Czestochowa Travel Guide

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Czestochowa Overview

The village of Częstochowa was founded in 11th century. It is first mentioned as a village in historical documents from 1220. In 1382 the Paulist monastery of Jasna Góra was founded by Władysław Opolczyk (Ladislav of Opole) - the Polish Piast prince of Upper Silesia. Two years later the monastery received its famous Black Madonna icon of the Virgin Mary and in subsequent years became a center of pilgrimage, contributing to the growth of the adjacent town. Before 1377 Częstochowa received a town charter, which was later changed to the Magdeburg Law in 1502.
In the 17th century the local monastery was turned into a fortress, which was one of the pockets of Polish resistance against the Swedish armies during The Deluge in 1655.
During World War I the town came under German occupation, and in 1918 it became a part of the newly-reborn Republic of Poland. The new state acquired large deposits of good iron ore in Silesia and the mines in Częstochowa became inefficient and soon were closed. This brought the period of prosperity to an end. At the same time a bishopric was relocated to the city in 1925.
Currently the city is one of the main tourist attractions of the area and is sometimes called the little Nuremberg because of the number of souvenir shops and historical monuments. It attracts millions (4.5 mln - 2005) of tourists and pilgrims every year.

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery, is a particularly popular attraction.