Katowice (UK: KAT-ə-VEET-sə, US: KAHT-, Polish: [katɔˈvitsɛ] (listen); German: Kattowitz) is the capital city of the Silesian Voivodeship in south-west Poland, and the central city of the Upper Silesian metropolitan area. It is the 11th-most populous city in Poland, while its urban area is the most populous in the country and one of the most populous in the EU.
As of December 31, 2020 estimate, Katowice has a population of 290,553. Katowice is a member of the Metropolis GZM, with a population of 2.3 million, and a part of a larger Upper Silesian metropolitan area that extends into the Czech Republic and has a population of 5-5.3 million people. Katowice is a center of commerce, business, transportation, and culture in southern Poland, with numerous public companies headquartered in the city or in its suburbs, important cultural institutions such as Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, award-winning music festivals such as Off Festival and Tauron New Music, and transportation infrastructure such as Katowice Korfanty Airport. It also hosts the finals of Intel Extreme Masters, an Esports video game tournament. In 2015, Katowice joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and was named a UNESCO City of Music. Katowice is also home to a few major universities, with approximately 80,000 students attending.
Throughout the mid-18th century, Katowice developed into a village following the discovery of rich coal reserves in the area. In 1742 the First Silesian War transferred Upper Silesia, including Katowice, to Prussia. In the first half of the 19th century, intensive industrialization transformed local mills and farms into industrial steelworks, mines, foundries and artisan workshops. Following Germany's defeat in World War I and the Silesian Uprisings, Katowice and parts of Upper Silesia were reintegrated with the reborn Polish Republic. The city became the capital of the autonomous Silesian Voivodeship. During World War II, in 1939, after the Wehrmacht seized the town, Katowice and the provinces were annexed and occupied by Nazi Germany. The city was eventually liberated by the Soviet army on 27 January 1945, and restored to Poland.
Since 2020, the city has been classified as a Gamma - global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and is considered as an emerging metropolis. The whole metropolitan area is the 16th most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union with an output amounting to $114.5 billion.
The area around Katowice, in Upper Silesia, has been inhabited by ethnic Silesian tribes from its earliest documented history. While the name Katowice (Katowicze) is mentioned for the first time in 1598, other villages and settlements that would eventually become parts of modern Katowice have been established earlier, with Dąb being the oldest, mentioned in 1299 for the first time in a document issued by Duke Casimir of Bytom. Bogucice, Ligota, Szopenice and Podlesie were all established in early 14th century. Aside from farming, people living in the area would also work in hammer mills: the first one, Kuźnica Bogucka, is mentioned in 1397.
The area which would become Katowice was initially ruled by the Polish Silesian Piast dynasty until its extinction. From 1327, the region was under administration of the Kingdom of Bohemia under the Holy Roman Empire. As part of the Bohemian Crown, it was passed to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In 1742, along with most of Silesia, it was seized by Prussia following the First Silesian War. The two subsequent Silesian Wars left the area severely depopulated and with economy in ruins. In 1838, Franz von Winckler bought Katowice from Karl Friedrich Lehmann and in 1841, he made it the headquarters of his estate.
Emergence as an industrial center
On 3 October 1846, the works of the final stage of the Breslau-Myslowitz (Wrocław-Mysłowice) rail line ended, built and operated by the Upper Silesian Railway (Oberschlesische Eisenbahn, OSE). It was opened by the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV. A year later, on 6 August 1847, the first train arrived at the new Katowice station.
The railway connection with major European cities (Katowice gained connections to Berlin, Kraków, Vienna and Warsaw, among others, between 1847-48) fostered economic and population growth. The population grew enough to erect the first Lutheran church on 29 September 1858 (Church of the Resurrection), and the first Catholic church two years later, on 11 November 1860. Katowice (then: Kattowitz) gained city status on 11 September 1865 in the Prussian Province of Silesia, by the act of the king Wilhelm I Hohenzollern.The city flourished due to large mineral (especially coal) deposits in the area. 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, Poles incl. Silesians, and Jews. 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.
In 1882, the Upper Silesian Coal and Steelworks Company (Oberschlesischer Berg- und Hüttenmännischer Verein) moved its headquarters to Katowice, followed by creation of the Upper Silesian Coal Convention (Oberschlesische Kohlen – Konvention) in 1898. Civic development followed industrial development: in 1851, the first post office opens in Katowice, and in 1893 the current regional post office headquarters have been opened; in 1871 the first middle school was opened (later expanded to high school); in 1889, Katowice got a district court; in 1895, the city bath opened and regional headquarters of the Prussian state railways has been established in the city; in 1907, the city theater (currently the Silesian Theatre) opened.
