The history of Lublin

Jan Matejko (1838-1893); Unia Lubelska; 1869; olej; płótno; 298 x 512

Situated on Europe’s major routes that connected the West with the countries of the North and South-East, in the mid-14th century Lublin became a hub of brisk international trade. At the same time, during the reign of King Sigismund II Augustus, Lublin was an ideological capital of the Polish Republic – it was here that a real union between the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania was formed. At the turn of the 14th century, after the establishment of the Polish-Lithuanian state, Lublin’s location changed. Once a frontier town, Lublin lay now in the centre of the state, halfway between Kraków, the capital of the Kingdom of Poland, and Vilnius, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the city on the Bystrzyca river was also halfway from one capital to another, but this time between Warsaw (first the capital of the Duchy of Warsaw, then of the Kingdom of Poland and, finally, of the whole country when Poland had regained her sovereignty), and Lviv (first the capital of Galicia, and then of western Ukraine). This geographical and political location of Lublin had a substantial influence on the city’s role and significance in Poland’s history. This influence is visible also today.

ON A COMMERCIAL ROUTE

There is no doubt that as early as in the 9th century the settlement on Czwartek Hill, and possibly also other settlements (on Mount Białkowska and Old Town Hill), were situated on an international trade route. This is evidenced by Arabian coins found in nearby Czechów. The trove dates from the late 9th century, i.e. a period much earlier than the formation of the Polish state. Trade in Europe was controlled at that time by Arabian merchants who journeyed to western Europe and the Baltic Sea from the East via Kiev and the Polish territories. Owing to its location on this particular route, long before it was granted a formal town’s charter in 1317, Lublin had been an important centre.

The area of the town covered the former Czwartek settlement and later a castle (known now as Castle Hill), the seat of a castellan, a high-ranking local official, and a settlement on Old Town Hill which was the castle’s trade and services base. Around the mid-13th century, the originally wooden castle was fortified with a powerful brick keep which has remained there to date. Lublin was also an important centre of the church administration represented by an archdeacon, and the fact that several churches already existed in the town, and most certainly the Dominican Friars’ Monastery founded in the 13th century, testifies to the rapid growth of the town’s population. As a result of the political situation in this part of the country Lublin, which was then located in the borderlands, was assigned a significant function. When after the death of King Boleslaus the Brave Poland had lost the so-called Czerwieńsk Castles, i.e. the territories between the Wieprz and Bug rivers, Polish rulers made Lublin for a long time the main fortress of a military and political character.

THE MAGDEBURG CHARTER

Because social elites in the principal cities of Małopolska (who were mostly Germans) were hostile to the actions of Duke Ladislaus Łokietek (the Elbow-High) who intended to unify the Polish territories, and they even rose in rebellion against the Duke in Kraków, led by wójt (the duke’s chief agent in a town) Albert, Łokietek began to support small and medium-sized towns, depriving the largest ones of their privileges. In this way he strengthened groups of indigenous Polish burghers who were vitally interested in developing trade and crafts and desired for a state with a native language, culture and customs. Lublin, unlike many other towns in Małopolska, remained faithful to Łokietek and its residents watched the Duke’s efforts with hope and approval.

