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Town inhabited by about 55,000 people , being so called powiat (county) grodzki and at the same time seat of powiat ziemski Ostroleka, comprising 1 town-gmina (commune) Myszyniec and other gminas. The town is situated in north-eastern part of Mazowsze , 120 km from Warszawa, on the middle part of the Narew river , at the outlet of the Omulew river into the Narew.
Primarily, it was a market-settlement at the crossroads of a water route and a land trade route leading from Mazowsze to Prussia and Lithuania. In the X-XI century there was a little defensive town built to serve as a hunting manor for the Mazovian princes. On the outskirts of the town gradually settled down craftsmen. On 12 May 1373 Ostroleka was given municipal rights. The town council was organised in the XV century. It consisted of councillors and an elected mayor. Ostroleka, like other towns had its ups and downs. In March 1794 the march out of the troops of I Brygada Wielkiej Kawalerii Narodowej commanded by general Antoni Madalinski initiated the outbreak of Kosciuszkowskie uprising , and a battle fought here between the Russian and French army during the Napoleonic Wars was commemorated by placing the name Ostroleka on Arch de Triomphe in Paris. On 26 May 1831 took place another bloody battle between the Polish troops of the uprising and the Tsar army. Both world wars resulted in large damage of the town. Successively the town was restored and dynamic development began.
Today Ostroleka is an important industrial centre in the field of food production (Meat Processing Plant, Dairy), pulp and paper (Intercell S.A.) and building (Ytong and limestone -sand factories). The Power Plant with power of 720 MW provides the industry, inhabitants of Ostroleka and its surroundings with heating and energy. Ostroleka lies at the crossroads of significant rail and road routes leading from the centre and south of the country to the Mazurian and Suwalskie Lake District and from mazowsze to Podlasie. The town is located on international road from western Europe to Lithuania and Belarus.
Cultural activity is concentrated mainly in Ostrolecki Osrodek Kultury, Osrodek Kultury in Wojciechowice , Osrodek Kultury Plastycznej , Wiktor Gomulicki Public Library and Kurpie Region Museum. There work Adam Chetnik Ostroleckie Towarzystwo Naukowe (scientific society) , Towarzystwo Przyjaciol Ostroleki (Friends of Ostroleka Society), Grazyna Bacewiczowna Towarzystwo Muzyczne (Musical Society).
The sports and tourist structure consists of the town stadium with football pitches, athletics facilities and hotel, tennis court complex, the Sportsman Home, town beach and swimming pool with a paddling pond.
In Ostroleka there are a lot of monuments and historical places such as post-Bernardine monastic complex, parish church, Town Hall and the Old Town. There are a lot of remembrances connected with the November Uprising (General Joseph Bem Statue, the statue of the Fourth Infantry Regiment "Czwartacy" and the statue - mausoleum) and other historical events.
Trade and services are also well-developed . There are 10 primary schools, 5 secondary schools, Teacher College and University branches.

Ostroleka I

Written by Jerzy Kijowski
Translated by Wojciech Zaluska