Under the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, the Upper Silesia plebiscite was organised by the League of Nations. Though Kattowitz proper voted 22,774 to remain in Germany and 3,900 for Poland, it was attached to Poland as the larger district voted 66,119 for Poland and 52,992 for Germany. Following the Silesian Uprisings of 1918–21 Katowice became part of the Second Polish Republic with some autonomy for the Silesian Parliament as a constituency and the Silesian Voivodeship Council as the executive body).
World War II
During the early stages of World War II and the Poland Campaign, Katowice was essentially abandoned by the Polish Land Forces, which had to position itself around Kraków. Nevertheless, the city was defended by local Poles, and the invading Germans immediately carried out massacres of captured Polish defenders. In the following weeks the German Einsatzkommando 1 was stationed in the city, and its units were responsible for many crimes against Poles committed in the region.
Under German occupation many of the city's historical and iconic monuments were destroyed, most notably the Great Katowice Synagogue, which was burned to the ground on 4 September 1939. This was followed by the alteration of street names and the introduction of strict rules. Additionally, the use of Polish in public conversations was banned. The German administration was also infamous for organising public executions of civilians and by the middle of 1941, most of the Polish and Jewish population was expelled. The Germans established and operated a Nazi prison in the city, and multiple forced labour camps within present-day city limits, including two camps solely for Poles (Polenlager), four camps solely for Jews, two subcamps (E734, E750) of the Stalag VIII-B/344 prisoner-of-war camp, and a subcamp of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Eventually, Katowice was liberated by the Red Army in January 1945. Significant parts of the downtown and inner suburbs were demolished during the occupation. This, however, cannot be compared with Warsaw, where the level of destruction reached 85%. As a result, the authorities were able to preserve the central district in its prewar character.
The postwar period of Katowice was characterised by the time of heavy industry development in the Upper Silesian region, which helped the city in regaining its status as the most industrialised Polish city and a major administrative centre. As the city developed so briskly, the 1950s marked a significant increase in its population and an influx of migrants from the Eastern Borderlands, the so-called Kresy. The city area began to quickly expand by incorporating the neighbouring communes and counties. However, the thriving industrial city also had a dark period in its short but meaningful history. Most notably, between 7 March 1953 and 10 December 1956, Katowice was called Stalinogród in honour of Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union. The change was brought upon by an issued decree of the State Council. The date of the alteration of the city name was neither a coincidence or accidental as it happened on the day of Stalin's death. In this way, the Polish United Workers' Party and the socialist authority wanted to pay tribute to the dictator. The new name never got accepted by the citizens and in 1956 the former Polish name was restored.
The following decades were more memorable in the history of Katowice. Regardless of its industrial significance, it started to become an important cultural and educational centre in Central and Eastern Europe. In 1968, the University of Silesia in Katowice, the largest and most valued college in the area, was founded. Simultaneously the construction of large housing estates began to evolve. Furthermore, many representative structures were erected at that time, including the Silesian Insurgents' Monument (1967) and Spodek (1971), which have become familiar landmarks and tourist sights. The 1960s and 1970s saw the evolution of modernist architecture and functionalism. Katowice eventually developed into one of the most modernist post-war cities of Poland.
One of the most dramatic events in the history of the city occurred on 16 December 1981. It was then that 9 protesters died (7 were shot dead; 2 died from injury complications) and another 21 were wounded in the pacification of Wujek Coal Mine. The Special Platoon of the Motorized Reserves of the Citizens' Militia (ZOMO) was responsible for the brutal handling of strikers protesting against Wojciech Jaruzelski's declaration of martial law and the arrest of Solidarity trade union officials. On the 10th anniversary of the event, a memorial was unveiled by the President of Poland Lech Wałęsa.
In 1990, the first democratic local elections that took place marked a new period in the city's history. The economy of Katowice has been transforming from the heavy industry of steel and coal mines into "one of the most attractive investment areas for modern economy branches in Central Europe". Recently, the city's efficient infrastructure, rapid progress in the overall development and an increase in office space has made Katowice a popular venue for conducting business. The Katowice Expo Centre (Katowickie Centrum Wystawiennicze) organises trade fairs or exhibitions and attracts investors from all over the world.
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.
Katowice has a temperate, ocean-moderated humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfb/Cfb). The average temperature is 8.2 °Celsius (−2.0 °C or 28.4 °F in January and up to 17.9 °C or 64.2 °F in July). Yearly rainfall averages at 652.8 millimetres or 25.70 inches. Characteristic weak winds blow at about 2 metres per second (4.5 mph; 7.2 km/h; 3.9 kn) from the west, the Moravian Gate.
Katowice lies in the centre of the largest conurbation in Poland, one of the largest in the European Union, numbering about 2.7 million. 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 or towns. 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.
