Opole

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Opole

(ôpô`lĕ), Ger. Oppeln, city (1992 est. pop. 129,000), capital of Opolskie prov., S Poland, on the Oder River. A river port and rail junction, it is also an important trade center, with manufactures of cement, metals, and furniture. Originally a Slavic settlement, it was the seat (1163–1532) of the dukes of Opole of the PiastPiast
, 1st dynasty of Polish dukes and kings. Its name was derived from that of its legendary ancestor, a simple peasant. The first historic member, Duke Mieszko I (reigned 962–92), began the unification of Poland and introduced Christianity.
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 dynasty. The duchy passed (1532) to the house of Hapsburg and (1742) to Prussia and was incorporated into Poland in 1945. It was the capital (1919–45) of the Prussian province of Upper Silesia. In the city are the churches of St. Adalbert (10th cent.) and of the Holy Cross (14th cent.).

Opole

 

a city in southwestern Poland and the administrative center of Opole Województwo. Population, 90,000 (1972). It is a railroad and highway junction and a port on the Oder River. One of the city’s main industries, machine building, is represented by a railroad repair depot and factories producing electric motors and automotive parts. Other products include cement, foodstuffs, furniture, and knitwear. The city has a higher school of engineering and a pedagogical institute.

Opole was founded in the tenth century on the site of an unfortified settlement of the Slavic Opolanie tribe. It was originally a small fortification on an islet formed by the Oder and its branch, the Młynówka. In the early 13th century, when Opole became the capital of a Piast principality, the center of the city was transferred to the right bank of the Oder, and the prince’s castle was built on the site of the old fortification. During this period several stone buildings were constructed in Opole, and the city itself was enclosed by a stone wall. Under Hapsburg rule from 1532 to 1740 (with interruptions), the city was conquered by Prussia in 1740 and became part of Germany in 1871. On Jan. 24, 1945, the city, called Oppeln, was liberated from the fascist German troops by the Soviet army and was returned to Poland. Excavations in the oldest part of Opole, begun in 1948, have uncovered remains of wooden defense works and many small frame houses that had belonged to artisans and tradespeople.

REFERENCES

Holubowicz, W. Opole w wiekach X-XII. Katowice, 1956.
Dziewulski, W. “Miasto lokacyjne w Opolu w XIII-XV wieku.” Studia śląaskie, vol. 1. Katowice, 1958.
Hensel, W. Archeologia o począotkach miast siowiańskich. Wroclaw, 1963.