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Pila

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Piła (German: Schneidemühl) is a town in northwestern Poland. It currently with 77,000 inhabitants (2001). It is situated in the Greater Poland Voivodship (since 1999), previously capital of Piła Voivodship (1975-1998). Piła is the largest town in the northern part of Greater Poland, and is a county capital. The town is beautifully located on the Gwda river and is famous for its green areas, parks and dense forests nearby. It is a very important road and railway hub.

Template:Infobox Poland


Contents

City name

Piła is a Polish word which means "a saw". This was a typical name denoting a village of woodcutters belonging to a local noble.

The German name Schneidemühl literally means "sawmill" in English.

History

Piła was founded in 1380 under the Magdeburg Law as a small village of woodcutters. The document was most probably issued by Queen Jadwiga of Poland, but it did not survive. The first mention of Piła comes from a church document dated March 31, 1451. Piła soon grew and became a private town of the Opaliński family. In 1480 Maciej Opaliński ceded the town to King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk. On March 4, 1513 the town was relocated by King Sigismund the Old. Piła was granted self-government and great economical autonomy. Because of that it soon became one of the main centres of wood industry in the area with several sawmills and a paper factory.

In the 16th century the town was rented by the Bnińscy and Górkowie families, who founded the local Gothic City Hall. In 1503 the town had 153 houses, two churches and the City Hall, as well as several guilds. In 1605 King Zygmunt III Waza gave Piła to his second wife, Konstancja. In 1626 a fire destroyed most of the city (only two buildings were made of brick). Piła was rebuilt rapidly thanks to funds granted by Konstancja. New houses were constructed of brick and stone and the town was reconstructed in plain renaissance style. However, during The Deluge on July 24, 1655 the Swedish forces captured the city and pillaged it. Piła was also pillaged and damaged during the consecutive Great Northern and Seven Years' Wars.

After the First Partition of Poland in 1772 it was annexed by Prussia. In 1806, together with most of Great Poland, it was recaptured by the Duchy of Warsaw, but in 1815 the Congress of Vienna granted it to Prussia again. The Polish language was banned from offices and education and the city saw a significant influx of German settlers. In 1834 the city was again struck by a fire that destroyed a large part of the city centre and the city archives. It was reconstructed shortly afterwards.

In 1851 the city was connected to Berlin and Bromberg by a railroad. By the end of the 19th century the city, then renamed to Schneidemühl, became one of the most important railway nodes of eastern Prussia and one of the biggest towns in the Province of Posen. It was turned into a military garrison town. Until 1871 Piła belonged to the Grand Duchy of Posen, but was incorporated into Province of Posen in the German Empire, after it was created.

After World War I the city was not included in the newly-reborn Poland. After the Great Poland Uprising, the new Polish-German border ran 5 kilometres south of the city. In 1922 Schneidemühl became a centre of local administration of Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen. The city experienced a short period of fast growth followed by a period of decline in the early thirties. High unemployment and ineffectivity of local administration led to a rising support for the NSDAP. In 1938 included in Pomerania. During the World War II the city was included into the Pommerstellung line of fortifications. In 1945 the town was declared a festung by Adolf Hitler. It was captured by the joint Polish and Soviet forces after two weeks of heavy fights. The city was destroyed in 75% and almost 90% of the historical city centre was in ruins.

After the war Piła was given to Poland. The historical city centre was restored only partially. In 1975 Piła became the capital of the newly-established Piła Voivodship, which started a period of fast development of industry in the area. Currently Piła is one of the most important cities of the region. It is famous for its green areas and parks, as well as for its speedway club Polonia Piła.

Notable people

Historical attractions

Historical population

Year Inhabitants
1774 1.322
1816 1.992
1843 4.111
1856 6.060
1867 7.516
1875 9.724
Year Inhabitants
1880 11.610
1900 19.655
1910 26.126
1925 37.518
1933 43.180
1939 45.791
Year Inhabitants
1948 10.700
1960 33.800
1970 43.700
1980 58.900
1990 71.100
1995 75.700

Economy

Major corporations

Education

  • Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu

Sports

Politics

Piła constituency

Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Piła constituency

  • Ajchler Romuald, SLD-UP
  • Beger Renata, Samoobrona
  • Gawłowski Andrzej, SLD-UP
  • Kalemba Stanisław, PSL
  • Pijanowska Grażyna, SLD-UP
  • Piosik Stanisław, SLD-UP
  • Skowyra Józef, LPR
  • Stec Stanisław, SLD-UP
  • Szejnfeld Adam, PO


External links:

de:Pila fr:Piła lv:Pila

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