Polish city Gorlitz: unusual town in the valley of Oil


A little forgotten city today, Gorlice, was an arena of many important events which greatly influenced the history of the world. In here, in one of these towns regions, an oil industry was born. Here, a very first oil lamp in the world was built. One of the most important people in the history of Polish science, Ignacy Łukasiewicz, has done a great service to the development of this city. He was a pharmacist who was passionate about petroleum. Certainly, this city deserves attention and being there can evoke many wonderful feelings. What is worth knowing about it?
This city, established in the middle of the XIV century by Karwacjanie, was playing an important role of the trading and industrial center. Gorlice was a private city as well as the capital of the “country of Gorlice” till the partitions of Poland. The nearby lands belonged to it. The successful development of Gorlice was a result of its location near the important trade routes. The local industry was also developing excellently. Here, in the Ropa valley, the textile industry was very important already in the XVI century. There also existed bakeries, breweries and many more service establishments . The local markets and fairs were popular. They were visited by merchants not only from Poland, but also from Hungary. The trade in wine and linen was vital here in the XVI century. In the city’s history, the time of Protestant Reformation was also very important. Gorlice became an important Arian and Calvinist center with the help of politics of the new owners of the town – masters of the House of Pieniążkowie.

An important time in the town’s history was the XIX century. In was the time when the oil industry began to develop. Łukasiewicz, known today as the “father” of the oil lamp, worked hard to distil it in the pharmacy in Gorlice. The relics of his work can be seen in the Regional Museum in Gorlice where there are many interesting oil lamps and devices necessary to oil distillation. All this reminds us of the most important industry in the XIX century which was based on oil. In that time Gorlice became the headquarters of the Krajowe Towarzystwo Naftowe (the National Oil Association) with many industrial institutions around it. In the effect, in the beginning if the XX century, Gorlice was one of the most vital cities in the Lower Carpathians Province. Unfortunately, the First World War stopped these prosperous times and because of the famous Gorlice operation the city suffered a great loss. Hard fights between the Austrian-Germany and the Russian troops resulted in great damages to the city. Until this day, many war necropolises can be seen in the area of Gorlice. They became one of the most characteristic elements of the Low Beskid.

What monuments must absolutely be seen during the trip to Gorlice?

The town hall is an interesting building where Łukasiewicz had his famous pharmacy. The basilica in Gorlice also amazes. The old synagogue, kierkut and a few tenement houses in the center of the city are very valuable relics of the local Jewish community. The restored Karwacjan Manor and the modern Orthodox church are other attractions which definitely deserve more of your time.
The modern Gorlice are, among others, a valuable tourist center. A picturesque landscape makes it so. The city is a perfect starting point for the trips to the Low Beskid. Many tourist trails make visiting the most beautiful places in its area easier. The nearness of the Magurski National Landscape Park and the scenic gorge of Ropa guarantees great prosperity to the city. Those, who reserve places in the local hotels, have the perfect starting point for the trip to visiting the cemeteries from the First World War.


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