Coat of Arms of  the Przemysl Land


Coat of Arms of the borough of Przemysl





The Coat of Arms of Przemysl land, showing the figure of a golden two-headed eagle wearing a crown and portrayed against a red background, was used by the Society of Friends of Sciences, which placed it on the covers of their “Roczniki Przemyskie” in the years 1909-1930. Until recently this coat of arms was also used by the Self-government of the Przemysl voivodeship.


The coat of arms of the borough represents a black bear striding and a golden symmetrical cross above it, both placed on a blue shield. Above the shield is the open royal crown, underneath the inscription which reads “Libera Regia Civitas”, which means “Free Royal Borough”.

Short Description/History

Przemysl -  the oldest borough on the eastern fringes of the Republic of Poland. An ancient civic centre located in a gap between two geographical regions: the Dynów Uplands and the Sandomierska Lowlands, in the valley of the San river.

During the period of migrations, between the 5th & 7th centuries, Przemysl and its environs were inhabited by the Croats, and from the 8th century by the Lechici, in Russ referred to as Lachy. All these names, used since the 8th century, now denote Poles. Przemysl belonged to the leading strongholds of that tribe. Polish chronicles unanimously have it that a Lechite duke, Przemysl-Lestek having achieved independence for his country in the 8th century, founded a town on the San river at the foot of a hill, and called it Przemysl after his name.

In 1389 the town received a new Magdeburg-law foundation charter. A stone castle was raised, the town received a tall defence wall with towers; new churches, monasteries and the town hall were built. The old monuments of architecture dating from that time include fragments of the stone castle and of the defence walls, the15th century cathedral, the market square surrounded by the 16th century tenement houses, fortified monasteries of the Reformati and Carmelite brothers which date back to the 17th Century, Benedictine Sisters’ Convent dating back to the 18th century, the Franciscan monastery again 18th century and the Jesuit College from the 17th century. At that time the Przemysl castle functioned as a residence of the local district officers.


In 1772 the town was incorporated into the Austrian Empire. This was followed by the dismantling of the defence walls, of the town hall and of part of the castle, some of the monasteries were dissolved. In 1880 the Austrians built their fortress here. They surrounded the town with two rings of forts and in 1889 they located here the headquarters of Army Corps no.10 . At that time first industrial plants, such as steam mills and oil refineries, were built; in 1860 the town became accessible from the railway line.


In 1832 the Przemysl Scientific Society, “Senat”, initiated Polish independence movements under the Austrian rule. In 1906 Jozef Pilsudski moved the armed resistance units from the Russian-ruled to the Austrian-administered part of Poland.


The outbreak of World War I converted the town into one of the focal points of the conflict, Przemysl having found itself in the critical area of the combat between the Austrians and Russians. Przemysl was a fortress, which was besieged three times during World War I and was surrendered only once, in 1915 because of the scarcity of food supplies. The object of the fortress was that of controlling the most accessible passages along the Carpathian passes and other roads leading towards central Hungary. It was in Przemysl that the Austrian Army General Headquarters was stationed in August 1914. Following the efforts by Wladyslaw Sikorski, on 19th August 1914 a decision was taken in Przemysl to establish Polish Legions. The Eastern Legion in Lwow and the Western Legion in Cracow. The allegiance crisis that the Legions went through in 1916 and their dissolution in Przemysl between August and September of 1917 put an end to this stage of the armed struggle for independence.

Foreign rule in the town was overthrown on 1st November 1918 and replaced with a local government consisting of the representatives of the Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish populations. On the same day, Polish Regency Council appointed General Stanislaw Puchalski as a Commander of the Polish Army in Galicia and Silesia. On the night from 3 to 4 November 1918 Ukrainians broke the agreement they had signed before and staged a coup d’etat, they captured the part of the town east of the San river, disarmed Polish units and arrested General Puchalski.

During World War II Przemysl found itself under a double occupation by the German and Soviet troops.

After the conclusion of hostilities Przemysl remained in the Polish sphere of the then divided Eastern province of Podole.


During the Inter war years the town was the seat of the Powiat Administration and the diocese

Town contained 2.609 inhabitable buildings and was inhabited by 47.958 people.









In 1931 after the census the number of inhabitable buildings rose to 2.985 and the number of inhabitants rose to 51.379.

In 1939 the town contained 62.272 inhabitants

The ethnic breakdown was;







Under the Soviet & German occupation the town lost 31.188 inhabitants, this equates to 57% of it's inhabitants.

Main ethnic groups that suffered the most were;








© Copyright 2003; Paul Havers