The Katowice conurbation comprises settlements which have evolved because of the mining of metal ores, coal and raw rock materials. The establishment of mining and heavy industry which have developed for the past centuries has resulted in the unique character of the cityscape; its typical aspects are the red brick housing estates constructed for the poorer working class, factory chimneys, manufacturing plants, power stations and quarries. The inhabitants of a large mining community like Katowice, and local administrations within the conurbation, which have only evolved due to mining, are a subject to overall decline after the liquidation of coal mines and factories. This is one of the reasons which led to the development of the service sector, including office spaces, shopping centers and tourism.
The Polish Statistical Office estimates Katowice's population to be 292,774 as of 31 December 2020, with a population density of 1,778 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,600/sq mi). There were 139,274 males and 153,500 females. Age breakdown of people in Katowice is: 12.9% 0–14 years old, 13.7% 15–29 years old, 23.8% 30–44 years old, 19.5% 45–59 years old, 20.1% 60–74 years old, and 9.9% 75 years and older.
Katowice is a center of the Upper Silesian metropolitan area, with a population of approx. 5.3 million. This metropolitan area extends into the neighboring Czechia, where the other center is the city of Ostrava. 41 municipalities that constitute the core of the metropolitan area created the Silesian Metropolis association, which has 2.3 million people as of 2019.
Katowice's population grew very fast between 1845 and 1960, fueled by the expansion of heavy industry and administrative functions. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, the city grew by another 100,000 people, reaching a height of 368,621 in 1988. Since then, the collapse of heavy industry, emigration, and suburbanization reversed the population development; Katowice lost approx. 75,000 people (20%) since the fall of communism in Poland.
Before World War II, Katowice was mainly inhabited by Poles and Germans. The 1905 Silesian demographic census has shown that Germans made up nearly 75% of the total population. Following Germany's defeat in 1945, the large German majority was forced to flee. Most pre-war citizens (excluding Poles) were forcibly expelled by the new authorities. This resulted in a large group of exiled Silesians living in present-day Germany, creating a new association of Landsmannschaft Schlesien. One of its most notable spokesmen and leaders was the Christian Democratic Union politician Herbert Hupka.During the war, the Nazi occupant committed severe crimes against the local Roma and Jewish communities. Most of them were eventually killed or transported by cattle wagons to concentration camps such as Auschwitz for complete extermination. This led to a population drop between 1939 and 1945.
Currently, Katowice is one of the more diverse cities in Poland. According to the 2011 census, Of 310,764 inhabitants, 81,500 (26.2%) declared a nationality other than Polish, with top other nationalities being the indigenous Silesians (78,838) and Germans (1,058). Additionally, 5,614 (1.8%) people either did not declare a nationality, or stated they have no nationality. Linguistic diversity is smaller in Katowice; 97.1% of people speak Polish at home, 2.9% speak only non-Polish language while 5.3% speak Polish and at least one other language. The most spoken minority languages include: Silesian (22,730, 7.3%), English (1,313, 0.4%) and German (969, 0.3%).Since the 2011 census, the international population have risen in Katowice with the post-2014 increase in immigration to Poland, with the primary nationality being Ukrainians. According to the Polish Ministry of Development, Labor and Technology, there have been 20,527 foreigners (7% of official population figure) on a special worker permit for citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine in Katowice in 2020, 19,003 of them from Ukraine.
The 2011 census found out that, among population aged 25 and older, 26.7% of Katowice residents had a college degree, 35% had a high school degree but no college degree, 22.3% had trade school diploma, and the rest had primary or junior high school education only. In the 25-34 age group, college graduates share is 44.9%, and an additional 31.8% has a high school degree. According to Eurostat data, Katowice and its surrounding Silesian region had one of the highest share of people who have attained at least an upper secondary level of education (more than 90%), and one of the lowest share of school dropouts in Europe (less than 5%).There were 134,199 households in Katowice, as of the 2011 census, with an average household size of 2.3 people. 32.7% households were single-person households, 29.4% had two people, 20.5% had three people, 12.5% had four people and 4.9% had five people or more.
Katowice has the 3rd-highest wages in Poland, behind Jastrzębie-Zdrój and Warsaw only and slightly ahead of Gdańsk, at PLN 6,176 a month. Poverty rate places Katowice on average with other big cities in Poland, at 4.09% of inhabitants eligible for welfare benefits as of 2019.
Roman Catholicism is the main religion in Katowice; as of the 2011 Polish census, 82.43% (256,166) people in Katowice declared to be Catholic. Other denominations with at least 1,000 worshippers include the Lutheran Church in Poland – 0.43% (1,336 people) and Jehovah's Witnesses – 0.42% (1,311 people). 4.47% (13,900) people in Katowice stated they are atheist, while 12% (37,029) people refused to state their religious affiliation. Other religions with presence and places of worship in the city include Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, as well as other Protestant denominations.
