Włodowice, Silesian Voivodeship
Włodowice [vwɔdɔˈvit͡sɛ] is a village in Zawiercie County, Silesian Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Włodowice. It lies approximately 7 kilometres (4 mi) north of Zawiercie and 47 km (29 mi) north-east of the regional capital Katowice. The village has a population of 5,700.
It was formerly a town, and it is best known for its centre. The main road leading through Wlodowice is Żarecka Street. The village has a Baroque church of St. Bartholomew and ruins of the Baroque palace. Włodowice is located in the middle of the Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska region, best known for its limestone rocks, such as those of the nearby village of Rzędkowice, carved on the seafloor millions of years ago.
Wlodowice has a long and rich history. Even though the village now lies in Silesian Voivodeship, it belongs to historical Lesser Poland, and was a town from mid-14th century to 1870. Until the Partitions of Poland, Wlodowice was part of Lelów County, Kraków Voivodeship.
First mentioned as Wlodowycze, in a document of Bishop of Kraków Iwo Odrowaz (1220). In the 1470s, Jan Długosz spelled the name Wlodowicze and Wlodowycza, while during World War II, the village was Germanized into Woldenstein.
The name probably comes from old Slavic given name Wlodowuj.
Wlodowice lies in Polish Jura, near the border between two historic provinces of Poland, Lesser Poland and Silesia. In Slavic times, pagan ceremoniec took place on a nearby hill, Gora Glowienna. In 1220, Bishop of Kraków Iwo Odrowaz named Wlodowycze as one of several villages, which had to send payments to the monastery at nearby Mstow. In 1241, Wlodowice was burned during the Mongol invasion of Poland, after which local residents rebuilt the village. In early 14th century, a parish church was established here, and in 1327, Wlodowice became property of King Wladyslaw Lokietek. Probably some time in the first half of the 14th century, Wlodowice received town charter, and in 1386, it was handed over to a local noble family.
In the second half of the 16th century, Wlodowice was one of the most important centers of Protestant Reformation in western Lesser Poland. At that time, the town belonged to the Boner family, which supported the movement, turning local parish church into a Calvinist prayer house. Nevertheless, Wlodowice remained a small town, which was completely burned during the catastrophic Swedish invasion of Poland (1655–60). On July 26, 1683, King Jan III Sobieski rested here on his way to the Battle of Vienna, and in early March 1734, King Augustus II the Strong also spent one night at a local palace, on his way from Kraków to Częstochowa.
Following the Partitions of Poland, Wlodowice briefly belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1815, it became part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland, in which it remained until World War I. In 1870, as a punishment for the January Uprising, Wlodowice lost its town charter.
- Jewish Community in Włodowice on Virtual Shtetl