Besides Radziejów, Nakło, Lipnica Murowana, Rymarzew and Tarnów, the town was granted by the Duke an extensive trade and self-government privilege. The charter dated 15 August 1317 considerably changed life in the town on Bystrzyca. First of all, it exempted the town from the authority of the Duke’s officials – the castellan of Lublin and voivod of Sandomierz. That meant Lubliners had been ultimately freed from the country’s traditional laws and from quite heavy duties and tax burdens which they were obliged to fulfil and pay. It also meant Lublin had received a special German charter privilege. It was developed in Italy and France in the 12th century and then became known in Germany whence it came directly to Poland. It was called the German or Magdeburg charter (after the name of a city in eastern Germany – Magdeburg). It was precisely the Magdeburg charter that was granted to the residents of Lublin whom Ladislaus Łokietek exempted for 20 years from rent and all other charges. The exemption of Lublin burghers from customs duty levied on goods carried in the country (both those for sale and purchased) was also very important. In addition, Łokietek gave Lublin burghers 100 łans (about 6,000 acres – łan is a medieval Polish unit for measuring area) of arable and non-arable land and a pasture for cattle (about 2,400 hectares west and north-east of the Old Town and Czwartek, i.e. in the area of the present Śródmieście and Kalinowszczyzna). All those grants were intended as an agricultural basis for the burghers’ families and were supposed to stimulate the town’s development. The town’s charter provided that Lublin’s basic facilities that served trade purposes (stalls, stands) and service-providing enterprises (mills, bathhouses) were to be built and promote a rapid growth of crafts. The town’s facilities were to be financed by a settlement official (zasadźca) who assumed also the lucrative post of a hereditary wójt. That post was taken by Maciej of Opatowiec, closely connected to the court of Ladislaus Łokietek, a righteous man whose faithfulness and loyalty to the Duke were known far and wide. The payment of a hereditary wójt consisted of: every sixth łan of land out of the 100 łans granted to the town, one-third of court fees, one-sixth of rent on settlement plots paid by the burghers, innkeepers, butchers, bakers and shoemakers, the slaughterhouse, every sixth stall of stall-keepers and drapers, the sole right to fish in local ponds and as many bathhouses and mills as “he would manage to build within the town’s boundaries”. From that time Lublin functioned based on a new systemic model similar to that of Poznań, Bochnia, Kraków, Sandomierz or Oświęcim all of which were established according to the Magdeburg law in the previous century. The Magdeburg charter was therefore a milestone in Lublin’s development into an efficient, significant and modern urban organism. Using the privilege granted by Łokietek, Lublin grew dynamically. After 1317 the town’s space was reorganised. During the reign of King Casimir the Great, Lublin was surrounded with defence walls with the two still-existing gates– the Kraków and Grodzka Gates. According to Ryszard Szczygieł, the population of the 14th century Lublin numbered about 1,000 residents, so it ranked at the bottom of the list of thirty most-populated Polish cities, along with Zawichost, Tarnów, Kielce and Łęczyca.

Simultaneously, the arduous process of forming the town’s government was under way. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the hereditary wójt’s office was taken over by burgher families from Kraków. They exercised their power through under-wójts (podwójci) who also presided over law courts. Around 1317 also a city council appeared in Lublin’s life. It represented the interests of the residents and opposed hereditary wójts. Its significance grew systematically and in 1504 the council bought the hereditary wójt’s office.

IN THE HEART OF POLAND AND LITHUANIA

The union formed by Poland and Lithuania in 1385 became Lublin’s great opportunity. In that year for the first time ever Lublin became a venue of an event of international importance. On 2 February 1386 Polish lords and knights arrived here and proclaimed Ladislaus Jagiełło, who was on his way to Kraków to be married to Jadwiga and crowned, the guardian of the Kingdom of Poland.

The Lublin region, formerly a borderland exposed to the invasions of the Jaćwings, Ruthenians and Lithuanians, was now in the centre of a big Polish-Lithuanian state. Thanks to the extremely advantageous location on the border between these two political organisms, Lublin became quickly one of the business capitals of the united countries, a place where Polish, Lithuanian and Ruthenian merchants met. Fairs in Lublin provided a forum for their contacts.

… GRAND FAIRS ARE HELD HERE

To satisfy the needs of large-scale trade, in 1448 King Casimir the Jagiellon decided that besides one fair held traditionally on Whit Sunday (May/June), three more were fairs were to be held in Lublin: one 16-day fair starting on 2 February (commonly known as Candlemas) and two 8-day fairs – one starting on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (15 August) and one on St. Simon and Jude’s day (28 October). Thus, one fair was organised in each season of the year.

As a result, Lublin attracted merchants from everywhere – Poznań and Wrocław, Kraków and Vilnius, Germany, Moscow, Hungary and Moldavia. Merchants from Lithuania and Moscow brought mainly furs and wax, those from the West – cloth and metal products. Lublin flowed with Hungarian and Greek wines and saw transports of Oriental cloth, spices, copper, sulphur, lead and weapons. Trade in oxen from Volhynia and Podolia went west via Lublin. Foreigners who often visited Poland in those days stressed the importance of Lublin fairs and their international character: “In Lublin – a town which lies in the middle of all Polish provinces, fairs are held every year to which people come from many neighbouring countries, such as Muscovites, Tatars, Turks, Italians, Jews, Germans, Hungarians, besides Armenians, Lithuanians and other foreigners” – reported Geronimo Lippomano, envoy of the Venetian Republic. In the latter half of the 15th and in the 16th century Lublin thrived as a commercial centre and one of the main stations along the long international transit route. Many carters and local inns provided services to the merchants. Brewers, innkeepers, bakers, butchers and saddlers… drew profits from “the town of the great assembly” Lublin’s role of a regional capital was also growing. The town was the seat of the archdeacon, starosta (the king’s chief agent in a county) and a law court. In 1474 the town’s rank rose to that of the capital of the newly established Lublin voivodship (province). Because of its central location, the Jagiellons who visited Lublin frequently, handled the most urgent state affairs at Lublin Castle. For example, in 1421 King Ladislaus Jagiełło received there Czech envoys who offered him the crown of the dethroned German rulers of the Luxembourg dynasty.

