Follow the A4/E40 along the bottom of Kraków, past Tarnów and on east. About 170km from Krakow lies the town of Rzeszow.
Once well inside the Polish borders, Rzeszow now lies about 100km by road from the border with Ukraine.
As you can see, the Polish borders were once considerably farther east then they are today. This map is about 1920.
Ryanair operate flights from several UK airports into the airport at Rzeszow (Jasionka International Airport) so here’s a brief guide.
While research shows humans lived in the area even earlier, the first farmers came to Rzeszów in the middle of the C16 BCE. For those of an academic bent, the list goes something like: Lusatians, Przeworsks, Slavs, Vistulans, Ruthenians and eventually Polish princes annexed the city in 1264. Just because we love the names, we’ll tell you that the Piast dynasty Prince Boleslaw V the Chaste met in Tarnów with Prince Daniel of Galicia and decided that the border of Red Ruthenia and Lesser Poland would run between Rzeszow and Czudec.
There followed what we ought now to recognise as the typical changes of hands. Rzeszow was part of the Austrian Empire for 146 years. During WW1, the Russians were frequent visitors, but the town ended the War in Austrian hands.
Post-WW1 there was a spurt in industrialisation and Rzeszow became a centre for the defence industry and the base of a large motorized cavalry brigade of the Polish Army.
On 6 September 1939, the Luftwaffe bombed Rzeszów, followed by entry into the city of the German army later in the day. The city was quickly absorbed into the German General Government – a separate administrative region of the Third Reich which included Warsaw, Kraków and Lwów. In 1941 a ghetto was created, the Jewish inhabitants of which died in the ghetto, or were later sent to the extermination camp at Belzec.
Rzeszow saw a lot of activity during the War by the Home Army (AK). By 2 August 1944 the city was in the hands of the AK, who tried to negotiate via London with the approaching Soviets. The Soviets instead took the city and opened a prison in te cellars of Rzeszow Castle where they send soldiers of the AK. The AK attacked the Castle, attem;ting the release of 400 inmates held there, but the attack failed and the leader was captured and subsequently (in 1951) executed.
If you’ve read a number of these Abouts, you will have seen how the Soviets treated their supposed allies. The final … well the final WW2 slap in the face was that Stalin was allowed by the Allies to take Poland behind the Iron Curtain. No wonder the Russian government is not popular with the Polish people!
Since the War, Rzeszow has grown. The area around the city became a late-communist era centre for protest by farmers, leading to the 1981 establishment of Rural Solidarity.
On 1 January 1999, Rzeszow became the capital of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship.
Places to see
The Palace of the Lubomirski family – one-time owners of the town
The Ratusz (1591)
The Small (17th century) and Big (18th century, restored 1954–63) Synagogues
Łańcut Castle (another house of the Lubomirski family)
Tour Podziemia – the underground city
The Revolution Monument
Ul 3 Maya contains the Church of the Holy Cross and the Art Noveau Tekielskiego house at number 32
And there’s more