In the 13th century there was a trading settlement and Pomeranian Dukes‘ hunting manor  in the area of present-day Przasnysz. The settlement thrived thanks to its location near a trading route from Warsaw to Prussia.

In 1416 it was first mentioned as a town. Mazovian Duke Janusz I located it under Chełmno Law in 1927. In the 15th and 16th centuries the town developed rapidly. In 1564 there were 26 stone houses and 633 wooden ones. The population reached 4,500 people, out of whom about 500 were craftsmen: 126 brewers, 117 bakers, 36 furriers, 34 tailors, 22 stove-fitters. The town was renowned for its beer, cloth, tar and cinder. Its horse and cattle markets attracted people from both Mazowsze and the neighbouring provinces.

The town’s prominence was evidenced by two churches in the 15th century and as many as five in the 16th century. The parish churches (since the 15th century) as well as the Bernardines‘ churches (since the 18th century) had schools. In 1613 part of the town burned down in a fire. Three years later the proportion of unoccupied to inhabited houses was 262 to 404.

The town was going through a hard time and the Swedish invasion (1655-1660) added to its demise, only 100 houses being inhabited in 1663. The first signs of economic recovery were to be seen only in the second half of the 18th century. In 1797 there were 233 houses. It was not until 50 years later that Przasnysz regained its former importance. New industrial plants, such as two breweries, a chicory factory and a tannery, boosted a local economy. The population increased from 2,059 residents to as many as 7,074 in 1880.  During the First World War 70% of the buildings were destroyed, which was another serious setback for the town.

Nowadays Przasnysz is a local industrial center (main branches: machine building, food processing, chemicals production, timber processing, paper making, leather industry, consumer goods industry), it is the seat of the county and an important intersection. The Historical Museum as well as the Association of Friends of Przasnysz[1.1] are important local institutions.

Geographic and administrative location:

Until the 18th century: Kingdom of Poland, Ciechanów District

1795-1807: Prussia

1807-1815: Duchy of Warsaw, Płock Department

1815-1918: Russia (Congress Poland), Płock Province,

1918-1939 Poland, Warsaw Province, Przasnysz County

1939-1945: Germany (Third Reich), East Prussia Province, Ciechanów Region, Przasnysz County

1945-1975: Warsaw Province

1975-1998: Ostrołęka Province

Since 1999: Mazowieckie Province, Przasnysz County 

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 2, Wrocław-Warsaw-Cracov Zakład Narodowy imienia Ossolińskich Wydawnictwo 1967, pp. 503-504; Jerzy Kwiatek and Teofil Lijewski, Leksykon miast polskich, MUZA S.A., Warsaw 1998, pp. 679-680.