THE TOWN OF THE SEJM’S SESSION ON THE UNION

Unia_Lubelska_1569_r.

In 1569 Lublin saw the memorable assembly of deputies which consolidated the union of Poland and Lithuania. The document on the Polish-Lithuanian union sworn in Lublin stated that: The Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuanian are now one, inseparable and indistinguishable body, but also an indistinguishable, yet one common Republic which has coalesced into one people out of two states and nations”. From that moment both countries had one king, parliament and foreign policy and also the same currency, although coins minted in each country bore their respective emblems. But the two countries preserved their separate administrations, treasuries, armies and courts. The existing restrictions on the purchase of land by the Polish gentry in Lithuania and on settling down there and vice versa were waived. The voluntary and peaceful unification of two different countries that Poland and Lithuania indisputably were, was a difficult and extraordinary undertaking which required a lot of political culture. The formation of the Union of Lublin produced a relatively uniform state organism whose vast territory was matched only by that of Russia. This historical event is commemorated by the Union of Lublin memorial in Lithuanian square in the centre of Lublin.

On 19 July 1569 an impressive ceremony took place during the sessions of the assembly that proclaimed the Union of Lublin. Albrecht II Frederick, son of the late Albrecht Hohenzollern-Ausbach, first Duke of Prussia, paid a liege homage to the King of Poland, Sigismund II Augustus.

THE CITY OF THE CROWN TRIBUNAL AND NOBLEMEN’S REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

In 1578 Lublin was honoured by the establishment of the Crown Tribunal. It was a court of appeals against verdicts by all noblemen’s courts and it worked half of the year in Piotrków, and the other half in Lublin. The town’s prestige increased significantly and the multitudes of magnates and noblemen who came to the court in Lublin contributed to the development of craftsmen’s services and the town’s architecture. The magnates built palaces, the noblemen – manors and the burghers – inns with ample space for horses, carriages and wagons. The great celebrations held on the inauguration of the Tribunal’s terms of office filled life in the town on Bystrzyca with colour and splendour. With the Crown Tribunal Lublin was also a place where young lawyers were trained as law education at that time was based primarily on internship at tribunals. “Lublin is like Athens to a lawyer and praxis is great at the Tribunal” – someone rightly observed. The town’s tribunal status had also its minuses. First of all, it was tremendously difficult to accommodate the tribunal’s judges. Usually, there were 40 of them and each was accompanied by a great entourage of servants. The town had to secure a lodging for those substantial numbers of visitors for half a year. After being used for six months, those buildings were most often handed over by the judges back to the owners in a dilapidated condition. The place in which the Tribunal held its sessions turned out to be another problem. The Tribunal almost by force took over four rooms on the first floor of the Town Hall (Old Town Market Square), pushing the town officials down to the ground floor which to a considerable extent made their normal work difficult. And finally, Lublin was also a place where assemblies of noblemen from the Lublin voivodship were held. Those assemblies gathered at St. Stanislaus’ Church owned by the Dominican Friars’ Monastery. Theoretically, all the noblemen from the Lublin voivodship ought to attend those meetings. In practice, however, as there were no sanctions for absence, 100-200 persons on average turned up for the sessions. The nobility’s attendance at those assemblies increased only during political tensions or in the days of their struggle to reform the state.

