Fryštát (help·info) (Polish: , German: Freistadt (help·info), Cieszyn Silesian: ) is a town in the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic, now administratively a part of the city of Karviná. Until 1948 it was a separate town. It lies on the Olza River, in the historical region of Cieszyn Silesia.
It was first mentioned in a Latin document of Diocese of Wrocław called Liber fundationis episcopatus Vratislaviensis from around 1305 as item Frienstad in Ray. It meant that the a new town was being founded on the ground of the older village Ráj (Ray). The creation of the town was a part of a larger settlement campaign taking place in late 13th century on the territory of what will be later known as Upper Silesia. Politically it belonged initially to the Duchy of Teschen, formed in 1290 in the process of feudal fragmentation of Poland and was ruled by a local branch of Piast dynasty. In the document from 1327 when Duke Casimir I became a vassal of the King of Bohemia it is listed as one the three civitates in the Duchy (the other two being Cieszyn and Bielsko), so it was then a town under German town law.
After 1540s Protestant Reformation prevailed in the Duchy of Teschen and a local Catholic church was taken over by Lutherans. It was taken from them (as one from around fifty buildings) in the region by a special commission and given back to the Roman Catholic Church on 14 April 1654.
From its beginning it was one of the most important centers of Cieszyn Silesia. Development of the town was set back by a major fire in 1511 when all of the wooden houses burnt down. Fish farming became an important industry for the town with the creation of several ponds in the 16th century. The 17th century had a mostly negative impact on the town's development with fires, epidemics and the Thirty Years' War. In 1623 about 1,400 citizens died of bubonic plague. The town was occupied for nearly thirty years by Danish forces and then by Swedish forces. The dilapidated town was then bought by owners of nearby Karwin, the Larisch-Mönnich family. They built a château there and raised the town from poverty, but a fire in 1823, Prussian occupation in 1866 and epidemics again made the development of the town difficult. Coal was discovered in 1776, but it was not until 1794 that it began to be exploited on a large scale. As a result of the coal industry, rapid development of the town and surrounding villages occurred. Its impact was both positive and negative. Old settlements were destroyed and landscape was devastated. Industrial and coal mining expansion as well as the construction of railroads led to rapid growth of the area's importance. It became the most industrialized area in Austria and later Czechoslovakia. In 1850 Freistadt became a district although nearby Karwin with many coal mines and industrial facilities was more populous.
Until 1918, the town was part of the Austria-Hungary (Austrian portion after the compromise of 1867), in the district of the same name, one of the eight Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Austrian Silesia. In official dealings, only the German name of the town was used before 1867.
According to the monarchy census of 1910, the town had 5,058 inhabitants, 4,835 of whom had permanent residence there. The census asked people for their native language, 2,878 (59.5%) were Polish-speaking, 1,704 (35.2%) were German-speaking and 253 (5.2%) were Czech-speaking. Jews were not allowed to declare Yiddish, most of them thus declared the German language as their native. The most populous religious groups were Roman Catholics with 4,437 (87.7%) followed by the Jews with 341 (6.7%) and Protestants with 267 (5.3%).
After the division of Cieszyn Silesia in 1920 it became a part of Czechoslovakia as the main mining center of the country. In October 1938, together with the whole region known as Zaolzie, it was annexed by Poland, and during World War II was a part of Nazi Germany. After the war it again became part of Czechoslovakia. In 1948 it was merged with Karviná and became a part of that city. In the 1960 reform of administrative divisions, the Fryštát District was superseded by the Karviná District. Fryštát forms the historical center of Karviná, which is otherwise an industrial city.
- Alfred Biolek - German television producer
- Henryk Flame - Polish World War II pilot
- Dana Zátopková - Czech athlete
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- Schulte, Wilhelm (1889). Codex Diplomaticus Silesiae T.14 Liber Fundationis Episcopatus Vratislaviensis (in German). Breslau.
- "Liber fundationis episcopatus Vratislaviensis" (in Latin). Retrieved 13 July 2014.
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- Cicha, Irena; Kazimierz Jaworski, Bronisław Ondraszek, Barbara Stalmach and Jan Stalmach (2000). Olza od pramene po ujście. Český Těšín: Region Silesia. ISBN 80-238-6081-X.
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- (English) Website of the château