Ostrow Mazowiecka is a town in the Biala Forest, located by the route to Masuria region. It may boast of a rich history and tradition and monuments connected with them. You ought to visit Ostrow and get to know its unique character.
The etymology of the name “ostrow” or “ostrowa” is not known. Some think it used to define a forest, i.e. 60 wild beehives and others claim that it meant a ladder set on the top of a conifer, on which a beekeeper climbed to wild beehives.
Ostrow Mazowiecka is a small, but listed town. Among its registered monuments are: the church of the Assumption of Mary from the second half of the 19th century, the wooden chapel from 1830, the 19th-century-old park and the neo-baroque town hall from 1927.
Cultural activity is performed by Ostrow’s Culture House, which organises numerous concerts, exhibitions and shows. It performs also the function of a cinema and screens movies in its auditorium. Irrespective of the Culture House, the cultural activity is performed also by the so called Scena Kotlownia (English: Boiler Stage) on which amateur and professional shows with famous Polish actors take place.
An important place for tourists in Ostrow is Wojciech Bogumil Jastrzebowski’s bike trail (established in 2005), which runs from the pond in Ostrow Mazowiecka to the beach in Brok, through such picturesque places as the forester’s lodge Antonowo, Biala Forest and ruins of Plock Bishops’ Castle.
Ostrow Mazowiecka is a town and seat of the county in the Masovian Voivodeship, populated by approximately 22,500.
The town is an important transport hub as it lies at the crossing of the country road no. 8 (the future expressway Via Baltica) and a few local roads. Also, in the neighbourhood there run numerous roads of international, national and regional importance.
The first records about Ostrow Mazowiecka are from 1414. 20 years later it received town charter from Boleslaw IV of Warsaw.
In the 16th century the town began to grow, which was caused by Anna Radziwill’s giving the town the privilege of organising 4 fairs a year and one bazaar a week. Moreover, after Sigismund I the Old had annexed the Masovia to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in 1526, the town’s culture and trade boosted. In the second half of the 16th century Ostrow was populated by over 3 thousand people, which was a lot back then.
A golden era for Ostrow ended with the 17th century and numerous wars which broke out then. The following years were a slow process of recovering.
The WW1 did not affect the town’s development negatively, but the Second World War caused a lot of damages and people’s suffering. The occupation was one of the most tragic periods in the history of Ostrow. Local Jews were massively executed, sent to ghettos in Warsaw and Lomza and later to Treblinka extermination camp. In 1941, in Grady and Komorow (the neighbouring towns), Germans created camps for Soviet prisoners of war.
After the war the town was rebuilt and many factories were erected. At present Ostrow Mazowiecka is a fast-developing town with numerous small and middle-size companies and a few big ones.