From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Starost(a) (Cyrillic: Старост/а) is a
title for an official or unofficial position of leadership that has
been used in various contexts through most of Slavic history. It can be translated as "elder". Territory
administered by a starost was called a
In the early Middle
Ages the starosta was the head of a Slavic community; in Russia the word was used until
the early 20th century to denote the elected leader of obshchina.
From the 14th century in the Polish Crown and later
through the era of the joint state of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth till the partitions of Poland in 1795 the
starosta was a royal official. His deputy was known as
podstarości. There were several types of starosta:
- starosta generalny was the official in administration
of a specific territorial unit: either the representative of the
King or Grand Duke or a person directly in charge.
- starosta grodowy was a county- (powiat-) level official responsible for fiscal
duties, police and courts, and he was responsible for the execution
of judicial verdicts.
- starosta niegrodowy was the overseer of the Crown lands
and Bukovina under
Austrian rule a starosta supervised the county administration.
In Poland between 1918 and
1939 and 1944–1950 the starosta was the head of county (powiat) administration,
subordinate to the voivode.
In modern Poland, since the local
government reforms which came into effect on 1 January 1999,
the starosta is the head of the county (powiat) executive (zarząd powiatu), and
the head of the county administration (starostwo
powiatowe). He is elected by the county council (rada
The starosta is the master of
ceremonies in the traditional Carpatho-Rusyn and
Polish wedding. 
The starosta was a head of various communities: church starosta,
In the Czech
Republic and Slovakia,
starosta is the title of a mayor of a town or village
(mayors of major cities use the title primátor).
In Lithuania since
1991, starosta (Lithuanian: seniūnas) is the title of the head of
- This article incorporates information from the revision as
of 23 January 2006 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.