Town (urbanization)


May 28, 2022

A town (Latin oppidum; German Städtlein, Städtchen, Markt, Flecken; Yiddish shtetl) - a legal and administrative settlement unit of a transitional nature between town and village, with a characteristic commercial and industrial (formerly craftsman's) specialization and analogous morphology and infrastructure what a (small) city. Currently, in some countries both administrative forms of localities exist, i.e. both cities and towns, e.g. in Lithuania (miestelis), the Czech Republic (městys or městečko) and Germany (Kleinstadt). Such places, however, do not have the same rights and functions as formal cities. The equivalent of towns in the English tradition were the so-called market towns; in Norway until 1952 the term kjøpstad had a similar meaning, and in Sweden (until 1971) köping. In Poland, the town does not currently have an official administrative significance (although it had such significance until 1934), and this is commonly referred to as small towns that did not play the role of supra-communal centers, as well as towns deprived of municipal rights, which retained the urban morphology and urban character.


This term was coined in all Western European countries in the Middle Ages as part of the emerging city rights and associated fair privileges as well as the emerging demand and trade exchange. The difference between a city (Latin civitas) and a town (Latin oppidum) was primarily that it was smaller than a town. Due to the distance to large city centers, smaller towns had an important function for the supply of products and services to the immediate rural surroundings. The very fact of living in such places also brought its inhabitants both economic and personal privileges. Thanks to the city law, guilds of blacksmiths, weavers, shoemakers, tailors, etc., specializing in supplying local communities, could be established and opened here. This type of housing estate was popular in Hungary from the 14th century to 1871. In post-partition Poland, such settlement units had their own judiciary and seal, with the privilege to trade fairs and their own local government, or without any privileges.


The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria with the Grand Duchy of Krakow

After the first partition of Poland, in 1784, the Austrian authorities, as part of the state administrative reform, carried out a major action of classifying Galician towns. The division used at that time was only of statistical significance and did not bear any political repercussions. The fact that the town was divided into three classes was definitely more important. Only Lviv (later also Krakow) was included in the first class, only former Polish royal cities (German: Stadt, Latin: civitas) were classified in the second class, municipal cities (town, German: Markt, Latin: oppidum) were assigned to the last class. The remaining towns were classified as villages. The fact of assigning the city to the second class, however, took place on the condition that the municipal authorities proved that the city was in fact a royal city. Thus, as a result of the administrative reform and subsequent, very frequent changes, the legal cities (i.e. municipalities) in Galicia fell into three categories: cities with their own statute only Lviv and Krakow belonged to this category cities governed by the Act of March 13, 1889, cities belonging to this category had all city privileges (municipal rights), with the exception of the town of Buczacz (it was a town) cities governed by the Act of July 3, 1896, cities belonging to this largest category most often had privileges a) towns, less often b) cities and sometimes exceptionally (7 villages) some were c) villages ) incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw. It existed in this area