Ilony, Jerzego, Wojciecha
Mayor: Tadeusz Pitala
Council Chair: Tadeusz Żaba
The Borough is situated in the Pogórze Wielickie region, within the catchment areas of two rivers, the Raba and the Skawinka, adjacent to Zalew Dobczycki lake. The distance to the City of Krakow is 18 kilometres. International Route E7, which links Krakow with Poland’s southern border, runs in the direct vicinity of the Borough.
With a total area of 31.9sqkm, the Borough has a population of 7870, inhabiting 4 villages: Czechówka, Łyczanka, Siepraw, and Zakliczyn.
Siepraw emerged as a settlement located at the old merchants’ route often referred to as the Hungarian Route. The first mentions of its name, just like in the case of Zakliczyn, date back to the years 1325-27, when the sources refer to parishes in these hamlets. It is then possible that they had existed as early as the late 13th century. From the very beginning, fairs were held in Siepraw; during the reign of Kazimierz III the Great, the population drew considerable benefits from trading and from toll charged to travellers. When trading with Hungary ceased to be profitable, the villagers took to farming, and this agricultural character of the village is still retained in our time. Somewhat shorter is the history of Czechówka, first mentioned in written records in 1398, and that of Łyczanka (second half of the 15th century). In mid-15th century, there were large farming estates in Siepraw, Zakliczyn, and Łyczanka, resulting from combination of peasants’ plots of land and leasehold of royal property.
Zakliczyn was owned by the Jordan family, whose members often held various local offices, such as Dobczyce District Governor (starosta) and My¶lenice County Head (wójt), which made them a relatively powerful lineage in the Małopolska province. Somewhat later, in the 16th century, great prominence was achieved by another family that had its seat in Zakliczyn, the Wiktors, who were leaders in local reformation movements at the time.
Around 1566, Mikołaj Wiktor and his brothers caused profanation of the local church and subsequently, after pillaging it, resorted to pulling it down. The hamlet was re-catholicised around 1593 and a new church was built. Still, proper pastoral and educational activity could be resumed by the parish only around 1618, i.e. 25 years later.
Siepraw Borough is a suburban area, with well-developed handcrafts, such as production of brushes or locksmithery. Approximately 75% of the area is used for farming, with average-quality soils. Forests cover 15% of the Borough. There is no predominant crop or breed, as most farms are rather small and fragmented. Some specialise in stock breeding, e.g. milk goats, egg-laying hens or battery chickens. A considerable portion of farms are left barren due to the fact that no crop would be profitable there.
The period after World War II was the time when Siepraw became known for its primary trade: production of brushes. There are about 750 commercial entities registered within the Borough, mostly small brush-making businesses. There are no major industrial plants in the area, which is why a large number of local people work in factories and companies located in the region’s towns and cities. This is made possible by a well-developed public transport system.
Siepraw and other villages in the Borough have advanced technical infrastructure. Sustainable development is an important issue to the Borough authorities, which is reflected for example by the current project involving construction of a sanitary sewage system and ongoing replacement of coal-based heating with gas systems. The latter can be further exemplified by state-of-the-art boiler rooms completed in primary schools in all the villages of the Borough. The advantageous location in terms of vehicular access makes the Borough an attractive place for investors interested in launching business activity in the direct vicinity of Krakow.
The proximity of Krakow, the advantageous situation near Zalew Dobczycki lake, and the natural environment unpolluted by any manufacturing industry make the Borough an attractive tourist destination, especially for weekend outings.
Siepraw Borough is also an attractive winter spot with three ski lifts, which, combined with artificial lighting, enable skiers to have fun till late at night.
An increasingly popular form of tourism is agritourism, i.e. an opportunity to spend your holiday in the countryside and to purchase traditional organic food.
The Borough is also anticipating growing pilgrimage traffic relating to the cult of the Blessed Aniela Salawa, born in Siepraw in 1881, beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 August 1991.
At present, there is one hotel in the Borough.
The long and rich history of the region has left numerous relics, and perhaps those that are worth a visit more than others include:
St. Martin’s Church in Siepraw, built of wood in the first half of the 17th century to replace the old one. It is unique in the fact that its presbytery is not clearly planned as a separate part of the temple. There are some tombstone plaques in the interior: one dating back to 1528; another, bearing coats of arms of Pielesz and Szeliga, originated in the 16/17th century; and the third one, shielding the grave of Elżbieta and Jakub Olszowski, is dated 1609.
Archangel Michel’s Parish Church in Siepraw, rebuilt from ruins, originally built in 1620, with the belfry added in mid-19th century. It once had two Baroque altars.
Wooden chapel in Łyczanka, built in 1861; a copy of the painting of Our Lady Virgin Mary of Zakliczyn, supposedly dating back to the late 18th century; two 17th-century Baroque statues inside.
All Saints’ Church in Zakliczyn, built of wood in 1773. Its most precious treasures are the cross in the presbytery, dating back to the 1430s, and the Rococo altars. Several 17th and 18th century paintings: Our Lady of the Rosary called ‘Zakliczynian’ (in the side altar), Ecce Homo, St. Nicolas, or the painted Stations of the Cross. The Baroque baptistery is supposed to date back to mid-17th century while the bell in the belfry was made in 1761.
Several roadside statues in Zakliczyn and Siepraw.
