Lutsk, one of the oldest cities of Volhynia (city rights granted in 1432), is located on the hill between the River Styr and its tributary – the River Głuszec. It is the capital of Volhynia district, a big industrial and cultural centre (ca. 217,000 inhabitants). In the past it found itself within the borders of various countries. In 1569 Lutsk was incorporated into the Crown and became the capital of the Volhynia Voivodship. Catholic bishops of Lutsk were represented alternately with Warmian bishops in the Senate of the Commonwealth. Since 1795 the city was annexed by Russia. In the years 1920–1939 Lutsk belonged to Poland, was the capital of Volhynia Voivodship and an important trade centre. In 1939 it was annexed by the Soviet Union as a part of Western Ukraine and thousands of Poles were exiled to Siberia. In the years 1941–1944 the city was under the German occupation, since 1945 it belonged to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and since 1991 to the Ukrainian Republic.
We may say that Olsztyn and Lutsk, similarly to Gelsenkirchen, were drawn together by the history. After the last war a lot of Poles and Ukrainians living from generations in Volhynia, found themselves in Warmia and Mazuria. In the flow of time they were setting up circles of the Association of Volhynia and Polesia Lovers as well as the Association of Ukrainians in Poland.
• The town twinning agreement between Olsztyn and Lutsk, established in December 1997, was only a formal act and it in fact broadened contacts of those organisations with their Ukrainian counterparts (above others, with the Association of the Polish Culture in Volhynia). The agreement was aimed at maintaining bounds between the cities that enabled experience exchange by means of mutual visits of the inhabitants and official delegations of councilmen,youth,artists,businessmenandsportsmen.
• On the firstvisittoLutsk,theOlsztynCzmudacompanysignedanagreementwithHryzolitcompany whereas the Warmian-Mazurian Regional Development Agency established economic contacts with Volhynia Regional Development Agency. Very close contacts drew closer the Olsztyn Association of Volhynia and Polesia Lovers to the Association of the Polish Culture in Volhynia. The latter, along with the Olsztyn City Council, organise annually summer camps for the Polish children of Lutsk.
• In March 2005 ten children in foster care of the Children’s Home in Lutsk spent a holiday week in Olsztyn, hosted by the Olsztyn families of the Association of Ukrainians in Poland. The project - “Easter Holidays in Olsztyn” - was supported by the City Council, some municipal institutions
(Astronomical Observatory, Puppet Theatre, Sports and Recreation Centre, Municipal Transport Company) and the Association of Ukrainians in Poland. Thanks to cultural contacts established by the latter a few delegations of various communities of Lutsk had already had a chance to visit Olsztyn.
• Performances of “Volhynia” ensemble at the International Folklore Festival, greeted each time with a great applause, are already a fixed tradition. Each summer a group of the Polish children of Lutsk – members of the Polish artistic ensembles abroad – appears not only in Olsztyn but also in other towns of the region.
• 2007 – Representatives of Lutsk visited Olsztyn twice to get to know experiences of communal companies providing the city with water and heating, utilizing communal waste, responsible for municipal transport and maintenance of roads and municipal buildings. The citizens of Lutsk were especially inte-rested in new technologies and the ways of warming-up the panel buildings. Later on, in July, they held a seminar on that subject,inviting the Olsztyn experts. Then, in October, the Lutsk delegates focused on the experiences of the Olsztyn health centres and social services, participating also in a seminar on the municipal greenery that crowned the “working” celebration of 10 years of town twinning cooperation.
• In June 2008 the city of Lutsk organised the Days of Olsztyn. The citizens of the Ukrainian city were given a possibility of getting to know our culture and the Warmian cuisines. They also saw two exhibitions: “Olsztyn – Identity” by Marcelina Chodynicka-Kuberska and “Batique Painting – Comments” by Iwona Bolińska-Walendziak. The Olsztyn Puppet Theatre staged the play “Kukuryku na patyku”. Du-ring the concert “Ukraine – Poland on the Way to Cooperation” the inhabitants of Lutsk had an opportunity to see the presentations of the ensembles of both countries, among others the ones originating from the Ukrainian minority in Olsztyn, Polonia ones of Lutsk and the artistic group of the Tadeusz Kościuszko Association of the Polish Culture.
• At the beginning of August 2008 the Days of Lutsk were organized in Olsztyn. “Harmider” amateur theatre staged a play whereas Walery Slezhuk showed his paintings. There was also an exhibition on the city of Lutsk. The artists and the Polish minority of Lutsk performed in the Olsztyn amphitheatre. The event was crowned with the ceremony of giving the name of Taras Szewczenko to one of the Olsztyn streets. The initiative was a reply of the City Council to the demands of the Olsztyn citizens of Ukrainian origin.
LuckObwód Wołyński263000 m. ŁuckChmielnickiego19www.lutsk.ua