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Coat of arms of Żary
Żary (Poland)
Basic data
State : Poland
Voivodeship : Lebus
Powiat : Żary
Area : 33.24  km²
Geographic location : 51 ° 38 ′  N , 15 ° 8 ′  E Coordinates: 51 ° 38 ′ 0 ″  N , 15 ° 8 ′ 0 ″  E
Height : 160 m npm
Residents : 37,502
(Jun. 30, 2019)
Postal code : 68-200 to 68-205
Telephone code : (+48) 68
License plate : FZA
Economy and Transport
Street : A18
DK 12
DK 27
Rail route : Łódź Kaliska – Tuplice
Miłkowice – Jasień
Żary – Zielona Góra
Next international airport : Dresden
Gminatype: Borough
Surface: 33.24 km²
Residents: 37,502
(Jun. 30, 2019)
Population density : 1128 inhabitants / km²
Community number  ( GUS ): 0811021
Administration (as of 2019)
Mayor : Danuta Madej
Address: Rynek 1
68-200 Żary
Website : www.zary.pl

Żary [ ˈʒarɨ ] ( German  Sorau , Lower Sorbian Žarow ) is a city in the Polish Lubusz voivodeship ; it is the administrative seat of the powiat Żary .

With almost 40,000 inhabitants, Żary is the second largest city in Lower Lusatia after Cottbus and is generally considered the center of its Polish part. The city is completely surrounded by the rural community of the same name Żary , which has its administrative seat in the city.

Geographical location

Sorau southeast of Guben and Sommerfeld on a map from 1905

The city is located in Niederlausitz between the Oder tributaries Bober (Bóbr) and Lubsza (Lubst / Lubis) at an altitude of 160 m above sea level, about 85 kilometers south-southeast of Frankfurt on the Oder .


Herz-Jesu-Kirche (parish church)
Castle of the Lords of Biberstein (left) and the Palace of the Counts of Promnitz (right)

11th century

For the year 1007 a Gau (area) Zara was first mentioned in the chronicle of Thietmar von Merseburg , who was under the rule of Duke Bolesław Chrobry of Poland .

13th and 14th centuries

In 1260 Sorau received city ​​rights under Magdeburg law under the Wettins . It is therefore the oldest town in Lower Lusatia . Albrecht von Dewin was Lord von Sorau . In 1274 he probably founded a Franciscan monastery . In 1280 Ulrich von Pack took over the reign of the city and rule of Sorau . In the following years the castle was expanded, a city wall was built, the church was expanded and a hospital for the Holy Spirit was built. Sorau became one of the most important cities in Lower Lusatia. A penny with a stag's head as a coat of arms testifies to its own right to mint at this time.

In 1355 the rule passed to the von Bieberstein family . Since 1364 the area belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia . In 1424 a fire destroyed parts of the city.

16th to 18th century

Between 1525 and 1540 the Reformation was gradually introduced in Sorau . Since then, church services have been held in the Lower Sorbian language in the St. Anna Chapel , and the Franciscan monastery has been closed. In 1549 the monastery buildings burned down. Since 1558 the town and rule of Sorau were ruled by the Lords of Promnitz . At the end of the 16th century a separate Protestant consistory was created.

Another city fire raged in 1619. In the Thirty Years War Sorau suffered from the raids of Wallenstein's and Swedes' troops . With Niederlausitz, Sorau came under the rule of the Electorate of Saxony in 1635 . In the years from 1705 to 1708 Georg Philipp Telemann was Kapellmeister at the court of Count Erdmann II. Von Promnitz . In 1755, the town and rulership of Sorau were sold to the kings of Saxony and incorporated into the Guben district .

Rifle guild in Sorau

From ancient times there was a civil rifle guild with a rifle house. In 1402 these riflemen took part in an attack on Beeskow under Johann von Biberstein. In 1415 there was the first privilege, in 1478 a second. Since 1797 two companies ("Jäger") split up, their uniforms were green. Even the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Inspected the guild with its ancient crossbows with steel bows and bolts in 1844. Finally the bolts shot at a target about 29 m high, a wooden eagle on a pole. Shooting is popularly called bird shooting . The riflemen who lived in the Federal Republic of Germany after 1945 re-founded the Armbrustschützengilde in 1959. The Sorauer forester Hermann Gerner, their honorary president, acted as federal referee.

