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Katowice ( , ) is a city in Silesia in southern Polandmarker, on the Kłodnica and Rawa rivers (tributaries of the Oder and the Vistula). Katowice is located in the Silesian Highlands, about 50 km on north from the Silesian Beskids (part of the Carpathian Mountainsmarker) and about 100 km on south-east from Sudetes Mountains.

It is the central district of the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesiamarker, with a population of 2 million. Katowice is large local center of science, culture, industry, business and transportation. Katowice is the main city in the Upper Silesian Industrial Regionmarker, and of the 2,7 million conurbation, the Katowice urban area, within a greater Silesian metropolitan area populated by about 5,294,000 people. The population within the city limits is 312,201.

Katowice has been the capital of Silesian Voivodeshipmarker since its formation in 1999. Previously, it was the capital of the Katowice Voivodeship, and before then, of the Autonomous Silesian Voivodeshipmarker.


The area around Katowice in Upper Silesia has been inhabited by ethnic Silesians from its earliest documented history. It was first ruled by the Polish Silesian Piast dynasty (until its extinction). From 1335 it was a part of the Crown of Bohemia. In 1526 the territory passed to the Austrianmarker Habsburg Monarchy after the death of King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia. In 1742 most of Silesia was annexed from Austria by the Kingdom of Prussiamarker during the First Silesian War.

Katowice was founded in the 19th century and gained city status in 1865 as Kattowitz in the Prussian Province of Silesiamarker. The city flourished due to large mineral (especially coal) deposits in the nearby mountains. Extensive city growth and prosperity depended on the coal mining and steel industries, which took off during the Industrial Revolution. Kattowitz was inhabited mainly by Germans, Silesians, Jews and Poles. Previously part of the Beuthen district, in 1873 it became the capital of the new Kattowitz district. On 1 April 1899, the city of Kattowitz was separated from the district, becoming an independent city.

According to the Treaty of Versailles after World War I the Upper Silesia plebiscite was organised by the League of Nations. While in the city of Katowice the plebiscite resulted 22,774 votes to remain in Germany and 3,900 votes for Poland in the voting district of Katowice overall (combined with rural areas near the city and castle area) they were 66,119 votes for Poland and 52,992 for Germany and following the Silesian Uprisings (1918-21) Katowice became part of the Second Polish Republicmarker with a certain level of autonomy (Silesian Parliament as a constituency and Silesian Voivodeship Council as the executive body).

The city was occupied by Nazi Germany between 1939-1945.

Cathedral in Katowice

In 1953 the city was renamed Stalinogród ("Stalin City") by the Polish communist government. However, the new name was never accepted by the city's population and in 1956 the former name of 'Katowice' was restored.

Severe ecological damage to the environment occurred during the post-Second World War time of communist governance in the People's Republic of Poland, but recent changes in regulations, procedures and policies of Polish government since the fall of Communism have reversed much of the harm that was done.

Due to economic reforms, there has been a shift away from heavy industry, and towards small businesses.



Katowice lie on Katowice Highlands, as part of the Silesian Highlands, in the eastern part of Upper Silesia, within the central portion of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. In administrative terms, Katowice is an urban community in the Silesian Voivodeshipmarker in south-west Poland. It is central district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Unionmarker - metropolis with the population of 2 millions. It borders the cities of Chorzówmarker, Siemianowice Śląskiemarker, Sosnowiecmarker, Mysłowicemarker, Lędzinymarker, Tychymarker, Mikołówmarker, Ruda Śląskamarker and Czeladźmarker. In geographical terms, it lies between the Vistula and Oder rivers, on the Silesian Highlands. Several rivers flow through the city, the major two being the Kłodnica and Rawa River. Within 600 kilometres of Katowice are the capital cities of six countries: Berlinmarker, Viennamarker, Praguemarker, Bratislavamarker, Budapestmarker and Warsawmarker.


The climate of the area is continental humid. The average temperature is 8.2 degrees Celsius (average -1.5°C in January and up to average 18°C in July). Yearly rainfall averages at 60.85 mm. The area's characteristic weak winds blow at about 2 m/s from the west - Moravian Gatemarker.


