Żywiec is proud of its roots dating back to the thirteenth century and of the town privileges granted to it probably in the second half of that century. However, on its present site the town was founded at the beginning of the fifteenth century. It was then when the market square and the streets which run from its corners were laid out, and in the neighborhood the parish church was built. This urban layout has survived to the present day. Most of the buildings date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among older buildings worth mentioning are the stone bell tower and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady.
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