Poland. It has been in the Greater Poland Voivodeship since 1999. From 1975 to 1998 it was part of the Poznań Voivodeship. As of 1995, the population of Śrem was 29,800.
Odolanów is a town in the Greater Poland Voivodeship of Poland, about 10 kilometres south-west from Ostrów Wielkopolski, with over 5000 inhabitants.
Mieczysław Halka-Ledóchowski, was born in Górki in Russian controlled Congress Poland to Count Josef Ledóchowski and Maria Zakrzewska. He was uncle to Saint Ursula Ledóchowska, the Blessed Maria Teresia (Theresa) Ledóchowska and Father Włodzimierz Ledóchowski, General Superior of the Society of Jesus.
Pniewy is a town in Szamotuły County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland, with 7,477 inhabitants as of 2004.
Wysoka is a town in Piła County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland, with 2,760 inhabitants (2004). The current Mayor is Marek Madej.
Kcynia is a town in Nakło County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland, with 4,712 inhabitants (2004). It is located in the Pałuki ethnographic region in the northern part of historic Greater Poland.
Władysławów is a village in Turek County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Władysławów. It lies approximately 10 kilometres (6 mi) north of Turek and 111 km (69 mi) east of the regional capital Poznań.
Władysław Wawrzyniak was a Polish military commander, holding the rank of major.
The Łódź–Tuplice railway is a 388 kilometre-long railway line in Poland running between Łódź Kaliska station and the Germany–Poland border between Tuplice, Poland, and Forst (Lausitz), Germany. It is commonly used for passenger and freight services.
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