SEBASTIAN KLONOWIC AND OTHERS

In the 15th-16th centuries the local cultural elite was composed mainly of a group of politicians, artists and courtiers staying at Lublin Castle. Even before 1418 King Ladislaus Jagiełło had frescoes painted at the Holy Trinity Chapel at the Castle. These Byzantine-Ruthenian paintings, whose artistic value is unique, are the work of a small team of probably three artists from the East. As a votive offering for the victory at Grunwald, King Jagiełło built the Our Lady the Victorious Church in Lublin (at present in Narutowicza Street). The sons of King Casimir the Jagiellon lived at Lublin Castle for nearly two years with their teacher and tutor, Jan Długosz. Długosz finished there his historical work – biographies of the bishops of Poznań and archbishops of Gniezno, collected materials for the book of the property of the Krakow diocese, especially the archdeaconry of Lublin, and also worked on the „History of Poland” or rather “Annals” – Annales, as he himself called them. The sessions of the Sejm in 1506, 1554, 1556 and 1569 were attended by Polish rulers and highest state dignitaries. King Sigismund II Augustus, Primate Jakub Uchański, Bishop of Kraków Filip Padniewski, Crown Vice-Chancellor Franciszek Krasiński, County Governor of Samogitia, Jan Chodkiewicz, and many others participated in the sessions of the Sejm in 1569 which debated on the union.

In the era of humanism and the Reformation the circle of enlightened individuals at Lublin Castle widened to include a group of educated Lublin burghers and clergymen representing different denominations, especially the Catholic and Calvinist churches. Councillor and Mayor of Lublin, poet Sebastian Klonowic (c. 1545-1602) praised the town on Bystrzyca in his poem entitled “Philtron”:

Lublin is a town by heaven generously endowed,
God’s care for the town and its walls is special,
Superior to Rhodes in beams of sunlight, to Gargara in fertile land, (…)
The town is worthy to be God’s dwelling and a home to kings.
Populous and wealthy it has begotten many wise men,
Its deeds for peace are great and famous are its alliances (…).

The town on Bystrzyca was the birthplace of poet Biernat of Lublin (1460/1466-1529), one of the pioneers of Renaissance literature in the Polish language. (“The Souls’ Paradise”, The Life of Esope the Phrygian” „Palimur’s Dialogue with Charon”).

Lublin’s strong bonds with European culture of that epoch are visible in rare and charming wall paintings from the latter half of the 16th century which cover the ceiling and walls of what was once a wine cellar in a burghers’ house that belonged to the rich Lubomelski family (now Rynek 8). This hedonistic-ironic work which praises sensual love (a rarity in Europe) was most probably painted by a German artist which the German inscriptions on the paintings suggest. On the other hand, the multilevel tombstones of Mikołaj and Piotr Firlej at the Dominican Church (also dating from the latter half of the 16th century) reflect fascination with Renaissance art which originated in southern and western Europe.

Political and propaganda needs combined with the Lubliners’ personal dreams or convictions took account also of their sense of fashion and associated old experiences with the exsiting organisational and financial capacity. Cnsequently, some were overwhelmed by Renaissance architecture. It was mainly in the Lublin region that this style developed – the Lublin-Kalisz type of Polish Renaissance architecture. Others supported the Jesuit Fathers along with the schooling and architectural trends that the Jesuits promoted. A Jesuit college was established in Lublin and in the late 16th and early 17th century, the beautiful Baroque Jesuit St. John the Baptist’s and St. John the Evangelist’s Church designed by Jan Maria Bernardoni was erected (the present Lublin Cathedral). The town on Bystrzyca played a prominent role in the history of the Reformation in Poland. Lublin Calvinists and Polish Brethren were first of all the most powerful citizens in the country. Lublin was an attractive town that tempted entrepreneurial and talented people, offering them opportunities for profits and riches. Poles, Ruthenians, Jews, Germans, Scots, Italians, Hungarians and Armenians kept arriving here. In the early 17th century the town on Bystrzyca had as many as 12,000 residents and its description and picture in the work by Georg Braun and Abraham Hogenberg, published in 1618 in Cologne under the title of: “Theatrum praecipuarum tatius mundi urbium” was on a par with the descriptions and pictures of the oldest and largest cities of Europe. “The very location gives Lublin a lot of charm as the town is surrounded by big ponds (…). The town is astonishingly adorned with glamorous buildings (…). Both the town, and its environs have a special ornament in the castle which is a real stronghold because of its location and fortifications, it stands on quite a high hill overlooking a pond and is connected to the town by means of a bridge (…). It is no wonder that the town is flourishing unlike other towns and does not lack anything that serves either everyday purposes and the needs of life, or even sport and splendour” – Georg Brown wrote. Nearly half a century later A. Cellarius also praised the town on Bystrzyca in his description of Poland, published in Amsterdam, entitled: “Regni Poloniae (…) descriptio”: “Among cities of the Polish Kingdom Lublin (…) is equal to all the others (…). Great (…) fairs are held here to which merchants from the remotest countries come – Germans, Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, Muscovites, Ruthenians, Turks, Frenchmen, Italians and Englishmen. Worth seeing are its water springs and excellent paper mills”. The author was right to inform the readers about the existence of a water-supply system in Lublin through which clean water was conveyed to the town from the far-off Wrotków, and about Lublin paper mills where not only local printers bought paper.

