Top: Papal Cross on Kaplicówka Hill. Centre left: Pegasus statue in front of St Peter and Paul's Church. Centre right: Town Hall. Bottom: Main Square
|• Mayor||Janina Żagan|
|• Total||9.79 km2 (3.78 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Skoczów [ˈskɔt͡ʂuf] ( ) (German: Skotschau, Czech: Skočov) is a town and the seat of Gmina Skoczów in Cieszyn County, Silesian Voivodeship, southern Poland with 14,783 inhabitants (2004). It lies on the confluence of the river Bładnica into Vistula, in Silesian Foothills, in the historical region of Cieszyn Silesia.
The very first settlement in the nearest neighbourhood had been established by a Slavic tribe called Golensizi around the 7th century on a naturally defensive hill over the valley of the river Bładnica and ravine called Piekiełko about 2 km (1.24 mi) south-east of the town centre within borders of modern Międzyświeć. The "gord" was later surrounded by an earth bank and moat. The settlement was destroyed in the end of the 9th century most probably by Great Moravian Prince Svatopluk II and was not rebuilt again.
Sometimes the oldest mentioning of Skoczów is believed to be from the document allegedly issued in 1232 by Mieszko, dux Oppoliensis et dominus Tessinensis et Ratiboriensis (implicitly Mieszko II the Fat) for a knight Przecho from Zabłocie, were among witnesses is a ducal writer, Mikołaj from Coczow (Skoczów). Some researchers consider the document to be a fake. Idzi Panic takes into consideration that it could be a mistake during rewriting, and that the document could be originally issued in 1282 by Mieszko, who later ruled the Duchy of Teschen (formed in 1290, where Skoczów also belonged), but back then together with younger brother Przemko ruled Duchy of Racibórz with castellanies of Cieszyn and Oświęcim, and would more likely use the title dux Oppoliensis et dominus Tessinensis et Ratiboriensis than Mieszko II the Fat (who never used as complicated title). The rewriter could have omitted the number L in the year MCCLXXXII (1282), making it MCCXXXII (1232). If the document was indeed a fake, then the first mentioning of Skoczów as oppidum Scocoviense is from 1327 when Duke Casimir I became a vassal of the King of Bohemia. The term oppidum (used also for Jamnica. see Frýdek-Místek) was used in contrary to civitates rulling themselves under German rights of Cieszyn, Bielsko and Frysztat. It probably meant that Skoczów was yet ruled under Polish (ducal) traditional rights. In the document from 1327 there is also mentioned a gord, which can be linked with a subsequent wooden castle revealed in later documents. The settlement of Skoczów most probably emerged as its podgrodzie, a small locality serving it, which later evolved into a market settlement with irregular arrangement of buildings centered around main oval square a few hundred meters north of nowadays Market Square, where later (but no earlier than late 1330s) a parish church was built. The location of the town around new Market Square under German rights took place hypothetically roughly at similar time as of Frydek, in late 14th century. The new town had regular arrangement of buildings stretched towards the parisch church in north. It was surrounded with rampart from wood and earth with two gates: Upper and Lower. Through the Upper Gate leaded a path towards Cieszyn in east, through Lower towards Bielsko in west. Behind the Upper Gate emerged the Upper Suburb, whereas on the right and eastern bank of Vistular River was located a Lower Suburb. In the beginning Skoczów was a small town, with around 450 citizens in the middle of 15th century. It had been mainly an agricultural and craft trade settlement with much lower importance of trade. In the late 1469 or early 1470 Skoczów was destroyed by fire, which burnt all chartered privileges and other documents. 26 January 1470 the Duke of Cieszyn renewed and extended all civic privileges. A school and hospital with a chapel are recorded in a document from 1482. During Reformation under Wenceslaus III Adam rule it was dominated by Lutherans, who took over the parish church, and later also hospital's chapel. At that time Jan Sarkander was born here. In the years 1573-1577 during the rule of the town together with Strumień and their surrounding villages were sold to Gottard von Logau, and formed state country. It was retrieved by Adam Wenceslaus in 1594. In 1610 Adam Wenceslaus switched his faith to Catholicism, and brought a new priest from Żywiec, Wojciech Gagatkowski. However Lutherans dominated the town for decades, the majority of Catholics was reported in 1687.
According to the Austrian census of 1910 the town had 3,744 inhabitants, 3,705 of whom had permanent residence there. The census asked people their native language, and results show that 1,803 (48.6%) were German-speaking and 1,794 (48.4%) were Polish-speaking. Jews were not allowed to declare Yiddish. Most of them thus declared the German language as their native. The dominant religious groups were Roman Catholics with 2,443 (65.2%), followed by Protestants with 1,042 (27.8%) and the Jews with 247 (6.6%).
After the end of World War I, both of the two newly created independent states of Poland and Czechoslovakia claimed the area of Cieszyn Silesia. On 23 January 1919 Czech units led by Colonel Josef Šnejdárek invaded the area, and clashed after its swift advance with Polish units commanded by General Franciszek Latinik near Skoczów where a battle took place on 28–30 January. It was inconclusive, and before the reinforced Czech forces could resume the attack on the town, they were pressed by Entente to stop operations and a cease-fire was signed on 3 February. On 28 July 1920 by decision of the Spa Conference Skoczów became a part of Poland.
Kaplicówka Hill which overlooks the town is dominated by a chapel built in 1934 and a large cross. Pope John Paul II visited Skoczów in 1995, holding a mass attended by 200,000 people. The cross on Kaplicówka was erected to commemorate the visit.
From 1975 to 1998 it was located in the Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship, and since 1999 in Silesian Voivodeship.
The town holds a market on Thursdays, situated next to the Vistula river.
Famous people from Skoczów
- Gustaw Morcinek - a famous writer commonly associated with Silesia, teacher, activist and Member of Parliament of the People's Republic of Poland.
- St. Jan Sarkander - a priest and martyr, born in Skoczów on 20 December 1576.
- Professor Paul Tendera - a distinguished expert in accounting, a professor and Vice-Rector of the Academy of Economics in Katowice.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Skoczów is twinned with:
- Panic, Idzi (2010). Śląsk Cieszyński w średniowieczu (do 1528) [Cieszyn Silesia in Middle Ages (until 1528)] (in Polish). Cieszyn: Starostwo Powiatowe w Cieszynie. p. 294. ISBN 978-83-926929-3-5.
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 68
- Marek Wójcik: Dokumenty i kancelarie książąt opolsko-raciborskich, p. 24-25
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 84
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 90
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 105
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 194
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 180
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 183
- I. Panic, 2005, p. 149
- Ludwig Patryn (ed): Die Ergebnisse der Volkszählung vom 31. Dezember 1910 in Schlesien, Troppau 1912.
- Panic, Idzi (2005). Studia z dziejów Skoczowa w czasach piastowskich. Skoczów: BIBLOS. ISBN 83-7332-246-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Skoczów.|
- (Polish) Official gmina website
- (Polish)(English)(Czech)(German) Official town website
- Jewish Community in Skoczów on Virtual Shtetl