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BOCHNIA ( listen ) (German : Salzberg) is a town of 30,000 inhabitants on the river Raba in southern Poland
Poland
. The town lies approximately in halfway between Tarnów
Tarnów
(east) and the regional capital Kraków
Kraków
(west). Bochnia
Bochnia
is most noted for its salt mine, the oldest functioning in Europe
Europe
, built c. 1248. Since Poland's administrative reorganization in 1999, Bochnia
Bochnia
has been the administrative capital of Bochnia County
Bochnia County
in Lesser Poland
Poland
Voivodeship . Before reorganization it was part of Tarnów
Tarnów
Voivodeship .

The area of Bochnia
Bochnia
(as for 2002) is 29.89 kilometres (18.57 mi). The town is located along national roads 94 and 75. The A4 motorway European route E40
European route E40
also passes to the north of the town. It also has a rail station. Bochnia
Bochnia
is a stop on a strategic West - East line from Kraków
Kraków
to Medyka
Medyka
(former Galician Railway of Archduke Charles Louis ).

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 World War II
World War II

* 2 Landmarks

* 2.1 Salt mine

* 3 Education * 4 Notable residents * 5 Twin towns — sister cities * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links

HISTORY

Bochnia
Bochnia
is one of the oldest cities of Lesser Poland
Poland
. The first known source mentioning the city is a letter of 1198, where in Aymar the Monk , Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
, confirmed a donation by local magnate Mikora Gryfit to the monastery of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Miechów
Miechów
. The discovery of a major occurrence of rock salt at the site of the present mine in 1248 led to the granting of city privileges ( Magdeburg rights ) on 27 February 1253 by Bolesław V the Chaste . In the original founding document, the German name of the town (Salzberg) is mentioned as well, since many residents of Bochnia were German-speaking settlers from Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia
. Rock salt sculptures at the Bochnia Salt Mine

Due to its salt mine and favourable location, Bochnia, which belonged to Kraków
Kraków
Voivodeship , was one of main cities of Lesser Poland
Poland
. In the 14th century, during the reign of King Kazimierz Wielki
Kazimierz Wielki
, a town hall was built, a defensive wall with four gates, a hospital and shelter for miners, and construction of St. Nicolas Basilica began. In appreciation of Kazimierz Wielki’s influence on the development of Bochnia, his monument was erected on town’s market square in the late 19th century. In the 15th century, a school was opened, and in 1623, Bernardine Abbey was founded in Bochnia. At that time, many pilgrims from Lesser Poland
Poland
and Silesia visited the town, to see a miraculous painting of St. Mary, kept at a local Dominican church.

In 1561 Bochnia
Bochnia
burned down in a fire and its salt deposits were depleted, leading to the town's decline. In 1655 Bochnia
Bochnia
was captured by the Swedes, in 1657 by the Transylvanians, and in 1662, by the Cossacks. In the 1660s, there were only 54 houses still standing. In 1702, the town was destroyed in the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
. Fires caused further damage in 1709 and 1751. In 1772, Bochnia
Bochnia
was annexed by the Austrian Empire , and remained part of Galicia until 1918. The Austrians liquidated both abbeys, and tore down the town hall together with the defensive wall. In 1867, Bochnia County
Bochnia County
was created and the town began a slow recovery spurred by construction of the Galician Railway of Archduke Charles Louis . In 1886, first public library was opened, in the late 19th century, the waterworks, and in 1913, a movie theater.

In the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
, Bochnia
Bochnia
belonged to Kraków Voivodeship and was the capital of a county. The town was a small garrison of the Polish Army
Polish Army
, with 3rd Silesian Uhlans Regiment stationed here since 1924. On September 6/7, 1939, Bochnia
Bochnia
was defended by several Polish units. One of the first mass executions in occupied Poland
Poland
took place in the town: the Germans shot 52 Poles as a reprisal for killing two German police officers.

WORLD WAR II

Execution of 56 Polish hostages in Bochnia
Bochnia
during German occupation of Poland
Poland
, December 18, 1939

At the outbreak of World War II
World War II
, an estimated 3,500 Jews lived in Bochnia, comprising about 20% of the total population. During the German occupation of Poland
Poland
, Bochnia
Bochnia
was the site of a Jewish
Jewish
ghetto to which Jews from surrounding areas were forced to move by the Nazis. The entire Jewish
Jewish
community was murdered in the Holocaust
Holocaust
apart from 200 forced laborers employed at a plant headed by Gerhard Kurzbach, a Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
soldier, who ordered them to work overtime and thereby saved them from deportation. It is estimated that approximately 15,000 Jews were deported from Bochnia, with at least a further 1,800 killed in the town and its surroundings. About 90 Jews from Bochnia
Bochnia
survived the war, either in hiding, in camps or in the Soviet Union. Most of them immigrated to the USA, Belgium, and Israel.

In 1944, the 12th Home Army Infantry Regiment was established in Bochnia. In April 1943, Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
hid there after his escape from Auschwitz. In Communist Poland, Bochnia
Bochnia
grew larger, with several villages incorporated into the town, mostly in the 1970s. In 1975, Bochnia
Bochnia
belonged to Tarnów
Tarnów
Voivodeship , and in 1984, a by-pass of the European route E40
European route E40
was completed, redirecting the traffic from congested center of the town.

LANDMARKS

Bochnia Salt Mine . Underground church

* 13th century salt mine * St. Nicholas Basilica * Statues of Leopold Okulicki
Leopold Okulicki
and Casimir III of Poland
Poland
* The older parts of the cemetery at Oracka Street * Catholic cemetery * Jewish
Jewish
cemetery

SALT MINE

The Bochnia Salt Mine (Polish: kopalnia soli w Bochni) is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and the oldest one in Poland
Poland
and Europe. The mine was established between the 12th and 13th centuries after salt was discovered in Bochnia. The mines measure 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) in length and 468 metres (1,535 feet) in depth at 16 different levels. Deserted chambers, shafts and passages form a so-called UNDERGROUND TOWN, which is now open to sightseers. The largest of the preserved chambers has been converted into a sanatorium.

EDUCATION

Construction of the Osiedle XXX-lecia housing estate, 1981

Bochnia
Bochnia
Academy of Economics (Wyższa Szkoła Ekonomiczna w Bochni) is a privately owned collegiate-level institution of higher education in the city, founded in 2000. It grants bachelor's degrees (licencjat) in five fields of knowledge.

NOTABLE RESIDENTS

* St. Stanisław Szczepanowski , Poland's first native saint * Ralph Modjeski
Ralph Modjeski
(Rudolf Modrzejewski), engineer, born 1861 to actress Helena Modjeska * Ludwik Stasiak , Polish painter , writer and publicist * Salo Landau (1903-1944), Dutch national chess champion

TWIN TOWNS — SISTER CITIES

Bochnia
Bochnia
is twinned with:

* Bad Salzdetfurth , Germany
Germany
* Cavtat , Croatia
Croatia
* Kežmarok , Slovakia
Slovakia
* Roselle , United States
United States

SEE ALSO

* Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine

REFERENCES

* ^ A B " Bochnia
Bochnia
Ghetto". Retrieved 2013-03-10. * ^ Yad Vashem archives rediscover heroic rescue, Haaretz
Haaretz
* ^ O Uczelni. Wyższa Szkoła Ekonomiczna w Bochni (homepage). Retrieved September 3, 2012. * ^ "Oficiálne stránky mesta Kežmarok". kezmarok.sk. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.

Coordinates : 49°58′N 20°26′E / 49.967°N 20.433°E / 49.967; 20.433

EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikimedia Commons

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