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More about Olsztyn

The story of Olsztyn is similar to that of most preposterous towns of that time. The fortress soon extended its broders to become a castle and in 1353 the castle was promoted to a township when Olsztyn received a town charter. Olsztyn's history is as ancient as that of the Teutonic Knights, who owned the area during the 13th century. However, after a bloody battle, the Knights lost the city to the Poles. It came under Polish rule in 1466. But the untiring Knights returned, in 1520 to attack the town once again. However, the town successfully held of the attack and defeated the knights.

It was not so lucky in 1772 when the Prussian empire gained control over this part of Poland in the first partition of the nation. In fact, Olsztyn remained in the hands of the Prussians till 1945 when under the provisions of the Potsdam Conference, after the Second World War Olsztyn was handed back to the Polish.

It would be fair to say that when the Poles were handed Olsztyn, it was literally in shambles. An ill timed attack from the Soviet Army, the liberators of the town, saw the city plundered and the entire city center burned down. It was to give the impression of a great siege that the Russians staged this show, although in reality the German garrison stationed in Olsztyn had been sent to the Eastern Front, so the Russain Army entered the city unchecked.

True to the remarkable spirit shown by the natives of this country, the ravages of this attack are hardly visible today. The historic architecture of the Old town and its vicinity has been restored to its former glory and indeed visitors will be charmed by this picturesque little town.


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