Katowice is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, with the suffragan bishoprics of Gliwice and Opole, and around 1,477,900 Catholics. The Cathedral of Christ the King, constructed between 1927 and 1955 in a classicist style, is the largest cathedral in Poland. There are 36 Catholic churches in Katowice (including two basilicas), as well as 18 monasteries. Katowice is also a seat of a diocesan Catholic seminary, as well as one of the Order of Friars Minor. Katowice Archdiocese owns several media companies headquartered in Katowice: Księgarnia św. Jacka, a Catholic publishing company, and Instytut Gość Media, a multi-channeled media company that owns Radio eM, a regional Catholic radio, and a few magazines. Gość Niedzielny, owned by Instytut Gość Media and published in Katowice, is currently the most-popular Catholic magazine in the country with approx. 120,000 copies sold weekly.
Katowice is also the seat of a Lutheran Diocese which covers Upper Silesia, Lesser Poland and Subcarpathian region and has 12,934 adherents as of 2019. Lutherans have two churches in Katowice, including a cathedral, which is the oldest church built originally in Katowice, completed on 29 September 1858. Historically, Lutheran population in Katowice was mostly German, and with the expulsion of Germans from Poland after the Second World War, number of Lutherans dropped in Katowice.
Other denominations with churches or praying houses in Katowice include Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists, Christ Church in Poland, Pentecostals and other evangelical groups.
Judaism has historically been present in Katowice since at least 1702. First synagogue, designed by a local architect Ignatz Grünfeld, was consecrated on 4 September 1862, while the Jewish cemetery was established in 1868. Dr. Jacob Cohn was the first rabbi of Katowice, appointed to this function on 6 January 1872 and holding it until 1920s. Zionism was strong in Katowice, and in 1884 the city was the place of the Katowice Conference, the first public Zionist meeting in history. On 12 September 1900, the Great Synagogue was opened.
Following World War I and subsequent creation of the Polish state, most Katowice Jews, who identified with Germany, left the city and settled primarily in Bytom, a nearby city that was still part of Germany. They were partially replaced by Jews moving from the East, particularly the neighboring Dąbrowa Basin region that had a large Jewish population. In 1931, 60% of 5,716 Jews in Katowice were recent immigrants from other parts of Poland. On 1 September 1939, Poland was attacked by Nazi Germany, and Katowice, a border city, surrendered on 3 September. The Great Synagogue was burned by the German army the same day, and in the following months, Katowice Jews were deported to ghettos in Dąbrowa Basin (primarily Sosnowiec and Będzin) or directly to various concentration and death camps where most of them perished in the Holocaust. After the war, around 1,500 Jews were living in Katowice, but most of them left Poland and emigrated to the United States and other Western countries.
Currently, Katowice has one Qahal with approximately 200 members. It owns houses of prayer in Katowice (along with a kosher cafeteria) and nearby Gliwice, and the current rabbi is Yehoshua Ellis.
There are two buddhist groups in Katowice: Kwan Um School of Zen, first registered in 1982, and the Diamond Road of Karma Kagyu line association. Jehovah's Witnesses maintain 13 houses of prayer and one Kingdom Hall in Katowice. Aside from Polish-language congregations, there is one for English speakers and one for Ukrainian speakers.
Architecture and urban design
Unlike most other large Polish cities, Katowice did not originate as a medieval town, therefore it does not have an old town with a street layout and architectural styles characteristic to cities founded on Magdeburg rights. Katowice's urban layout is a result of expansion and annexation of various towns, industrial worker estates, and villages.
Katowice city center has an axis design, along the main railway line, developed by an industrialist Friedrich Grundman in mid-19th century. Most of the city center in Katowice developed in late 19th and early 20th century, when it was part of the Kingdom of Prussia and had a German-speaking majority. As a result, architectural styles of that era are similar to those in other Prussian cities such as Berlin or Wrocław (then Breslau); primarily renaissance revival and baroque revival, with some buildings in gothic revival, romanesque revival, and art nouveau styles.
In 1922, Katowice and the eastern portion of Upper Silesia were reintegrated with reborn Poland, and an autonomous Silesian Voivodeship was established, with Katowice as its capital. This event has marked the beginning of a period of unprecedented architectural development in the city. Since most traditional styles, especially gothic and gothic revival, were perceived as connected to imperial Germany by the new Polish authorities, all new development was to be built in, at first in the neoclassical, and later in functionalist/Bauhaus style. The city, which needed to build administrative buildings for the new authorities and housing for people working in regional administration, began expansion southward creating one of the largest complexes of modern architecture in Poland, comparable to Warsaw and Gdynia (newly built port on the Baltic Sea) only.The modernist district is centered around the monumental Silesian Parliament building (1923-1929), which architecture is mostly functionalist but still will neoclassical references on the facades. During World War II, the building became headquarters of the Reichsgau Oberschlesien and part of the interior was redesigned by Albert Speer, Hitler's favorite architect, to resemble the interior of the Reich Chancellery. The nearby Cathedral of Christ the King (1927-1955, with dome lowered by 34 meters compared to original design) is also neoclassical but with an ascetic interior (including a tabernacle and a golden mosaic funded by future pope, Joseph Ratzinger). Other buildings, designed in mid-to-late 1920s and 1930s, are mostly modernist or functionalist. A symbol of the city in the interwar period, Drapacz Chmur (literally: The Skyscraper), was the first skyscraper built in Poland after World War I, and the first building in the country to be based on a steel frame.
After World War II, Katowice again expected a period of rapid growth, particularly under the regional leadership of Marshall Jerzy Ziętek. Pałac Młodzieży (Youth Palace) became the first major new building completed in Katowice after the war, erected in the socrealist style with elements of late modernism in 1949–1951. The largest development of the 1950s in Katowice was the expansion of the Koszutka neighborhood, also in the socialist realist style, in early 1950s.Following the death of Stalin in 1956, and the end of socrealism, Jerzy Ziętek and city authorities commissioned a group of young architects and urbanists to create a project of the new urban design of Katowice. The collective, called Miastoprojekt Katowice, came up with a design heavily influenced by Le Corbusier's ideas. The project was centered around a grand avenue (current Aleja Korfantego) surrounded by simple, modern blocks and monuments, scattered in distance to each other according to modernist ideals. The most important buildings from that time include:
Spodek Arena (1964–1971), widely considered the symbol of Katowice and ranked among the finest achievements of modern architecture in Poland; one of the first buildings in the world with a tensegrity rooftop. Arena's unique design (resembling an UFO) comes from the need to accommodate different functions inside
Katowice Railway Station (1959–1972), considered to be the most outstanding example of brutalism in Poland, controversially demolished in 2010 and partially rebuilt as an addition to the Galeria Katowicka shopping center.
Superjednostka (1967–1972), a massive (187.5 meters length, 51 meters high) residential block heavily inspired by Le Corbusier's Unite d'habitation in Marseille
Osiedle Gwiazdy (1978–1985), a housing estate of eight 27-floor residential buildings on a plan resembling a star
Osiedle Tysiąclecia (1961–1982, later expanded), a large housing estate connecting to the Silesian Park, built with modernist principles (separation of foot and automobile traffic, vast green spaces, self-sufficiency in terms of schools, basic shops and healthcare). Later expansion of the estate includes Kukurydze high-rises, a group of 26-floor high residential towers inspired by Marina City in Chicago
Stalexport Towers (1979–1982), twin office towers with 22 and 20 floors, showing influences of postmodernism
Following the collapse of communism in Poland and other Eastern Bloc countries, and the centrally-planned economy with it, Katowice's economy suffered a downturn, due to reduced significance of heavy industry. As a result, except for residential (primarily suburban) construction, not many buildings were built. One of the most significant buildings of the 1990s was the new branch of the Silesian Library, in postmodernism style.
The situation changed in the early aughts, when several new notable developments were completed:
Chorzowska 50 (1999–2001) – first modern, A-grade office building in Katowice; currently owned and occupied by ING Bank Śląski
Altus, previously known as Uni Centrum (2001–2003) – for many years the highest skyscraper in Poland outside of Warsaw, at 125 meters (410 ft) high. Qubus Hotel, which was located in Altus, was one of the first four-star hotels in southern Poland.
Silesia City Center (2003–2005), the flagship brownfield development of the era, built in place a defunct coal mine Gottwald. It remains one of the largest shopping centers in Poland, at 86,000 sq m (926,000 sq ft), and also includes a housing estate and a chapel.
Dom z Ziemi Śląskiej (2001–2002), a modern suburban villa, nominated to Mies van der Rohe Award in 2002Another wave of architectural revival came after Poland joined the European Union in 2004. European cohesion funds, along with private capital investment, flew into the city resulting in a number of architecturally interesting buildings and complexes, including:
Strefa Kultury (Zone of Culture, a brownfield urban redevelopment in downtown Katowice):
National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) building (2012–2014) contains two concert halls (for an audience of 1,800 or 300). Nominated to Mies van der Rohe Award in 2014, first prize in European Commercial Property Awards.
Katowice International Conference Center (2012–2015), the largest conference center in Poland (capacity up to 12,000 people), connected to the Spodek Arena. The design of the center, with a distinct canyon going through it in order to remove any obstruction from view of Spodek, has been hailed and the building was nominated to Mies van der Rohe award in 2017
New Silesian Museum (2011–2013) located in place of a former coal mine, most of the museum is located underground, with only glass cubes that provide daylight, visible above ground. Shortlisted for Mies van der Rohe award in 2015.
