Gothic Ratusz town hall in Chojna
|• Mayor||Adam Fedorowicz|
|• Total||12.12 km2 (4.68 sq mi)|
|• Density||590/km2 (1,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Area code(s)||+48 91|
Chojna pronounced [ˈxɔi̯na] (German: Königsberg in der Neumark; Kashubian: Czińsbarg; Latin: Regiomontanus Neomarchicus) is a small town in western Poland in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. It lies approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Szczecin.
High Middle Ages
From the 10th-12th centuries an early Pomeranian fortification, probably with a market, developed at the location of present-day Chojna. Because of its favorable location on trading routes leading to the principalities of Great Poland and the duchies of Pomerania, the settlement developed quickly. Duke Boguslaw I of Pomerania was entombed in the settlement's church after his death in 1187. After 1200 the settlement received Magdeburg rights from Duke Barnim I the Good. It was referred to as "Konigesberge" for the first time in 1244 and passed to the Bishopric of Brandenburg after its acquisition of part of the Neumark in 1252. Populated with German knights and colonists, the town's name "Konigesberge" evolved into the German name "Königsberg" ("King's Mountain"), with (in der Neumark) added to differentiate it from the much larger Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) in East Prussia. After the cession of the "terra Konigesberge" from the Bishops of Brandenburg to the Ascanian Margraves of Brandenburg, the town was granted the right to hold a market as well as regional legal jurisdiction, causing it to become the main town of the Neumark at that time.
Late Middle Ages
A parish church by existed by 1282, while an Augustian monastery was founded in 1290. From 1310 to 1329 the town experienced an economic boom linked to the grain trade, and received further market privileges. The town hall was built in 1320. Trade goods were shipped over the Oder and Röhricke rivers. During the 13th and 14th centuries a defensive wall was built around the town with numerous towers and three city gates (Schwedter Tor, Bernikower Tor, and Vierradener Tor — the latter demolished in the 19th century). From 1402 to 1454 the town was under the control of the Teutonic Knights after the pawning of the Neumark by the March of Brandenburg. The Church of St. Mary and the new town hall (1410) built during this time were some of the most aesthetically pleasing Gothic buildings in the Neumark.
The strong town withstood an attack by the Hussites in 1433 during the Hussite Wars. The town flourished economically during the German Renaissance beginning in the 15th century, but the majority of its population died from three plagues during the 16th and 17th centuries. It had several churches: the Augustinian monastery church, the Augustinian hospital church of the Holy Spirit, and the Churches of Saints Mary, Nicholas, George, and Gertrude. The town gradually converted to Lutheranism from 1539-1553 during the Protestant Reformation, resulting in the dissolution of the monastery in 1536. Its buildings were instead used as a hospital and school, while its church was used as a storehouse. During the Thirty Years' War, it was occupied at different times by the Imperial troops of Albrecht von Wallenstein and the Swedish troops of King Gustavus Adolphus, in the course of which the town was 52% destroyed. After the destruction of the Church of St. Mary's tower by a lightning bolt in 1682, reconstruction commenced until 1692.
Early modern age
In the church, a new Baroque pulpit was built in 1714, as well as an organ built by Joachim Wagner in 1734. The town began to revive economically after the foundation of the Kingdom of Prussia, becoming the seat of the government of the Neumark in 1759 during the Seven Years' War. In 1767 the Schwedter and Bernikower Gates were partially dismantled to provide stone for the construction of a military barracks at the former monastery. The town's inhabitants initially specialized in agriculture and forestry and later in the weaving of fine textiles. That industry declined, however with the onset of industrialization, around 1840. The place became the seat of the district Landkreis Königsberg Nm. in 1809 and part of the Province of Brandenburg in 1816. The town around became part of the German Empire in 1871 and flourished after being connected to a railway network in 1877. It also served as an educational and administrative center for the surrounding region.
