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Flagdescription: three vertical stripes of blue and white, with the city arms in center.
Grodzisk Wielkopolski is a town situated in the western part of Wielkopolska Province, population about 14 000 people. Past ages have left many monuments and picturesque spots here which today make the town and its close neighbourhood a particularly charming place.
The history of Grodzisk goes back to the 13th century, although remains
of human settlements in this area reach back to the Neolithic age (4500
- 1800 B.C.).
The origin of the settlement from the early period of the Piast dynasty is evident in the name of the town. The spelling of the name Grodzisk fixed gradually. At the beginning it was: Grodisze, Grottische, Grodisce, Grozisce, Grodih. The name was further evolving and passing through various forms: Grodziscz, Grodyscze, Grodzysko, Grodzisko, and finally was established as Grodzisk - the form we use today. After the Great War the adjective Wielkopolski was added to the name of the town. During the annexation period it bore the German name Grätz (Greatz).
The oldest document in which the settlement was mentioned is the Privilege
granted by Przemysł I (1220/21 - 1257) for the Cistercian Monastery in
Paradyż in the year 1257. By that Privilege the Cistercians were allowed
to found villages on the so-called German rights on the monastery land
properties. Grodzisk is mentioned in that document among villages possessed
by Cistercian friars together with many others, for example: Kiełpinia,
Miłostowo and Słocina.
There is another document mentioning Grodzisk; that one is dated 1259 and was issued by Bolesław Pobożny. It certifies to Jan from Skoki the bestowal of the village Grodzisk (villam Grottische) on the monastery in Paradyż.
The preserved acts indicate that in the 13th century the town was at most a major property centre, whereas Drużyn on the Mogilnica River, situated some 10 km north-east of Grodzisk, served defensive and administrative purposes.
The town could develop thanks to its propitious location at an important
route leading from Poznan to Gubin and farther to Saxony. A precise course
of this connection is unknown, but two variants are possible: via Buk -
Ząszyn and via Stęszew, Grodzisk and Kopanica. The foundation of the town
was closely related to regulation of titles of property. However, the exact
date of the municipal reform is unknown since the foundation charter has
not been preserved. This is why it can
not be investigated how and when the town was taken over by private owners.
The first confirmation of the municipal character of Grodzisk is a document from 1303, although its contents do not refer directly to the town itself. Most probably the town was founded in the late 13th century - this is confirmed by existing tradition, according to which the town was founded by Przemysł II.
By the end of the 16th century Grodzisk already had a population of some 1160 people, mainly owing to the new squires of the town - the Ostroróg family. Beside the Górek family they were propagators of new religious and philosophical trends in Wielkopolska. In the 16th century the Ostroróg family split into a Catholic fraction and a Lutheran one. Owing to them the Reformation began in Grodzisk. Stanisław Ostroróg settled down some Lutherans in the town and due to this fact dissidents from Bohemia and Western Europe were coming to Grodzisk. Among them there were craftsmen (mainly linen drapers and brewers), scholars and writers. In 1563 Stanisław Ostroróg gave the parish church to the Protestants, founded a school in the town and invited an excellent lecturer Erazm Gliczner - one of the leading propagators of modern ideas in Poland. He stayed in the town between 1569 and 1589 and left a significant creative output. Between 1579 and 1581 Melchior Nering published in his printing house some dissident writings. Grodzisk became one of the major centres of the Reformation ideas in Wielkopolska. However, in 1594 Jan Ostroróg reintroduced Catholicism, which made the Lutherans move to Żnin as there were not enough believers in Grodzisk any longer.
In 1593, in connection with the influx of newcomers into the terrain
situated in the north of the medieval town, a so-called "new town" was
established. It was located about 150 meters away from the Old Town, but
it wasn't to constitute a separate administrative unit, though such a development
seems to be quite unique as for those times. The conditions propitious
for development together with a good location at an important trade route
and the town ownerś openness to new settlers caused an influx of Jews
as well. The first written reference to Jews in Grodzisk (in Yiddish: Grittsa,
???????) dates back from the beginning of the 16th century and was found
in documents regarding the town, dated 1505, in which a Jew Abraham from
Grodzisk is mentioned. Since 1626 Grodzisk belonged to another wealthy
family from Wielkopolska - the Opaliński family. Jan Opaliński from Bnin
gave start to the line of six representatives of the family ruling the
town indivisibly till 1775 when Leon Opaliński, the last male descendant
of the family, died. The Opalińskis, being zealous Catholics, used to spend
a large part of their revenue on construction of sacred buildings.
