Previously published in PGS-CA Bulletin (July 2012)
Translated from the Słownik Geograficzny (1880-1902)
by Helen Bienick
Turka, with Słoboda and Zwierzyńiec, was a county seat in Eastern Galicia, about 45 kilometers south of the railroad station in Chyrowa. It lies between 49°07’ and 49°12’ latitude north, and 40°38’ and 40°45’ east longitude on the Fero scale. On its northwest lies Szumiacz, on the northeast Jawora, on the southeast Łosieniec and Mielniczne, on the southwest Jabłonka Niżna (Lower) and on the west Przysłop Wielki. The river Stryj flows west of Turka from the southeast of Łosienice to the north. In the vicinity of the town’s northern border, it changes course and curves to the east, then the northeast, and finally joins the Jawora. At the edge of town, the Stryj is joined by a few streams on its right bank; on the left bank it is joined by the Jabłonka, Hryniow, and the Litmirz.
The town’s buildings lie in the center part, on the Jabłonka and Litmirz banks, at 587 meters above sea level. On the northeast, on the banks of the Jabłonka and the Stryj, lies Turka Niżna (Lower), on the northwest a part of Turka Średnia (Middle) and Turka Wyżna (Upper) in the valley of the Litmirz. Towards the northeast, in a horseshoe curve created by the Stryj lies Słoboda; on the southeast, also on the Stryj river, lies Zwierzyniec.
One group of houses was called “Bratkowszczyżna”. Towards the east on the left bank of the Stryj, is a forest called “Zwierzyniec”, which rises 930 meters in height. On the south lies the mountain Szymonka, 814 meters in elevation, in a triangular shape. On the west sits Pawłowska Góra (hill) which rises to 661 meters high. On the north rises Petryków, 664 meters high, near to the high road which leads to Stare Miasto, through the center of town from Jawora to Mielniczne.
Of the two large farmsteads, one had 396 morgen of farmland, 218 mr. of gardens and meadows, 107 mr. of pastures, and 969 mr. of forests. The second farmstead covered 2617 morgen of farmland, 1063 mr. of meadows and gardens, 1249 mr. of pastureland, and 18 mr. of forests. [One morgen/mr. = ~2.116 acres].
In the year 1880 there were 656 houses and 4634 inhabitants in the district. There were 14 houses and 51 inhabitants on the grounds of the noble manor house. In total, there were 1837 Greek Catholics, 450 Roman Catholics, and 2398 Israelites. Of this number 1786 were Russians, 537 were Poles, 2356 were Germans. The Roman Catholic parish in Turka was part of the deanery of Sambor. The Latin rite Catholics in previous times belonged to the parish in Stare Miasto (see Stary Sambor).
In 1730, Jan Kalinowski, who owned the town of Turka, sponsored a mission church in the town, which he staffed with Jesuits from Sambor. After the Jesuits departed, a parish was formed. The parish was considered the largest in Galicia, based on the number of villages which were part of it, namely the following 64. They were: Bachnowate, Beniowa, Bereżek, Borynia, Bukowiec, Butelka, Butla, Boberka, Chaszczów, Dniestrzyk Dubowy, Dniestrzyk Hołowiecki aka Posicz, Dołżki, Dżwiniacz Górny, Gwożdziec, Hnyła, Husne, Jabłonka, Jabłonów, Jasienica Zamkowa, Jawora, Jaworów, Ilnik, Isaje, Jasionka Maziowa i Steciowa, Iwaszkowce, Komarniki, Krasne, Krywka, Kondratów, Lipie, Lubahora, Łomna, Łopuszanka, Lechnowa, Łosiniec, Matków, Mochnate, Mołdawski, Myta, Mielnicze, Michnowiec, Przysłup, Radycz, Rosochacz, Ryków, Rozłucz, Rypiany, Sianki, Smereczka, Sokoliki, Suchy Potok, Szumiacz, Szandrowiec, Tarnawa, Tureczki, Wołcze, Wysocko, Wołosianka, Zadzielsko, Zawadka, Żukotyn i Żubrzyce, all located in the county of Turka. In addition, there were nine villages from the county of Stare Miasto (Stary Sambor), namely, Bystre, Galówka, Grąziowa, Potok, Hołowiecko, Łopuszanka, Chomina, Mszaniec and Płoskie, as well as four villages from the county of Drogobic. They were Lastówki, Podhajki, Ropawsko and Świdnik.
A brick church was built in 1778. The Greek Catholic parish in town along with Mielnicze, belonged to the deanery of Wysoczan. There was also a Russian Orthodox church with affiliates in Zwierzyńiec, Słoboda and Bratkowszczyżna.
Turka was the seat of a county office, and a county court house, which was a part of the high court in Sambor. There was a notary, a county council office, and a four-classroom public school. Industry was not very significant. The local saw mill processed fir and spruce trees into lumber. Some inhabitants engaged in the spinning of wool, and the fabricating of coarse garments, others in raising sheep and making cheeses called “bundze”, which were sold at markets and trade fairs held four times a year. Turka had a lending bank with a capital of 1500 złoty.
Turka was in existence as a small village at the beginning of the 15th century, and belonged to the estates of the Royal Crown. On the 27th of June in 1431, Władysław Jagiełło, king of Poland from 1386 to 1434, gifted the village to Vancza Valachius, and his sons, Chotko, Iwanko and Janko. This bequest was reconfirmed by King Władysław Warneńczyk, (Ladislaus of Varma) in 1444 for the brothers, Chotko and Iwanko, and by King Zygmunt I (Sigismund) in 1519. On November 26, 1538, King Zygmunt granted Turka the rights of separation from the local properties of the crown. A document to this effect, and the listing of the town privileges, according to a copy, were published in a supplement of the monthly “Gazetteer of Lwów” in the year 1872, page 237, and item 2 on page 57. In later years, the heir to Turka, Jan Kalinowski, a chamberlain from Parnawa, arranged to change the town status from a village to a town. According to an item in the publication “Rozmaitosci” (Varieties) in 1834, page 25, Turka gained recognition for the publishing of Jewish books.