Katowice  is the largest city in Silesia in Poland with a population of about 320,000 in the city itself and over 2.1 million if the surrounding cities of the Upper-Silesian Metropolitan Union  are taken into account. Located in the middle of Silesia on the banks of the river Rawa, Katowice's historical importance as Poland's main industrial centre has been indisputable in recent decades. Nowadays Katowice has also a rich cultural life with theatres, the Silesian Philharmonic, the Silesian Museum and famous concert hall is known as the Spodek. Visitors will find an interesting city with many relics, stunning modern architecture, hospitable people and easy access to the Beskidy Mountains and other Silesian Cities.
The city is at the intersection of major road and rail routes connecting Poland to the rest of Europe in all directions, with Katowice International Airport in nearby Pyrzowice. Until recently, the dominant economic sectors in the Katowice region were mining, steel, electrical machinery, electronics, and chemicals. Due to economic changes in Poland, this situation is changing, and heavy industry has given way to commerce and services. There are many new business buildings such as the Katowice Business Centre, the ALTUS Centre Building, and Punkt 44 Leisure Centre.
The origins of Katowice go back to 1397 when the settlement of Kuznica was founded. Katowice was first mentioned as a village  in the middle of dense forests in 1598. In the 18th Century numerous work colonies sprang up here and in around 1769-70 the Duke of Pless established an underground coal mine. The next industrial sites were the Hohenlohe steelworks in the village of Wełnowiec, founded in 1805, the Baildon steelworks in 1828 (named after their founder, a Scotsman), and the Wilhelmina zinc works in 1834.
In 1873 Katowice achieved the status of county town. In 1897 Katowice was formed into a separate urban district, which also included the suburban municipalities of Bogucice - Zawodzie, Dąb, Wełnowiec and Załęże.
In 1889 one of the largest companies in Upper Silesia, the Kattowitzer Aktien-Gesellschaft, was set up with its headquarters in Katowice. As a result, major insurance companies and large-cap banks were attracted to the city. During the First World War, the steel industry continued to develop at a frenetic pace. Rail connections were also developed.
After Third Silesian Uprising Polish Government had decided to give Silesia considerable Autonomy with Katowice as a capital and home of the Silesian Parliament. It was the time of city most intense growth (1922-1939).
In 1975 the neighbouring municipalities of Piotrowice , Ochojec, Panewniki, Kostuchna , Wełnowiec, Szopienice, Giszowiec, Dąbrówka Mała and Murcki were merged with Katowice. Construction works are still continuing in the city centre. The main communications artery (Al. W. Korfantego) has been widened, while old industrial buildings to the west of this road have been demolished. To the east the historic Tiele-Winckler Palace has also been demolished. On the market place, old buildings have been replaced by modern shops: "Zenit" and "Skarbek", and also the "Dom Prasy".
The construction of the Roundabout and the "Flying Saucer" Sports Hall (1962 -71) had a significant impact. The Millennium Housing Estate on the border of Katowice and Chorzów, the Paderewski Estate to the east of the city, the Południe Estate covering the suburbs of Kostuchna, Piotrowice, Ligota , and the Roździeński Housing Estate should also be mentioned.
Some major airlines, Poland's national carriers LOT Polish Airlines , and a low cost airline Centralwings  (owned by LOT) and some other low cost airlines fly to Katowice's Pyrzowice Airport  (KTW). Domestic flights operated by LOT (under Eurolot brand) connect Katowice with i.e. Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport  (WAW). There is also possibility to flight from and to nearby Kraków-Balice airport.
The Katowice-Pyrzowice airport in Pyrzowice (34 km from Katowice) is an airport for domestic and European flights to following cities:
There's a frequent shuttle bus from outside the terminal building to the city centre dropping off near main railway station.
Katowice Main Railway Station is located in the city center.
Trains from all parts of Poland and other countries arrive at Central Station. There are fourteen trains per day between Warsaw and Katowice and twenty-eight trains per day between Cracow and Katowice during the day; the journey takes 180 minutes (from Warsaw) and 80 minutes (from Cracow). You can arrive by train directly from Vienna, Budapest, Kiev, Berlin, Ostrava, Praha, Bohumin, Bratislava, Zilina, Cesky Tesin, Hamburg, Moskva, Minsk. The Main Station has left luggage lockers. The station is an easy two minute walk apart main Bus Station.