The thing Grodzisk became famous for was its beer. Undoubtedly, the residents had been producing that beverage already in the Middle Ages. But the crucial moment for the history of Grodzisk came about in the second half of the 16th century. That glorious period was initiated with the first privilege for brewers and millers, issued in 1601. The unique taste quality of produced beer was due to special recipes but also to the water rich in taste values. In the end of the 18th century there were 53 brewers operating in the town.
The legend of father Bernard tells us about the water and the beer from
One day, the blessed priest Bernard of the Benedictine Monastery in Lubiń came to Grodzisk and met there townspeople who were very crestfallen because the well they had been drawing water from for the purposes of the municipal brewery, dried up completely. That brewery was the only source of income for the town and its hospital. The friar took pity on the poor people and having heaved a sigh to God he blessed the well. Suddenly an underground spring gushed and filled it brimful with water. The brewers soon set to their work and when they tasted the new produced beer they found its taste far better than ever. They were overwhelmed by amazement and joy. To commemorate this miracle each year the citizens of Grodzisk walked in a procession to Lubiń, to the blessed Bernard's grave and each year they donated a barrel of beer to the monastery. In course of time the beer from Grodzisk became famous as a refined drink that cost thrice the price of any ordinary alcoholic beverage of that kind. The traditional beer from Grodzisk was the only one in Poland which was brewed using so-called surface fermentation and made from malted wheat specially smoked with oak or beech smoke. The unique nature of the Grodzisk beverage contributed to the decreasing interest in it after the World War II and finally, in the end of 1993, the beer production in Grodzisk ceased.
In January 1793 the town together with the entire region of Wielkopolska
found itself under the Prussian rule. In 1794 the Kościuszko Insurrection
began in the neighbouring parts of partitioned Poland. Wielkopolska joined
this uprising towards its close. Grodzisk became a rallying point and firearms
were being brought and collected there. There were no military actions
in the town itself but in its nearest vicinity a unit of insurgents was
hiding. The town played a distinguishable role in the revolution of 1848
(The Springtide of Nations). On April 1848 the town was attacked by an
expedition of 600 Prussian soldiers. Several hundreds of insurgents
opposed under the Jewish physician Marcus Mossęs command. The main fight took place in the suburbs of Doktorowo, about 500 meters away from the centre. Nevertheless, the defence was broken. Several tens of insurgents died and the commander suffered severe wounds. In 1918 Poland regained its independence and during that period Grodzisk played an important role as well. Before the outbreak of the uprising on 26 December, Polish military units started to be formed and after three days there were more or less 400 men ready. The town itself was taken by the invading forces without any resistance. The citizens of Grodzisk played and important role in the fights on the western and south-western fronts of the uprising in Wielkopolska. 13 insurgents from Grodzisk Land died during the fights in different sections of the front. Moreover, volunteers from Grodzisk participated in uprisings in Upper Silesia and in the Polish-Bolshevik war.
The inter war period brought a quick economic development of the town. Until 1932 Grodzisk was a poviat's seat. At that time the food industry was prospering well, and plants such as the United Breweries of Grodzisk, Meat Works, a Diary a Sawmill and other plants were operating successfully. The German occupation was time of intensive Germanisation and displacements. In Młyniewo, near Grodzisk a transitional camp was established, originally for Jews and later for Polish people.
Afterwards, in different periods, French, Serbian, English and Soviet prisoners of war were also kept there. The resistance movement was actively operating on Grodzisk's Land, especially by the end of the war, in spite of a relatively large number of Germans staying in the town. After several days of heavy battles, on 27 January 1945, the town was liberated by the Red Army. When the residents of Grodzisk were welcoming Soviet soldiers, German airplanes arrived and started bombing. As a result of that raid 8 people were killed.
