Bilgoraj in old days

Bilgoraj was founded by Adam Gorajski at the trail running from Przemysl and Jaroslaw to Lublin. The name ‘Bilgoraj’ is probably older than the village itself. It consists of two parts: ‘Goraj’ (mountainous) and ‘Biel’ (white).

Probably the hill above the ‘Lada’ was called ‘White Goraj’. The name was first recorded as ‘Bielgoraj’ and then ‘Bilgoraj’. By the merits of the founder, in 1578, Bilgoraj received city rights based on Magdeburg Law.

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Melting pot of cultures and religions

In terms of religion, the population of Bilgoraj from the first half of the 20th century was very diverse. The largest proportion of the residents of the city were Jews and Catholics. Furthermore, many Uniate, Orthodox and Protestants lived here.

In 1827 the Jews of Bilgoraj constituted 33% of the total population of the city. In 1899, on 8953 inhabitants, the Jews already constituted 42,5%. In 1921 the city area was 1656 hectares. In contrast, there were 5603 residents, including 3715 Jews. In subsequent years, the number of inhabitants continued to grow. In August 1939 there were already 8270 inhabitants, including 3175 Poles, 5010 Jews and 85 Ukrainians. During the Second World War, approx. 80 % of the Jewish population was killed.

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