The trains within Poland are run by Polskie Koleje Państwowe (see PKP ).
The main approaches to Katowice are:
- from Cracow on the A-4 motorway; Katowice is about 60 km westward of Cracow
- from Wroclaw on the A-4 motorway; Katowice is about 180 km eastward of Wroclaw
- from Warsaw on the E-67 European main road; Katowice is about 300 km south of Warsaw
- from Cieszyn (on the southern border) on the E-75 European main road; Katowice is about 70 km north of Cieszyn
All routes converge on the main crossroads (the A-4 and E-75) which lies near the city centre. Katowice has no big car parks system but there are many small car parks along the roads in the city center.
Long-distance bus services arrive at International Katowice Bus Station (in the city centre, close to Sadowa Street). The main operator is Pekaes Eurolines (see the website ).
All public bus and tram transport is supervised by KZK GOP. 24h free phone information: 0 800 16 30 30. KZK GOP Website .
Buses & Trams
The main bus station of the Passengers' Municipal Communication is situated near the Railway Station. Booking-Offices and the information office are situates there, open: 8 am - 6 pm. At each bus-stop there is an information board with bus routes and where they go.
There are also tramways which transport passengers within the city and beyond the limits of the city. The dispatcher's office and information of the Municipal Tramway Enterprise are situated at the tram-stop in Rynek (the market square) in Katowice.
The same ticket type is used in bus and tram. Katowice offers many different tickets. Consider, if it is better to use one-ride ticket, week-ticket or monthly ticket.
One ride ticket price:
- within one zone 2,60 PLN (normal rate) 1,30 PLN (reduced rate)
- within two zones 3,00 PLN (normal rate) 1,50 PLN (reduced rate)
- within three or more zones 4,00 PLN (normal rate)2,00 PLN (reduced rate)
Monthly ticket price (valid for one specified holder only):
- The holder is authorised to ride all bus and tram lines within one selected town (municipality): 82 PLN (normal rate) 41 PLN (reduced rate)
- The holder is authorised to ride all bus and tram lines over the entire network 96 PLN (normal rate) 48 PLN (reduced rate)
- The holder is authorised to ride all bus lines or only tram lines within one selected town (municipality) 78 PLN (normal rate) 39 PLN (reduced rate)
- The holder is authorised to ride all bus lines or only tram lines over the entire network 92 PLN (normal rate) 46 PLN (reduced rate)
Other season tickets valid for buses and trams.
- 1-day: normal rate 12 PLN, reduced rate 6 PLN
- 2-day: normal rate 18 PLN, reduced rate 9 PLN
- 5-day: normal rate 30 PLN, reduced rate 15 PLN
- 7-day: normal rate 34 PLN, reduced rate 17 PLN
- 14-day: normal rate 56 PLN
- monthly: normal rate 108 PLN
Taxi-stops are situated in several places in Katowice:
- at the entrance of the railway station on the ground floor from 3 maja St.
- Plac Oddzialow Mlodziezy Powstanczej
- the "Silesia' hotel
- Skargi St.
- the "Katowice" hotel
- Korfantego Av.
- Dworcowa St.
A note: when you take a taxi always ask for the price beforehand unless you are willing to pay anything. Different types of taxis can charge very different prices which can vary up to 5 times the regular fare depending on location and time.
The finest examples of Modernism (International Style and Bauhaus inspired architecture) could be easily 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.
- St. Michel Archangel A complex of the wooden churches in the Kosciuszko Park
- Christ the Lord cathedral, 49a Plebiscytowa Street.
- The Jewish cemetery 12 Kozielska St.
- Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary Panewniki, A church and a cloister of Franciscan brothers under the invocation of Ludvig the King.
- The Wyspianski Theater
- Swiatowid , 7 3-rd Maja Street. The primary place for art-house film in the city centre
- Rialto , 24 St Jana Street. An artist run venue which specialises in more experimental film and music and has a lovely cafe too.
- Cinema City - Punkt 44 , 44 Gliwicka Street modern multiplex type cinema with approx 13 screens and IMAX 3-D system.
- Cinema City - Silesia City Center , 107 Chorzowska Street modern multiplex type cinema with 13 screens. It is located inside the biggest shopping mall in Katowice, Silesia City Center.
- Helios , 13 Uniwersytecka Street modern multiplex type cinema with approx 9 screens. This one is in Altus - the highest building in Katowice.
