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Left to right: Skyscrapers in city center • Panorama of Miasto Katowice •
Silesian Museum • Archcathedral • Silesian Theatre • Spodek
Flag of Katowice
Coat of arms of Katowice
Coat of arms
Katowice is located in Poland
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Silesian
County city county
Established 16th century - 1598 first official information
City rights 1865
 • Mayor Piotr Uszok
 • City 164.67 km2 (63.58 sq mi)
Highest elevation 352 m (1,155 ft)
Lowest elevation 266 m (873 ft)
Population (2013)
 • City 307,233
 • Density 1,900/km2 (4,800/sq mi)
 • Urban 2,746,000
 • Metro 4,620,624
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 40-001 to 40-999
Area code(s) +48 32
Car plates SK

Katowice (Polish:  ( ); German: Kattowitz, Silesian: Katowicy, officially Miasto Katowice - City of Katowice). Katowice is the central district of the Silesian Metropolis, a territorial entity operating on the principle of metropolitan municipality, with a population of 2 million.[1]

Katowice is the center of science, culture, industry, business, trade fair/exhibitions and transportation in the Upper Silesia region and southern Poland. It is the main city in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region. Katowice lies within an urban zone, with a population of 2,746,460 according to Eurostat,[2] and also part of the wider Silesian metropolitan area, with a population of 5,294,000 according to the European Spatial Planning Observation Network.[3] Today, Katowice is a rapidly growing city and emerging metropolis.[4] It is the 16th most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union with an output amounting to $114.5 billion.[5]

Katowice has been the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999. Previously it was the capital of the Katowice Voivodeship, the autonomous Silesian Voivodeship in Poland, and the Province of Upper Silesia in Germany.


The Silesian Parliament in Katowice.

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 Austrian Habsburg Monarchy after the death of King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia. In 1742, most of Silesia was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia during the First Silesian War.

Kattowitz gained city status in 1865 in the Prussian Province of Silesia. 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. The city was inhabited mainly by Germans, Silesians, Jews and Poles. In 1884, 36 Jewish Zionist delegates met here, forming the Hovevei Zion movement. Previously part of the Beuthen district, in 1873 it became the capital of the new Kattowitz district. On 1 April 1899, the city was separated from the district, becoming an independent city.

Under the League of Nations. Though Kattowitz voted 22,774 to remain in Germany and 3,900 for Poland,[6] it was attached to Poland as the district in which it was located voted 66,119 for Poland and 52,992 for Germany.[7] Following the Silesian Uprisings (1918–21) Katowice became part of the Second Polish Republic with some autonomy (the Silesian Parliament as a constituency and the Silesian Voivodeship Council as the executive body).

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

In 1953, after death of the General Secretary of the KPSU generalissimus Iosif Stalin the City of Katowice was renamed Stalinogród ("Stalin City", like a lot of cities in that time e.g. Staliniri, but originally named after Stalin's death) by the Polish United Workers' Party comrades' government to honor the passing of the Soviet dictator, but the new name was never accepted by the population and in 1956 the former name was restored.

Severe ecological damage to the environment occurred during the post–Second World War 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.[8]

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


Katowice is a city in Upper Silesia in southern Poland, on the Kłodnica and Rawa rivers (tributaries of the Oder and the Vistula respectively). It is in the Silesian Highlands, about 50 km (31 mi) north of the Silesian Beskids (part of the Carpathian Mountains) and about 100 km (62 mi) southeast of the Sudetes Mountains. Katowice is in the Katowice Highlands, part of the Silesian Highlands, in the eastern part of Upper Silesia, in the central portion of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. Katowice is an urban community in the Silesian Voivodeship in south-west Poland. It is central district of the Silesian Metropolis—a metropolis with a population of two million. It borders the cities of Chorzów, Siemianowice Śląskie, Sosnowiec, Mysłowice, Lędziny, Tychy, Mikołów, Ruda Śląska and Czeladź. It lies between the Vistula and Oder rivers. Several rivers flow through the city, the major two being the Kłodnica and Rawa. Within 600 km (370 mi) of Katowice are the capital cities of six countries: Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw.


The climate is temperate-continental. The average temperature is 8.2 °Celsius (−1.5 °C (29 °F) in January and up to 18 °C (64 °F) in July). Yearly rainfall averages at 608.5 mm (23.96 in). Characteristic weak winds blow at about 2 m/s from the west, the Moravian Gate.

Climate data for Katowice
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.5
Average low °C (°F) −4
Precipitation mm (inches) 30.4
Source: MSN Weather[9]


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



Upper Silesian Metropolis - central part of conurbation
Map of central Katowice

Katowice lies in the centre of the largest conurbation in Poland, one of the largest in the European Union, numbering about 2.7 million. 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, the whole Silesian metropolitan area (mostly within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin) over 50 cities/town. The metropolitan area has a population of 5,294,000.

In 2006, Katowice and 14 adjacent cities united as the Upper Silesian Metropolis. Its population is 2 million and its area is 1,104 km2. In 2006-2007 the union planned to unite these cities in one city under the name "Silesia", but this proved unsuccessful.[10]

Katowice, Silesian Theatre


Notable attractions include:

Katowice, Silesian Museum



TV stations:
radio stations:
Katowice, Spodek

Festivals and events

Tauron New Music Festival

Parks and squares

Main parks:

Nature reserves and ecological areas

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


Map of Katowice's modern architecture built 1922-1939

Katowice did not originate as a medieval town. The city centre was formed in the mid-19th century when it was part of the Kingdom of Prussia and had an ethnic German majority. The buildings of the time are decorated in an eclectic style (mostly Renaissance with elements of Baroque) and elements of Art Nouveau style (secesja). By the end of the nineteenth century the centre was being referred to as a "little Paris", which may surprise visitors today,[11]

Examples of Modernism (International Style and Bauhaus inspired architecture) are in the city centre, and a significant number of Art Nouveau (Secesja) buildings along with Communist Era giants such as Spodek and Superjednostka.

