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My native town – Kolomiya
Kolomyia (Ukrainian: Коломия, Polish: Ko?omyja, Russian: Коломыя) is a
town and a raion (district) centre in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (province)
in Ukraine, at the Prut River. It is located at 48° 31? 50? N, 025° 02?
25? E, almost halfways between Lviv and Chernivtsi, in the centre of the
historical region of Pokuttya, with which it shared much of its history.
The town has circa 68.000 inhabitants (as of 1993). It is a notable
railroad hub, as well as an industrial centre (textiles, shoes,
metallurgical plant, machine works, wood and paper industry). It is also
one of centres of Hutsul culture.
The settlement of Kolomyia was first mentioned in 1241, during the
Mongol Invasion of Rus'. Initially part of Kievan Rus', it later
belonged to one of its successor states, the principality of
Halych-Volhynia. In 1340 it was annexed to Poland by king Casimir the
Great, together with the rest of the region of Red Ruthenia. In short
time the settlement became one of the most notable centres of commerce
in the area. Because of that, the population rose rapidly.
Prior to 1353 there were two parochies in the settlement, one for
Catholics and the other for Orthodox. In 1412 king W?adys?aw Jagie??o
erected a Dominican order monastery and a stone-built church there.
About the same time, the king was forced by the war with the Teutonic
Order to pawn the area of Pokucie to the hospodar of Valachia Alexander.
Although the city remained under Polish sovereignity, the income of the
customs offices in the area was given to Vallachians, after which time
the debt was repaid.
In 1424 the town's city rights were confirmed and it was granted with
the Magdeburg Law, which allowed the burghers for a limited
self-governance. This moved made the development of the area faster and
Ko?omyja, as it was called back then, attracted many settlers from many
parts of Europe. Apart from the local Ruthenians and Poles, many
Armenians, Jews and Hungarians settled there. In 1443, a year before his
death, king Wladislaus II of Poland granted the city with yet another
privilege which allowed the burghers to trade with salt, one of the most
precious minerals of the Middle Ages.
Since the castle gradually fell into dismay, in 1448 king Casimir IV of
Poland gave the castle on the hill above the town to Maria, widow of
Eliah, voivod of Moldavia as a dowry. In exchange, she refurbished the
castle and reinforced it. In 1456 the town was granted with yet another
privilege. This time the king allowed the town authorities to stop all
merchants passing by the town and force them to sell their goods at the
local market. This gave the town additional boost, especially that the
region was one of three salt-producing areas in Poland (the other two
being Wieliczka and Bochnia, both not far from Krakow.
The area was relatively peaceful for the last century. However, the
vacuum after the decline of the Golden Horde started to be filled with
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