- Silesian Theatre , 2 Main Market. Katowice's main repertory theatre, located in the city center.
- Theatre Korez , 2 Plac Sejmu Slaskiego. Well known for being involved in some of the most cutting-edge theatre in the city.
- Theatre Cogitatur , 9a Gliwicka Street. Experimetal theatre known also as former organizers of A'Part Festival
- Theatre A PART  is contemporary visual and physical theatre group, formed by Marcin Herich, actor, director and organizer of theatre events. They are also organizers of A Part Theatre Festival
- Silesian Theatre of Doll and Actor Ateneum , 10 Sw. Jana Street. One of the oldest doll's bands in Poland. They are organizers of International Festival of Doll's Theatres Katowice - For Children.
- Teatr 'Gry i ludzie  ('Games and People' Theatre), 2 Niepodległości Av., experimental and maily outdoor theatral group having their scene in the old railway station
- Concert Hall The Spodek , 35 W. Korfantego Avenue. Wide variety of concerts, performances and sports events.
- Silesian Philharmonic , 2 Sokolska Street.
- National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice , 2 Plac Sejmu Slaskiego.
- History of Katowice Museum , 9 Szafranka St.
- Silesian Museum , 3 W. Korfantego Av.
- Archidiocesan Museum, 39 Jordana St.
- Gallery "Szyb Wilson" , 1 Oswobodzenia St.
motto: Before swallow us the fires - about spirituality of our factories.
- BWA Contemporary Art Gallery Katowice , 6 w. Korfantego Avenue
- Parnas Contemporary Art Gallery , 10 Kochanowskiego Street.
- Hipnoza Jazz Club , 2 Sejmu Śląskiego Sq. One of most active places in Katowice. A lot of concerts, drinks and interesting dishes.
- GuGalander  - a bar, a scene, a gallery place with good music, concerts, spectacles and so on.
- Elektro , 2 Sejmu Śląskiego Sq.
rather common discos
- Wyższy Wymiar , 3 Matejki St.
- Inqbator , 2 Dworcowa St.
- Sqandal , 23 3 Maja St.
- Mega club , 4 Dworcowa St.
- Spiż , 22 Opolska St, a club with own small brewery
- Rentgen, Wolności Sq.
- Arkada , 14a Bogucicka St.
- Kwadraty , 10 Franciszkańska St.
- Straszny Dwór , 19 Studencka St.
- Za szybą , 16 Studencka St.
There is a lot of cultural events in Katowice. Exhibitions, concerts, festivals, spectacles and so on - thay all happen in galleries, clubs and theatres. It is impossible to mention here all of them as they appear without any regular schedule. To get information 'whats on' it is suggested to have a look at up-to-date internet releases of conventional press like Ultramaryna  or Gazeta Wyborcze: Co jest grane  bringing cultural news for whole agglomeration. Below there is a list of events that happen at regular schedule.
- Polish Directors' Art Festival "Interpretacje" , Festival of theatres and TV drama - its a competition of directors for "Konrad Prize".
- "A Part" Theatre Festival  is international review of alternative and experimental "OFF" theatres rather than classic ones.
- Summer Theatre Garden  "LOT" are summertime outdoor every weekend theatre meetings with comedy and cabaret spectacles. It is organized by Korez theatre.
- "Cult" Film Festival , Festival of esteemed films. There are numerous in- and out-door movie shows and concerts.
- "Rawa Blues" Festival  is the biggest in-door blues festival in the world. It happens every year since 1981, from the beginning Rawa Blues is led by the bluesman Irek Dudek.
- "Metalmania" Metal Music Festival , The most prestigious metal festival in Poland and in this part of Europe.
- Mayday , Polish edition of international technoparty located in "Spodek".
- Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition For Conductors  Prestige open competition for conductors of all nationalities.
- International Students' Festival of Folklore  Annual festival of folkloristic music and dance takes place at the end of summer not only in Katowice but also in many other places in the region. It is organized by Silesian University.
- ARTerie young art festival  Annual festival of students' of art universities and faculties that take place in the autumn. Recent edition (2006) had international cast.