19th century

In 1815 Sorau came with Lower Lusatia to the Kingdom of Prussia , in 1816 it became the center of the Sorau district . In the 19th century the city became an important location for the textile industry. Almost 50% of all industrial workers were employed in this trade. Due to the cultivation of linen in the nearby Lusatian and Silesian regions, a textile college was founded in 1886, with the focus on bast fibers .

From 1858 the gasworks provided lighting and energy. The first high-pressure drinking water pipeline was laid around 1870. In 1896 the Sorau - Christianstadt - Grünberg railway was put into operation.

1900 to 1945

Palace Square around 1900
The three faithful, 10 pfennig emergency money 1921

In 1938 a " Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Bast fiber research" was established, which is to be seen in connection with the self-sufficiency efforts of the Third Reich. This institute was later relocated to Mährisch-Schönberg .

In 1939 the municipality of Seifersdorf , bordering on the southwest of Sorau, was incorporated. According to the last German census in 1939, 19,226 inhabitants lived in Sorau. During the Second World War , parts of the Focke-Wulf aircraft factory were outsourced to Sorau.

In April 1944, on "Black Tuesday", April 11, 1944, at 11:30 am, the city was bombed by parts of the American 8th Air Force (108 bombers). The aim of this bombing raid was to destroy the Focke-Wulf fighter aircraft factory in Sorau. This mission was carried out by the 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) with 33 B17 bombers. 239 pieces of 500 pound M17 cluster munitions of 38 2 kg incendiary bombs each and 478 pieces of 100 pound M30 high explosive bombs were dropped. On that day, the 8th US Air Force flew numerous attacks against Junkers and Focke-Wulf aircraft factories in Sorau, Cottbus, Stettin, Arnimswalde, Oschersleben, Bernberg, Politz and Rostock with 880 bombers. Antiaircraft fire destroyed 78 US machines.

Part of the old town development was destroyed by this air raid. In February 1945 the Red Army troops reached the city. This was preceded by a general wave of refugees from the German population and parts of the Wehrmacht (the thunder of the Soviet artillery guns could be heard in the city on February 13, 1945).

Since 1945

Sorau was the seat of the district administration of the district of Sorau (Lausitz) in the administrative district of Frankfurt of the Prussian province of Brandenburg of the German Empire .

During the Second World War, in March / April 1945, the Red Army placed the eastern Lower Lusatia and thus also Sorau under the administration of the People's Republic of Poland . The local German population was subsequently expelled by the Polish authorities .

On January 1, 1973, Kunice (Kunzendorf) , located southeast of the city, was incorporated. At the same time, the rural community Żary was formed from various gromadas .


Population figures before the end of World War II
year population Remarks
1816 4397
1840 6215
1864 9697
1867 11,264 on December 3rd
1871 12,349 with the garrison (one battalion No. 12, one battalion Landwehr No. 12), including 800 Catholics and 120 Jews; According to other information, 12,349 inhabitants (on December 1), of which 11,189 Protestants, 1,015 Catholics, seven other Christians, 138 Jews
1875 13,183
1880 13,918
1890 14,456
1905 16,410 1412 Catholics and 90 Jews
1925 18,328 16,076 Protestants, 1,487 Catholics, 18 other Christians, 104 Jews
1933 19,285 thereof 16,732 Evangelicals, 1,646 Catholics, twelve other Christians, 100 Jews
1939 23,945 of which 20,689 Protestants, 2,126 Catholics, 87 other Christians, 76 Jews

Evangelical parish


coat of arms

City flag

Description : On the embroidered coat of arms a blue shield with the golden majuscule W. In the first silver field a red stag facing to the left and opposite a silver dog with a gold collar in black . In the golden field at the top at the top a five-ended red deer pole with a grind. Lower right in red a silver arrow slanted to the right accompanied by two six-pointed silver stars . The coat of arms is explained by:

  • Deer - the heraldic animal of the ruling Pak family, 13th century
  • Deer bar - coat of arms of the von Bieberstein family
  • Arrow with two stars - coat of arms of the von Promnitz family
  • Dog / male - Promnitz male
  • W as capital letter - the symbol of Wenceslaus, the Bohemian king as supremacy over Lusatia


Żary Central Station


Żary is considered the largest economic and cultural center in the southern part of the Lubusz Voivodeship (Lubuskie). The city's economy is characterized by small and medium-sized businesses. There are companies in the wood, glass, electrical, automotive, metal and building materials industries. Tourism also plays a certain role. The unemployment rate is 8 percent.