Districts of Katowice
I. Central-City
II. North-City
III. West-City
IV. East-City
V. South-City


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Map of central Katowice
Katowice lies in the centre of the largest conurbation in Poland and is one of the largest in the European Union, numbering at about 2.7 million. This urban expansion boomed in the 19th century thanks to the rapid development of the mining and metallurgical industries. The Katowice urban area consists of about 40 adjacent cities and towns. However, the whole Silesian metropolitan area (mostly within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin) consists of over 50 cities/town. This metropolitan area has a population of 5,294,000. Katowice is also part of a megalopolis of over 7 million inhabitants covering Katowice, Ostravamarker, Krakówmarker and Częstochowamarker regions.

In the year 2006 Katowice and 14 adjacent cities united under one municipal organism - the union of cities - Upper Silesian Metropolitan Unionmarker. Its population is 2 million and its area is 1,104 km². In 2006 and 2007, the union planned to unite these cities in one city under the name "Silesia"; however, this proved unsuccessful.


Katowice, Silesian Theatre


  • Silesian Theatermarker
  • Ateneum Theater
  • Korez Theater
  • Cogitatur Theater
  • Rialto Cinetheater


  • IMAX Katowice
  • Cinema City - Punkt rozrywki 44 ( 13 halls )
  • Cinema City - Silesia City Centermarker ( 13 halls )
  • Helios Cinema Center ( 9 halls )
  • Światowid Cinema ( 1 halls )
  • Rialto Cinetheater ( 1 halls )
  • Cinematographic Arts Center ( 2 halls )



  • Silesian Museummarker
  • History of Katowice Museum
  • Muzeum Archidiecezjalne
  • Muzeum Misyjne OO. Franciszkanów
  • Muzeum Biograficzne P. Stellera
  • Muzeum Prawa i Prawników Polskich
  • Muzeum Najmniejszych Książek Świata Zygmunta Szkocnego
  • Izba Śląska
  • Centre of Polish Scenography
  • Silesian center of refreshment and culture


TV stations:
radio stations:

Festivals and events

Art galleries

  • Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej BWA Al. Korfantego 6
  • Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej Parnas ul. Kochanowskiego 10
  • Galeria Sztuki Atelier 2 ul. Batorego 2
  • Galeria Związku Polskich Artystów Plastyków ul. Dworcowa 13
  • Galeria Architektury SARP ul. Dyrekcyjna 9
  • Galeria Art-Deco pl. Andrzeja 4
  • Galeria Fra Angelico ul. Jordana 39
  • Galeria Akwarela ul. Mikołowska 26
  • Galeria Marmurowa ul. Mikołowska 26
  • Galeria Piętro Wyżej
  • Galeria Sektor I
  • Galeria Szyb Wilson

Parks and squares

Main parks:
  • Market square (Rynek w Katowicach)
  • Wolność Square (Plac Wolności)
  • Andrzej Square (Plac Andrzeja)
  • Miarka Square (Plac Miarki)
  • Council of Europe Square (Plac Rady Europy)
  • Alfred Square (Plac Alfreda)
  • A. Budniok Square (Plac A. Brudnioka)
  • J. Londzin Square (Plac J. Londzina)
  • A. Hlond Square (Plac A. Hlonda)

Nature reserves and ecological areas

  • Nature reserve Las Murckowski
  • Nature reserve Ochojec
  • Szopienice-Borki
  • Źródła Kłodnicy
  • Staw Grunfeld
  • Stawy Na Tysiącleciu
  • Płone Bagno


General information

Map of Katowice's modern architecture build in 1922-1939
Katowice are to the group of Polish cities whose centers do not originate from the medieval town. Downtown City was formed in the mid-nineteenth century. Established at the time the buildings are decorated eclectic (mostly Renaissance and Baroque) as elements of Art Nouveau style (secesja). The end of the nineteenth century, which may seem surprising for visitors today, the center of Katowice, was regarded as a "little Paris"

Katowice's mixture of architectural styles. Most of the historical buildings were thoroughly reconstructed. However, some of the buildings from the 19th century that had been preserved in reasonably reconstructible form were nonetheless eradicated in the 1950s to 1970s. Mass residential blocks were erected, with basic design typical of Eastern bloc countries.

Public spaces attract heavy investment, so that the city has gained entirely new squares, parks and monuments. Katowice's current urban landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture.

