Piotrków Trybunalski (Pronounced: Pyotrkooff)  is second biggest city in the Łódź voivodship of Poland with 80,738 inhabitants (2005). It is the capital of Piotrków County and it's almost 800 years old. The city itself was portrayed in the movie Jacob the Liar starring Robin Williams.
According to tradition – not confirmed by historical sources – Piotrkow was founded by Piotr Wlostowic, a powerful 12th century magnate from Silesia. The name of the city comes from the name Peter translated into Polish (Piotr), in a diminutive form (Piotrek, or "Pete"). The town has been known in Yiddish as פּעטריקעװ or Petrikev, in German as Petrikau, and in Russian as Петроков or Petrokov.
In the early Middle Ages the Piotrkow region was included in the province of Leczyca owned by the Piast dynasty. Ca. 1264 it became part of a separate principality. The foundation of the city and its development were connected with its geographical position and an advantageous arrangement of the roads linking the provinces of Poland in the Piast times. At first a market town and a place of the princes' tribunals (in the 13th and 15th centuries), Piotrkow became an administrative centre (the capital of the district since 1418), and in the later centuries it also became an important political centre in Poland. The first record of Piotrkow is included in a document issued in 1217 by the Prince of Krakow, Leszek I the White, where there is a mention of the prince's tribunal held "in Petrecoue". Medieval Piotrkow was a trading place on trade routes from Pomerania to Russia and Hungary, and later from Masovia to Silesia.
During the 13th century, apart from the tribunals, Polish provincial princes made Piotrkow a seat of a few assemblies of the Sieradz knights, which according to historical sources were held in 1233, in 1241, and in 1291. It might have been during the 1291 assembly that the Prince of Sieradz, Władysław I the Elbow-high, granted Piotrkow civic rights, because in documents from the beginning of the 14th century he mentions "civitate nostra Petricouiensi".
The first foundation certificate and the other documents were burnt in a great fire which destroyed the city ca. 1400. The privileges and rights were re-granted by King Wladysław II Jagiello in 1404. The city walls were built during the reign of King Casimir III, and after the great fire they were rebuilt at the beginning of the 15th century. During the reign of Casimir III, many expelled German Jews from the Holy Roman Empire immigrated to the town, which grew to have one of the largest Jewish settlements in the kingdom.
Between 1354 and 1567 the city held general assemblies of Polish knights, and general or elective meetings of the Polish Sejm (during the latter Polish kings of the Jagiellon dynasty were elected there). It was in the city of Piotrkow that the Polish Parliament was given its final structure with the division into Upper House and Lower Chamber in 1493. King John I Albert published his "Piotrków privilege" on May 26 1493, which expanded the priviliges of the szlachta at the expense of the bourgeoisie and the peasantry.
Piotrkow became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569. When the seat of the Parliament was moved to Warsaw, the town became the seat of the highest court of Poland, the Royal Tribunal, and trials were held there from 1578-1793; the highest Lithuanian court was held in Hrodna (Grodno). Piotrkow's Jewish population was expelled in 1578 and only allowed back a century later. The town became a post station in 1684. Ca. 1705, German settlers (often Swabians) arrived in the town's vicinity and founded villages; they largely retained their customs and language until 1945.
While the importance of Piotrkow in the political life of the country had contributed to its development in the 16th century, the city declined in the 17th and 18th centuries, due to fires, epidemics, wars against Sweden, and finally the Partitions of Poland.
During the invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II, Piotrkow was the setting for fierce fighting between the Polish 19th Infantry Division and the 16th Panzer Corps of the German Wehrmacht on September 5 1939. The town was occupied by Nazi Germany for the following six years.
Piotrkow had the first ghetto for Jews in occupied Poland, built as early as October 1939. Approximately 25,000 people from Piotrków and the nearby towns and villages were imprisoned there. 22,000 were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp, while 3,000 were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps.
On 18th January, 1945 the Soviet Red Army entered the city, dislodging the German troops. Anti-communist partisans continued to fight in the vicinity in the following years. From 1949-70, Piotrkow was built into an industrial center.
Piotrkow was the capital of the district, within the Lodzkie voivodeship, until 1975. Then, following the changes in the administrative division of the country, the city became the capital of the new Piotrkow Voivodeship, thus regaining the status of an important administrative, educational and cultural centre of Poland. In 1999 the Piotrkow Voivodeship was dissolved and Piotrkow became the capital of Piotrkow County within the Łodz Voivodeship.
Piotrkow is located in junction of roads:
Because of it's well location, at junction of many major roads Piotrkow Trybunalski has well route to almost all major cities in Poland as Warsaw, Łódź, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Katowice, Lublin etc. By the PKS lines you can get to (or from) all these cities every day. From Warsaw or Katowice you can get to Piotrkow Trybunalski by the Polski Express. There are some international lines too for example Eurolines.
Taxis are another option, and they are quite cheap for a Westerner. However, one should be sure that there is a taxi sign atop the cab and that the driver has a permit. Best way is to use one of Taxi companies (phone numbers):
For more information visit the "Tourist Information Point" called "Informacja Turystyczna" on Czarnieckiego Square 10, 44 732 36 63 (next to Trybunalski Square)
Other places for small shopping: