Poland

Czechowice-Dziedzice

Czechowice-Dziedzice is a town in the southern Poland, in the Silesian Voivodeship, in Bielsko County. It is one of the largest industrial centres in Silesia. There are a refinery, a black coal mine, a metal mill, a match factory as well as an electro technical equipment factory operating here. Czechowice-Dziedzice is, however, not only a typical, full-of-factories Silesian town. It may boast of many interesting monuments and therefore it is an unquestionable attraction for history lovers.

 

Czechowice-Dziedzice TOURISM

Czechowice-Dziedzice may boast of a great number of monuments. The most interesting of them is undoubtedly the late-Baroque St. Catherine Church erected in between 1722 and 1729 and with a tower from 1800. Other worthy of interest places in Czechowice are: Kotulinskis’ Palace from 1729, a tenement house from the 18th century in Legionow Street, St. Joseph retreat house, i.e. a Jesuit pastoral centre, the building of the railway station from 1855 as well as churches (Mary Help of Christians Church built in between 1882 and 1890 and Our Lady Queen of Poland Church from 1939).

Czechowice-Dziedzice is also an ideal place for sport enthusiasts. You will find here many places to practice your favourite sports, for example three swimming pools, an ice rink, a soccer stadium as well as bike trails (the green Vistula Valley, the blue Podraj Valley and the orange Ilownica Valley). The local trails are in total 56 km long. Additionally, there is 9.4 km long International Bike Trail (Krakow-Moravia-Vienna Greenways) running through Czechowice-Dziedzice.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Czechowice-Dziedzice is a town in the Silesian Voivodeship, in Bielsko County. It lies in the Upper Vistula Valley, where the Biala, the Ilownica and the Vistula cross. Due to the discovery of black coal deposits, the KWK Silesia mine was opened here. In the neighbourhood of Czechowice-Dziedzice salt-water springs were found. They are used in the spa in Goczalkowice (8 km from Czechowice-Dziedzice). Also in Goczalkowice you will find a water dam, which forms the so called Goczalkowice Reservoir.

 

HISTORY

Czechowice-Dziedzice were for the first time mentioned in Wroclaw bishopric’s paybook of Bishop Henry of Wierzbno in the beginning of the 14th century. The book mentions Chotowitz theuthonico and Chotowitz polonico settlements, i.e. Czechowice with German law and Czechowice with Polish law. The first parish on the territory of Czechowice was the one of St. Catherine (it came into being in between 1342 and 1447) and it had 90 parishioners.

Already in the 14th century Czechowice were a noble village. At the turn of the 14th century brothers Mikolaj and Zbroslaw became owners of the village and in 1430s it became a property of Mikolaj Czelo. As time went by the Czelo family became one of the most prominent noble families of Cieszyn duchy. After the death of Henry Czelo in 1500, the village was divided into parts which were given to his sons. Later, however, the sole owner of the village became Kacper Czelo. Both the Czelos and the Sokołowskis from Sokolowice, the new owners of Czechowice, were Catholics and therefore during their reigns the St. Catherine Church was Catholic. In 1675 the owner of the village became Fryderyk Aleksander baron Kotulinski from Kotulin.

By the half of the 19th century Czechowice and Dziedzice were small cottages on the edge of Cieszyn Duchy. The further development of the villages was connected with local railways. Dziedzice got the first railway connection in 1855, at first with Bogumin and Bielsko and later with Oswiecim, Krakow and Lviv. In 1867 Dziedzice got another railway connection with Pszczyna (which at that time belonged to Prussia) and in 1889, in order to boost transport, a new Bogumin-Dziedzice railway line was built. It caused a rapid industrial development of Dziedzice. By the railway lane the first large industrial factories were built. They were: a railway sleeper factory (1890), the Schodnica petroleum oil refinery (1896), the Cynkownia metal mill factory (1896), and Silesia black coal mine (1900) among others. At the same time there was a great influx of people to Dziedzice. The place became a very important Polish cultural centre.

In 1920 both villages were joined to Poland. Dziedzice was still developing very fast, which boosted also the development of neighbouring Czechowice. At that time such enterprises as the Czechowice factory (1921), the Clement Zahm cable factory (1928) as well as match, machine and bike factories came into existence. The inhabitants were culturally active. A few culture houses and cinemas were built and some choirs and amateur theatre stages were created.

During the German occupation of Poland Czechowice and Dziedzice were joined to the Third Reich. Compulsory exiles, expropriations, round-ups and deportations to concentration camps began. They were followed by death sentences and executions. In 1940 by-that-time-separate communes, Czechowice and Dziedzice, were joined and given a German name Tschechowitz. In 1942 the Polenlager Tschechowitz-Dzieditz concentration camp was created in the town. It was meant for Poles living in Silesia.

On 12 February 1945 the Red Army came and freed the town. The commune quickly recovered from the desolations caused by WW2. At first there existed one commune, Czechowice-Dziedzice, but is was quickly divided into two units. The two units were again joined on 1 January 1951 and the present name, Czechowice-Dziedzice, has been in force since 1958.

The town’s symbols are strictly connected with its history. The coat of arms is blue and presents a half of the Silesian eagle and St. Andrew Bobola, the town’s patron. The town’s flag is also blue but has a white stripe below. The stripe symbolises catastrophes which took place in Czechowice-Dziedzice in the 20th century. They were a fire in the refinery in 1971 and two mine catastrophes, the first in 1974 and the second in 1979. As many as 98 people died then.

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