Kalisz

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Kalisz [ˈkaliʂ] ( listen) (German: Kalisch) is a city in central Poland with 106,829 inhabitants (June 2009), the capital city of Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce. See Kalisz County for the regional administrative area (powiat).

Kalisz is an important regional industrial and commercial centre[citation needed], with many notable factories[which?]. The city is also a centre for traditional folk art. The town was also the site of the former 'Calisia' piano factory, until it went out of business in 2007.

Contents

History

Kalisz has long been considered the oldest city of Poland because it was mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D., but the claim is now doubted by some (cf. Calisia). The location mentioned by Ptolemy was situated in the territory of the Diduni in Magna Germania on the Amber Trail. There are many artefacts of the Roman times in the area, pointing out that it could have been one of the stops of the Roman caravans heading for the Baltic Sea.

The modern Kalisz was most probably founded in 9th century as a provincial capital castellany and a minor fort. The name itself stems from the Celtic term cal which means stream, or Slavic term kal, meaning swamp or marsh. In 1106 Bolesław Krzywousty captured the town and made it a part of his feudal domain. Between 1253 and 1260 the town was incorporated according to the German town law called Środa Śląska Law after Środa Śląska in Silesia, a local variation of the Magdeburg Law, and soon started to grow. One of the richest towns of Greater Poland, during the feudal fragmentation of Poland it formed a separate duchy ruled by local branch of the Piast dynasty. After Poland was reunited, the town became a notable centre of weaving and wood production, as well as one of the cultural centres of Greater Poland. Also, Jewish settlement of Kalisz dates back to 1139 (see: Khalyzians).

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