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Pszczyna is a town in southern Poland with 25,415 inhabitants within the immediate gmina. There are 33,654 inhabitants within the area of the town and 50,121 in Pszczyna County of which Pszczyna is the capital. The town is in the Silesian Voivodeship. It was a part of Katowice Voivodeship from 1975 until administrative reform in 1998.EtymologyThere are several different theories about the origins of the name "Pszczyna". Ezechiel Zivier (1868–1925) hypothesized that the land was first owned by Pleszko (alternatively Leszko, or possibly Leszek, Duke of Racibórz). Polish scholar Aleksander Brückner in turn, explained the name based on its old spelling Plszczyna, from the ancient Polish word pło or pleso meaning a lake or a place by the lake – thus suggesting that the name Plszczyna as well as its German equivalent Pleß had similar background. The version by Brückner, suggesting a lakeside rich with marshlands, based on a Proto-Slavic word plszczyna, is generally accepted in literature. Yet another version belongs to Prof. Jan Miodek from Wrocław University, who derived the name from the nearby Blszczyna river.HistoryMiddle Ages and early modernThe oldest settlement evolved around a small gord and wooden church in what was later known as Stara Wieś. The modern town (around Market Square) was probably founded in the second half of the 13th century. The first reference in sources to the place dates from 1303. The main trading route between Kievan Rus and the Moravian Gate ran through Pszczyna in the early Middle Ages, and the small settlement probably provided protective measures for merchants on the ford (surrounded by marshlands) of the small Pszczynka river. Pszczyna is in Silesia Province. Make Pszczyna central to your Poland travel plans using our Poland attractions site.
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