CINiBA (2009–2011) – academic library of the University of Silesia and Katowice University of Economics, shortlisted to Mies van der Rohe award in 2013.
Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School at the University of Silesia (2014–2017) – awarded with Wienerberger Brick Award in 2020, shortlisted to Mies van der Rohe award in 2019. Located in a decayed neighborhood, the building aims at kick-starting urban renewal there.
KTW Towers (2018–2022), the higher tower, which is still under construction, is expected to become the highest building in Katowice, at 135 meters (443 ft).
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".
Nikiszowiec – historical settlement of Katowice, candidate to UNESCO
Cathedral of Christ the King
St Mary's Church
Church of the Resurrection, Evangelical-Augsburg, built in 1856–1858
Church of St Michael Archangel, the oldest church in the city, built in 1510
Drapacz Chmur, one of the first skyscrapers in Europe
Silesian Parliament, built in 1925–1929. For a very long time, it was the biggest structure in Poland
Modernist old town
Spodek (a large sports centre/concert hall, whose name translates as the 'saucer', from its distinctive shape resembling a UFO flying saucer)
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 (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 was 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.Other:
Franciscan Monastery in Panewniki
Church of St Joseph (Załęże)
St Stephen's Church
Church of Christ Resurrection
The Monument to Marshal Piłsudski by Croatian sculptor Antun Augustinčić, 1937–39. It was commissioned in 1936 but brought to Poland in 1991
Katowice Rondo, the large square/roundabout, reconstructed recently, with the semi-circular Galeria Rondo Sztuki in the centre.
The Altus Skyscraper, the tallest skyscraper
Despite its relatively small size, Katowice is one of the major industrial, commerce and financial hubs of Poland.
Katowice enjoys a very strong job market. Despite being the 11th largest city in Poland in terms of population, Katowice has the 7th largest number of workers, with 171,839 full-time positions as of 2019. Katowice is also second only to Warsaw in number of commuters coming from other municipalities to work in the city, at 113,830 commuting to work in Katowice. The unemployment rate in Katowice regularly ranks among the lowest in the country, and as of August 2020 it is the lowest in Poland at 1.5% (3,300 unemployed). As of 2018, Katowice had the 10th highest salaries in Poland, at PLN 5,698.98 [per what] on average.
Katowice transformed its economy from a heavy industry-based to professional services, education and healthcare. As of 2020, it is classified as global Gamma- city according to Globalization and World Cities Research Network, on par with Poznan, Cleveland or Bilbao.
Since its creation, Katowice's development was tightly connected to heavy industry, especially coal mining, steelworks and machine production. In 1931, 49.5% of inhabitants worked in industry, and 12.5% in coal mining alone. In 1989 industry accounted for 36% of all jobs in the city (112,000 employees). As of 2018, 34,294 people worked in industry in Katowice, 20.4% of total, below the national average.
The first reported coal mine in Katowice (Murcki coal mine) was established in 1740, and in 1769 construction on Emanuelssegen mine started. As the demand for coal kept rising in the Kingdom of Prussia, further mines were opened: Beata (1801), Ferdinand (1823), Kleofas (1845). Later in 19th and early 20th century additional mines were opened: Katowice, Wujek, Eminenz (later renamed Gottwald and merged with Kleofas), Wieczorek, Boże Dary, Staszic and renewed Murcki. Currently two remain in operation: Wujek (scheduled to close in 2021) and Murcki-Staszic. Katowice is also the seat of Polska Grupa Górnicza, the largest coal mining corporation in Europe.
Metallurgy was another important part of Katowice's economy. In 1863 a dozen zinc metallurgy facilities were reported in Katowice, with Wilhelmina (founded in 1834) being the largest. In early 1900s, Wilhelmina (later renamed Huta Metali Niezależnych Szopienice) was enlarged and became the largest Silesian producer of non-ferrous metals and world's largest producer of cadmium. Two major steelworks existed in the city: Huta Baildon, established in 1823 by the Scottish engineer and industrialist John Baildon (declared bankruptcy in 2001), and Huta Ferrum, established in 1874 and operating to this date in limited capacity.
Business and commerce
Following the collapse of heavy industry in late 20th century, Katowice had to transform its economy towards more modern sectors. As a result, Katowice is a large business, conference and trade fair center.
Katowice is headquarters to 18 public companies traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, with total market value of PLN 24.2 billion as of 2016, with the largest being ING Bank Śląski. As of 2019, 38 companies from Katowice make the list of 2000 largest enterprises in Poland according to Rzeczpospolita, with largest one being Tauron Polska Energia S.A. (10th place). As of 2012, 44,050 companies were registered in Katowice, almost 10% of all companies in the Silesian Voivodeship.