Nowadays, Grodzisk Wielkopolski is a town of industrial character and has several distinguishing firms. Moreover, it owes a lot to craftsmanship, which in spite of considerable difficulties, still represents a substantial business potential. The former craft activity is continued by the Various Crafts’ Guild which was created in 1983.
Grodzisk has got its Brass Band which is a largely creative one. Its
origins go back to the year of 1929 when a voluntary Fire Brigade Brass
Orchestra was created in Grodzisk Wielkopolski. At present it numbers 120
young musicians at the age from 10 to 20. Each year new members are admitted
to the band from between young citizens of Grodzisk. In 2002 the band performed
in public 104 times. Its activities are widely appreciated what is confirmed
by numerous awards and distinctions in Poland and abroad.
The town is famous as well for its active soccer club. In 1922 a club named „Dyskobolia”was established. Its crest represents a discus thrower, well-known from the renowned sculpture by Myron. Since 1993, when the company Intergroclin Auto started to support it, the club has been making constant progress which resulted in its promotion into the soccer Premiere League.
In 1999, Grodzisk regained its status of poviat town.
The flag of Grodzisk Wielkopolski
During the solemn session of the Civic Council which was held on 28 June 2003 on the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the establishment of the town, the Civic Council approved a resolution about the flag of Grodzisk Wielkopolski. It was presented to the public first time and put up on the top of the tower of the Town hall in Grodzisk.
„The flag of the town and of the community of Grodzisk has the form of an oblong piece of material, the proportions of its width and height are 5 to 8. The field of the flag is divided into three equal horizontal stripes in colors: blue, white and blue with the crest of the Grodzisk Town and Community situated in the middle.”
One specimen of the flag was presented as a gift to: the President of the Republic of Poland, to the Voivode of Wielkopolska, to the president of Wielkopolska Province, to the Starost of Grodzisk District and to the Mayors of partnership towns.
Bugle-call of Grodzisk Wielkopolski
Between the days 2nd and 6th of February in 1998, two versions of the bugle-call were broadcast by “Merkury”Radio and played from the tower of the Grodzisk town hall. Citizens of the town and of the community together with the radio audience decided by open competition which version should be chosen.
On 15 March 1998 the bugle-call was played the first time on the tower of the town hall and since then it has been heard every day at midday.
The melody was composed by the bandmaster of the Brass Band – Mr. Stanisław Słowińki, and it is performed by its trumpeter - Mr. Rafał Dudek (no relation of the former Feijenoord goalkeeper Dudek).
The Civic Council of Grodzisk Wielkopolski officially accepted it by a resolution on 2 April 1998 making adequate modifications in the statutes of the town and the community of Grodzisk Wielkopolski.
Source: city's website.
Jarig Bakker, 9 Feb 2008
Coat of Arms: azure a throne or with a king in robe gules crowned or.
This is king Przemysl II (c. 1290)
The crest of Grodzisk Wielkopolski
"... on a bright blue background is a king on a golden throne, with a crown, holding a sceptre in his right hand and an apple in his left. The king’s face and hands are of natural colour. The crown, the sceptre and the apple are golden. The king’s tunic – white with golden edge on sleeves, his overcoat – red with golden hem, braced on his right shoulder with a golden buckle. He is wearing red shoes.”
The crest described this way was approved on 22 February 1939 by the
Disposition of the Ministry of the Interior in accordance with the article
4 paragraph (3) of “The Decree Concerning Emblems, National Colors, Signs
and Seals”, issued by the President of the Republic of Poland on 13 December
1927, and in accordance with its version sounded in the Announcement of
Prime Minister on 12 October 1938 (Dz. U. R. P. Nr 2, poz z 1939 r.) and
after a consultation with the Ministry of
Religious Believes and Public Education.
According to a legend the crest features the King Przemysł II who is the founder of the town. Probably, this image was taken from a royal seal from an unknown document, and in the end of the 14th century it replaced an old crest version – a lime-tree branch.
Source: city's website.
Jarig Bakker, 9 Feb 2008