Sandomierz (pronounced: [sanˈdɔmʲɛʂ] (listen); Latin: Sandomiria) is a historical town in south-eastern Poland with 23,863 inhabitants (2017), situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship since 1999. It is the capital of Sandomierz County. Sandomierz is known for its preserved Old Town, a major cultural and tourist attraction which was declared a National Monument of Poland in 2017. In the past, Sandomierz used to be one of the most important urban centers not only of Lesser Poland, but also of the whole country. It was a royal city of the Polish Crown and a regional administrative center from the High Middle Ages to the 19th century.

Market Square with the Town Hall


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 50°41′N 21°45′E
Country Poland
Voivodeship Świętokrzyskie
CountySandomierz County
GminaSandomierz (urban gmina)
Town rightsbefore 1227
  MayorMarcin Marzec[1]
  Total28.8 km2 (11.1 sq mi)
200 m (700 ft)
  Density830/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 15
Car platesTSA


The name of the city might have originated from the Old Polish Sędomir, composed of Sędzi- (from the verb sądzić "to judge") and mir ("peace"), or more likely from the antiquated given name Sędzimir, once popular in several Slavic languages.[2] Sandomierz is known in German: Sandomir; Latin: Sandomiria; Yiddish: צויזמיר; Hungarian: Szandomir; Ukrainian: Сандомир or Судомир; Russian: Сандомир; and Czech: Sandoměř.


Early history

Sandomierz is one of the oldest and historically most significant cities in Poland. Archeological finds around the city indicate that humans have inhabited the area since neolithic times. The city came into existence in the early Middle Ages, taking advantage of an excellent location at the junction of Vistula and San rivers, and on the path of important trade routes. The first known historical mention of the city comes from the early 12th-century, when the chronicler Gallus Anonymus ranked it together with Kraków and Wrocław as one of the main cities of Poland. The testament (ca 1115-1118) of Bolesław III Wrymouth, in which he divided Poland among his sons, designated Sandomierz as the capital of one of the resulting principalities, the Duchy of Sandomierz.

In the early 13th century, the second oldest Dominican monastery in Poland (after Kraków) and one of the oldest in Europe was founded in Sandomierz. In the course of the 13th century the city suffered grievous damage during the raids by Mongols in 1241, 1260 and 1287. The old wooden buildings of the town were completely destroyed. As a result, in 1286 the High Duke of Poland Leszek II the Black, effectively refounded the city under Magdeburg Law and granted staple right.[3] The city archives preserve the founding document. (An important note: in 1260, as the Tartars invaded Christian Sandomir, a community of Dominicans was praying Matins while a novice read the martyrology for the next day: "the 49 martyrs of Sandomir". When the friars realized they were being warned of their death, they spent the remainder of the night and all the next day preparing to meet the Lord. At last, after the brethren had finished praying Compline, and as they processed singing the Salve Regina to Mary, the Tartars broke through the church door. While the Tartars intended to bring death to these Dominicans, they actually brought them great gifts - crowns of martyrdom. Ever since, at the death of every Dominican a song to his Beloved Mother is sung to usher him into her arms - the Salve Regina (or Hail, Holy Queen).[4])

After the re-unification of the Polish lands in the 14th century, the former principality became the Sandomierz Voivodeship, incorporating large areas of southeastern Poland. Until 1474, it was one of two voivodeships of Lesser Poland, together with Krakow Voivodeship. In 1474, Lublin Voivodeship was created from eastern part of Sandomierz Voivodeship. At this time Sandomierz had about 3,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest Polish cities. In the middle of the 14th century the city was burned again during a raid by the Lithuanians. It was rebuilt during the rule of king Casimir III of Poland, who extended its privileges.[5] The layout of the city has survived practically unchanged since that time until the present day. In 1389 in Sandomierz the newly appointed prince of the Novgorod Republic, Lithuanian prince Lengvenis, paid homage to Polish King Władysław II Jagiełło, thus making Novgorod a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Poland.[6]

Modern era

In 1570 an alliance of non-Catholic Polish Churches, the Lutherans, the Reformed, and the Bohemian Brethren, drew up what is known as the Sandomierz Agreement, effecting a confederation of the work in order to stave off defeat at the hands of the Roman Church. Thanks to the efforts of the local starost Hieronim Gostomski, the Jesuits settled in the city and founded the Collegium Gostomianum,[5] one Poland's oldest high schools, at the beginning of the 17th century.

The early modern period, running until the middle of the 17th century, was quite prosperous for the city. The most important historical buildings were built during this period. This golden age came to an end in 1655 when Swedish forces captured the city in the course of the Deluge. After briefly holding out in the city, the withdrawing Swedes blew up the castle and caused heavy damage to other buildings. In the next 100 years the economy of Poland suffered a decline, which also affected the city. A great fire in 1757 and the First Partition of Poland in 1772, which placed Sandomierz in Austria, further reduced its status. As a result, Sandomierz lost its role as an administrative capital.

