Katowice city


Katowice is the center of science, culture, industry, business and transportation in southern Poland. It is the main city in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region and of the 3 million conurbation. This urban expansion boomed in the 19th century thanks to the rapid development of the mining and metallurgical industries. The Katowice urban area consists now of about 40 adjacent cities and towns. However, the whole Silesian metropolitan area (mostly within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin) consists of over 50 cities/town and has a population of more than 5 million people.

Katowice gained city status in 1865 as Kattowitz 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. Kattowitz was inhabited mainly by Germans, Silesians, Jews and Poles.

Katowice belongs to those Polish cities that do not originate from medieval towns. The city centre was formed in the mid-19th century when the city 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. By the end of the nineteenth century the centre of Katowice was being referred to as a “little Paris”, something which may surprise visitors today. Examples of Modernism (International Style and Bauhaus inspired architecture) may be found in the city centre. Central Katowice also contain a significant number of Art Nouveau buildings along with the Communist Era giants such as Spodek or Superjednostka that Katowice is famous with.






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