Kolín Town

Published: 23.4.2008
Kolín is a town with rich history. According to the oldest sources of 1261, its originally name was Colonia. The archeological discoveries prove that this town was founded on a place colonized since Primeval Age. The oldest notice comes from Stone Age. Anyway, the historians are of an opinion that this area was settled very soon, so it became a great trade cross-road.

SquareSo, first notice about town-existence is of rule-period of King Přemysl Ottakar II. He founded many towns with help of German colonists. He let to create fortifications around the town, and set free the citizens from all taxes, customs and duties for a period of four years. The original town-inhabitants were mostly farmers, handicraftsmen and tradesmen. Rich German patricians became owners of near Kutná Hora silver mines.

They started to build their houses Plague Columnthere. So, they constructed mining-church in 1292 on a hill, just opposite Kutná Hora. In 1307, after death of King Wenceslas II.,  there was an attempt to conquer Kolín by troops of German King Albrecht , but it was unsuccessfull. However, King Jan Lucemburský took away the town all previous privileges. Later, his successors, Kings Charles IV. and Wenceslas IV. gave back the town the privileges and granted further advantages, which enabled development and getting rich of citizens. So, Kolín became one of richest towns in Bohemia Kingdom.

During Hussite revolution, Kolín was on part of King´s daughter Sophia, later was on part of Emperor Zikmund. In 1412, the Hussite troops destroyed Dominican Monastery and St. Bartholomewsent to the stake six monks, together with local priest Hynek of Ronov. In 1427, the town was besieged and occupied by troops of Prokopius Great. He expelled the Germans from the town and besieged it with Hussite garrison under rule of Jan Čapek. Kolín became Hussite town, and consequently there were appointed the priests of utraquist Church in local St.Bartholomew Cathedral.

In first half of 15th century, captain and priest Frederick of Strážnice took the power in town, as a reward for a fact that he recognized Zikmund as King of Bohemia, so he received Kolín with environs as a mortgage. On a place, where there On the wallswas originally situated Dominican Monastery, a  castle Lapis Refugii was constructed. Anyway, the town, together with a castle, were passed later to ownership of George of Poděbrady, he left it by will to his sons. The town gained again back its position of free King´s town. In 1547, local citizens protested against Emperor Ferdinand I. Immediately, when the revolt was suppressed, the town lost  its historical privileges as well as wealth. Despite this fact, the town further developped. Anyway, change happened during 30-years war. The town crossed important trade routes. The town became to be plundered and besieged, many buildings were damaged by fires(especially in 1734 and in 17963). The inhabitants suffered and died from plague (within 1680 -1713). On 18th June 1757, there was realized one of most bloody battles of Seven-Years´War - between Austria and Prussiawhen the troops of Austrian Empress Maria Theresa have beaten troops of Frederick II., the King of Prussia.Práchovna

The town brought to life during rule of Emperor Joseph II, when crafts and trade were restored to life. In 1778, the first manufacture factory - for cotton working - was established. Since 1830, we speak about National Regeneration period. František Jaromír Rubeš started to arranger theater performances, so the Bohemian self-consciousness was raised a little. An important break for Kolín was railway - construction from Olomouc to Prague. Finally, the town started to be developped. New factories and banking institutes were founded and social life of inhabitants was increasing.

In 1865, Josef Weissberger built a factory for spirit working. Near the railway station, the sugar-factory was established. On the other part of town, the factories for production of fertilizers  and chemicals were founded. In 1858, a men´s singing club, and in 1862 SOKOL, gymnastic assotiation, were created. However, other troubles came in 1866, after a war with Prussia, the town was occupied again. Cholera epidemy occured, and 400 people died. Apart of these problems, the Kmochův Housetown get over quickly. A Progress Party won in community elections. At the end of 19th century, in Kolín lived more than 15000 inhabitants. However, the town´s development was stopped with both World Wars. In 1927, new iron-concrete bridge across Elbe-river was terminated, the work of Architect Royth. In 1932, on Zálabí-suburb there was built new electric steam power station, with the highest chimney in Europe, at that time.

During Second World War, Kolín suffered a lot from four bombing raids effected by Allied Air-Forces. St.Bartholomew-Church as well as All Saint´s Church  were damaged, too. Today, the town of Kolín is a district centre with developed chemical, foodstuff, machinery and press industries.

 

Text: Ondřej Barták

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Martin Kozák, Timichal, č.2, Krokodyl, Pajast, č.2, -jkb-

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