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Ogrodzieniec

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Ogrodzieniec is a town in Zawiercie County, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland, with 4,499 inhabitants (2004). It is noted for the extensive ruins of a medieval castle, damaged during the Swedish invasion of Poland (1655 - 1660).Ogrodzieniec, which is part of Lesser Poland, received its Magdeburg rights town charter in 1386. Until the Partitions of Poland, it belonged to Kraków Voivodeship, and in 1815 it became part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland. After the January Uprising, Ogrodzieniec, like many other locations of Lesser Poland, lost its town charter (1870) and remained a village until 1973. Ogrodzieniec lies among the hills of Małopolska Upland, on the outskirts of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie. The town has an area of 28 km2, and is located approximately 400 meters above sea level. In the south and west, Ogrodzieniec is surrounded by forests.HistoryThe origins of the town date back to the 11th century. It was a forest settlement, with a wooden castle built along the border of Lesser Poland and Silesia. In 1241, during Mongol invasion of Poland, the village and the castle were burned, and afterwards, a new, stone castle was built. Ogrodzieniec received its town charter in 1386. It was a local trade center, with merchants and artisans, many of them Jewish. Furthermore, enormous forests attracted noble hunters, including Polish kings. In 1346, Ogrodzieniec Roman Catholic parish church was first mentioned. In the mid-16th century, it was turned into a Calvinist prayer house, and remained so until circa 1630, when it was returned to the Catholics. In the first half of the 18th century, a new, stone church was built, but it was not completed until 1787.
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