Historic Town Hall on the Market Square
|Motto(s): Prudnik – spotkajmy się (Polish "Prudnik – let's meet")|
|• Mayor||Franciszek Fejdych|
|• Total||20.48 km2 (7.91 sq mi)|
|Elevation||265 m (869 ft)|
|• Density||1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Prudnik [ˈprudɲik] ( listen) (German: Neustadt in Oberschlesien, Czech: Prudník, Latin: Prudnicium, Silesian: Prudńik) is a town in Poland, located in the southern part of Opole Voivodeship near the border with the Czech Republic. It is the administrative seat of Prudnik County and Gmina Prudnik. Its population numbers 21,368 inhabitants (2016). Since 2015, Prudnik is a member of the Cittaslow International.
The town was founded in 1279, making it one of the oldest in the country, and was historically part of the Duchy of Opole and the Habsburg Empire. Over the centuries, Prudnik was located within Prussia, Germany, and eventually Poland. It was once an important industrial hub known for its shoe-making traditions and more recently towel making by the ZPB "Frotex" Company, one of the largest towel manufacturers in Europe. The town also possesses numerous architectural monuments and historic buildings such as the Main Town Hall and "Wok's Tower" (Wieża Woka) from the 14th-century.
Prudnik is located in the historic Silesia (Upper Silesia) region at the confluence of the Prudnik river and its Złoty Potok tributary. The city is situated on the border of Opawskie Mountains and the Głubczyce Plateau (a part of the Silesian Lowlands). Prudnik and Vrbno pod Pradědem are headquarters of the Euroregion Pradziad.
The name "Prudnik" is a Bohemized form of city's historical Polish name "Prądnik", which means a river with a fast stream. Its former German names are Polnisch-Neustadt, Konigliche Stadt Neustadt and Neustadt in Oberschlesien.
The first human traces in the present town area are dated to the Neolithic times. In 1259 the Czech knight Wok von Rosenberg founded in the defensive bend of the Prudnik river a castle, and his son Jindřich obtained the city rights in 1279. In 1337 it became a part of the Duchy of Opole.
In 1526 the town was seized by the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1562, the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz passed a resolution that obligated Jews to sell their houses, pay their debts, and leave the duchy in a year. On the basis of this resolution, in 1564, Jews were ordered to leave Prudnik, but Krzysztof Prószkowski, who leased the land there, let them stay until 1570. After the death of the last Opole Piast prince, it was directly ruled by the Germans.
In 1742 the town was incorporated into Prussia and during the Seven Years' War Prudnik the scene of a bloody surprise attack upon the Prussians as they were marching out of the town. In the subsequent years, the area developed into a significant centre of handcraft, in particular cloth production and shoe-making. Its former German name was Polnisch Neustadt, and until 1945 Neustadt in Oberschlesien. In historical Polish sources and chronicles the town was referred to as Prądnik. In the 19th century, the surrounding factories continued the local tradition of handicraft.
In 26 September 1944, a sub-camp of Auschwitz in Prudnik / Neustadt O.S' was founded in the Schlesische Feinweberei AG textile mill (now ZPB "Frotex"). Neustadt was a stopping place on a death march during final months of World War II, for prisoners-of-war transferred by the Nazis from all over Europe to stalags built in occupied Poland. About 30,000 Allied PoWs were force-marched westward across Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany in winter conditions, lasting about four months from January to April 1945. The Red Army captured Neustadt on 18 march 1945.
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, Neustadt was transferred from Germany to Poland according to the Potsdam Conference, and given its original Polish name of Prądnik. The remaining German population was expelled and replaced by Polish colonists and refugees transferred from the Kresy in the former Polish eastern territories. The city's name was changed to Prudnik in 1946.
In September 1980, 1500 workers of ZPB "Frotex" and firefighters from Prudnik's fire brigade went on the biggest anti-communist strike in Opole Voivodeship. The strike lasted 5 days (5 - 10 September).
Currently the major industrial plants in Prudnik are:
Prudnik is twinned with:
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