|Town rights||13th century|
|• Mayor||Renata Lucyna Surma|
|• Total||10.74 km2 (4.15 sq mi)|
|Elevation||340 m (1,120 ft)|
|• Total||10,652 |
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Area code(s)||+48 74|
Bystrzyca Kłodzka [bɨsˈtʂɨt͡sa ˈkwɔt͡ska] (German: Habelschwerdt, Czech: Kladská Bystřice) is a city in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in Poland. It is famous for its historical buildings and is an important tourist centre. It has a population of 10,652 and is located on the Nysa Kłodzka and Bystrzyca Łomnicka rivers.
The area of today's Bystrzyca Kłodzka has been inhabited at least for six millennia. During the times of the Roman Empire the Celts have established numerous permanent settlements in the area of Glatz Kłodzko on the Amber Road. There are also numerous archaeological excavations of Lusatian culture remnants in the area.
The German town of Habelschwerdt was founded by Gallus of Lämberg (Havel of Markvartice) next to a Slavic village on the trade route leading through the Sudetes in the mid-13th century. It was granted the so-called Western Law (a variant of the Magdeburg Law). On 4 July 1319, John of Luxemburg, king of the Romans (of Holy Roman Empire), later king of Bohemia, granted the village vast autonomy and a right to construct city walls. The first noted mayor of Habelschwerdt was Jakob Rücker. The town was constructed almost from scratch. First the city walls were erected with three gates and several towers. Then the Market Square was planned on a slope and the Mayor House was constructed. Most of the Gothic architecture was preserved and the town is now considered one of the classical examples of Mediaeval architecture. The town started to grow rapidly. It was granted with several other privileges, among them the right to trade with salt, spices and fabric.
The town initially belonged to the Grafschaft Glatz Duchy of Kłodzko, a fief of Bohemia. It shared the fate of the nearby city of Glatz Kłodzko and developed rapidly until the advent of the Hussite Wars in the 15th century. The wars left the town depopulated by plagues, partially burnt and demolished by several consecutive floods. In 1475 a great fire destroyed the town completely. In 1567 the area became a fief of the Habsburg dynasty, though the local dukes retained their powers. It was not until the 16th century when the local economy went back on tracks. Both Habelschwerdt and the surrounding villages were gradually repopulated, mostly with settlers from Central Germany and Lesser Poland. Because of major Lutheran influences it became one of the regional centres of Protestantism.
In the late 16th century the new City House was built and many of the houses were rebuilt in Renaissance style. The town also built several facilities like paved roads and sewer system. However, the Thirty Years' War and other conflicts of the counterreformation damaged the city and ended the period of prosperity. On 14 February 1745, Prussian general Hans von Lehwaldt defeated Austrian forces of Georg Oliver von Wallis near the city. During the Silesian Wars Habelschwerdt (together with most of Silesia) came under Prussian rule. In the War of the Bavarian Succession, skirmishers from the Prussian and Austrian armies fought there, and one of the blockhouses caught fire, resulting in the destruction of most of the town in mid-January 1779.
Soon afterwards it was captured by forces of Napoleon Bonaparte and housed a French garrison until 1813. Although it was made a county capital in 1818, it was also struck by high taxes. It was not until the mid-19th century when the city fully recovered. The City House was yet again rebuilt, the city moat and parts of the city walls were leveled and the city expanded into new areas. After 1877 Habelschwerdt was connected to Glatz (Kłodzko) and Breslau by a railroad. In 1885, Habelschwerdt had a population of 5,597, while by 1939 it rose to 6,877.
The end of the 19th century saw the whole Glatzer Tal (Kłodzko Valley) turn into one of the most popular tourist regions. Countless hotels, sanatoria and spa were opened to the public in the nearby towns of Glatz, Bad Reinerz and Bad Landeck, as well as in the town itself. The area of former Duchy became a popular place among the rich bourgeoisie of Breslau, Berlin, Vienna and Kraków.
During World War II Habelschwerdt was spared the fate of other German cities that were levelled to the ground. There were no important industrial centres in the area and most of the Kłodzko Valley was not captured by the Red Army until after the capitulation of Germany. After World War II the region was placed under Polish administration by the Potsdam Agreement under territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union. Most Germans fled or were expelled and were replaced with Poles expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.
On 28 June 1972 the Catholic parishes of Bystrzyca Kłodzka were redeployed from the traditional Hradec Králové diocese (est. 1664; Ecclesiastical Province of Bohemia) into the Archdiocese of Wrocław. Between 1975 and 1998 Bystrzyca belonged to the Wałbrzych Voivodeship. It continued to be one of the principal mountain resorts of the area. Thanks to its historical landmarks as well as virgin landscapes, Bystrzyca Kłodzka remains one of the most popular centres of tourism and winter sports in Lower Silesia.
- Titus Ullrich (1813–1891), German poet
- Hermann Stehr (1864–1940), German poet
- Andreas Hönisch (1930–2008), German cleric
- Georg Katzer (born 1935), German composer
- Klaus Neumann (born 1942), German sportman
- Jan Liwacz (1898–1980), Polish blacksmith who created the Arbeit Macht Frei sign over Auschwitz
Twin towns — Sister cities
Bystrzyca Kłodzka is twinned with:
- Ludność. Stan i struktura w przekroju terytorialnym. Stan w dniu 31 III 2011.
- (German) Oscar Criste. Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser. Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Herausgegeben von der Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Band 44 (1898), S. 338–340, Digitale Volltext-Ausgabe in Wikisource. (Version vom 24. März 2010, 3:18 Uhr UTC).
- Paulus VI, Constitutio Apostolica "Vratislaviensis - Berolinensis et aliarum", in: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 64 (1972), n. 10, pp. 657seq.
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