Rynek is the old centre and marketplace. Unfortunately many old buildings were demolished in the 1950s to make space for monumental communist modern buildings. Rynek and several streets around are closed to traffic as a shopping promenades.

Tourist attractions

Market square 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"—many 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 pedestrian zone. The authority plans to Katowice—Quarter streets: św. Jana, Dworcowa, Mariacka, Mielęckiego, Stanisława and Starowiejska is to become so "small market square".[12]
  • Modernist Old-Town
  • Silesian Insurgents Monument (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 Theater, built in 1907
  • Rialto Cinetheater, built in 1912
  • Silesian Museum, built in 1899
  • Old train station in Katowice, built in 1906
  • The Goldstein Palace
  • The Załęże Palace
  • Parachute Tower - a 50 m (160 ft) tall lattice tower built in 1937 for training parachutists. It was used in the first days of World War II and is the only parachute tower in Poland.



Silesia City Center - Large shopping mall in Katowice. Located over former coal mine "Gottwald"

Katowice is a large coal and steel center. It has several coal mines (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).

Katowice is a large business and Chorzowska 50, Altus Skyscraper and Silesia Towers (under construction).

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

The unemployment rateis one of the lowest in Poland, at 2% (2008).[13] The city is still characterized by its working class strength and attracts many people from neighbouring cities (other districts USMU seeking jobs.

The average monthly salary is the highest in Poland—about 4222,52 (~$1,220), in Warsaw about 4135,93 zł (~$1,200).[14]


Scientific Information Centre and Academic Library
Silesian Library in Katowice

Katowice is a large scientific centre. It has over 20 schools of higher education, at which over 100,000 people study.

There are also:


Public transport

Tram in Katowice
National road 79 in Katowice

The public transportation system of the Katowice and Upper Silesian Metropolis consists of four branches—buses and trams united in the KZK GOP and 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. It spreads for more than 50 kilometres (31 miles) (east-west) and covers 14 districts of the Upper Silesian Metropolis.



Several important roads in neighbourhoods of Katowice (USMU):


Lobby from the upper level in terminal B in Katowice International Airport

The city and the area are served by the Katowice International Airport, about 30 km (19 mi) from the city center. 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).

Because of the long distance to the airport, there is a proposal to convert the much closer sport aviation Katowice-Muchowiec Airport into a city airport for smaller, business-oriented traffic.


The first railway (the Upper Silesia Railway, in Polish: Kolej Górnośląska; in German: Oberschlesische Eisenbahn) reached the area in 1846. Katowice is one of the main railway nodes and exchange points in Silesia and in Poland. It is one of the main transport hubs for the Polskie Koleje Państwowe (Polish State Railways) in Poland (the most important one being Warsaw). Katowice Central Station was demolished recently, and a new station is under construction. Trains run to almost every major city in Poland and Europe.


Katowice has a long sporting tradition and hosted the final of EuroBasket 2009 and 1975 European Athletics Indoor Championships, 1975 European Amateur Boxing Championships, 1976 World Ice Hockey Championships, 1957, 1985 European Weightlifting Championships, 1974, 1982 World Wrestling Championships, 1991 World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships, 2011 Women's European Union Amateur Boxing Championships, 2014 FIVB Men's World Championship and others.

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

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 park), 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 Śląskie).

Sports clubs

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 in Katowice - Faculty of Law and Administration

Twin towns—Sister cities

Katowice is twinned with:

See also



  1. ^ "Aglomeracja śląska w liczbach - Podmioty gospodarki narodowej - Powierzchnia i ludnośćmillion " - GUS, 2008
  2. ^ "CityProfiles: Katowice". The Urban Audit. Retrieved 2012. 
  3. ^ "Study on Urban Functions (Project 1.4.3)" - European Spatial Planning Observation Network, 2007
  4. ^ Interim Territorial Cohesion Report - Preliminary results of ESPON and EU Commission studies
  5. ^ "Global city GDP 2011". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Von Krakau bis Danzig (in German). Thomas Urban. 2004. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  7. ^ Documents on British foreign policy, 1919-1939 Great Britain. Foreign Office, Ernest Llewellyn Woodward page 44
  8. ^ Auer, Matthew R. 2004. “Lessons from Leaders and Laggards: Appraising Environmental Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia,” in Matthew R. Auer, ed., Restoring Cursed Earth: Appraising Environmental Policy Reforms in Eastern Europe and Russia. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield: page 6.
  9. ^ "Local weather forecast: Katowice". 
  10. ^ (Polish) - "17 śląskich miast chce się połączyć w Silesię", 11 December 2006)
  11. ^ "Wydawnictwo Muzeum Śląskiego: Lech Szaraniec "Katowice w dawnej i współczesnej fotografii". 
  12. ^ Dziennik Zachodni Katowice - "Będą dwie Mariackie", 3 sierpnia 2007
  13. ^ "Bezrobotni oraz stopa bezrobocia wg województw, podregionów i powiatów (stan w końcu lipca 2008 r.)". 
  14. ^ "Voivodship Cities basic statistical data" - Central Statistical Office in Poland, ISSN 1642-574X, 31 June 2008
  15. ^ "Partnerstädte". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  16. ^ "Groningen - Partner Cities".  
  17. ^ "Twin cities of the City of Kosice". Magistrát mesta Košice, Tr. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  18. ^ "Mobile's Sister Cities". City of Mobile. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 

External links

  • The Municipal Council of the City of Katowice

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