EDUCATION, SPORTS AND CULTURE
Siepraw has a long tradition of educational activity: a school was set up as early as the 16th century. In 1618, a new building was purchased for it, which subsequently survived the Swedish invasion and was still open in 1665. At present, the Borough boasts a modern junior high-school building inaugurated in 2003.
In our Borough, adults and children alike are very active in various areas and have formed:
a brass band, a children’s choir, a young people’ Big Band, and a Christian youth choir called Schola Angeli, which released its first album in 2002; two soccer clubs and one ski club: LKS Karpaty with approx. 100 players in five age groups and LKS Jordan-Sum with approx. 60 players in two age groups; Siepraw – ski club with 30 skiers a mountain-bike cycling section which organises the Borough Mayor’s Cup every year; the Siepraw Homeland Society, publisher of the local newsletter Z czterech stron Gminy (From the Four Sides of the Borough).
All this creative activity is now accommodated in the Borough Centre for Culture and Sports, opened back in 2001. The calendar of events organised every year includes: the Siepraw Borough Days Festival; concerts to celebrate the Anniversary of Appointment of John Paul II as Head of the Roman Catholic Church; competitions relating to religious tradition such as selection of the most beautiful Nativity Scene or the longest Easter Palm; sporting events such as the alpine cycling tournament, snow-skiing slalom, or a whole set of tournaments and competitions organised on Children’s Day. Some of the events are held in the renovated church in Siepraw due to its unique ambiance. This is also where exhibitions of arts and crafts can be admired throughout the year.
The Partnership Agreement was signed on 16.10.2007.
The partnership co-operation particularly focuses on the following areas:
The town of Spiąský ©tvrtok lies south-west of the Levockie Mountains (560 m above sea level). The first mention of this village dates from 1263. In 1340, the village was called Stwertek or Ctwrtek,then later ©tvrtok. The name derives from the markets, which were held there every Thursday. In old documents we very often find references to a village called Qintoforum. This name derives from two Latin words: feria quinta -Thursday and fórum - market.
In the Middle Ages, Spiąský ©tvrtok ranked among the major cities of Spią. In the XIV and XV centuries there was an attempt to make it the provincial capital of the 24 cities of Spią. It became only a temporary seat of a union for 11 cities o» Spią, which did not belong to Poland. Inhabitants of the village had different rights and privileges, for example, they were under the rule only of their own bailiff and prince o»Spią. They paid their tax in gold to the sum of 21 ducats. From 1444 Spiąský ©tvrtok was under the rule of Jan Jiskra, which already in the 144()"s cxtended to almost the whole of Slovakia. Jiskra fortified part of the village with a stone wall. From 1465 Spiąský ©tvrtok became the property of the Zápoµský Family, then later of the Turzoviec and Čákyoviec Families. In 1668, Prince Imrich Čakiho brought Franciscan Fathers here for whom he founded an early Baroque monastery.
The Franciscans, like other »riHrs, had to leave the monastery, on April 13, 1950, which was to be converted into an Institite of Special Čare for women. They were to retum there only on September 1,1993, but still can only live in a parsonage built in the 1980's.
St. Walter's Church
The church itself was built even before the Tatár invasion. The windows of tho tower, which are Romanesque, testify to this. In the beginning, it was a wooden church, but was rebuilt in Romanesque style at the time o» the rebuikling of tlie village aftcr its devastation by the Tatars. In time it became too small. Therefore, in 1402, it was redone in the new Gothic style, and was subsequently renovated many times throughout tlie periód o» 1693 - 1747. Its Baroque ceiling dates »rom that time. The Gothic preshytery's arch dates from the XIV c. The interior decorations, which are almost totally in the Baroque style, probably dáte »rom the XVIII c. The maiii nltar o» St. Walter, the side altars in honor of St. Francis and St. Anthony o» Padua, tlie pulpit, and the font also pertain to that periód. From the originál Gothic elements only a XIV c. pieta, which is »oand in the presbytery o» church, has been retained. The tower is built in Romanesque-Gothic style. Its Romanesque double windows merit attention. The tower itself lost its originál appearance at the end o» last century, at the time oµ the reconstruction o»the chapel. It then acquired its present look.
In 1493 the Spią district chief, ©tefan Zápoµský, built the church by the chapel. Constructed in Gothic style, it is one of the most beautiful Gothic chapels not only in Slovakia, but also in the whole of Európe. It wa built according to the design of Hansa Puschbaum from Vienna. That is why it takes over sume o»the eiemenLs of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. The chapel is 12.5 m long, 5.6 m wide and 12 m high. Originally, it was intended to be a funeral chapel for the Zápoµský Family. However, they changed their mind and built another one in the Spiąská Kapitula, where they werc buried. The chapel has two levels. The lower one, in which the tombs of the Zápoµský Family were to háve been placed, is connected to the monastery by an underground tunnel.Winding stairs, from the lower part of the chapel, lead to the upper level, which is connected to the church. Oppsite to the main altar, one finds a hanging choir loft with a balustrade decorated with stone flowers on iLs right and lc»t sides. Then. in the very middle, in a recess, one finds a figúre of St. Cecília.
The present decoration of the chapel dates from the end of the XIX c, when it was reconstructed after a fire. The main altar with a painting showing Mary's falling asleep was constructed in nco-Gothic style. This painting, which dates from 1450, was placed múch earlier in the church's main altar. Above the windows are some XVI c. frescoes.
The chapel looks likc the /..ippisKys chapel in Spiąská Kapitula, but is m.m-i and múch more beautiful.