So that this venture is not forgotten or does not fade away over the years, (...) so that each and every individual residing herein is afforded with affluent and contented life (...) We King Wladyslaw make it our will that the inhabitants fully enjoy the Flemish Magdeburg Law and reject wholly all other laws and customs contrary thereto.
The City’s Charter, King Wladyslaw the Elbow-High (1261-1333)
By granting it the town privileges, King Wladyslaw the Elbow-High introduced Lublin to a new stage of development and ensured its remarkable standing on the European economic map. The Charter may be considered as the city’s strate - gy for investment and economic development at the time, which triggered pros - perity in trade and expansion of Lublin. Our city was the first settlement granted town rights between the Vistula River and the Bug River.
The first known image of the coat of arms of Lublin is the seal of the City Council of 1401, which features a goat with long corrugated horns with raised fore - legs. The symbol in the coat of arms has been associated with various myths and legends. One of them points to the affinity between Lublin and ancient Rome, which venerated the goat symbol. Another one tells a story about a medieval goat, which nourished the inhabitants of Lublin during a siege. Over time, the coat of arms’ goat had gone through many metamorphoses and climbed the vine, until it got its present form.
The 13th-century bastion is the oldest brick building preserved in the city, the only monument in Lublin that displays elements of the Romanesque style. In the 14th century, Kazimierz the Great raised a brickwork Gothic castle and a chap - el around it, and then the city began to emerge on the neighbouring hill, with the Krakowska and Grodzka gates preserved until today.
Founded by King Wladyslaw Jagiello and completed in 1418 most probably by three Ruthenian painters, the Byzantine-style frescoes match the interior of the Gothic chapel, offering a unique combination of the spirit of the East and the West. Jozef Czechowicz hailed the Holy Trinity Chapel decorated with the fres - coes as “the heart and treasure of this Jagiellonian city”.
The agreement of 1569 between Polish and Lithuanian nobilities brought to life the Commonwealth of the Two Nations, a federation state, which as one of the few never fell apart for internal reasons but as a result of partitions. The Lithuanian Square is the site where Lithuanian nobles were stationed in 1569, today featuring a monument of the Union from the beginning of the 19th century founded by Stanislaw Staszic. The Lublin Museum at the Castle displays a monumental canvas of Jan Matejko, which gives the painter’s vision of that moment in Polish history.
The establishment of the Crown Court, whose jurisdiction covered the entire Malopolska Province, made Lublin one of the political centres of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations, a city to which nobles travelled from all over the country to attend sessions at the Court located in the Old Town Square, spending months in the city, entertaining and enjoying themselves. Faced with the need to stay in the city for a long time, many of the magnate families decided to build their palaces and manor houses in Lublin and its surroundings (e.g. the Lubomirski Palace and the Czartoryski Palace at the Lithuanian Square or the Sobieski Palace at Bernardynska Street), thus creating a unique architectural tissue of the city.
At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, Catholic and Orthodox churches, Jewish synagogues, palaces and tenement houses were erected in a style which combined the features of the Late Renaissance architecture of Italy and the Netherlands. This specific blend, enriched with local sensibility and taste, still today creates a unique, somewhat Mediterranean climate of the Old Town of Lublin.
On 7 November 1918, a government led by Ignacy Daszynski was formed in the Lubomirski Palace at the Lithuanian Square. That event made Lublin one of the important political centres of the Polish state after years of the partitions. Thus the 17th-century legend that Lublin would be the capital city of Poland was fulfilled.
The establishment of the Catholic University of Lublin in 1918 started Lublin’s career as an academic city. The arrival of students gave the city a new dynamics and the campus emerged in its western part. Had it not been for the university, we would not have had the Lublin Avant-garde, the phenomenal student and alternative theatres, nor many of the clubs and pubs. In 1954-1978 Karol Wojtyla, later Pope St. John Paul II served as a permanent lecturer at the Catholic University of Lublin.
In July 1980, the workers of Lublin and Swidnik started protests using a new method to express opposition, an occupation strike, which greatly hindered the communist authorities from pacifying the factories and forced them to the negotiations table. The protests ended with an agreement under which the government side conceded the strikers’ postulates. The model of labour protests worked out in Lublin was creatively developed by workers from the Gdansk Coast in August 1980.