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This consists of metal element from the top of a chapel, built in 1664. Ten years earlier, Gorlice had been burned down and its inhabitants largely murdered by a Transylvanian army, who laid waste to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the south during the Swedish Deluge.

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This consists of metal element from the top of a chapel, built in 1664. Ten years earlier, Gorlice had been burned down and its inhabitants largely murdered by a Transylvanian army, who laid waste to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the south during the Swedish Deluge. The more affluent inhabitants, who managed to survive the slaughter of 2 May 1657, erected the chapel as a votive offering of gratitude for their salvation.

Elaborated by Katarzyna Liana (The Ignacy Łukasiewicz Regional Museum of Polish Tourism and Sightseeing Society in Gorlice), © all rights reserved

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On 2nd May in Gorlice

First on 2 May 1657, and then on the same day of the same month in 1915, came the Swedish Deluge and the Great War. In the fortunes of war and political reshuffles, ordinary people, civilians and soldiers fell, as did their town – Gorlice – which has had to rise from ruin so many times.

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First on 2 May 1657, and then on the same day of the same month in 1915, came the Swedish Deluge and the Great War. In the fortunes of war and political reshuffles, ordinary people, civilians and soldiers fell, as did their town – Gorlice – which has had to rise from ruin so many times.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Gorlice was, as for contemporary standards, quite a large and populous town. In 1608, it boasted 137 houses and over 1,200 inhabitants.
At the end of the 15th century, the great fortune of the Karwacjan-Gorlicki family began to wane, due to family divisions. At the beginning of the 2nd half of the 16th century, the former estate of the Karwacjans passed into the hands of Stanisław Odrowąż Pieniążek, and in 1625 the rest of Gorlice was purchased by the Rylski family, who sided with the invading Swedes and their ally, Prince of Transylvania, George II Rákóczi during the deluge.
The 2nd half of the 17th century was not overly fortunate for Gorlice. On 2 May 1657, a raiding unit of the Swedish-Hungarian army reached the town. Attempts at defence, made by the supporters of Pieniążek who were loyal to the crown, ended tragically for the town itself. Rákóczi’s army captured Pieniażek’s mansion, burned half of the town that belonged to them, and murdered a large part of its inhabitants. After the Deluge, the depopulated town lay in ruins – in 1662 it had only 284 inhabitants. Those who stayed built a shrine, whose finial we present on our portal.
Gorlice, however, rose from its ashes and, despite some natural disasters (town fires in 1689 and 1694) and successive economic downturns, had already become a major urban centre with almost 6,000 inhabitants at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, being the largest town in the Subcarpathian region, bigger than Jasło, Krosno, and Sanok.
However, the rapid development of the town was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. In 1914-1915, Gorlice was caught between shifting front lines. During the approach of the Russian army towards the town, the majority of the councillors and the mayor fled from Gorlice. The town changed hands several times. Finally, on 2 May 1915, during the great offensive, the Austrian-German army captured Gorlice. As a result of these hostilities, the town was almost completely destroyed (only 120 out of 585 buildings survived) and again, just as on 2 May 1657, many of its inhabitants were killed.
On the one hand it represents a breakthrough on the Eastern Front, a huge victory over the Russians, while on the other lies a town in ruins, dead civilians and the construction of numerous war cemeteries, which are worth visiting when our eyes have had their fill of shimmering plaques commemorating military victory...

Elaborated by: Kinga Kołodziejska (Editorial team of Małopolskas Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See also:
Commemorative plaque “Cannon 30.5 cm Škoda”
Commemorative plaque “Pustki Hill”
Commemorative cartridge made of shell
Top of a chapel built after the Swedish Deluge
Om importance of the Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive

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Top of a chapel built after the Swedish Deluge

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