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Ostróda, Poland

February 12th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Ostróda is a town in Ostróda County in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in Poland, with 33,603 inhabitants as of January 1, 2005. It lies in the Masurian Lakeland region and is a growing tourist site owing to its relaxing natural surroundings.

Ostróda was originally an Old Prussian settlement on an island at the river delta where the Drewenz Drwęca river flows into Drewenzsee Lake Drwęca. In 1270 the Teutonic Order began constructing wooden earthworks to control the original settlement as well as defend the initial settlers Mazur and German settlers. The knights named the new town Osterode after Osterode am Harz in Lower Saxony, Germany (now a sister city with Ostróda). Between 1349-1370 the Order replaced the wood-and-earth fort with a stone castle. The town, whose charter traditionally dates to 1335, quickly became a regional administrative center for the Order.

After the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, Klaus von Döhringen conquered Ostróda's castle and delivered the town to the victorious Wladislaus II of Poland. The Polish king brought the body of Ulrich von Jungingen to Ostróda before travelling to besiege Marienburg (Malbork); the regrouping Teutonic Knights recaptured Ostróda a few months later.

During the Thirteen Years' War (1454-1466), Ostróda was repeatedly captured by both the Poles and Prussian Confederation on one side and the Teutonic Knights on the other. From 1525 until 1701 Osterode was part of Ducal Prussia, and after 1701 part of Kingdom of Prussia. zThe majority of inhabitants were Protestant and the Evangelical church books date back to 1600s. In 1818 it became the seat of a Kreis (district) within the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1871 Osterode was included in the newly formed German Reich. Due to Germanisation policy in the following years, the immigrants, who had come from Poland assimilated in the Prussian German state. After the 1920 plebiscite Osterode was included in East Prussia. The last remains of ethnic Polish immigrant minority fled the Communists or was expelled along with all inhabitants of East-Prussia. Moreover Osterode lost its pre-war Jewish population through Nazi persecution.

During World War II, Osterode was occupied by the Soviet Red Army in the winter of 1945. Most of its population was evacuated to Germany. The town was transferred to Poland and its German population was replaced with Poles. While it was previously in Olsztyn Voivodeship from 1975-1998, Ostróda has been situated in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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