Ostrow Wielkopolski is one of the biggest cities in the southern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship. It is the region’s significant economic centre, in which electro mechanical, wood and chemical industries develop. Ostrow is also the cultural and sport centre. There are five universities and many sport clubs here. The city also belongs to Kalisz-Ostrow agglomeration. Because of its good location, Ostrow Wielkopolski attracts tourists from both Poland and Germany.
Ostrow Wielkopolski is populated by 72 494 people and covers the area of 42,39 km2. The city council decided St. Stanislaus of Szczepanow to be the city’s patron.
Ostrow Wielkopolski has a lot of tourist attractions to offer. It has an interesting urban arrangement, probably from the early 18th century. We may admire here many tenements and villas from the 19th and 20th centuries built in a spirit of historicism and Art Nouveau. Ostrow may boast of many monuments. The greatest and best preserved is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland church. Worthy of interest is also the St. Stanislaus of Szczepanow church built in the Neo-Roman style. In Ostrow we may also find a Moorish Revival-style synagogue. It is the only one such synagogue in Poland. It was built in the second half of the 19th century in the suburbs of then-Jewish district.
Ostrow Wielkopolski is also a place with many green areas. Parks, squares and forests constitute 10% of the whole city area. Within Piaski Forest there is Piaski-Szczygliczka recreational centre. In 2008 an adventure park was built here. Moreover, in Ostrow there are numerous bike trails and bike races are often held here.
Many cultural events take place in Ostrow. The best known are: the Museum Jazz Festival, the International Biennale of small graphic form and ex-libris, and the Reggae in Piaski (the party for young people).
Ostrow Wielkopolski is a city in the west of Poland, in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. It is the capital of Ostrow County and lies on Kalisz Plateau, by the Olobok River, at the foot of the High Hills (Polish: Wzgórza Wysockie). Ostrow Wielkopolski is situated approximately 100 km from Poznan, Wroclaw and Lodz. Such a close proximity to these agglomerations makes the city a significant transport node. Moreover, country roads no. 25, 11 and 36 and the county road from Odolany cross in Ostrow. The city has also a good railway connections with Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Wroclaw, Katowice and Szczecin.
The first records about Ostrow are from 1404. At this time there were several attempts made to give the place town rights. It was, however, too small and rural. Moreover, Ostrow’s development was hindered by numerous calamities, i.e. plagues, fires and wars. Only in 1714, the owner of Ostrow, Jan Jerzy Przebendowski, issued the founding act for Ostrow. This resulted in the town’s receiving greater privileges. Originally rural, Ostrow Wielkopolski began to develop into a significant trade and cloth making centre. More and more people came to Ostrow; the town started to grow.
In the second half of the 18th century, the Radziwill family took patronage over the town and Ostrow became the capital of Odolany County. The Radziwills were the founders of many operations in Ostrow. It was while their reigns that the town hall, the Protestant church and the synagogue were erected. Later the hospital, the printing office and lithography works came into existence. In 1845 the Royal Catholic School was opened. At the time of Partitions, the town was an important source for nationalist movements.
In the 19th century Ostrow Wielkopolski became an important transport and economic centre. In 1875 a railroad connection with Poznan and Kluczbork was established. The town’s inhabitants were active during the Spring of Nations and the Greater Poland Uprising. In 1918, before the Uprising, the so called Republic of Ostrow (Polish: Republika Ostrowska) was formed, as a result of which the town became independent from the Prussian authorities.
After WW1, there was an economic boom. In 1920s Wagon factory was built here. It was the largest industrial works in the southern Greater Poland. Also, numerous public use buildings came into existence (the Polish Bank, stadiums, schools).
During World War II, the city was a centre of resistance movement. Ostrow quickly recovered after the war. Electro mechanical industry began to develop. Zaklady Naprawcze Taboru Kolejowego (i.e. a railway facility, the primary function of which is the repair of railway vehicles or their components), Zaklady Automatyki Przemyslowej (i.e. the facility dealing with industrial automation) and Zakłady Sprzętu Mechanicznego (English: Mechanical Equipment Factory) came into being. The administrative reform conducted in 1975 lowered the status of Ostrow; however, the forming of self-governments in 1990 opened the door to the city’s development and growth. There were still investments in the industry and transport made but more attention was paid to the culture. Five universities came into existence and still new cultural and science initiatives are made.