The princely forests in Bielsko-Biała and its vicinity Cover Image
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Lasy książęce w Bielsku-Białej i okolicy
The princely forests in Bielsko-Biała and its vicinity

Author(s): Jakub Krajewski
Subject(s): History
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Summary/Abstract: In the years 1752–1945 the princely family Sułkowski had their demesne in the area of present-day Bielsko-Biała, nearby towns and forests. As it was throughout centuries wood constituted the basic building material and fuel; forests became an important sourceincome for the princes. In the recent past, the history of princely forests was familiar, mostly due to the fact that documents, written in German neography, were not entirely examined and difficult to interpret. The sources for research on the history of princely forests include mostlyhistorical records held in the State Archive in Katowice (the Bielsko-Biała Branch) and documents held by the Forest Inspectorate of Bielsko-Biała. Equally valuable are architectural remains and collections of the Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała. Conducting field work and analysis of maps was necessary to define the borders of forests and to locate the described objects. Aleksander Józef Sułkowski (1695–1762), the first owner of the principality of Bielsko, bought it in 1752 from count Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Haugwitz (1702–1765). Throughout the years the forest area was changing due to sales and logging. In 1895 in Wapienica water intakes were built as a result of water shortages in Bielsko. Water sale was another source of income for the princes. Nevertheless, in 1932 due to the development of theindustry and the growing population of the city, a dam and a water reservoir were built in the area formerly owned by the princes. After Aleksander Ludwik Sułkowski (1893-1956) left Bielsko at the beginning of 1945, princely forests were nationalized. The Forest Inspectorate of Bielsko-Biała (State Forests Poland) is the current owner of the area.In the middle of the 19th century princely forests were divided into numbered territories. Two of them were situated in Podgórze Cieszyńskie (the so-called Land Revire: I. Rudawka and V. Zabrzeg), three other were in Beskid Mountains (so-called Gebirgs Revire: II. Wapienica/Lobnitz, III. Kamienica/Kamitz and IV. Olszówka/Olisch). The institution responsible for the administration of the princely demesne was Fideikomis. The entire forest area (3453 ha) and its flora and fauna are noted in the sources. Nevertheless, other material remains such as architecture (e.g. foresters’ lodges, outhouses, remains of the high roads, pathways and other symbolic places) are equally crucial in the research that is conducted. Apart from their practical purpose, forests used to be the place of entertainment for the Sułkowski family. Numerous antlers found in the collection of the Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała prove that the family used to hunt frequently. Forest management in the former principality of Bielsko constituted an important source of income for the Sułkowski family. The purpose of the following paper is to show the material remains of that management.

  • Page Range: 195-207
  • Page Count: 13
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: Polish