The history of Niepołomice is closely related to the history of the castle which used to be a favourite summer residence of several Polish kings, often being referred to as “the other Wawel”, and Niepołomice Forest which was a royal hunting ground.

The exact date of foundation of Niepołomice is not known. The original village came into being as a settlement outside the walls of the hunting castle built here in 1340-49 by King Casimir the Great. In 1350 the parish of Niepołomice was established. In October 1358 it was consecrated by Archbishop Jarosław Bogoria Skotnicki in the presence of the king himself. In this area there was also a royal inn which the king gave to the first parson of Niepołomice when the parish church was consecrated.

The settlement began to flourish under the reign of Władysław Jagiełło who apparently liked visiting Niepołomice. The royal visits attracted many guests who had to be provided with accommodation and meals. According to the census of 1564 the village of Niepołomice had a population of 200, including 11 freemen, 17 inn-keepers, 5 potters and several foresters who protected the royal forests.

Niepołomice was granted the town charter after the partition of Poland. On 11th April 1776 the Austrian authorities established there a county court, treasury office, customs office. A large market square was built and the town received a coat of arms: white castle with five windows and an outline of the gate, supported on either side by two golden griffons facing each other, on a blue shield. In the interwar years the town’s coat of arms was changed into an oval shield with a crowned eagle and the inscription “The Town of Niepołomice”. However, the current coat o arms was inspired by the original version.

Niepołomice as an important location east of Cracow became in the mid-19th century a part of Galicia’s railway system connecting Cracow with Dębica and Lwów.

1888 brought the election of Władysław Wimmer as the town’s mayor. He gained the reputation as an able administrator, builder and… manufacturer of excellent roof tiles which to this day cover roofs of many houses in Vienna and Berlin.

After the end of World War 1, the Austrians left Niepołomice without delay. To celebrate this fact, on 7th November 1918, the town’s inhabitants planted the Oak of Freedom which to which still stands in the Municipal Park.

After World War 2, the situation of the town was very hard. Many inhabitants lost their lives during the war, and economic activity slumped. Only after the construction of Nowa Huta in the late 1950s did Niepołomice begin to develop again.

Following the end of communist era, Niepołomice started to be ruled by people elected in democratic elections. On 7th June 1990 the Town Council elected Stanisław Kracik as mayor. In 1993 he became the first inhabitant of Niepołomice to win a seat in the Polish Parliament. His term of office marked the beginning of the town’s rapid development. Today Niepołomice has a population of 26,000 and is regarded as a model of good management.

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