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Katowice [1] 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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4], Ochojec, Panewniki, Kostuchna [5], 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 [6], and the Roździeński Housing Estate should also be mentioned.

Get in

By plane

Some major airlines, Poland's national carriers LOT Polish Airlines [7], and a low cost airline Centralwings [8] (owned by LOT) and some other low cost airlines fly to Katowice's Pyrzowice Airport [9] (KTW). Domestic flights operated by LOT (under Eurolot brand) connect Katowice with i.e. Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport [10] (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:

  • Athens
  • Barcelona
  • Belfast
  • Bergen
  • Bologna
  • Bournemouth
  • Bristol
  • Brussels - Charleroi
  • Budapest
  • Cologne
  • Cork
  • Coventry
  • Dortmund
  • Dublin
  • Dusseldorf
  • Doncaster - Sheffield
  • Edinburgh
  • Frankfurt
  • Frankfurt (Hann)
  • Koln
  • Kyiv
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Milan
  • Munich (München)
  • Oslo
  • Palma de Mallorca
  • Paris
  • Paris (Beauvais)
  • Rome
  • Rhodes
  • Stockholm
  • Thessaloniki
  • Warsaw

There's a frequent shuttle bus from outside the terminal building to the city centre dropping off near main railway station.

For further information see the websites of GTL Airport Katowice - Pyrzowice [11] and GTL Travel [12].

By train

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 [13]).

By car

The main approaches to Katowice are:

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.

By bus

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 [14]).

Get around

Public transport

All public bus and tram transport is supervised by KZK GOP. 24h free phone information: 0 800 16 30 30. KZK GOP Website [15].

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:

Monthly ticket price (valid for one specified holder only):

Other season tickets valid for buses and trams.



Taxi-stops are situated in several places in Katowice:

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.







motto: Before swallow us the fires - about spirituality of our factories.


rather common discos

Student clubs


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 [47] or Gazeta Wyborcze: Co jest grane [48] bringing cultural news for whole agglomeration. Below there is a list of events that happen at regular schedule.


  1. University of Silesia [59] (Uniwersytet Śląski)
  2. Karol Adamiecki University of Economics [60] (Akademia Ekonomiczna im. Karola Adamieckiego w Katowicach)
  3. Silesian Academy of Music [61] (Akademia Muzyczna w Katowicach)
  4. Silesian Academy of Sports [62] (Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego w Katowicach)
  5. Medical University of Silesia [63] (Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny)
  6. Silesian Academy of Fine Arts [64] (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Katowicach)
  7. Silesian University of Technology [65] - Faculty of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Faculty of Transport and Faculty of Management (all the rest of University is located in neighbouring towns)



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 [69]

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 [70]) to A class skyscarpers - two mostly noticable are ALTUS [71] and Chorzowska 50 [72].





There is a medium number of hotels and guest houses in the Katowice area.





Stay safe

Katowice is a generally safe city to stay in. Beware of the usual nuisance of petty theft (especially at Railway Station).

Get out

Related Information

A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [78].

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

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