Examples of Modernism (International Style and Bauhaus inspired architecture) may be found in the city downtown. Central Katowice also contain a significant number of Art Nouveau (Secesja) buildings along with the Communist Era giants such as Spodek or Superjednostka.

Katowice's Rynek is the old centre and marketplace of the city. Unfortunately many old buildings were demolished in the 1950s to make space for monumental communist modern buildings. Several streets around the Rynek and the Rynek itself are now closed to traffic and have been made into a shopping promenade.

Regeneration of the Rynek area should start at 2007-2008 and there was an international architectural competition in 2006 to find the best design.

Tourist attractions

Market square in Katowice
Best buildings and places to see in Katowice:

  • Market square and adjacent streets: Warszawska, Teatralna, Dyrekcyjna, Staromiejska, Dworcowa, św. Jana, Pocztowa, Wawelska, 3 Maja, Stawowa, Mielęckiego, Starowiejska and Mickiewicza, the so-called "Great Market Square of Katowice" or "Old town of Katowice" - a lot of historic (monument) buildings. This is a group of functional-architectural. On the market square and most of the above-mentioned streets are prohibitions or restrictions on cars. Streets: Staromiejska, Dyrekcyjna, Wawelska, Stawowa and Warszawska is lined decorative cobblestone creating a the pedestrian zone. The authority plans to Katowice - Quarter streets: św. Jana, Dworcowa, Mariacka, Mielęckiego, Stanisława and Starowiejska is to become so "small market square".

  • Nikiszowiecmarker - historical settlement of Katowice, candidate to UNESCO

  • Silesian Parliament, built in the years 1925-1929. For a very long time it was the biggest structure in Poland

  • Modernist Old-Town

  • Silesian Insurgents Monumentmarker (Polish: Pomnik Powstańców Śląskich), the largest and heaviest monument in Poland. It is a harmonious combination of architecture and sculpture with appropriate symbolism: the wings symbolize the three Silesian Uprisings 1919 - 1920 - 1921 while the names of places that were battlefields are etched on the vertical slopes. The monument, which was funded by the people of Warsaw for Upper Silesia, is considered Katowice's landmark.
  • Silesian Theatermarker, built in 1907
  • Rialto Cinetheater, built in 1912
  • Silesian Museummarker, built in 1899
  • Old train station in Katowice, built in 1906
  • The Goldstein Palacemarker
  • The Załęże Palace
  • Parachute Tower Katowicemarker - 50 metre tall lattice parachute tower built in 1937 for training parachute jumps. It was used in the first days of World War II. Parachute Tower Katowice is the only existing parachute tower in Poland.




Katowice is a large coal and steel centre. It has several coal mines (Wujek Coal Minemarker, Mysłowice-Wesoła Coal Mine, Wieczorek Coal Mine, Murcki Coal Mine, Staszic Coal Mine) organized into unions - Katowice Coal Holding company (pl: Katowicki Holding Węglowy), two steelworks (Huta Baildon, Huta Ferum), and one foundry of non-ferrous metals (Huta Metali Nieżelaznych Szopienice).
South part of Katowice Business Centre (Katowickie Centrum Biznesowe)

Business and commerce

Katowice is also a large business and trade fair centre. Every year in Katowice International Fair and Spodekmarker, tens of international trade fairs are organized. Katowice has the second largest business centre in Poland (after Warsaw Business Centre). Skyscrapers stand along Chorzowska, Korfantego and Roździeńskiego street in the centre of the city. The newest office buildings (A-class) in Katowice are the Chorzowska 50, Altus Skyscrapermarker and Silesia Towers (under construction).


Katowice is the seat of Katowice Special Economic Zone (Katowicka Specjalna Strefa Ekonomiczna).

The unemployment rate in Katowice is one of the lowest in Poland, at 2% (in 2008), according to the official figures. The city is still characterized by its working class strength and thus attracts many people seeking jobs from neighbouring cities (other districts USMUmarker).

The average monthly salary in Katowice is the highest in Poland - about 4222,52 ($~1,220), in Warsawmarker it's about 4135,93 zł ($~1,200).


