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Coordinates: 50°51′N 16°29′E / 50.850°N 16.483°E / 50.850; 16.483
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Świdnica market square
Świdnica market square
Coat of arms of Świdnica
Świdnica is located in Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Świdnica is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°51′N 16°29′E / 50.850°N 16.483°E / 50.850; 16.483
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
CountyŚwidnica County
GminaŚwidnica (urban gmina)
First mentioned1070
City rights1267
 • City mayorBeata Moskal-Słaniewska (L)
 • Total21.76 km2 (8.40 sq mi)
250 m (820 ft)
 (31 December 2021)
 • Total55,413 Decrease[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
58-100 and 58-105
Area code+48 74
Car platesDSW

Świdnica (Polish: [ɕfidˈɲit͡sa] ; German: Schweidnitz; Czech: Svídnice; Silesian: Świdńica) is a city on the Bystrzyca River in south-western Poland in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. As of 2021, it has a population of 55,413 inhabitants.[1] It is the seat of Świdnica County, and also of the smaller district of Gmina Świdnica (although it is not part of the territory of the latter, as the town forms a separate urban gmina). It is the seventh largest city of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. Świdnica became part of the Wałbrzych agglomeration on 23 January 2014.[2]

Świdnica is home to the St. Stanislaus and St. Wenceslaus Cathedral and the Church of Peace, two landmark churches listed as Historic Monuments of Poland[3][4] with the latter also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


St. Stanislaus and St. Wenceslaus Cathedral, listed as a Historic Monument of Poland

The city's name was first recorded as Svidnica in 1070, when it was part of Piast-ruled Poland. Świdnica became a town in 1250, although no founding document has survived that would confirm this fact. The town belonged at the time to the Duchy of Wrocław, a province of Poland. By 1290, Świdnica had city walls and six gates, crafts and trade were blossoming. At the end of the 13th century, there were guilds of bakers, weavers, potters, shoemakers, furriers and tailors in Świdnica.[5] The city was famous for its beer production. In the late 15th century, almost three hundred houses had the right to brew beer.[5] In various cities of the region (Wrocław, Oleśnica, Brzeg) and Europe (Kraków, Toruń, Prague, Pisa) there were so-called "Świdnica Cellars" – restaurants serving beer from Świdnica.[6] Wrocław's Piwnica Świdnicka exists to this day as the oldest restaurant in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe. There was also a mint in Świdnica.[7] The Franciscans and Dominicans settled in the city in 1287 and 1291, respectively.[7]

In 1291–1392 Świdnica was the capital of the Piast-ruled Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor. The last Polish Piast duke was Bolko II of Świdnica, and after his death in 1368 the duchy was held by his wife until 1392; after her death it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Bohemia by Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia. By the end of the 14th century, Świdnica was already one of the largest cities in Silesia, with about 6,000 inhabitants.[5]

In 1429 the city successfully defended itself against a Hussite attack.[5] From about 1469 to 1490 it was under the rule of the Kingdom of Hungary and after that it was part of Jagiellonian-ruled Bohemia. In the 15th century, several mills operated in the city.[5] Large cattle and hop markets took place there.[5] In 1493, the town is recorded by Hartmann Schedel in his Nuremberg Chronicle as Schwednitz.[8]

In 1526 the city came under the rule of the Habsburg monarchy as part of the surrounding Duchy of Schweidnitz (Świdnica). In the 16th century it was one of the regional centers of Anabaptism.[7] The city suffered greatly during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48) as a result of sieges, fires and epidemics.[5] Świdnica, under the Germanized name Schweidnitz, was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia during the First Silesian War (1740–42). The town was turned into a fortress, which it remained until 1866.[5]

Plaque to Józef Wybicki, commemorating his stay in 1803

It was captured again by Austria in October 1761, during the Third Silesian War, or Seven Years' War, but Prussians retook it one year later. In 1803 the city was visited by Polish jurist, poet, political and military activist Józef Wybicki, best known as the author of the lyrics of the national anthem of Poland.[9] In 1807 the city was captured by French troops during the Napoleonic Wars. It became part of the Prussian-led German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany and stayed within Germany until the end of World War II. According to the Prussian census of 1905, the city of Schweidnitz had a population of 30,540 who were mostly Germans, but also included a Polish minority comprising around 3% of the population.[10] The World War I flying ace Lothar von Richthofen was buried in Schweidnitz, until the city became owned by Poland after World War II in which the graveyard was leveled. During World War I, the Germans operated a POW camp for Allied officers and a forced labour camp for regular POWs in the town.[11] A Nazi prison was located in the city under Nazi Germany,[12] and during World War II, the Germans also established a subcamp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, three prisoner of war labor divisions of the Stalag VIII-A camp and a forced labour camp.[7] Among the prisoners was Lesław Bartelski, Polish writer and resistance member, who fought in the Warsaw Uprising.[13] In January 1945, a German-perpetrated death march of Allied POWs from the Stalag Luft 7 passed through the city.[14]

After the defeat of Germany in 1945, the town, like most of Silesia, became again part of Poland under border changes agreed at the Potsdam Conference. Those members of the German population who had not already fled or had been killed during the war were subsequently expelled to the remainder of Germany in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement and the city was repopulated with Poles, many of whom had themselves been expelled from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. Also Greeks, refugees of the Greek Civil War, settled in Świdnica in the 1950s.[15] From 1975 to 1998 it was administratively located in the former Wałbrzych Voivodeship.

