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Rzeszów - a historic city
By Pogranicze Media
Published: 15.11.2010

   The oldest record about the city comes from 1354. On 19 January, the king Casimir III the Great granted the Rzeszów volost to a knight called Jan Pakosławicow from Strożyska - Półkozic coat of arms, merited in the wars with the Tatars. By the power of a royal privilege, the new owner,  who took on the name Rzeszowski, on a loessic hill- the area of today’s Old Market Square, nearby the two or three strongholds which existed there at that time, he established the town under the Magdeburg Law. Once the settlement’s borders were marked, a church, a market, and a cemetery were built on a small area of 1.5 sq km. Owing to Jan Rzeszowski, in 1363 a parish church operated in the town, and in 1406 - a parish school. The seat of the new owners was located in the Old Town. Rzeszów remained in private hands until the end of the 18th century. After the Rzeszowski family, the subsequent owners were: the Ligęza, the Ostrogski-Zasławski, and the Lubomirski families.
   In 1427, a fire ravaged the town, yet it was rebuilt. It was then that Rzeszów was again granted the location privilege under the Polish law and the right to store some commodities. The Rzeszów townsmen were also granted the privilege to sell beer, wine, and salt, as well as the permission to have crafts stalls and collect duties and tolls.
   With the granted privileges, and due to establishment of transport routes that ran through the town from Kraków to the Rus and from Lublin to today’s Slovakia and Hungary, the town strengthened its position as a trade centre in the second half of the 15th century. The craftsmanship developed, e.g. weaving, drapery, tailoring, metalwork, shoemaking, furriery, brewing, widely-known gold smothery, jewelry making.
                                                                                         Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza 
     In 1458, Rzeszów was des royed by the Vlachos and Tat ars, and then - in 1502 - once again by the Tatars. Despite recurring fires and invasions the town kept developing. It is possible that already from the end of the 15th century, and definitely from the mid-16th century, the Jews settled outside the town, to the east of the centre. They made their living from leasing of mills, craftsmanship, as well as from trading in wine, cloth, and linen. From the end of the 16th century until the mid-17th century, it was the town’s golden time - mainly during the times when Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza, married to Mikołaj’s daughter, Zofia Rzeszowska, was the new owner. Ligęza funded new municipal buildings, among others the town hall, and he launched the construction of a new defensive castle. Furthermore, he funded a hospital and an orphanage and he had the town surrounded with defensive ramparts. In 1624 - 1629, he sponsored the construction of a monastery of Bernadine monks.
                                                                               Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski
     In 1638, Rzeszów became the property of the Lubomirski family. In 1658, a famous high school - the Piarists College (today I High School) - was established in Rzeszów, sponsored by Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski. As a result of the wars in the mid-17th century and at beginning of the 18th century, as well as of fires, pandemics, and restriction of the liberties of Rzeszów citizens, craftsmen and merchants by the Lubomirski family, the city started to fall into decline.
   After the first partition, the town found itself within the Austrian rule and became the seat of an administrative district (Galicia) and then the seat of county. Another revival took place after 1844, when Rzeszów bought sovereignty from its contemporary owner, Jerzy Lubomirski, and a year later obtained the status of a free city. The revival of economy contributed in 1858 to the construction of the railway line from Dębica, which in 1863 was extended to Lvov. That was also the time when several industrial plants were set up in Rzeszów, e.g. farming equipment manufacture. In 1888, the first telephones were put into operation in Rzeszów, and in 1900 gas street lamps were installed. In 1911, the first power plant was launched and installation of the water-pipe network began. Sometime later, the streets were cobbled.
   After regaining independence in 1918, Rzeszów found itself within the Lwow Province
Translator: Asia Sierańska

The underground tourist route
    In 2002 a new constant exhibition of Rzeszów District Museum was launched - Museum of Rzeszów’s History, which presents exhibits concerning the history and fate of Rzeszów. Part of the exhibition is a huge tourist attraction of the town. It is created by many levels of cellars and dungeons under the Old Town of Rzeszów (some as deep as 10 meters). They were opened in spring 2001. A network of cellars and dungeons, connected with corridors stretches under the market and its neighboring mansions.

Old Town Synagogue and New Town Synagogue
 - dates from 16th century, in the times of Spytek Ligęza it performed an important function in the defensive system of the town. Presently, state Archive is situated here. In its vicinity, in historically important new Town area, a bigger New Town Synagogue was built in 17th century. Presently this synagogue houses the Artistic Exhibitions Centre.

Convent of the Piarist Fathers 
    Was funded by the Lubomirski family. Construction begun in 1642. In 1658 the Piarist Fathers opened one of the first schools in Poland here. Between 17th and 18th century the cloister and the school were both redesigned on the basis of the plan by a famous architect Tylman of Gameren. The former convent includes: Church of the Holy Cross (1644-1649), the cloister building (1644-1649) which today hosts the District Museum and a college building (1703-1704) - presently the 1st Secondary Comprehensive School.

The church of Observant Franciscans
    A monastery, which includes a church and a cloister building. The church was built in 1624-1629 from funds of Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza. It is a sanctuary of Our Lady of Rzeszów - the patroness of Rzeszów, with a miraculous figure dated from dated from 1475 - one of the most famous monuments of sacral architecture in town, and a renaissance altar, adorned with alabaster bass-relieves of Christ’s martyrdom. The church can also boast polychromes from 18th century. Until 1974 St.John of Dukla’s relics were kept here.

Rzeszów District Museum
 - was created as an initiative of Regional Association of Rzeszów Province in 1935. Its first custodian was a famous Resovian ethnographer and a great fan of the town, Franciszek Kotula. Since 1954 the museum is housed in a historic building complex that used to belong to Piarist Friars dated to 17th century. One of constant exhibition is “the Dąbski Gallery” - European paintings of 16th-19th century, an exhibition of the Polish painting, an exhibition “Historical Rzeszów craftsmanship”. In 1999 the museum published an album-catalogue “Polish painting 18th-20th century”. The works of art published there contain paintings of famous Polish painters, such as: Józef Chełmoński, jan Cybis, Stanisław I. Witkiewicz and many others.

The Parochial Fara Church
 - of St. Venceslav and St. Stanislus was constructed between14th and 15th century. Redesigned many times. Its today shape was obtained in 17th century. In spite of many architectural changes the church still boasts walls of  nave and presbytery from 15th century. There is a separate building of the belfry right next to the church, dated back to the beginnings of 18th century.

Secession Villas
    At Pod Kasztanami Avenuethere are some noteworthy villas: number 6 was built in 1903 to the design of engineer Hołubowicz. It is an eclectic construction with neo-baroque features, with a rich façade containing a niche with bust in 1899 in so called Swiss style by an architect Teofil Tekielski. Number 10 formerly called ”Under Owl” was constructed in 1900, also by Tekielski and also in Swiss style. The villa resembles a romantic castle. Its façade is decorated with the sun clock with a face in the design of sun.

The Lubomirski Castle
    History of Castle’s origin goes back to the times of Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza (between 16th and 17th century). Today’s image in style palazzo in fortezza was given to the castle by Hieronim Augustyn Lubomirski. Later it was modified by Karol Wiedemann, and since 1820 it continues to house the court of law.

of the Lubomirski’s
    Constructed in 17th century in accordance with the design of Tylman of  Gameren, it acted as summer residence of the Lubomirski family. It was redesigned by Wiedemannin years 1737-1746.
Mieczysław Kowal
translated by JustynaB
photo (mk, bo, zakapior)


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