Uničov (German: Mährisch Neustadt) is a town in the Olomouc Region, located in the Haná plain about 22 km northwest of Olomouc on the river Oskava. Uničov used to be a royal town, it was founded in 1213. The cadastral area is 48.27 km² and there are approximately 11,000 inhabitants. The city has the status of a municipality with extended powers.
The settlement of the Uničov region dates back to the
Stone Age and evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the
Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Hallstatt and La Tène periods. Roman
coins were also found in the vicinity of Uničov, and iron smelting
furnaces were operated here in the 8th and 9th centuries. At that
time, Uničovsko was part of the core of the Great Moravian Empire,
after its disintegration of the Czech state. The town itself was
established on the site of the original Slavic settlement, whose
name (Latin Vnisov or Vnichov, Czech Unisov, resp. Uničov) was
probably derived from the name of the founder. But there are more
theories about the origin of Uničov's name. During the 13th century,
German colonists began to come, invited here by the Moravian
Margrave Vladislav Jindřich. In 1213, they founded the royal town,
which included the villages of Medlov, Dětřichov, Střelice, Benkov
and Renoty. The original name Uničov remained popular, but the
founders of the town called it Neustadt (New Town, Latin Nova
Civitas), and Mährisch Neustadt has been used since the 16th
century. In 1223, the charter of King Přemysl Otakar I, which thus
became the first surviving town charter in the history of the Czech
state, confirmed the privileges and town rights granted by the
original founding treaty, such as the right of mile, toll
collection, annual market law (gradually up to six annual markets
annually), the law of the municipal court, etc. Thanks to the
founders, the Germans had a permanent predominance in the city,
although the Czechs also moved here. A well-known burgher of that
time was Zikmund Albík of Uničov, later the Archbishop of Prague.
Uničov was one of the most important towns in Moravia in the Middle Ages, although the original assumption that it would become the center of northwestern Moravia as an upper town, which corresponded to a generously measured square, was not fulfilled due to weak silver finds in the area. In addition, nearby Olomouc became the head of appeal for the entire Moravian area of Magdeburg law, and Uničov eventually became one of the less important cities such as Šternberk or Litovle. Nevertheless, thanks to his privileges, he obtained sufficient funds to have, for example, a paved square already in the middle of the 14th century. At that time, he also concluded an agreement with Olomouc and Litovlí on maintaining security and mutual military assistance, which proved successful especially during the Hussite wars. In 1422 it was occupied by the army of the Lithuanian prince Zikmund Korybutovič, who introduced the reception of parables here, but was later conquered by Margrave Albrecht, an ally of Zikmund of Luxembourg. Similarly, this three-town liberated Litovel from the troops of Tábor.
In the following period, however, the administration of the town fell into the hands of Czech Utraquists, who expelled the German Catholics. Uničov sided with George of Poděbrady and in 1469 managed to defend himself against the soldiers of Matyáš Korvín. Due to his support of the Czech king, he gained the right to seal with red wax, but he was also in the papal curse for half a century. Ten years later, the new king Vladislav Jagiellonský ceded Moravia to Korvín, who nevertheless forgave the city for its previous resistance and even confirmed all previous privileges. Gradually, the expelled German burghers also returned, which led to the consolidation of Catholicism. From 1609 to 1611, Jan Sarkander, who was canonized in 1995, worked here as a pastor. The Hussite period generally marked the heyday of the city, in which crafts prospered and the first guilds were formed. This development was stopped by the Thirty Years' War, which led to the gradual decline of Uničov. After the Battle of the White Mountain, he was even deprived of the status of a royal town for a while, and Charles of Liechtenstein, lord of the Usov castle, acquired Uničov as his fief. It was only after the appeal that Emperor Ferdinand restored all privileges, but only as a Catholic city. In 1626, Uničov still defended himself against the Mansfeld army, but on June 18, 1642, he was conquered and occupied by Torstenson's army until the Peace of Westphalia in 1650. A year later, on June 2, 1643, almost the entire city burned down.