The state roads DK 12 and DK 27 and the A18 motorway , which connects the city with the German-Polish border ( federal motorway 15 in the direction of Forst (Lausitz) and Cottbus ) and the southern Polish motorway A4 ( to Liegnitz and Breslau ) connects.

Żary station is on the Łódź Kaliska – Tuplice and Miłkowice – Jasień lines . It is served by regional trains Forst (Lausitz) - Żagań , among others .

Sorauer porcelain factory

Porcelain factory Sorau, C. & E. Carstens around 1930

From 1888 to 1945 there was a coffee service and tableware producing porcelain factory in Sorau . The hand-painted tableware, mostly with a gold rim, was exported to Europe and overseas. The Elmshorn merchant Christian Carstens acquired the porcelain factory in 1919 and led it to the peak of its production figures with the factory brand “Sorau Carstens Porcelain” with a crown and a laurel wreath. In the 1950s, the Sorau patterns and decors were still considered modern and were produced in the GDR by the VEB in Reichenbach and Blankenhain .

Sorauer Heide / forest history

Heidehaus in the Sorau city forest with holding tanks for fish farming
Carp scales, 1935

The Sorauer Heide extends southwest of Sorau. Hege and hunting was carried out by the city's magistrate until 1945. A forest avenue with the memorial oak to the Forester's Heidehaus was created especially for this purpose . The fisheries administration was attached to the forest administration. The city leased a 5.37 km² hunting area and 8 ponds (22,500 m²). A special feature was that the city district forester and forest ranger Hermann Gerner (1925 to 1945), as the successor to forester Jerichow and Augustiniak, was also a fisherman on seven carp ponds and the horse pond lying one behind the other. On the Heidehaus site, it was common to sell both game and farmed fish from a tank. Another novelty in Sorau was the stalking accompaniment of the hunter H. Gerner by a tame badger , next to a hunting dog. Today (2015) there are also the large fish ponds of the Nymphenteich, the Kleine u. Great width and the Moselle pond broke and are only flown through by the Schoberbach, which once also fed the Sorauer bathing establishment on the Schoberteich, with the restaurant "Hermanns Bleiche".

Sorau fish ponds

Fish ponds in the Sorau city forest before 1945

The seven fish ponds in the Schoberbachtal are strung together like a string of pearls and have been leased for use. The Schoberbach first flows through the Schoberteich from west to east. All ponds could be regulated with adjustable weirs. The water level in the Schoberteich provided a sufficient level in the bathing establishment at the Hermanns-Bleiche excursion restaurant. The next one, the nymph pond, is the third of the fish farming ponds. Great width and the Moselle pond. To the left and right of the ponds, there are forest and walking paths up to the seventh, the Marsdorfer pond, which was able to regulate the water for the nearest former upper watermill. Behind Marsdorf, the Sore flows into the Schoberbach from the left. The fish population in the ponds was 17350 carp, 7500 tench and 15 breeding carp.


Town hall on the ring
Remains of the medieval city fortifications

Despite the massive damage caused by the war, many historical buildings and the medieval city complex have been preserved in Sorau:

  • Castle of the Lords of Biberstein (originally a Gothic castle, rebuilt from 1540 to 1549 in the Renaissance style)
  • Palais der Grafen von Promnitz (Baroque building by the Swiss architect Giovanni Simonetti , built from 1710 to 1728 as a monumental four-wing complex)
  • Park with the Blue Gate at the Promnitz-Palais (baroque garden from 1708)
  • Herz-Jesu-Kirche , parish church, Gothic building from the 15th century with remains of the old Romanesque church from the 12th century, from 1524 to 1945 Protestant St. Mary's Church , now Roman Catholic
    • with Promnitz chapel (baroque chapel with crypt, built from 1670 to 1672 on the north-eastern wall of the church)
    • and old rectory (now city archive)
  • Bell tower (14th century, originally as a defensive structure in the city wall)
  • Town hall (15th century) with Renaissance portal
  • Town houses on the Ring (market) from the 17th century
  • Church of St. Peter and Paul, 13th century with a narrow and low choir
  • Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Garrison Church), rebuilt in 1728, former Franciscan monastery church
  • Remains of the medieval city wall (with two towers from the 15th century)
  • Former synagogue, now the Pentecostal Church in Sorau
  • south of the city large forest area ( Polish Zielony Las 'Sorauer Wald' ) with fire watch and observation towers on the mountain ridge (227 m)



