Lower Silesian Voivodeship

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Lower Silesian Voivodeship, or Lower Silesia Province (Polish: województwo dolnośląskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ dɔlnɔˈɕlɔ̃skʲɛ]) in southwestern Poland, is one of the 16 voivodeships (provinces) into which Poland is divided. The voivodeship was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Wrocław, Legnica, Wałbrzych and Jelenia Góra Voivodeships, following the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. It covers an area of 19,946 square kilometres (7,701 sq mi), and as of 2019 has a total population of 2,899,986. It is one of the richest provinces in Poland as it has valuable natural resources such as copper, brown coal and rock materials, which are exploited by the biggest enterprises. Its well developed and varied industries attract both domestic and foreign investors.Its capital and largest city is Wrocław, situated on the Oder River. It is one of Poland's largest and most dynamic cities with a rapidly growing international profile, and is regarded as one of the most important commercial, educational and tourist sites in the whole country. Burial sites of some Polish monarchs and consorts are located in Wrocław and Trzebnica. Furthermore, the voivodeship is known for its many castles and palaces and is one of Poland's most visited regions by tourists.


In the past 1,200 years, the region has been part of Great Moravia, the Medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Crown of Bohemia, Habsburg monarchy (Austria), Prussia, the German Empire, and modern Poland after 1945. Silesian tribes settled the lands at the end of the first millennium after the Migration Period. During the period of Germania Slavica, the region became part of Great Moravia under Svatopluk I of Moravia. Mieszko I brought the various existing Silesian duchies under the rule of the Piast dynasty and they became the Duchy of Silesia. It was again divided into small realms reigned by Silesian branches of Piast princes after the testament of Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138. With the Ostsiedlung, the cultural and ethnic Germanic influence grew with an influx of immigrants from the German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire, of which Silesia was a direct part until the 1330s when it was subjugated to the Kingdom of Bohemia, then together with it became part of the Habsburg monarchy (1526), then the Kingdom of Prussia (1742/44), and subsequently the German Empire (1871). In 1945, Lower Silesia was made part of Poland as agreed at the post-war Potsdam Conference. As a consequence, Lower Silesia suffered a nearly total loss of its pre-war population between 1945 and 1950. Polish citizens dispossessed by the Soviets were then settled in the now emptied lands. Lower Silesia was during early medieval era one of Polish cultural centers. The Book of Henryków (1273), which contains the earliest known sentence written in the Polish language, as well as a document which contains the oldest printed text in Polish, were both created here. Złotoryja, Poland's first town, was granted municipal privileges according to German Magdeburg rights by Henry the Bearded. Over the centuries, Lower Silesia experienced epochal events such as the Protestant Reformation, the Silesian Wars, industrialisation and the two World Wars.


Although much of the region is relatively low-lying it also includes Sudeten Foreland and part of the Sudetes mountain range running along the Polish/Czech border. Popular ski resorts in Lower Silesian Voivodeship include Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba in the Karkonosze mountains. Other important tourist destinations in the voivodeship include the chief city, Wrocław, as well as the towns of Jelenia Góra and Legnica. The town of Boleslawiec is famed for its pottery. The voivodeship has the largest number of spa towns in Poland: Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Długopole-Zdrój, Duszniki-Zdrój, Jedlina-Zdrój, Kudowa-Zdrój, Lądek-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Przerzeczyn-Zdrój, Szczawno-Zdrój, and Świeradów-Zdrój. Lower Silesian Voivodeship is bordered by Lubusz Voivodeship to the north-west, Greater Poland Voivodeship to the north-east, Opole Voivodeship to the south-east, the Czech Republic (Hradec Králové Region, Liberec Region, Olomouc Region and Pardubice Region) to the south, and Germany (Saxony) to the west.


The Copernicus Airport Wrocław serves as an international and domestic airport. Wrocław Główny is the largest railway station in Poland (21.2 million passengers annually), offering domestic and international connections of various carriers. The A4 motorway, A8 motorway, A18 motorway and S3 Expressway, S5 Expressway, S8 Expressway run through the Voivodeship.