- University of Silesia  (Uniwersytet Śląski)
- Karol Adamiecki University of Economics  (Akademia Ekonomiczna im. Karola Adamieckiego w Katowicach)
- Silesian Academy of Music  (Akademia Muzyczna w Katowicach)
- Silesian Academy of Sports  (Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego w Katowicach)
- Medical University of Silesia  (Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny)
- Silesian Academy of Fine Arts  (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Katowicach)
- Silesian University of Technology  - Faculty of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Faculty of Transport and Faculty of Management (all the rest of University is located in neighbouring towns)
- ~80 High school
- ~35 Gymnasium (school)
- ~55 Primary education
- ~50 Libraries among them Library of Silesia  one of the biggest and most important (national) libraries in Poland.
Silesia and especially Katowice is one of major business centres of Poland. Silesia is the main industrial centre in Poland, its economy used to be based on coal, metallurgy, energetics, and chemical industry. Nowadays it is converting to more modern profile - services and information technology. The most of industrial works are located outside the city in the surrounding locations meanwhile offices remain in Katowice. There are institutions supporting development and economic growth of the region:
There is also company-organizer of numerous tradeshows and fair in Katowice: International Katowice Fair 
For those interested in renting office spaces there are variuos offers. From XIX/XX century adapted houses and old factories (like B-class old printing house ) to A class skyscarpers - two mostly noticable are ALTUS  and Chorzowska 50 .
- Złoty Osioł, 1 Mariacka Street, vegetarian bar having unusual atmosphere and events like poet meetings or concerts
- Naleśnikarnia, 24 Wojewódzka Street, small hidden bar serving pancakes and crepes at affordable prices
- Bar Mleczny "Europa", 8 Mickiewicza Street, one of so called "milk bars" where you can have a meal without spending a lot of money, milk bars are preferred by students and travellers without fat wallet
- Karcma pod Strzechom, 13 Grzyśki St., . Polish mountain style cottage in the area of blocks of flats. They serve folk dishes mainly, prices from modest to high
- Marysin Dwór, 17a Pukowca St., . It is styled as countryside noble residence from old days and located in industrial area
There is a medium number of hotels and guest houses in the Katowice area.
- School Youth Hostel Ślązaczek 26 Sokolska St http://www.ssm.sltzn.katowice.pl Located just about centre of the city in building of technical high school
- Jopi Hostel 23 Plebiscytowa St http://www.jopihostel.pl
- Hotel Zaleze 106 Gliwicka Street in a secure, but a little miners' area two kilometres west of the railway station and downtown
- Hotel Jantor 10 Nalkowskiej St In old mining estate Nikiszowiec (032)255 71 http://www.jantor.ehost.pl Not modern but clean and cheap 2-Bed Rooms. The hotel has a free guarded car park and a restaurant.
- Hotel Monopol near Old Market in Dyrekcyjna and Dworcowa Stree http://www.monopol.hotel.com.pl Located in the heart of the Old Town, this grand old hotel was opened in 1903.
- Qubus Hotel 13 Uniwersytecka Street http://www.qubushotel.com/hotele.php?id_h=10&lang=2 Modern, four-star hotel located in the city centre, has a Sky Bar with nice views on the 27th floor.
- Katowice's area code (for landline numbers) is 032 when dialed from within Poland or +4832 from outside Poland.
- There are not many places that offer web and other Internet access. But there are some:
- Costa Coffee - on Stawowa Street near the station. Free good wireless.
- CafeKontakt  Internet Café Bar: Katowice, 3 Stawowa Street. No wireless.
- Katowice-Pyrzowice Airport - Hot Spot (provided by Era and Plus GSM)
- Dekadencja Private Club  - 20 Mariacka St. Hot Spot (free of charge). Wireless does not always work.
Katowice is a generally safe city to stay in. Beware of the usual nuisance of petty theft (especially at Railway Station).
- Important phone numbers: police: 997, fire department: 998, ambulance: 999, all three at common, universal number 112
- Municipal guard: +48 32 986
- Watch out for pickpockets in public transport and busy places.
- Park your car in safe place, on a guarded parking if possible.
- Most long-distance trains have compartments, choose the occupied ones so you don't ride alone. Also, during night - make sure that at least one person is not asleep.
- Oświęcim and Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi camp there
- Adit of the black trout in Tarnowskie Gory
- Central Firefighting Museum in Myslowice
- Mining skansen in Zabrze
- Monumental Mine in Tarnowskie Gory
- Silesian Ethnographic Park in Chorzow
- Brewing Museum in Tychy 
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