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Kowary

Polska / dolnośląskie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere

Summary

Province:dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)
County:jeleniogórski / jeleniogórski (before 1939)
Community:Kowary / Kowary (before 1939)
Other names:Schmiedeberg [j. niemiecki]
 
GPS:
50.7915° N / 15.8366° E
50°47'29" N / 15°50'11" E

Location

Miłosz Gudra

Kowary – miasto położone na południowym zachodzie Polski, w województwie dolnośląskim, powiat jeleniogórski. Odległe 18 km na południe od Jeleniej Góry, 118 km na południowy zachód od Wrocławia, 478 km na południowy zachód od Warszawy. Przez miasto przepływa rzeka Jedlica.

 

 

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Local history

Miłosz Gudra /

The first mention of Kowary is from 1305, although it is know that iron ore, discovered by a semi-legendary Walloon – Laurentius Angelus, was minded from the slopes of the Rudnik mountain already in the 12th century. In 1392, Kowary were under the authority of the Kingdom of Bohemia. It was granted municipal rights by King of Bohemia and Hungary, Vladislaus II in 1513. For centuries, the development of Kowary was associated with the quarrying and smelting of iron ore; the production of barrels for firearms commissioned by the First Republic of Poland was one of the sources of the centre's income. In the 16th century, Kowary was a prominent textile manufacturer. From the 15th century, the town was owned by the Schaffgotsch family.

A major breakthrough came after the Thirty Years’ War. Mining and metallurgy diminished and all mines were filled with water. Weaving industry flourished, though. In 1720, first weaving-fabric manufacture was open in Silesia.

In 1741, Kowary and the rest of Silesia were bought from the Bohemian inheritors of the Schaffgotsch family – the Czernin family – by King Frederick II. Many attempts were made to revive the mining industry, but it was textile industry which still dominated. In the second half of the 19th century, Kowary became known for making carpets and felt. In 1882, a railway connection with Kamienna Góra was opened.

In the 20th century, the local mining was restored. First, iron ore was extracted until the end of World War One, and from 1927 it was also uranium, discovered in the course of mining the ore deposits. Uranium was sold to the research centre in Oranienburg and Stahlwerk Mark A.G centres in Hamburg. During World War Two, six Nazi forced labour camps were located in the town.

In 1945, the town become part of Poland. The German population was expelled and the town was resettled by displaced Poles form Eastern Borderlands among other territories. Uranium mining was resumed in great secrecy, this time for the purposes of the Soviet nuclear project. Exploration and mining adits were driven and shafts were excavated; in the 1960s, uranium was processed from other sources and recovered from spoil dumps. The workers were not protected which led to numerous deaths. Uranium mining was dropped in the 1960s. In addition to this

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