Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland and the second largest city of Lesser Poland. It is the capital and the center of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 349,103. Lublin is the largest Polish city east of the Vistula River, and is located approximately to the southeast of Warsaw by road.
One of the events that greatly contributed to the citys development was the Polish-Lithuanian Union of Krewo in 1385. Lublin thrived as a centre of trade and commerce due to its strategic location on the route between Vilnius and Kraków; the inhabitants also had the privilege of free trade in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Following a fire that swept through the city in 1447, King Casimir IV Jagiellon suspended the collection of taxes and allowed Lublin to organise three additional fairs each year, which are still held at present. In 1474, Lublin, which was historically part of the Sandomierz region, became the capital of the newly created Lublin Voivodeship. The Lublin Sejm session of 1569 led to the creation of a real union between the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, thus creating the mighty Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Lublin also witnessed the early stages of Reformation in the 16th century. A Calvinist congregation was founded and certain groups of radical Arians also appeared in the city, making it an important national centre of Arianism. At the turn of the centuries, Lublin was also recognized for hosting a number of outstanding Polish poets, writers and historians of the epoch, most notably, Mikołaj Rej, Jan Kochanowski, Marcin Kromer and Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski.
Until the partitions at the end of the 18th century, Lublin was a royal city of the Crown Kingdom of Poland. Its delegates and nobles had the right to participate in the Royal Election. In 1578 Lublin was chosen as the seat of the Crown Tribunal, the highest appeal court in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and for centuries the city has been flourishing as a centre of culture and higher learning, together with Kraków, Warsaw, Poznań and Lviv.
Although Lublin was not spared from severe destruction during World War II, its picturesque and historical Old Town has been preserved. The district is one of Polands official national Historic Monuments, as designated May 16, 2007, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.
The city is viewed as an attractive location for foreign investment and the analytical Financial Times Group has found Lublin to be one of the best cities for business in Poland. The Foreign direct investment ranking placed Lublin second among larger Polish cities in the Cost-effectiveness category. Lublin is also noted for its green spaces and a high standard of living.
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