Lower Silesian Voivodeship is one of the most visited voivodeships in Poland. It is famous for a large number of castles (99) and palaces (hundreds), inter alia: Książ Castle, Bolków Castle, Czocha Castle, Chojnik Castle, Cisy Castle, Grodno Castle, Grodziec Castle, Gorzanów Castle, Kamieniec Ząbkowicki Palace, Kliczków Castle, Niesytno Castle, Świny Castle. There is also a lot in the Jelenia Góra valley. The voivodship's most widely visited city is Wrocław with many sights and attractions, inter alia Ostrów Tumski, Market Square, open all year round Aquapark, Wrocław SPA Center and famous Wrocław's dwarfs. The annual international Chopin Festival is held in the Fryderyk Chopin Theatre in Duszniki-Zdrój, established at the site of the first concert played by the Polish virtuoso pianist outside of the Russian Partition of Poland. Other major attraction of the town is the Museum of Papermaking, established in a 17th-century paper mill. The Festival of Good Beer is held every year, on the second weekend of June. Śnieżka is one of the first European peaks visited by tourists, it is also the highest peak of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and the whole of the Sudetes. Other highlights include: Kłodzko Fortress, Fort Srebrna Góra, Wambierzyce, Legnickie Pole, Henryków, Lubiąż Abbey, Krzeszów Abbey, Oleśnica Mała, Vang Stave Church, Churches of Peace, Sokołowsko, Cave Bear, Museum of Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Złoty Stok, Coal Mine in Nowa Ruda, Museum of Industry and Railway in Jaworzyna Śląska, Skull Chapel in Czermna, Mount Ślęża, Table Mountains, Owl Mountains, Karkonosze, Main Sudetes Trail (440 km from Świeradów Zdrój to Prudnik), Barycz Valley Landscape Park and connected with the history of World War II – complex tunnels Project Riese, a German Gross-Rosen concentration camp, German War Cemetery and Park Peace in the Nadolice Wielkie. Castles and palaces (examples) Burial sites of Polish monarchs and consorts

Protected areas

Protected areas in Lower Silesian Voivodeship: 2 National Parks Karkonosze National Park (part of a UNESCO trans-border biosphere reserve) Table Mountains National Park 12 Landscape Parks Barycz Valley Landscape Park (partly in Greater Poland Voivodeship) Bóbr Valley Landscape Park Bystrzyca Valley Landscape Park Chełmy Landscape Park Jezierzyca Valley Landscape Park Książ Landscape Park Owl Mountains Landscape Park Przemków Landscape Park Rudawy Landscape Park Ślęża Landscape Park Śnieżnik Landscape Park Sudety Wałbrzyskie Landscape Park 67 Nature reserves 20 protected landscape areas 3100 Natural monuments 114 Ecological usages 15 Teams nature and landscapeand many areas of Natura 2000 network.

Tourist routes

The Main Trail Sudetes long-distance mountain trail The Piast Castles Trail Trail around Wrocław Cistercian trail The trail of the Valley of Palaces and Gardens of the Jelenia Góra Valley Lower Silesian Rout of St. James Sudetes Rout of St. James Camino de Santiago - Via Regia The Trail of Extinct Volcanoes on the Kaczawskie Foothills Lower Silesian Beer and Wine Trail EuroVelo 9 Lower Silesian Bicycle Highway Bicycles S5 (Wrocław – Poznań) Blue Velo - The Odra River Bicycle Route


Lower Silesia is one of the richest regions in Poland. The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 41.1 billion € in 2018, accounting for 8.3% of the Polish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 23,400 € or 78% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 85% of the EU average. Lower Silesia Voivodship is the province with the second highest GDP per capita in Poland.Since 2005, the voivodeship recorded the highest in the country economic growth rate (around 10% per annum). Many global companies have their headquarters and plants in Lower Silesia, incl. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, LG Electronics, Toyota, Volvo, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia Networks, Siemens, Whirlpool Corporation, Qatar Airways. GDP per capita in Lower Silesia Voivodeship: GDP in Poland: The southwest part of the Voivodeship is considered part of the so-called Black Triangle, an area of heavily industrialization and environmental damage on the three-way border of Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

Cities and towns

The voivodeship contains 8 cities and 83 towns. The cities (governed by a city mayor or prezydent miasta) are listed below in descending order of population (as of 2019):



Administrative division

Lower Silesian Voivodeship is divided into 30 counties (powiats), four of which are city counties. These are further divided into 169 gminas. Lower Silesia is divided into three districts administracyji province government, the capital of Wrocław (administrative region): 1 one district Wałbrzyski Powiats in the districtŚwidnica, Kłodzko, Ząbkowice Śląskie, Dzierżoniów 2 second district Legnicki Powiats in the districtGlogów, Jawor, Lubin, Polkowice, Złotoryja 3 third district Jeleniogórski Powiats in the districtBoleslawiec, Kamienna Góra, Luban, Lwówek Śląski, Zgorzelec. The counties are listed in the following table (ordering within categories is by decreasing population).


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