Retail is a very strong sector in Katowice. The city is home to several shopping centers and department stores, with Silesia City Center and Galeria Katowicka being the largest ones. Silesia City Center, located on a brownfield in place of a former coal mine, is the largest shopping center in Poland when number of stores is considered (310 different brands) and 7th largest in terms of retail space for rent (86,000 sq. m). It is also a part of a broader revitalization complex, that features an apartment complex and office space (under construction as of October 2020) as well.
Katowice is also the seat of Katowice Special Economic Zone (Katowicka Specjalna Strefa Ekonomiczna).
Katowice is the cultural centre of the entire Silesian agglomeration inhabited by over two million people and one of the leading cultural spots in Poland. Most importantly, it is a host city to some of the biggest theatrical and stage events. This also includes hosting gatherings and exhibitions as well as film and musical events. Annual musical festivals such as the Rawa Blues, the Tauron New Music Festival, the Silesian Jazz Festival, the Mayday Festival and other concerts, which attract yearly hundreds of thousands of tourists from the entire country. Katowice also temporarily hosts the OFF Festival, the most important alternative event in Poland.Katowice is the seat of an internationally renowned Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, as well as the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. The Silesian Philharmonic also has its seat in Katowice. The opening of a new architectural complex of the National Polish Radio Orchestra took place in 2014.
A showcase for Katowice is the "Camerata Silesia" – an ensemble aimed at promoting the city in Poland and overseas. Classical music also plays a significant role in Katowice and the city annually becomes a venue for numerous classical concerts and festivals. The list includes an International Festival of Young Music Competition Laureates, Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors, Chamber Music Festival, Ars Cameralis Festival and Katowice's opera, operettas and most of all ballet. In 2010, as part of the Chopin Year Celebrations, Katowice held the International Chopin Knowledge Challenge, which took place at the Spodek hall.
The BWA Contemporary Art Gallery in Katowice, established in 1949, is a notable institution concerning the Contemporary arts. Every three years, it is responsible for the organisation of the Polish Graphic Art Triennial. Several other galleries feature exhibitions of the works by artists from abroad along with film screenings, workshops for children and public fairs. The Silesian Museum in Katowice, opened in 1929, exhibits works by famous and renowned Polish artists like Józef Chełmoński, Artur Grottger, Tadeusz Makowski, Jacek Malczewski, Jan Matejko, Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański.List of notable attractions:
Silesian Theatre, named after the Polish writer and painter Stanisław Wyspiański, is the largest theatre in Silesia. It is located exactly in the central part of the market square facing westward. The complex was originally built as a German theatre between 1905 and 1907 by architect Carl Moritz.
Silesian Museum, founded in 1929 by the Silesian Sejm, while the region was recovering from the Silesian uprisings. In the Polish interbellum (1918–1939), the Silesian Museum was one of the prime institutions within the Second Polish Republic.
Silesian Philharmonic, originally established in 1945, its most notable members included Witold Małcużyński, Igor Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter and Adam Taubitz.
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, created in 1935 and led by Grzegorz Fitelberg until the outbreak of World War II, has recorded nearly 200 compact discs for many domestic and foreign labels.
Off Festival, a music festival, which also supports a variety of independent arts and cultural events such as exhibitions, workshops and film screenings.
Rawa Blues Festival, the world's largest indoor blues festival named after the Rawa River, which flows through Katowice.
TV stations:TVP 3 Katowice
TVS (TV Silesia)
TVN24 – department Katowice (TVN24 – oddział Katowice)radio stations:Radio Katowice
Gazeta Wyborcza – Katowice section
Fakt – Katowice section
Metro International – Katowice
Nowy Przegląd Katowicki
Festivals and events
Rawa Blues Festiwal – Spodek
Metalmania – Spodek
Mayday – Spodek
International Competition of Conductors by Fitelberg
International Cycling Film Festival
International Festival of Military Orchestras
International Exhibition of Graphic arts "Intergrafia"
eSports tournament ESL One Katowice Tournament in 2015.
eSports tournament Intel Extreme Masters World Championship, one of the biggest eSports events in the world
Poland hosted the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP24), with the meeting held in Katowice.
Parks and squares
parks:Silesian Park (Wojewódzki Park Kultury i Wypoczynku)
Kościuszko Park (Park im. Tadeusza Kościuszki)
Forest Park of Katowice (Katowicki Park Leśny)
Valley of Three Ponds (Dolina Trzech Stawów)
Zadole Parksquares: Katowice market square (Rynek w Katowicach)
Freedom 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
Stawy Na Tysiącleciu
Katowice is a large scientific center. It has over 20 schools of higher education, at which over 100,000 people study.
