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Bielsko-Biała ( ; ) is a city in southern Poland with 176,987 inhabitants (2006).

Bielsko-Biała is composed of two former cities on opposite banks of the Biała River, Bielsko and Biała, amalgamated in 1951. Situated in the Silesian Voivodeshipmarker (since 1999), the city was previously capital of Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship (1975-1998). Bielsko-Biała is one of the most important cities of the Beskidy Euroregion.


Both parts of the name stem from "biel" or "biała", which means "white" in Polish.

Between 1933 and 1938 an archaeological team discovered remains of a fortified settlement in what is now Stare Bielsko (Old Bielsko) district of the city. The settlement was dated to the 12th - 14th centuries. Its dwellers manufactured iron from ore and specialized in smithery.

The current center of the town was probably developed as early as the first half of the 13th century. At that time a castle (which still survives today) was built on a hill.

In the second half of the 13th century, the Piast Dukes of Opolemarker invited German settlers to land between Silesia and Lesser Poland in order to colonize the Silesian Beskidsmarker. Nearby settlements west of the Biała River were Nikelsdorf, Kamitz, Alt-Bielitz (now Stare Bielsko), Batzdorf and Kurzwald. Nearby settlements east of the river Bialka were Kunzendorf, Alzen and Wilmesau. Nearby settlements in the mountains were Lobnitz and Bistrai.

After the partition of the Duchy of Oppeln in 1281, Bielsko passed to the Dukes of Cieszyn . The town was first documented in 1312 when a Duke of Cieszyn granted a town charter. From 1457 the Biała River was the border between Silesia (within the Holy Roman Empire) and Lesser Poland. The town of Biała was established on the opposite bank of the Biała River in 1723.

During the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Biała was annexed by Austria and included in the crownland of Galicia. In 1918 both cities became part of a reconstituted Polish statemarker, even though the majority of the population was ethnic German. During World War II the city was annexed by Nazi Germany and its Jewish population was sent to Auschwitz concentration campmarker. After the liberation of the city by the Red Army in 1945, the ethnic German population was expelled westward.

The city of Bielsko-Biała was created on 1 January 1951 when the adjacent cities of Bielsko and Biała were unified.

Economy and Industry

Nowadays Bielsko-Biała is one of the best-developed parts of Poland. It was ranked 2nd best city for business in that country by Forbes. About 5% of people are unemployed (compared 9,6% for Poland). Bielsko-Biała is famous for its textile, machine-building, and especially automotive industry. In Bielsko-Biała there are four areas that belong to Katowice Special Economic Zone. Another reason for the low unemployment rate is that large numbers of young families have become economic migrants and have moved to the UK for employment. There are large communities originally from Bielsko-Biała now living in towns such as Sloughmarker and Southamptonmarker.


Town Hall
Bielsko-Biała is a beautiful city. It has a vibrant modernistic presence being a student-city with its associated nightlife, as well as having numerous historical sights.



Bielsko-Biała - the main post office seen from the castle


Bielsko-Biała constituency

Senators from Bielsko-Biała constituency:

Members of Sejm from Bielsko-Biała constituency:

Municipal politics

  • Mayor - Jacek Krywult
  • Deputy Mayor - Waldemar Jędrusiński
  • Deputy Mayor - Zbigniew Giełda
  • Deputy Mayor - Zbigniew Michniowski

Notable residents

Polish Theater


International relations

[[File:Bielsko-Biala widok z Szyndzielni.jpg|thumb|right|300px|View from Szyndzielnia Mountain]]
View from Trzy Lipki Hill

Twin towns - Sister cities

Bielsko-Biała is twinned with the following cities:

See also

External links


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