Katowice is the third largest scientific centre in Poland (after Warsaw and Cracow). It has over 20 schools of higher education, at which over 100,000 persons study.
  1. University of Silesiamarker
  2. University of Economics in Katowice
  3. University of Music in Katowicemarker
  4. University of Sports in Katowice
  5. Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice
  6. Medical University of Silesiamarker
  7. Silesian University of Technology - Faculty of Materials Science and Metallurgy and Transport
  8. Polish Academy of Sciences
  9. International Higher School of Political Sciences in Katowice
  10. International Higher School of Banking and Finances in Katowice
  11. Silesian International Business Higher School in Katowice
  12. Silesian Higher School of Computer science in Katowice
  13. Silesian Higher School of Management in Katowice
  14. Uppersilesian Higher School of Trade in Katowice
  15. Higher School of Banking and Finances in Katowice
  16. Higher School of Humanistic Science in Katowice
  17. Higher School of Technical Science in Katowice
  18. Higher School of Computer Technologies in Katowice
  19. Higher School the Pedagogical TWP in Warsaw, the Institute of Pedagogy in Katowice
  20. Higher School of Social Skills in Poznań (department in Katowice)
  21. Higher School of Humanistic - Economic in Łódź (department in Katowice)
  22. Higher School of Marketing Management and Foreign Languages in Katowice
  23. Higher School of Management the Protection of Work in Katowice
  24. Silesian Higher Clerical Seminar in Katowice
  25. Theological Seminar of Franciscans in Katowice Panewniki
  26. Private Teacher's College of Foreign Languages in Katowice
  27. Private Teacher's Board of Foreign Languages in Bielsko (department in Katowice)

There are also:


Public transport

Express road S79 in Katowice

The public transportation system of the Katowice and Upper Silesian Metropolitan Unionmarker consists of four branches - buses and trams united in the KZK GOP and furthermore the regional rail. Additional services are operated by private companies and the state-owned railways.

Silesian Interurbans - one of the largest tram systems in the World, in existence since 1894. The system spreads for more than 50 kilometres (east-west) and covers fourteen districts of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Unionmarker.



Several important roads in neighbourhoods of Katowice (USMUmarker):


The city and the area is served by the Katowice International Airportmarker, located about 30 km from the center of Katowice. With over 20 international and domestic flights daily, it is by far the biggest airport in Silesia (~2,5 million passengers served in 2008; 2 terminals: A and B).
Lobby seen from upper level in terminal B in Katowice International Airport

Because of the long commute to the airport, there is a proposal to convert the much nearer sport aviation-serving Katowice-Muchowiec Airportmarker into a so-called city airport, a second international airport for smaller, business-oriented traffic.


Standard gauge railway
The first railroad reached this area in 1846 (the Upper Silesia Railway, in Polish: Kolej Górnośląska; in German: Oberschlesische Eisenbahn). Nowadays Katowice is one of the main railway nodes and exchange points in Silesia and in Poland. Cheap and fairly efficient, the Polskie Koleje Państwowe (Polish State-Owned Railways) in the area of the proposed union constitute one of the main transport hubs in Poland (the most important one being Warsawmarker).The main railroad station is Katowice Central Stationmarker. Both the domestic and the international connections run from there to almost every major city in Poland and Europe.

Broad gauge railway
Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa (known by its acronym LHS, English: Broad gauge metallurgy line) is Sławkówmarker near Katowice is the longest broad gauge railway line in Polandmarker. Except for this one line, and a few very short stretches near border crossings, Poland uses the standard gauge for its railways, unlike Russia and the other former countries of the Soviet Unionmarker. The line runs on a single track for almost 400 km from the Polish-Ukrainianmarker border, crossing it just east of Hrubieszówmarker, to Sławkówmarker (one of the suburbs of the proposed union). It is used only for freight transport, mainly iron ore and coal. It is the westernmost broad gauge railway line in Europe that is connected to the broad gauge rail system of the countries which before 1991 constituted the Soviet Union. The line is managed by PKP Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa Spólka z o.o. company. Previous name of this line was Linia Hutniczo Siarkowa (English: Metallurgy - Sulfur Line), but after sulfur ceased to be transported on the line its name was changed.

Narrow gauge railway

Water transport

In Gliwicemarker near Katowice operates Gliwice Canal (pl:Kanal Gliwicki) which links Gliwice Harbour to the Oder River and thus to the waterway network across much of Germany and to the Baltic Sea.

Kłodnica Canal (pl: Kanal Klodnicki) is no longer used to transport goods, but it is popular with leisure cruisers.


