Bełżyce

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Bełżyce
Town center
Town center
Coat of arms of Bełżyce
Coat of arms
Bełżyce is located in Poland
Bełżyce
Bełżyce
Coordinates: 51°11′N 22°16′E / 51.183°N 22.267°E / 51.183; 22.267
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Lublin Voivodeship
County Lublin County
Gmina Bełżyce
Town rights 1417-1869, 1958
Government
 • Mayor Ryszard Góra
Area
 • Total 23.46 km2 (9.06 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Total 7,054
 • Density 300/km2 (780/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 24-200
Area code(s) +48 81
Car plates LUB
Website http://www.belzyce.pl

Bełżyce [bɛu̯ˈʐɨt͡sɛ] ( ) is a town in eastern Poland, in the Lublin Voivodeship, in Lublin County, and about 20 km to the west of the city of Lublin. Bełżyce belongs to Lesser Poland.

History[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

Presumably in the early 13th century one of minor royal castles was situated in area of present city. Soon building was transferred to local magnates, who provided ability to settle a town according to Magdeburg Rights in 1349. In 1416 town settlement process began and next year king Władysław Jagiełło gave an official document,[1][2] allowing Bełżyce to improve. Firstly, town was populated by farmers, craftsmen, merchants and alcohol producers. First, a wooden church was built and a Catholic parish of St. Paul's conversion[3] was created. Since 1432, while two new privileges acquired, major growth of town has been noticeable – representatives of four different religions lived here together. Catholics and eastern Christians as farmers, protestant craftsmen and Jewish merchants.[4]

Protestant domination[edit]

The 16th and 17th centuries were a period of Protestant influence in the area. Bełżyce became Protestant, Polish Brethren centre of Lesser Poland.[5] In 1558 a Catholic church was given away and transferred into a Protestant one by Andrzej Bzicki, the town mayor. The Protestant “regime” was so well developed, that the mayor issued a directive to residents to take part in services under the punishment of fine or even imprisonment. In 1575, an intellectual religious exchange took place between Rabbi Jacob Nachman of Belzyce and Martin Czechowic of Lublin. The next two centuries were a period of permanent religious riot (with Catholic attempt to retake the church in about 1630), the Cossacks assaults while Khmelnytsky’s uprising (massacre of Jews), fires and plagues of cholera and typhoid fever. A new Catholic church was built in 1670 (the old one was finally given back in 1654[6]) and 113 years later there are no more Protestants in the town, as their church burned in 1783.

Partition period[edit]

In 1796 while Partitions of Poland Bełżyce was acquired by Austrian Empire as well as whole West Galicia. Since 1810 it had been in borders of Duchy of Warsaw and since 1816 – of Congress Poland. 19th century was a period of changes, as a castle was transformed into a distillery.[7] In 1860 the city occupied nearly 950 ha with about 150 buildings. After the January Uprising Bełżyce lost its town rights for nearly 100 years. Two major fires affected the city – first, in 1866, which destroyed 25 buildings, second, in 1913. Almost whole town was destroyed, which caused forming a fire brigade. In 1917 3666 people populates the town, mostly of Jewish nation.

20th century[edit]

20th century affected Bełżyce as well as the rest of the country. In 1939 town was taken by Nazi German Army. Between 1940 and 1943 there was a ghetto, collecting Jews from whole country and abroad, Germany too. In total, 3500 people (60% of residents) died in ghetto, another few thousands was transported to concentration camp Majdanek. At local cemetery there is a collective tomb of those, who died those days. Second half of 20th century brought little improvements to Bełżyce city. In 1958 town rights was restored. In 1971 “Warmasz” (Warsaw Groceries Machines’ Factory) company opened their branch factory in Bełżyce, later substituted by a creamery equipment factory "Spomasz".[8]

Historic Sites[edit]

  • A castle that was built in 1417, captured by the Cossack forces of Bohdan Khmelnytsky in 1648, and, since Second World War, has been used as a dairy farm.
  • A late Renaissance church.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°11′N 22°17′E / 51.183°N 22.283°E / 51.183; 22.283