TIME OF DECLINE AND STRENUOUS RECONSTRUCTION

Until the mid-17th century Lublin continued to be an active economic, political and cultural centre. It did not avoid, however, the disasters of the second half of that century when the whole country was destroyed by wars. In 1655 the town was seized by Muscovite and Cossack armies and later by Swedes and Transylvanians. Conflicts with Moscow (until 1699) and Turkey (until 1699) hampered normal trade with eastern countries. Long after those cataclysms Lublin did not manage to restore the climate of its former business and cultural activity. The symptoms of a reviving healthy city life began to appear only in the 1780s. Credit for that goes mainly to the Lublin Commission for Good Order established in 1780. Lublin also enthusiastically received the Great Sejm’s resolutions on Polish cities. A pharmacist named Teodor Gretz-Gruell, who soon became the first constitutional mayor of Lublin, speaking on behalf of the burghers during an opening session of the Lublin Court of Appeals on 15 August 1791 said: “The time has come for the Polish burgher, who has regained his liberty and equality and has guarantees on his possessions, to sacrifice his property, blood and life for this beloved homeland and to die willingly in order to prove himself grateful”. In 1795 Lublin fell under the Austrian occupation. As once again it became a frontier town, separated from some of its support base, its economy suffered. The town was liberated in 1809 by the Polish army commanded by Duke Józef Poniatowski. Soon Lublin was incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw and in 1815, in accordance with the decision of the Vienna Congress, it became again part of the Kingdom of Poland controlled by Russia. Lublin was one of the two main cities of the Kingdom, besides Warsaw. After the turmoil of Napoleonic wars Lublin restored its capacity quite quickly. Member of Parliament, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, described the changes that occurred in those days as follows: “Lublin is a tidier and more decent town than it ever was in Polish and Austrian times:”. This opinion was confirmed also by Stanisław Staszic: “Lublin is taking a form of a decent city”. The burnt-down Carmelite Church was converted into the New Classicist Town Hall, built in 1827. A year earlier, an enormous Neo-Gothic prison building was erected on the ruins of the Castle (today it houses the Museum of Lublin). The tall Trinitarian Tower was built in the same style. In 1837 a beautiful park was arranged near the tollgate on the road to Warsaw. (Ogród Saski). New opportunities emerged after the abolition of serfdom. The region, especially its rural areas, needed organised trade and at least some basic industrial commodities. The town seized that business opportunity and became a pioneer of industry in the Kingdom of Poland. Its economic development was also stimulated after the completion of the Vistula railway line from Warsaw to Kovel in 1877.

THE NEW LUBLIN IN THE FREE POLAND

The year 1918 brought the Poles the long-awaited independence. The Temporary People’s Government of the Republic of Poland, led by Ignacy Daszyński, was formed in Lublin. The threatening offensive launched by the Russian Army in 1920 fortunately went past Lublin and, finally, the creation of a new state and new Lublin began in a stormy climate of increasingly severe political strife,

The city was tidied up and equipped with the necessary municipal infrastructure. in 1924 the City Council approved a comprehensive development plan. The plan drew on tradition, for example the central square in front of the New Town Hall and Krakow Gate was named Ladislaus Łokietek Square, after the king who had granted Lublin the Magdeburg charter. A monument to Jan Kochanowski, great poet whose life was closely associated with Lublin and who died there unexpectedly in 1584, was erected in the Old Town market square Cultural life of the city on Bystrzyca in the period between the two World Wars was focused around a group of authors who published the popular, but ephemeral magazines, such as “Lucyfer” and “Reflektor”.