Sports facilities

The Silesian Stadiummarker is located between Chorzów and Katowice.It is a national stadium of Poland, more than 50 international matches of Poland national football team were played here as well as around 30 matches of UEFA competitions. There were also a Speedway World Championship, Speedway Grand Prix of Europe and a number many concerts featuring international stars.

There are many sports centers in the city as well. Most of these facilities are swimming pools and sports halls, mostly built by the municipality in the past several years.

Katowice is a city where you can enjoy active leisure as well. Tourists can relax playing tennis or squash, doing water sports also sailing (for example - in Dolina Trzech Stawów), horse-riding (in Wesoła Fala and Silesian culture and refreshment parkmarker), cycling or going to one of numerous excellently equipped fitness clubs. Near the city center are sporting facilities like swimming pools (for example "Bugla", "Rolna") and in neighbourhood - golf courses (in Siemianowice Śląskiemarker).

Sports clubs

  • GKS Katowicemarker - men's football, (Polish Cup winner: 1986, 1991, 1993; Polish SuperCup winner: 1991, 1995; 1st league in 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 seasons). ice hockey team Champion :1958,1960,1962 Gòrnik Katowice / GKS 1965,1968,1970.
  • 1. FC Kattowitz - football club, vice-champion of Poland: 1927; champion of Upper Silesia: 1907, 1908, 1909, 1913, 1922, 1932, 1945
  • AZS AWF Katowice - various sports, women's handball team playing in Polish Women's Handball Superleague, men's basketball team playing in Second league, fencing section - a lot of medals in the Polish Championship
  • Naprzód Janów Katowice - hockey club playing in Polish Hockey Superleague, vice-champion of Poland (5x): 1971, 1973, 1977, 1989, 1992; bronze medal (7x): 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1987; Polish Cup (1x): 1970.
  • AZS US Katowice - various sports, a lot of medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
  • HKS Szopienice - various sports, a lot of medals in the Polish and Europe and World Championship in weightlifting
  • Silesia Miners - American football club playing in Polish American Football League, Polish vice-champion in 2007
  • Jango Katowice - futsal club playing in Polish Futsal Superleague; Polish Cup (1x): 2007; bronze medal Polish Championship (2x): 2001, 2007
  • Rozwój Katowice - football club playing in Polish Third League
  • MK Katowice - football club playing in Polish Fourth League
  • Hetman Szopienice - chess club, a lot of medals in the Polish Championship
  • Sparta Katowice - various sports, a lot of medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
  • Policyjny Klub Sportowy Katowice - various sports, a lot of medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
  • AWF Mickiewicz Katowice - basketball club
  • Silesian Flying Club (Aeroklub Śląski)

Defunct sports clubs:
  • Diana Kattowitz - football club
  • Germania Kattowitz - football club
  • KS Baildon Katowice - various sports, a lot of medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
  • Pogoń Katowice - various sports, a lot of medals in the Polish Championship in various sports

Sports events

Notable residents

University of Silesia - Faculty of Law and Administration

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Katowice is twinned with:

See also


  1. 2,746,000 according to scientific description by Tadeusz Markowski "Funkcje Metropolitalne Pięciu Stolic Województw Wschodnich"
  2. 2,733,000 (2,928,000 - counting whole powiats adjacent to the city) according to scientific description by Paweł Swianiewicz and Urszula Klimska "Społeczne i polityczne zróżnicowanie aglomeracji w Polsce" - Paweł Swianiewicz, Urszula Klimska; University of Warsaw 2005
  3. 2,775,000 according to
  4. 2,710,397 according to Eurostat - Larger Urban Zones (LUZ): Urban
  5. European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON)[1]
  6. Powierzchnia i ludność w przekroju terytorialnym w 2008 - Central Statistical Office in Poland ISSN 1505-5507 , 13.08.2008
  7. Documents on British foreign policy, 1919-1939‎ Great Britain. Foreign Office, Ernest Llewellyn Woodward page 44
  8. - "17 śląskich miast chce się połączyć w Silesię", 11 December 2006)
  9. Dziennik Zachodni Katowice - "Będą dwie Mariackie", 3 sierpnia 2007
  10. "Voivodship Cities basic statistical data" - Central Statistical Office in Poland, ISSN 1642-574X , 31.06.2008

External links

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