In 2004, Świdnica became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Świdnica.

Points of interest[edit]

The Evangelical Church of Peace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Gothic Cathedral of St. Stanislaus and St. Wenceslaus from the 14th century has the highest tower in Silesia, standing 103 meters tall; it hosts an image of "Our Lady Health of the Sick". It is listed as a Historic Monument of Poland.[3]

The Evangelical Church of Peace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Historic Monument of Poland,[4] was built in 1656–57.

Market Square in the Old Town

The 16th-century town hall has been renovated numerous times and combines Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural elements. A museum is located in the town hall. The Baroque Church of St. Joseph and the Church of St. Christopher are from the same era. One remaining element of the former defensive works is the Chapel of St. Barbara.

Other notable destinations include the old town and the Stary Rynek square, Gola Dzierżoniowska Castle, Medieval town of Niemcza, Cistercian monastery at Henryków, where the oldest preserved manuscript in Polish was written, and the Wojsławice Arboretum.

Old Town of Świdnica


Wałbrzych constituency[edit]

Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from the Wałbrzych constituency.

Michał Dworczyk Law and Justice
Marek Dyduch Democratic Left Alliance
Marcin Gwóźdź Law and Justice
Izabela Mrzygłocka Civic Platform
Wojciech Murdzek Agreement
Tomasz Siemoniak Civic Platform
Monika Wielichowska Civic Platform
Ireneusz Zyska Law and Justice


Świdnica is home to a College of Data Communications Technology (Wyższa Szkoła Technologii Teleinformatycznych).

In 2003, Świdnica hosted a session of the Warsaw-based International Chapter of the Order of Smile, when a Child Friendship Centre was established. Świdnica was officially titled the "Capital of Children's Dreams".


Notable people[edit]


Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Świdnica is twinned with:[16]



  1. ^ a b "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved 18 August 2022. Data for territorial unit 0219011.
  2. ^ Press release, Siedem nowych gmin w Aglomeracji Wałbrzyskiej. Swidnica24.pl. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b Rozporządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 15 marca 2017 r. w sprawie uznania za pomnik historii "Świdnica - katedra pod wezwaniem św. Stanisława Biskupa i Męczennika i św. Wacława Męczennika", Dz. U., 2017, No. 655
  4. ^ a b Rozporządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 15 marca 2017 r. w sprawie uznania za pomnik historii "Świdnica - zespół kościoła ewangelicko-augsburskiego pod wezwaniem Świętej Trójcy, zwany Kościołem Pokoju", Dz. U., 2017, No. 672
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Historia Świdnicy". UM Świdnica (in Polish). Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  6. ^ Czerwiński, Janusz; Chanas, Ryszard (1977). Dolny Śląsk – przewodnik (in Polish). Warszawa: Sport i Turystyka. pp. 178–186.
  7. ^ a b c d "Świdnica". Encyklopedia PWN (in Polish). Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  8. ^ See Die Schedelsche Weltchronik on German Wikisource.
  9. ^ "220 lat Mazurka Dąbrowskiego. Jak właściwie śpiewać Hymn Polski?". Swidnica24.pl (in Polish). 20 July 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  10. ^ Belzyt, Leszek (1998). Sprachliche Minderheiten im preussischen Staat: 1815 - 1914; die preußische Sprachenstatistik in Bearbeitung und Kommentar. Marburg: Herder-Inst. ISBN 978-3-87969-267-5.
  11. ^ Kujat, Janusz Adam (2000). "Pieniądz zastępczy w obozach jenieckich na terenie rejencji wrocławskiej w czasie I i II wojny światowej". Łambinowicki rocznik muzealny (in Polish). 23. Opole: 13. ISSN 0137-5199.
  12. ^ "Gefängnis Schweidnitz". Bundesarchiv.de (in German). Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  13. ^ Sierotwiński, Stanisław (1966). "Kronika życia literackiego w Polsce pod okupacją hitlerowską: próba przeglądu zdarzeń w układzie chronologicznym". Rocznik Naukowo-Dydaktyczny (in Polish) (24). Wydawnictwo Wyższej Szkoły Pedagogicznej w Krakowie: 53.
  14. ^ Stanek, Piotr (2015). "Stalag Luft 7 Bankau i jego ewakuacja na Zachód w styczniu 1945 r.". Łambinowicki rocznik muzealny (in Polish). 38. Opole: 66. ISSN 0137-5199.
  15. ^ Kubasiewicz, Izabela (2013). "Emigranci z Grecji w Polsce Ludowej. Wybrane aspekty z życia mniejszości". In Dworaczek, Kamil; Kamiński, Łukasz (eds.). Letnia Szkoła Historii Najnowszej 2012. Referaty (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. p. 117.
  16. ^ "Miasta partnerskie". um.swidnica.pl (in Polish). Świdnica. Retrieved 2020-03-03.

External links[edit]

Media related to Świdnica at Wikimedia Commons