History of Krnov
The city of Krnov lies at the confluence of the rivers Opava and Opavice, in the area at the foot of the Nízký Jeseník mountain range, close to the Czech-Polish border.
According to the archaeological discoveries, this place has been settled since the Earlier Stone Age for approximately 30,000 years, practically without a break.Until the 7th century the settlement was Slavonic exclusively as the written records about the Holasics' Moravian tribe are giving evidence.The erratic blocks and other geological materials which were brought by a glacier are enduring reminders of the Glacial Epoch. As a rest of the Post Glacial Epoch an eye-tooth of the cave bear, a fragment of the mammoth's back tooth, and other discoveries were found in Krnov. The numerous discoveries in the Brumovice locality near Krnov document the life during the Late Stone Age. The fortified settlements situated on both the hills of the Cvilín locality date from the last period of the Neolit.
During the period of the urn fields people civilization there were three sites in Krnov: on the front hill of Cvilín, on the rear hill of Cvilín, and above the Červený dvůr (Red Yard) on the contiguous part of the Úvalno cadastre. Just here were found further discoveries, above all the iron vessels and an 11th and 12th-century iron axe.
It is very difficult to define unambigouesly the date when the city of Krnov was founded. For the first time its Czech name (in the shape Kyrnow) is supported by written evidence in the year 1240. The German name Jägerndorf (in the shape Jegerdorf) was recorded for the first time in 1253. When this city was mentioned in the medieval records, the Latinized name Carnovia was also used. Krnov came into being at the crossing of the ancient merchand routes connecting the Baltic Hanseatic towns with Italy. The beginnings of the city's history go back to the 13th century. The first mention of a city appeared in historical records in the year 1240 namely in the deed of donation of the King Václav I (Wenceslas) in which the King donated the district called Kyrnow, long before belonging to the Holasics' Moravian tribe, to the Tišnov monastery ("circulium quendam in districtu Holascencsi, Kyrnow vulgariter nuncupatum cum omnibus appendiciis suis, villis, agris, pratis, silvis, fluminibus").
Soon after it Krnov was granted the freedoms of a city. It happened before the year 1269. It is possible to say that Krnov had the freedoms as early as when Přemysl Otakar II ruled. The city privileges were confirmed by the Queen Kunhuta in 1279.
The Krnov castle of Cvilín, which was built of stone blocks in the 13th century, became the princely residence to Nicholas the Prince of Opava coming from the side of Přemysls' family branch. Princ Nicholas was accepted by the independend administrative institutions - the Provincial High Court and the Law of Krnov. The Moravian Margrave Jošt introduced the State Records and the office of the State Administrator. The region of Krnov was an important territorial whole lying on the boundary of Moravia and Silesia. During various war events the region of Krnov usualy played an important role and it was the subject in which the fighting armies were interested in. Via the region of Krnov the foreign troops often made their ways into the country (the Tatars, Danes, Swedes, Prussians, etc.). That happened also in 15th century: the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus invaded and conquered the region of Krnov when George of Poděbrady was fighting against Vladislav II. Near the Albrechtice chateau the King Mattihas took the prince prisoner and ruled himself the cities of Krnov, Bruntál, Bavorov, and the Castle of Cvilín until 1490, when he died. In the second year of his dominion over the region of Krnov the King Matthias ordered to coin the royal groschen and half-groschen.
After Corvinus' death the King Vladislav II donated the region of Krnov to his chancellor and friend, the lord of Šelenberk and Kost. In 1523 the Margrave George Hohenzollern of Ansbach bought the principality for 58,900 gulden. A new religion came here with the new governor. The zealous adherent of Luther's teaching expelled the Catholic orders of the German Knights and Franciscan Minorites as well. The last Hohenzollern was John George of Krnov, the supreme commander of the troops of the "Winter King" Frederic Palatine. The principality of Krnov was for its defiance of he Habsburgs confiscated, its owner anathematized and in 1622 the Emperor donated the land to Charles of Lichtenstein. At that time Europe was tossed around in unkind embraces of the Thirty Years' War and the principality of Krnov was sequentially plundered by the Danish and emperor troops and the Swedes set seal on the work of devastation.The following century brought to the principality of Krnov a blow which damaged the stability of economy - built and strengthened for centuries - and which doomed this important city to the loss of its strength and prestige.
The Prussian King Frederic II claimed his rights to the region of Krnov which he took for unjustly confiscated to his Hohenzollern ancestors. The dispute spread over the whole Silesia and the troops of Maria Theresia were not able to defend the territory belonging to the Czech Crown for centuries. The peace made in Breslau in 1742 brought to the region of Krnov the loss of the large territories on the left bank of the river Opava and Opavice and separation of the whole region of Hlubčice. The remaining torso of the principality had to change its economic interests from Upper Silesia to Moravia and Austria.The division of Silesia brought to the end the political importance of Krnov, even the county office was moved to Opava in 1793.
In 1849 the principality of Krnov ended its existence and on the basis of its everlasting core the new political district came into being. The district at that time was of 10 square miles, included 74 municipalities and 59,875 inhabitants. Krnov waited for its revival till the break of the 19th and 20th century when it ranged with the foremost industrial places in Austria-Hungary due to its intense development of the textile industry.
The textile industry is connected with the very beginnings of the city. In 1379 there was founded a department store selling cloth and there the goods produced in the city were sold in its sixteen chambers. In the 19th century there were 17 manufacturers producing silk and wollen goods, yarn and stockings at Krnov.
Nowadays the city of Krnov with its 26,000 inhabitants is an important industrial as well as cultural centre.