The real beginning of the history of the place where the town of Bohumín is located today probably dates back to the time when first traders and trade caravans set off on expeditions from the Roman Empire to the north inhabited by barbarian tribes, to the coast of the Baltic Sea to get amber from which fashionable and popular jewellery was made at that time. The traders and trade caravans were not able to cross the ford through the Odra river which, predominantly in the spring, flooded the surrounding area. They had to wait there till the crossing of the Odra was safe and set up first camps. The people who set off on long and always rather dangerous expeditions to almost unexplored areas often joined to form bigger caravans with carts. They carried goods that they intended to exchange for commodities they wanted to bring back home, supplies of food and drinks and mainly weapons so that they could defend if their caravan was attacked. When a trade caravan had to wait somewhere in a vast uninhabited area due to any reason for even several weeks, people gathered to set up a camp where they felt safer and stronger to defend. Before setting up a camp, they had to clear the necessary part of a forest. Later, when trade routes got busier, trade caravans searched for the places cleared before to set up a camp. Unfortunately, not always they managed to find them, predominantly near fast-flowing rivers, which the Odra used to be. Such rivers changed their riverbeds after every flood. Rarely, from time to time, two trade caravans met in the same place. They had to clear a larger places for their camps.
Moreover, we cannot forget that if a member of a trade caravan fell ill, he had to stay in a camp with several armed men till he was able to go on. In such a case it was necessary, because they undoubtedly had to stay in one place for a long time, to build a permanent dwelling. Thus first log cabins and shacks resistant against weather were built in the clearings. Then it was only a matter of time to find out that the clearings were not used by trade caravans by chance but as regular places of rest, and to let them watch by “guards” at important points and thus trade routes were gradually formed. They were mostly deserters - Roman slaves who constituted an inseparable and often biggest part of every trade caravan. These people, who decided to live a secluded but free life, because they were afraid that they might be caught and returned to slavery, set up first permanent settlements away from trade routes. It might explain why the first settlement in Bohumín was set up at the Odra but not at the Olza which amber traders could cross without fording the Odra. The fast-flowing Odra, as mentioned before, often changed its riverbed and therefore the original fords and access roads to them disappeared. Mercantile expeditions were often forced to seek new places suitable for crossing the river and build access roads to them, which surely was time-consuming. Permanent settlers gradually assumed the task. They sought suitable crossings of the river after every flood and built new camps, the so-called “týny” (strongholds), there. They also built the access to them, putting logs of felled trees in newly arisen swamps and pools. In return, they received customs from merchants in the form of products they needed for their life, but were not able to make themselves. Later permanent settlers who improved their living in such a manner offered mercantile caravans other services. They shoed horses or repaired damaged carts. In such a way first crafts developed, such as farriers, cartwrights, etc. All of that happened long long time ago when the Odra was the only reference point of traders and trade caravans wandering from the south to the north and back through vast local forests. At that time the area did not have its landowner yet, nor its name, nevertheless people decided to settle there, should they like to live, save their lives and ensure better future for their descendants.
The first chapter of the publication is about the original village named Bogun (Bohumín – currently Starý Bohumín) and its history. However, the 750th anniversary is celebrated by all the town, currently consisting of seven parts. Their names indicate that they originally were separate villages which, except Nový Bohumín, were established in and gradually developed since the 13th century. The area was scarcely populated, there was not fertile land and low banks of the Odra and the Olše were not able to avert frequent floods in the event of torrential rain. People lived in light dwellings made of wood that were often damaged by fires.
The current borders of the town are formed by the Odra in the west. There the town neighbours with villages located in the region of Hlučín in the district of Opava. In the south the town touches Ostrava and Rychvald, in the east the town borders on Dolní Lutyně, its part Věřňovice in small sections and Orlová. The northern border with Poland is formed by the Olše and the Odra. The region of Bohumín is located in the basin of Ostrava. The highest point is on Záblatský Hill (248 m), with three huge tanks for drinking water that led from Kružberská reservoir and supplied to the town. The town was integrated into its current shape in 1974.
Published / updated: 1.6.2006
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