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The history

Krapkowice ze starej pocztówki _XVII wiek.jpeg The history of our town starts in the 13th century and it is strictly connected with histories of two settlements which nowadays form one town – Krapkowice. In the Middle Ages at both banks of the Odra river at the mouth of the Osobłoga river there were two settlements: Krapkowice on the left bank and Otmęt on the right bank of the Odra river. For centuries these were separate and definitely different settlements. Otmęt was an old fishing settlement, for the first time it was mentioned in 1223 as Ocnant – a monastery village belonging to Cisterns from Jemielnica, in 1302 it was mentioned as Othmant. The name of Krapkowice comes from the old Polish name Chrapek which was changed to Chrapkowice (1204), later Crapicz, Crapkowitz, Krappitz (1294). In the Middle Ages Krapkowice had a typically town character, and vicinity of the river and roads running from all directions made Krapkowice an important trade center.

Despite the fact that Krapkowice was mentioned for the first time in 1294, on the basis of archeological research we can assume that an organized society had been living here much earlier. It was due to favorable defense conditions. Since ancient times the access to the town was protected by two rivers and bog.

In ancient times in the area of Krapkowice the amber trade route was running which linked the Roman Empire with the Baltic Sea. The trade routes north-south from Scandinavia to Balkans and from east to west crossed here. The roman traders bought hides and agricultural produce here. It is possible that on the route, in the oldest part of Krapkowice, there was the first settlement. During the archeological works researchers came across remains of half shelter and a hearth from 6 and 7 th century AD. In a few places in the territory of Krapkowice fractions of clay dishes were found from the 9th – 11th centuries that is the early Middle Ages. These archeological finds confirm the settlement continuity during the Middle Ages. In that time people mainly lived from fishing, wood floating, trade and agriculture.

Probably in 1275 Krapkowice was granted the town charter on the basis of Magdeburg law by Władyslaw Prince of Opole. However, there are not any documents from that period which confirm this event. Therefore, it is assumed that Krapkowice was actually granted the town charter in 1294. The oldest preserved document comes from this year, in which Boleslaw the 1st,the son of Władysław granted the citizens "cives de Crapicz" 8 acres of pastures between the Odra river and the Osobłoga river, as well as fish grounds in two nearby ponds. In return for this the town was obliged to pay 14 thalers (silver coins) every year on Saint Martin’s day – November 11th. Another document which confirms the existence of Krapkowice is the so-called Ujazdowski register from 1295-1303 in which the town was mentioned among the others.

Stare pocztówki_Otmęt_ruiny zamku.jpeg In that times in the nearby Otmęt there was a castle. It is believed that in the 13th century it belonged to the Knights of the Temple of Solomon monastery. The settlement had a church of the Assumption mentioned in 1223. From the beginning of the 16th century Otmęt was a seat of Strzelow family. It was the Upper Silesian family known in Poland as Strzałowie from the clan of Kotwicz. In 1514 Łukasz Buchta from Buchtitz from the clan of Odrowąż bought Otmęt. The Buchta family came from area of Strzelin in the Lower Silesia. Around 1515 the new owner rebuilt the old medieval castle into a renaissance residency. After the death of Łukasz Buchta in 1532 Otmęt was inherited by his eldest son – Joachim called “Bilicki”. In 1632 Judyta von Czettritz the widow after last Jerzy Buchta sold Otmęt. Then Otmęt belonged to many Silesian families – in the 2nd half of 17th century for almost 50 years it belonged to the Larisch, then Count von Pueckler, von Thun, Martini and others.

Stare pocztówki-Krapkowice_kościół św.Mikołaja.jpeg From the very beginning of town existence the management and judiciary in Krapkowice was run by the Alderman with 7 town councilors elected from inhabitants. With the flow of time a magistracy was created - at the beginning councilors and a mayor were chosen by the land owner. It is stated in the document from 1406 with the town coat of arms documented by the first time – a half of a golden eagle and a half of a silver wheel on the blue background. In the 14th and 15th century the town was ruled by honorable town family of Temchin and a hospital and a school were built, in 1401 – 1425 the Saint Nicolas church was extended.

Krapkowice_zamek.jpeg Many times the town changed its political and administrative affiliation. Since the dawn of time Krapkowice belonged to the Duchy of Opole, within which from 1327 it was under the Czech control. Then similarly to the whole Silesia it was in the zone and then under the Habsburg rule. In years 1557-1561 the emperor Ferdynand Habsburg in return for the loan given to him leased Krapkowice to Joachim Buchta from Otmęt. In 1582 next emperor Rudolf the 2nd Habsburg sold the town with all goods to the count Hans Joachim von Redern. About 1678 the Redern built late renaissance residency in the place of the medieval building, the residency was erected as a quadrangle with an internal patio.

During their reign Krapkowice was extended to the present architectonic shape. The town included: the castle area with own defense walls, the center inside the walls and suburbs Oracze and Błonie. In that period after a few fires – on June 16, 1722 the town and the castle were destroyed by a terrible fire – the town was rebuilt with stone. In that period the castle, defense walls, three towers, a church and a few buildings were built. At the beginning of the 16th century the Redern built a wooden bridge linking Krapkowice with Otmęt which survived till 1741. The market place had territory of 4 acres and it was square. There was a wooden town hall in the middle of the market place and wooden buildings. The town center was surrounded by oval town walls erected on a wooden palisade. Krapkowice was inhabited by craftsmen and traders (the market place), farmers (Oracze), fishers and rafters (Błonie). In 1742 as a result of the Austrian-Prussian war Krapkowice was incorporated into Prussia. Since 1765 Krapkowice belonged to the von Renden family and then to von Haugwitzów till 1945.

Krapkowicki Rynek_lata 1900-1920.jpeg Rynek w Krapkowicach na pocztówce z 1910 roku.jpeg 073krapkowice_rynek z 1925.jpeg 069krapkowice_rynek 1965.jpeg

Wkroczenie wojsk niemieckich na krapkowicki rynek po odwrocie francuskiej załogi, okupującej miasto_1921.jpeg The first half of the 19th century was a particularly dramatic period in Krapkowice history. The town was destroyed by numerous fires. After one of them in 1854 the ruins of burned town hall were demolished and it has never been reconstructed on the Krapkowice market place. The famine which touched the Silesia in 1847 also influenced Krapkowice. The situation improved in the seventies. After the war lost by France with Prussia in 1871 the war contribution was sent from France for Prussia development.

The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was a period of intense development of Krapkowice. The town was extending, people looking for job were coming here. New plants were created. In 1887, after 146 years, the bridge on the Odra river was built what facilitated communication between Otmęt and Strzelce Opolskie. In 1894 a hospital was built which was equipped with sanitary system, waterworks system and bathrooms. In 1896 the railway was built which linked Gogolin with Prudnik through Krapkowice. Thanks to it the further industry development took place. The Odra river regulation and a lock building favored water transport development, what as a consequence increased the region attractiveness and caused a rapid trade development.

At the beginning of the 20th century there already existed: a paper factory, lime kilns, two lumber mills, steam brickyards, a mill, tar paper factory, a cartoon and cellulose factory. In 1903 a power plant was opened which was fully start-up in 1914-1917. In years 1913 – 1915 a water tower was built and waterworks system was established. Till the end of the twenties Krapkowice was an important point on the economic development map of the region. The town clearly started to develop and a number of people was growing year by year. At the beginning of the Second World War there were 5600 inhabitants in Krapkowice.

Zakłady obuwnicze czeskiej firmy Bata w Otmęcie_lata 1932.jpeg In 1930 the owner of Otmęt the count Sponek sold his land to the Czech shoe making company Bata which built a shoe factory in Otmęt. At the end of 1931 the production of women textile shoes the so called “Atłaski” started, the production of rubber boots also started the so called Wellingtones and gym shoes. The company employed 210 employees. In 1931 the seat of Bata company was moved from Berlin to Otmęt. The first production hall was built together with the workers hotel and six dwelling houses the two of which were also purposed for the workers hotels.

During the Second World War Krapkowice was not destroyed, therefore many monuments and prewar industrial buildings were preserved. Since March 1945 Krapkowice and Otmęt has beloged to Poland and since 1950 to the Opole Province.

Thanks to industry and trade and good connection with industry areas, railways and water routes both settlements Krapkowice and Otmęt started to develop.

On January 1, 1956, six years after creation of the Opole Province, the Krapkowice poviat was created (from outermost parts of Opole, Strzelce Opolskie and Prudnik poviats). Among other poviats it stood out as far as its industrial character and high level of agriculture are concerned. Its surface was 431,1 km2 inhabited by 60000 persons. It was a highly developed industrial poviat. It comprised 4.5% of the province surface inhabited by 6% of inhabitants and it gave 10% of global production of the province. The agriculture was also highly developed.

095krapkowice_osiedle damrota w otmecie.jpeg After gaining the rank of a poviat town Krapkowice experienced development of industry and building. Three estates were built: 1000-lecia, XXX-lecia and Sady and two single family house estates. Extension of industrial plants and building of "Górażdże" cement plant contributed to further town development. In 1961 Otmęt was incorporated to Krapkowice.

In 1975, after liquidation of poviats the Krapkowice district was created including villages: Borek, Dąbrówka Górna, Gwoździce, Kórnica, Nowy Dwór Prudnicki, Pietna, Rogów, Steblów, Ściborowice, Żużela, Żywocice.

Obchody 10-lecia powodzi.jpeg In 1997 Krapkowice was destroyed by a tragic flood, but nowadays the flood consequences are not seen any more. In the tenth anniversary of the tragic events the water-level indicator commemorating the flood of 1997 was consecrated. The water-level indicator is located at the bank of the Odra river, on the Eichendorff’s square in Krapkowice. There is an inscription on the obelisk: “Let nature be our teacher” – for commemorating the big flood of 1997 – the inhabitants of Krapkowice town and district. July 2007.

On January 1, 1999 after the administrative reform Krapkowice again became the capital of the Krapkowice poviat and played a role of the administrative, trade, and cultural center of the region.

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