University of Silesia in Katowice
University of Economics in Katowice
Medical University of Silesia
Silesian University of Technology
University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music
Akademia Lospuma Training Institute
Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice
Academy of Physical Education im. Jerzy Kukuczka in Katowice
Higher Silesian Seminary in KatowiceThere are also:
around 80 high schools
around 35 gimnasia
around 55 primary schools
around 50 libraries, including the Silesian Library
The public transportation system of the Katowice and Upper Silesian Metropolis consists of four branches—buses, trams and Trolleybuses united in Zarząd Transportu Metropolitalnego (lit. Metropolitan Transport Authority) as well as the regional rail (primarily Koleje Śląskie and Przewozy Regionalne). Additional services are operated by private companies and state-owned railways.
TramsSilesian 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.
European route E40 (France–Belgium–Germany–Poland–Ukraine–Russia–Uzbekistan–Kazakhstan)
European route E75 (Vardø, Norway–Finland–Poland–Slovakia–Hungary–Serbia–Macedonia–Greece)
European route E462 (Czech Republic–Poland)
Motorway A4 (German/Polish border – Wrocław – Katowice – Kraków – Rzeszów – Polish/Ukrainian border)
National road 79
National road 81
National road 86Several important roads in neighbourhoods of Katowice (USMU):
Motorway A1 (Gdańsk – Toruń – Łódź – Gliwice – Polish/Czech border)
National road 11
National road 44
National road 78
National road 88
National road 94
The city and the area are served by the Katowice International Airport, about 30 km (19 mi) from the city center. With 3 terminals and over 4,8 million passengers served in 2018, it is by far the biggest airport in Silesia.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.
Upper Silesian Railway reached the area in 1846. Katowice Central Station is one of the main railway nodes and exchange points in Poland. It has replaced the old Katowice historic train station. The city has direct connections among others with Warsaw, Cracow, Szczecin and Gdynia.
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 Stadion Śląski 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).
GKS Katowice – 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 Górnik 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 the second league, fencing section – many 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, many medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
HKS Szopienice – various sports, many medals in the Polish and Europe and World Championship in weightlifting
Silesia Miners – American football club playing in Polish American Football League, Polish champion in 2009, 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, many medals in the Polish Championship
Sparta Katowice – various sports, many medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
Policyjny Klub Sportowy Katowice – various sports, many 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, many medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
Pogoń Katowice – various sports, many medals in the Polish Championship in various sports
1975 European Athletics Indoor Championships
1976 World Ice Hockey Championships
FIVB World League 2001
FIVB World League 2007
Tour de Pologne 2010
BNP Paribas Katowice Open
EMS One Katowice 2014 (CS:GO Major Championship)
IEM World Championship Katowice 2015
ESL One Katowice 2015 (CS:GO Major Championship)
IEM World Championship Katowice 2016
IEM World Championship Katowice 2017
Overwatch World Cup 2017 Qualifier
IEM World Championship Katowice 2018
IEM World Championship Katowice 2019 (CS:GO Major Championship)
ESL One Katowice 2019
BWF World Senior Badminton Championships 2019
IEM Katowice 2020
Hans Sachs (1877–1945), serologist
Kurt Goldstein (1878–1965), neurologist
Erich Przywara (1889–1972), priest
Hans Mikosch (1898–1993), general
Hans Källner (1898–1945), general
Franz Leopold Neumann (1900–1954), politician
Willy Fritsch (1901–1973), actor
Hans Bellmer (1902–1975), surrealist photographer
Hans-Christoph Seebohm (1903–1967), politician
Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1906–1972), physicist, Nobel Prize winner
Kurt Schwaen (1909–2007), composer
Rudolf Schnackenburg (1914–2002), priest
Georg Thomalla (1915–1999), actor
Ernst Wilimowski (1916–1997), football player
Ernst Plener (1919–2007), football player
Anneli Cahn Lax (1922–1999), mathematician
Richard Herrmann (1923–1962), football player
Chaskel Besser (1923–2010), Orthodox rabbi
Kazimierz Kutz (1929–2018), film director and politician
Waldemar Świerzy (1931–2013), artist, illustrator and cartoonist
Wojciech Kilar (1932–2013), classical and film music composer
Janusz Sidło (1933–1993), javelin thrower
Henryk Górecki (1933–2010), classical composer
Josef Kompalla (born 1936), ice hockey player and referee
Henryk Broder (born 1946), journalist
Krzysztof Krawczyk (1946–2021), singer, guitarist and composer
Jerzy Kukuczka (1948–1989), alpine and high altitude climber
Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska (born 1963), politician
Elżbieta Bieńkowska (born 1964), politician
Alicja Kwade (born 1979), contemporary visual artist
Jan P. Matuszyński (born 1984), film director
Grzegorz Kosok (born 1986), volleyball player
Zuzanna Bijoch (born 1994), fashion model