Among the men of letters Józef Czechowicz and Józef Łobodowski distinguished themselves with their original political talents. The tone of Lublin’s scientific life was set by the Catholic University of Lublin, founded in 1918, and by the Friends of Sciences Society, established in 1828. The latter’s activities concentrated on regional studies the results of which were published in “Pamiętnik Lubelski”. The Lublin Archive was, on the other hand, the birthplace of a dynamic scientific and research centre which concentrated on the history of Lublin. Besides the Catholic University of Lublin, in 1926 another theological institution of higher education was established – the Jesuit “Bobolanum” College. The “School of Lublin’s Wise Men” (Yeshiva), founded in 1930, was in turn a Jewish religious college. It occupied a big edifice in Lubartowska Street (now Collegim Maius of the Lublin School of Medicine) and had a well resourced specialised Talmudic library. This thriving city was struck by September 1939, the terror and martyrdom of people murdered by the Nazi aggressor at Lublin Castle, in the Gestapo headquarters in the building with the clock (“Pod Zegarem”) and in the Majdanek concentration camp. Poet Józef Czechowicz was one of the first victims of World War II in Lublin. He died on 9 September 1939 under the ruins of a house hit by a German bomb. This site today is called Józef Czechowicz square and the author of poems about Lublin has his memorial there. After the extermination of Lublin’ s Jews the Nazi invaders destroyed completely the Jewish parts of the town – Podzamcze, Wieniawa and Majdan Tatarski. But more bitterness came later – Lublin saw the persecution of those who wanted a free Poland, but with a different political system.

As a result of the reconstruction after World War II, Lublin became an administrative (capital of a voivodship, seat of a bishop, and since 1992 – archbishop), economic, cultural and academic centre (8 universities and colleges – Catholic University of Lublin, Marie Curie-Skłodowska University of Lublin, School of Medicine, School of Agriculture, Technical University of Lublin, M. Wańskowicz Institute of Journalism, School of Enterprise and Administration and Lublin Business School). It should be noted that the population of Lublin reached 50,000 only at the very end of the 19th century. In 1916 the area of the city was enlarged by the nearby Wieniawa, Tatary, Bronowice and Kośminek. At that time the city limits were delineated by the streets which are now Aleje Racławickie and Kalinowszczyzna, Kunickiego and Nadbystrzycką. Between World War I and II the area of the city expanded only a little – in 1931 just a part of Dziesiąta village was incorporated into Lublin. The city grew on an unprecedented scale after World War II. In 1954 Lublin absorbed Majdanek and the remainder of Dziesiąta and five years later – Lemszczyzna, Bazylianówka, Ponikwoda, Hajdów, Zadębie, Felin, part of Abramowice, Rury Bonifraterskie with Czuby, Rury Jezuickie, Rury Wizytkowskie, Wrotków, Majdan Wrotkowski, Choiny, Czechów, Sławinek, part of Sławin, Helenów, Konstantynów and part of Węglin. In 1967-1973 Lublin’s territory was enlarged by, e.g. Poczekajka, Zemborzyce Kościelne and Górne and Prawiedniki, and in 1989 – Pliszczyn, Łysaków, Jakubowice Murowane, Świdniczek, Biskupie, Abramowice Kościelne and Prywatne, Głusk, Dominów, Wólka Abramowicka, Węglinek, Konopnica, Sławin and Wola Sławińska.

Today, Lublin occupies an area of 147 sq.km., so it is more than six times larger than in 1317 when it was granted a town’s charter and allocated “100 łans of arable and non-arable land according to the Magdeburg measure”, i.e. about 24 sq.km. The city has more than 360 thousand residents which means it is the ninth largest city in Poland. Lublin is a leading city east of the Vistula which was demonstrated clearly during the recent new administrative division of the state. It was beyond any doubt to the reformers which particular city should be the capital of eastern Małopolska – of the large, new voivodship of Lublin, the territories between the Vistula and Bug rivers. It is also because of its geopolitical position that Lublin has a great opportunity to regain its historical role of an important forum of east-west contacts, including mainly in trade services and exchanges with Ukraine and Belarus, but also with Slovakia, Moldova and Lithuania

It should also be expected that after the renovation of the Old Town and extension of its hotel infrastructure, Lublin will become an even more interesting destination for a greater number of tourists, not only from Poland, but also other countries.

The 21st century brings the city on Bystrzyca numerous challenges and problems, but also a rare opportunity to consolidate further its economic, educational and cultural position. It is up to creative efforts of the city government to take advantage of this opportunity and to build on Lublin’s glorious historical past when matters of primary importance to Poland, and even to Europe were resolved here as in the case of the memorable Sejm session on the union with Lithuania in 1569..

The above text in Polish was used in the album “Lublin”, published by Wydawnictwo Tekst, Bydgoszcz, 2000