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The city’s history

The largest city in the Klodzko region, Klodzko is the region’s tourist and recreational centre. The attractiveness of the city results from its excellent communication situation; from its outstanding accommodation for tourists, who can go trekking on nearby mountain trails or who wish to reach ski resorts in winter; from a vicinity of frequently visited health-resorts; from its fascinating history; from multiple historic sites as well as from engaging and diversified cultural events.

Throughout a millenium Klodzko was ruled by the Přemislids, the Luxembourgs, the Silesian Piasts, the Habsburgs, and the Hohenzollerns. The city belonged to the Czech, the Germans, and the Polish. The historic beginnings of Klodzko go as far back as the 10th century. Kosmas, a Czech chronicler, writes that, by a trade route that was one of the branches  of the amber trade route leading from the south of Europe to the Baltic Sea, on the Fortress Mountain also known as the Castle Mountain, there was situated here a fortified town already in 981. Below the fortified town there were built two settlements that in time transformed themselves into a city. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the town was a matter of feuds between the Polish and Czech rulers. The feuds ended with a peace treaty in 1137 and the Klodzko region became for a long time part of the Czech kingdom. It was sold, pledged or held in fee, being a separate administrative unit loosely attached to the Czech kingdom. Although there is no existing city-rights document of Klodzko, it is assumed that it was given city rights in between 1253 and 1278. The then reigning Czech king, Przemysl Ottokar II, gave Klodzko its coat of arms – a crowned lion with a forked tail standing on its hind legs. Already in the 13th century and afterwards in the 14th century, there came German settlers to Klodzko, thus changing the city’s ethnic character.

In the Middle Ages, as a result of the privileges given to merchants and craftsmen, Klodzko developed superbly and became an important centre for crafts and trade. By the end of the 12th century, there came to Klodzko Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. They engaged in pastoral work and founded the first school in the Klodzko region. In the middle of the 13th century, the Franciscans built a church and a monastery on the so called Sand Island. When the Prague archbishop, Arnost of Pardubice, brought canons regular to Klodzko in 1350 and founded for them a church and a monastery at the foot of the Castle Mountain, the city became an important cultural centre of the region.

The periods of Klodzko’s development were interrupted by numerous wars. The city suffered many damages during the Hussite Wars (the first half of the 15th century), then the war of the Czech crown in the second half of the 15th century, during the Thirty Years’ War (the first half of the 17th century), and the Silesian Wars (the 18th century). Besides wars, Klodzko was frequently hit by disasters: fires, floods, crop failures, famine and epidemics.

The granting of the status of an independent county to the Klodzko region by George of  Poděbrady, the king of the Czech kingdom and the lord of the Klodzko region, was an important event in its history.

In the 16th century, Klodzko altogether with the entire Czech kingdom became part of the hereditary lands of the Habsburgs. At that time there occurred major transformations of the religious life of the region due to the Reformation – by the end of the 16th century Lutherans constituted  a decisive majority here. It was a much auspicious period in the history of Klodzko. The city’s town hall, tenements and defensive walls were rebuilt then. There developed trade, smithery, brewing, and the production of cloth. The end to the prosperity was put by the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), which caused an economic decline of the city for many years.

During the Counter-Reformation there arrived in Klodzko the Jesuits. They built a college (a monastery building and a secondary school today) and a monastery school (currently The Museum of the Klodzko Region), and rebuilt the Church of the Assumption in a Baroque fashion. Houses and tenements also underwent modernization. The city’s landscape became then enriched by numerous figures of saints placed beside roads, at bridges, and in yards.

After the Silesian Wars, separated from the Habsburg monarchy, Klodzko became part of Prussia. This was followed by the city’s intense growth and by the fortress’s modernization. In 1807, during the Napoleonic Wars, Klodzko was besieged by the French. After the signing of the Prussian-French treaty, despite its surrender, the city continued to be part of Prussia.

 In the second half of the 19th century, Klodzko witnessed an economic growth, its intensity becoming even more noticeable when the fortress lost its military function, and when in 1877 a ban on building in the fortress area was lifted.  In the years 1880-1911, the city’s gates and parts of the city’s defensive walls underwent a demolition. There were then built new suburbs, a municipal power station and many public buildings constructed in fashionable, historical styles, such as the building of the post office, of the court and the bank. This was followed by an industrial growth of the city. Klodzko was reached by the railway. More and more tourists came to visit the city.

During the World War I and World War II, Klodzko escaped damages, and, as a result of the decision of the triumphant world powers, it became the territory of Poland.

Klodzko boasts an imposing number of architectural sites. Raised in the place of the former fortified town and situated on the Fortress Mountain, a fortress is one of its biggest attractions; other major attractions include a fourteenth-century Gothic bridge decorated with figures of saints dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and a splendid Gothic-Baroque Church of the Assumption. The city’s marketplace with tenements built throughout several centuries, a Marian column from 1680, a Baroque fountain dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, a town hall built in the place of the previous town hall that burned down in the second half of the 19th century, and narrow charming streets are Klodzko’s real gems.

A walk down a six-hundred-metre Underground Tourist Trail – a remnant after multi-level excavation corridors and halls dug under the city by its dwellers – is indeed impressive. During the periods of peace, the cellars were used as storerooms, and in times of war – as shelters. Neglected for many centuries, the underground corridors suffered a construction disaster in the 1950s. Thanks to the restorers’ work stretching over many years, the underground corridors and halls were brought back to their previous condition; a result of the restorers’ work, spreading below the city’s centre, was an underground trail, which in the years 2010-2011 underwent a thorough modernization. Restored and adapted for multimedia purposes, it is now a major tourist attraction.

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Write to us

57-300 Klodzko,
Pl. B.Chrobrego1
tel. +48 074 865 46 00
fax: +48 074 867 40 62
E-mail: umklod@um.klodzko.pl

NIP: 883-10-06-050

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