In 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars, fighting between the forces of Austria and of the Duchy of Warsaw caused damage to the city. It became part of the short-lived Polish Duchy of Warsaw and after 1815 it found itself in the Russian Empire (Congress Poland). At this point it had just 2640 inhabitants.

Sandomierz Cathedral and St Paul's Church blood libel myth

This cathedral contains a series of paintings built into the church's wooden panelling depicting the Martyrologium Romanum. The third painting shows the scene which, it is claimed:[7] "...depicts ritual murders committed in Sandomierz by Jews on Christian children. The inscription above the painting reads filius apothecary ab infidelibus judaeis sandomiriensibus occisus (son of an apothecary, by infidel Sandomierz Jews killed) [8]

The St Paul's Church contains a different series of paintings including one in the chancel, depicting the torment of Jerzy Krassowski who was allegedly strangled by the Jews. Discussion on these pictures has taken place with the participation of the Polish Jewish Community. "The Polish Council of Christians and Jews has offered to finance a plaque with explanations of the blood libel and information about the official statements by various Popes rejecting the accusation".[9] This plaque is now displayed in the St Paul's Church next to the picture in question.

Fr. Stefan Zuchowski (1660-1716) from Sandomierz wrote two books propagating the myth of blood libel.[10] He also took an active role in two ritual murder trials in Sandomierz which led to the murder of five Jews and were the inspiration for the paintings displayed in Sandomierz Cathedral and St Paul's Church.

The world wars

The city again suffered damage during World War I. In 1918, it again became part of independent Poland. In the 1930s, due to the massive public works project known as Central Industrial Area, Sandomierz began to grow quickly. It was projected to become capital of the Sandomierz Voivodeship, and local authorities planned fast development of the city. The Greater Sandomierz was to turn in the 1940s into a city of 120,000.

In September 1939, following the German invasion of Poland, the city was occupied by Germany and made part of the General Government. The Jewish population of the city, consisting of about 2,500 people, perished during the Holocaust, mostly in the death camps of Bełżec and Treblinka. The city was captured by the Red Army in August 1944.

No major industrial development took place in Sandomierz during the communist era, thus preserving its look of a charming, small city full of historical monuments among unspoiled landscape.


The city experiences a humid continental climate with notably warm summers (Köppen: Dfb), much more consistently pronounced in eastern Poland. Precipitation, especially in the form of rains, is concentrated in the summer, reducing until the end of winter. Sandomierz has four well defined seasons of the year, hot summers (sometimes), usually bearable and cold winters but with slightly moderate extremes.[11]

Climate data for Sandomierz (Chwałki), elevation: 217 m, 1961-1990 normals and extremes
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.5
Average high °C (°F) −1.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.9
Average low °C (°F) −6.8
Record low °C (°F) −27.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 29
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.9 6.9 6.8 6.9 9.6 10.3 10.3 8.0 8.0 6.2 8.3 8.8 97
Source: NOAA[12]

Points of interest

Panorama of Sandomierz, landmarks seen from the left: Royal Castle, Cathedral Basilica, Jan Długosz House, cathedral bell tower, Collegium Gostomianum, Old Town with the town hall in the middle and the Opatowska Gate on the right end


  • Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczno-Przyrodnicza Studium Generale Sandomiriense
  • Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne w Sandomierzu
  • 1 Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace Collegium Gostomianum
  • 2 Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Tadeusza Kościuszki
  • Zespół Szkół Gastronomicznych i Hotelarskich
  • Zespół Szkół Technicznych i Ogólnokształcących

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Sandomierz is twinned with:


Virtual walks


  1. "Sandomierz (świętokrzyskie)". Polska w liczbach (in Polish). Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  2. Stanisław Rospond, Słownik etymologiczny miast i gmin PRL, Wrocław 1984, ISBN 83-04-01090-9.
  3. Stan Lewicki, Historja handlu w Polsce na tle przywilejów handlowych: (prawo składu), Warszawa 1920, p. 134 (in Polish)
  4. Blessed Sadoc and Companions "the 49 martyrs of Sandomir"
  5. "Sandomierski skład soli". (in Polish). Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  6. "Jagiełło". Na stronach ksiąg i Internetu. Bitwa pod Grunwaldem przez wieki (in Polish). Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  7. Fr Edward Górecki Ph.D, A Guide to Sandomierz Cathedral.
  8. Joanna Toarska-Bakir Ph.D., Sandomierz Blood-Libel Myths. Final Report 2006 by University of Warsaw.
  9. Poland and the Jews p.199, Stanislaw Krajewski, Kraków 2005
  10. Polonsky, Antony (2010). The Jews in Poland and Russia Volume 1. Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-1-874774-64-8.
  11. "Sandomierz climate: Average Temperature, weather by month, Sandomierz weather averages -". Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  12. "City (12585) - WMO Weather Station". NOAA. Retrieved January 13, 2010. Archived December 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Home". 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2011.

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