Not only has this city witnessed some of history’s most harrowing chapters, it has also been the instigator of social movements, and the setting for some of the country’s most landmark events.
The area was likely settled as early as the 6th century, becoming an important trade centre and fortification by the 10th and 11th centuries. The city was destroyed and rebuilt many times in efforts to protect Poland from invading Tatars, Lithuanians and Ruthenians. The city received its municipal charter in 1317, and the castle was built soon afterwards by Kazimierz III Wielki. It was in Lublin in 1569 that the union between Poland and Lithuania was formed, creating the largest state in Europe at the time.
In November 1918, the first independent government of Poland was formed here, which soon handed power over to Józef Piłsudski. Lublin became a Nazi headquarters for Operation Reinhardt, the beginnings of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’. It was also in Lublin that the provisional communist government was installed by the Soviets in July 1944 during the last stages of WWII. Lublin is considered by some to be the true birthplace of Solidarity – the avalanche of strikes against the communist regime that spread throughout Poland in 1980, eventually leading to the Gdańsk agreements. Since WWII, Lublin has expanded threefold to become the biggest city in Małopolska and the most significant industrial and academic centre in Eastern Poland.