During the existence of the GDR , especially after visa-free traffic, companies in Lower Lusatia - especially the textile sector - maintained relationships with one another. Summer camps for children and adults were exchanged, cultural performances were invited and experiences were exchanged in all areas. At friendship meetings, the Polish side repeatedly acknowledged that the GDR was the first German-speaking country to recognize Poland's new western border under international law. Since the fall of the Wall, Żary has had a friendly relationship with the German city of Weißwasser, which was roughly the same size at the time . In June 1997, the two cities about 45 kilometers away sealed this friendship with a partnership agreement. After the re-establishment of the counties in Poland, this partnership was extended to the county level.

In 2004 the city signed a partnership agreement with the French city of Longuyon . With the accession to the Spree-Neisse-Bober Euroregion, friendly relations with the Brandenburg medium- sized towns of Forst (Lausitz) and Spremberg have developed in the German-Polish border area .


Historical representations

  • Johann Samuel Magnus : Historical description of the high Reichs-Graflichen Promnitzschen Residentz-Stadt Sorau in Niederlausitz, and the same regent church and regiment things, as well as scholars Leuthen and special bier incidents. Rohrlach et al., Leipzig et al. 1710 ( digitized version ) ( e-copy ).
  • Johann Gottlob Worbs : History of the Lords Sorau and Triebel. Rauert, Sorau 1826 ( digitized version ), (Reprint: Niederlausitzer Verlag, Guben 2008, ISBN 978-3-935881-49-4 ).
  • Johannes Schwela : Sorau N.–L. and surroundings in words and pictures. Jülich, Chemnitz 1908 ( digitized version ).
  • Julius Helbig : Documentary contributions to the history of the noble lords of Biberstein and their goods. From the handwritten estate of Major General Paul Rogalla von Bieberstein communicated by Albert Hirtz. Edited, explained and supplemented by a regesta addendum. Self-published by the Association for Local Studies of the Jeschken-Isergau, Reichenberg, 1911.
  • Emil Engelmann: History of the city of Sorau in the century of its self-government 1832–1932 . Rauert & Pittius, Sorau 1936 ( digitized version )
  • Klaus-Henning Rauert, Friedrich Wendig: Seven Hundred Years of Sorau. The history of an East German city 1260–1960. Sorauer Heimatverlag, Dortmund 1960.
  • Tomasz Jaworski: Żary w dziejach pogranicza śląsko-łużyckiego. Zakład Poligrafii WSP, Żary 1993.
  • Jerzy Piotr Majchrzak: Encyklopedia Ziemi Żarskiej w jej historycznych i współczesnych granicach. Dom Wydawniczy Soravia, Żary 2002, ISBN 83-87677-17-5 .
  • Muses and Graces in the marrow. A historical dictionary of writers . Berlin, Lukas Verlag 2002, ISBN 3-931836-69-X S, 268-270 writer from Sorau
  • Tomasz Jaworski (foreword), Izabela Taraszczuk (transl.): Żary w ostatnich dniach II Wojny Światowej (Sorau in the last days of the Second World War, diary notes of Martha Neumann Sorau's horror days ), in: Kronika Ziemi Żarskiej. No. 1 (45) / 2008, Żary, ISSN  1427-5457 , pp. 90-96.
  • Tomasz Jaworski (foreword), Izabela Taraszczuk (transl.): Okupacja Żar przez wojska radzieckie (The occupation of Sorau by the Soviet troops, diary notes of Martha Neumann Sorau's horror days. - continued), in: Kronika Ziemi Żarskiej. No. 2 (46) / 2008, Żary, ISSN  1427-5457 , pp. 88-96.
  • Edward Białek, Łukasz Bieniasz (ed.): Hereditas Culturalis Soraviensis. Contributions to the history of the city of Sorau and its culture. Neisse-Verlag, Dresden 2010, ISBN 978-3-86276-002-2 ( Orbis Linguarum supplement 95).
Encyclopedic Articles
  • Sorau , in: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition, Volume 18, Leipzig / Vienna 1909, p. 619 ( online )