World War II
In 1939 the Luftwaffe constructed an airfield near Königsberg (Neumark). A concentration camp was set up for the Polish slave labour. In January 1945 battles of the Eastern Front occurred in and around the town. The German population fled in haste warned about the mass rapes. On 4 February 1945 the Bürgermeister (mayor) was condemned to death by hanging by an SS court martial chaired by Otto Skorzeny, because he had fled without issuing a general evacuation order. On the same day the Soviet Red Army occupied the town. The entire city center with the Church of St. Mary and the town hall were burned to the ground by the Soviets on 16 February 1945. The town was 80 percent destroyed in the war. After the German capitulation, under border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference, the town became part of Poland. It was renamed Chojna, and was gradually repopulated by the Poles.
Vestiges of the war are still visible in some of Chojna's buildings. The foundation wall of the destroyed town hall was rebuilt for use as a cultural center, town library, and public house. The monastery was also reconstructed, while the marketplace was newly built. Reconstruction of the destroyed Marienkirche began in 1994 as a joint German-Polish cooperation. In 1997 the roof of the church's nave was covered, while the pyramidal tower roof of the tower was reconditioned in a 19th-century Neo-gothic style. Chojna's two main landmarks are thus the town hall and the Church of St. Mary, both historical buildings by the Gothic architect Hinrich Brunsberg.
Number of inhabitants by years
Chojna is on The European Route of Brick Gothic.
- The Augustinian monastery and the remains of the city wall with the Schwedter and Bernikower Gates.
- Enormous platanus.
Twin towns - Sister cities
Chojna is a member of the Douzelage, a unique town twinning association of 24 towns across the European Union. This active town twinning began in 1991 and there are regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other countries and festivals. Discussions regarding membership are also in hand with three further towns (Agros in Cyprus, Škofja Loka in Slovenia, and Tryavna in Bulgaria).
- Altea, Spain - 1991
- Bad Kötzting, Germany - 1991
- Bellagio, Italy - 1991
- Bundoran, Ireland - 1991
- Granville, France - 1991
- Holstebro, Denmark - 1991
- Houffalize, Belgium - 1991
- Meerssen, the Netherlands - 1991
- Niederanven, Luxembourg - 1991
- Preveza, Greece - 1991
- Sesimbra, Portugal - 1991
- Sherborne, United Kingdom - 1991
- Karkkila, Finland - 1997
- Oxelösund, Sweden - 1998
- Judenburg, Austria - 1999
- Chojna, Poland - 2004
- Kőszeg, Hungary - 2004
- Sigulda, Latvia - 2004
- Sušice, Czech Republic - 2004
- Türi, Estonia - 2004
- Zvolen, Slovakia - 2007
- Prienai, Lithuania - 2008
- Marsaskala, Malta - 2009
- Siret, Romania - 2010
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- This article contains information translated from the German Wikipedia's Chojna article, accessed May 26, 2006.
- "Douzelage.org: Member Towns". www.douzelage.org. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- Ulrich Herbert, Karin Orth, Christoph Dieckmann (1998). Die nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. Ravensbrück by Bernhard Strebel (Wallstein Verlag). pp. 233–234. ISBN 3892442894. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte – Königsberg in der Neumark (2006) (in German).
- Berghaus (1856), p. 387 and p. 391.
- Friedrich Wilhelm August Bratring: Statistisch-topographische Beschreibung der gesammten Mark Brandenburg. Band 3: Die Neumark Brandenburg. Berlin 1809, p. 98.
- Heinrich Berghaus: Landbuch der Mark Brandenburg und des Markgrafenthums Nieder-Lausitz in der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Band 3, 1. Ausgabe, Brandenburg 1856, p. 387 (in German).
- "Douzelage.org: Home". www.douzelage.org. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chojna.|
- Municipal website (Polish)
- Reconstruction of the Church of St. Mary (German)
- Genealogical information about Königsberg in der Neumark (German)
- Jewish Community in Chojna on Virtual Shtetl