All Saints Church
Nowe Brzesko [ˈnɔvɛ ˈbʐɛskɔ] is a town in Proszowice County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Nowe Brzesko. It lies approximately 10 kilometres (6 mi) south-east of Proszowice and 33 km (21 mi) east of the regional capital Kraków. Nowe Brzesko has an approximate population of 1,700. It gained town rights in 1279, but lost that status in 1870 by decree of the Russian tsar. It became a town again on 1 January 2011.
Nowe Brzesko was first mentioned in the first half of the 13th century. The village belonged to the Bishops of Kraków, who handed it to the Norbertine abbey from nearby Hebdów. On October 6, 1279, it became a town, and its first known wójt was Gotfryd, the son of Arnold from Ślesin in Greater Poland. Due to several privileges, the town quickly developed, but in the first half of the 15th century it declined, due to a catastrophic flood of the Vistula (1442). Furthermore, in 1444-45 it was ransacked by the unpaid royal soldiers, returning to Poland after the defeat in the Battle of Varna. As a result, Nowe Brzesko, while still a town, did not differ from local villages. Artisans were few, and fairs were not organized. In 1522, King Zygmunt Stary ordered local authorities to mark boundaries of Nowe Brzesko, and create a street system, together with a market place. Town’s residents were in constant conflict with abbots from Hebdów, who tried to get rid of their privileges.
In the late 16th century, the population of Nowe Brzesko was app. 1,000. The town slowly developed, but wars of the mid-17th century (see Swedish invasion of Poland) completely destroyed it and decimated the population. Polish, Swedish, Tatar and Transilvanian soldiers stayed here, robbing and stealing. Poverty and hunger were common, and the population declined by 50%. Furthermore, conflicts with the Hebdów abbots did not end, and residents of the town were forced to work for the abbey (see Serfdom). In 1761, a group of inhabitants rebelled against the authority of the abbot, and asked King Stanisław August Poniatowski to support them.
In the late 18th century (see Partitions of Poland), Nowe Brzesko was annexed by the Austrian Empire (1795). In 1815, it became part of the Russian-controlled Congress Poland. In 1818, the abbey was dissolved, and the town, with its 151 houses and 900 residents, became state property. Located away from main roads, near the border with Austrian Galicia, the town lost its charter in 1869, becoming a village. In the Second Polish Republic, it belonged to Kielce Voivodeship. Nowe Brzesko once again became a town in 2011.
- Jewish Community in Nowe Brzesko on Virtual Shtetl