The restoration lasted until the beginning of the 18th century,
while the decrease in population was mainly offset by immigrants
from German areas, which made German Germany German again. However,
the city did not reach its original significance, and looting during
the wars for the Austrian heritage also had a negative effect. The
business stagnated, even though a textile manufactory and a burgher
brewery were established here. The only significant event was the
meeting of Emperor Joseph II. with the Prussian King Frederick II.
The great year of 1770. After 1850, in connection with the reform of
the municipal establishment, Uničov ceased to be a royal town and
became only the center of the judicial district, because it belonged
to the political district of Sternberg. Although a sugar factory or
a silk factory was established here in the second half of the 19th
century, it was still a predominantly agricultural town. In 1870,
however, a real grammar school was established here, and two years
later a railway was brought here. The association's life also
developed, whether it was sniper, singing, gym or volunteer fire
brigades. After the First World War, mostly German Uničov applied
for annexation to German Austria, as part of the newly declared
province of Sudetenland. However, the government of the newly formed
Czechoslovak Republic did not admit anything like that and gradually
occupied all rebel areas on its territory militarily. Czechoslovak
soldiers came to Uničov on December 16, 1918 and took over the
administration of the town without much resistance.
The coexistence of Czechs and Germans in the city was peaceful until the early 1930s. However, after Adolf Hitler came to power in neighboring Germany, German nationalism began to rise in Czechoslovakia as well, and the idea of "returning homeland" came to life. In the 1935 elections in Uničov, as in other Sudeten villages, the Henleins, who were preparing for a violent annexation to the Empire, won overwhelmingly. Eventually, this was done voluntarily after the adoption of the Munich Agreement, borders with the future protectorate were formed not far south of the city, and German troops were enthusiastically welcomed by Unicorn residents on October 9, 1938. gradually disappeared. The advancing front and the impending defeat of Germany could not be averted even by the so-called Volkssturm created from the remaining boys, sick and old men, many residents preferred to flee before May 6, 1945 Uničov was occupied by soldiers of the 4th Ukrainian Front of the Red Army. Immediately afterwards, the city administration was taken over by the Revolutionary National Committee, followed by the local administrative commission, which chaired Uničov until the elections in 1946, after which the city administration moved to a 30-member city national committee made up of representatives of the National Front. In the same year, the expulsion of the Germans from Uničov was completed, which completely cleansed the city.
After the coup d'état in February 1948, an action committee was formed in Uničov, in which the Communists had a majority and which removed all politically "unreliable" persons from the national committee and public life. Therefore, a number of new members joined the Communist Party. In the following years, the existing agricultural town was considerably industrialized, it was mainly the construction of Uničovské strojírny, originally a branch of the Škoda plant in Pilsen. Other companies were, for example, Farmakon or a branch of Technolen, and a sugar factory, bakery or wood processing plant was also expanded. In connection with this, the population also increased, which doubled during the 1950s. A polyclinic, kindergarten, swimming pool, public lighting and sewerage were built. Collectivization took place in the vicinity of the town, during which the peasants joined united agricultural cooperatives, which later united until most of the agricultural production in the Uničov region was managed by one cooperative based in Újezd u Uničov. The citizens of Uničov did not experience any major changes during the Prague Spring, all the more so shocking for them was the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops, when Polish tanks passed through the city on August 21, 1968. Although at that time up to half of the population signed a resolution against the entry of the occupying forces and in support of the Czechoslovak government, in the following days most of them resigned from the development of events and some were affected by their publicly presented attitudes. There was a period aptly named normalization. Despite the political downturn, a modern cinema or ice rink was built during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as two large housing estates in Generála Svobody and Nemocniční streets. The Municipal National Committee in Uničov also began to administer a total of nine surrounding integrated municipalities. The Communist government of one party ended with the Velvet Revolution in November 1989.