  • P. Baron's home map of the Sorau district. Geographisches Institut Baron, Liegnitz o. J. (4th edition, reprint. Niederlausitzer Verlag, Guben 2008, ISBN 978-3-935881-53-1 ), (multicolored, scale 1: 100,000, 71 × 52 cm, as of 1939 )


  • Sorauer Heimatarchiv in the Stadtarchiv Forst / Lausitz
  • Sorau porcelain collection in the Silesian-Lusatian border area museum

Web links

Commons : Żary  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Sorau  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b population. Size and Structure by Territorial Division. As of June 30, 2019. Główny Urząd Statystyczny (GUS) (PDF files; 0.99 MiB), accessed December 24, 2019 .
  2. ^ Ilpo Tapani Piirainen, Early New High German Manuscripts in Silesia, in: Klaus Garber (Ed.), Cultural History of Silesia in the Early Modern Age. Volume I (Tübingen 2005) p. 786
  3. Peter Kunze: Sorbian reminiscences from forest and surroundings. In: Lětopis. 53, 1, 2006, ISSN  0943-2787 , pp. 35-51.
  4. Marcin Maciejewski: Wojska szwedzkie na terenie władztwa Żary - Trzebiel w okresie wojny trzydziestoletniej w świetle niemieckiej historiografii z XIX i XX wieku [w:] Na pograniczach. Szkice z historii społeczno-gospodarczej, red. nauk. Robert Lipelt, Sanok 2014. ( academia.edu [accessed February 19, 2018]).
  5. ^ History. (PDF; 72.2 KB) In: armbrust-schuetzen-gilde.de. Retrieved October 22, 2018 .
  6. Günther Krause (ed.): Sorauer Heimatblatt , No. 3 (1983). Sorauer Heimatverlag, Dortmund.
  7. John Schwela: Sorau N.-L. and surroundings in words and pictures . Verlag A. Jülich, Chemnitz 1908.
  8. ^ Gary L. Moncur: Mission 134-1303rd BG (H), Combat Mission No. 134, April 11, 1944 . Ed .: 303rdbg.com. ( PDF ).
  9. Alexander August Mützell and Leopold Krug : New topographical-statistical-geographical dictionary of the Prussian state . Volume 4, P – S , Halle 1823, p. 346, item 5569 .
  10. Topographical-statistical overview of the government district of Frankfurt ad Oder. Compiled from official sources . Frankfurt ad O. 1844, p. 186, item 5.
  11. Topographical-statistical manual of the government district of Frankfurt a. O. Verlag von Gustav Harnecker u. Co., 1867, p.223, paragraph 5.
  12. a b Royal Statistical Bureau: The municipalities and manor districts of the Prussian state and their population . Part II: Province of Brandenburg , Berlin 1873, pp. 224-225, point 5.
  13. ^ Gustav Neumann : Geography of the Prussian State. 2nd edition, Volume 2, Berlin 1874, pp. 104-105, item 13.
  14. a b c d e f Michael Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. sorau.html. (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006).
  15. ^ Meyer's Large Conversational Lexicon . 6th edition, Volume 18, Leipzig / Vienna 1909, p. 619 ( online )
  16. Lusatian Monthly Publication , Volume 1, Görlitz 1797, pp. 252–254, No. 28 ( online )
  17. a b Sorauer porcelain. Muzeum Pogranicza Śląsko - Łużyckiego w Żarach, accessed on May 23, 2020 .
  18. Sorau residents' book , edition 1928–1930.
  19. Ursula Flecken: Rewitalizacja Zary , study project SRP, final report, library of the Institute for Urban and Regional Planning, TU Berlin, 2005.
  20. The Dewin, Pack and Biberstein Castle. In: powiatzary.pl. Zary City Council, accessed June 27, 2018 .
  21. a b c Churches and chapels. In: powiatzary.pl. Zary City Council, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  22. Sorau Collection. Federal Institute for Culture and History of Germans in Eastern Europe, accessed on May 23, 2020 .