Bochnia [ˈbɔxɲa] ( listen) (German: Salzberg) is a town
of 30,000 inhabitants on the river Raba in southern Poland. The town
lies approximately in halfway [38 kilometres (24 mi)] between
Tarnów (east) and the regional capital
most noted for its salt mine, the oldest functioning in Europe, built
c. 1248. Since Poland's administrative reorganization
Bochnia has been the administrative capital of
Poland Voivodeship. Before reorganization it was part of
The area of
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
Bochnia is a stop on a strategic West - East line from
Medyka (former Galician Railway of Archduke Charles Louis).
1.1 World War II
2.1 Salt mine
4 Notable residents
5 Twin towns — sister cities
6 See also
8 External links
Bochnia is one of the oldest cities of Lesser Poland. The first known
source mentioning the city is a letter of 1198, where in Aymar the
Monk, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, confirmed a donation by local
magnate Mikora Gryfit to the monastery of the Order of the Holy
Sepulchre in 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.
Rock salt sculptures at the
Bochnia Salt Mine
Due to its salt mine and favourable location, Bochnia, which belonged
Kraków Voivodeship, was one of main cities of Lesser Poland. In
the 14th century, during the reign of King 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 and Silesia visited the town, to see a
miraculous painting of St. Mary, kept at a local Dominican church.
Bochnia burned down in a fire and its salt deposits were
depleted, leading to the town's decline. In 1655
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. Fires caused
further damage in 1709 and 1751. In 1772,
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 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
In the Second Polish Republic,
Bochnia belonged to
and was the capital of a county. The town was a small garrison of the
Polish Army, with 3rd Silesian Uhlans Regiment stationed here since
1924. On September 6/7, 1939,
Bochnia was defended by several Polish
units. One of the first mass executions in occupied
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 during German occupation of
Poland, December 18, 1939
At the outbreak of World War II, an estimated 3,500 Jews lived in
Bochnia, comprising about 20% of the total population. During the
German occupation of Poland,
Bochnia was the site of a
to which Jews from surrounding areas were forced to move by the Nazis.
Jewish community was murdered in the
Holocaust apart from
200 forced laborers employed at a plant headed by Gerhard Kurzbach, a
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
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 hid there after his escape from
Auschwitz. In Communist Poland,
Bochnia grew larger, with several
villages incorporated into the town, mostly in the 1970s. In 1975,
Bochnia belonged to
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.
Bochnia Salt Mine. Underground church
13th century salt mine
St. Nicholas Basilica
Leopold Okulicki and Casimir III of Poland
The older parts of the cemetery at Oracka Street
Bochnia Salt Mine
Bochnia Salt Mine (Polish: kopalnia soli w Bochni) is one of the
oldest salt mines in the world and the oldest one in
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
Construction of the Osiedle XXX-lecia housing estate, 1981
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.
St. Stanisław Szczepanowski, Poland's first native saint
Ralph Modjeski (Rudolf Modrzejewski), engineer, born 1861 to actress
Helena Modjeska, builder of 30 major bridges in the USA.
Ludwik Stasiak, Polish painter, writer and publicist
Salo Landau (1903-1944), Dutch national chess champion
Kasia Zachara (1998-...), Polish master
Twin towns — sister cities
Bochnia is twinned with:
Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany
Roselle, United States
Wieliczka Salt Mine
^ a b "
Bochnia Ghetto". Retrieved 2013-03-10.
^ Yad Vashem archives rediscover heroic rescue, 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 /
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bochnia.
Official website of Bochnia
Jewish Community in
Bochnia on Virtual Shtetl
"Bochnia". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
Bochnia (urban gmina)
Gmina Nowy Wiśnicz
Gmina Lipnica Murowana
Seat (not part of the gmina)