Silesian Voivodeship

Silesian Voivodeship[dead link] (Polish: województwo śląskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ ˈɕlɔ̃skʲɛ]) is a province in southern Poland.


Map of Silesian Voivodeship

Metropolis GZM

GZM - Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolia - is the conurbation of 41 towns around Katowice.
  • 1 Katowice is capital of the Silesian Voivodeship. It's a large coal, steel and business centre.
  • 2 Chorzów has a large Culture Park along its boundary with Katowice.
  • 3 Bytom was a large steel town, now in decline.
  • 4 Ruda Śląska is a string of towns with no centre, that Lech Wałęsa famously never visited.
  • 5 Zabrze has a coal-mining museum in the underground workings.
  • 6 Gliwice is mostly industrial but with a medieval castle.
  • 7 Tarnowskie Góry has a historic silver mine listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • 8 Sosnowiec has several old churches, castles and palaces.
  • Dąbrowa Górnicza northeast of Sosnowiec is a large post-industrial city with little of tourist interest.
  • 9 Tychy is best known for its brewery, founded in 1629.
  • 10 Pszczyna Pszczyna on Wikipedia has a palace in 17th century Renaissance style.

Kraków-Częstochowa Upland

A Jurassic limestone ("karstic") landscape, with forests and scenic outcrops with castles perched on top.
  • 11 Częstochowa has the shrine of Jasna Góra, a pilgrimage destination.
  • 12 Olsztyn has the ruin of a 14th century castle.
  • 13 Ogrodzieniec has two hilltop castles, one a stone ruin, the other a replica of a 12th century wooden fort.
  • 14 Pilica's own castle is a derelict mansion, but Smoleń has a more impressive ruin.

Cieszyn Silesia

  • 15 Bielsko-Biała — at the Biała River with a beautiful market square and several protestant churches.
  • 16 Cieszyn — medieval and Classicist town.

Silesian Beskids


The southernmost part of the voivodeship. Popular destination due to is proximity to Beskid mountain range.

  • 17 Sopotnia Wielka Sopotnia Wielka on Wikipediaa "dark sky" area
  • 18 Szczyrk — resort town near Bielsko-Biała.
  • 19 Wisła — located next to many mountains, a popular starting place for a lot of hiking expeditions. Site of numerous hotels and such,
  • 20 Żywiec — where one of the most popular Polish beers is brewed.

Other destinations

  • The Beskids are the mountain range along the southern border of Poland, from the Czech Republic in the west to Ukraine in the east. The terrain is seldom much over 1000 m and is protected as a series of parks.
  • 1 Auschwitz-Birkenau is just across the boundary into Małopolskie Voivodeship, near the town of Oświęcim, but is easily visited from the Katowice area.


Ogrodzieniec castle
Wodzionka (brotzupa)

In the early Middle Ages Silesia was part of Poland since the 10th century. When in 1138 the Seniorat of Poland was formed, Silesia was one of the Polish duchies and several Silesian duchies were Seniors of Poland until the late 13th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries Silesia fall apart into several duchies of which Racibórz, Oświęcim, Siewierz and Cieszyn as well as Częstochowa are in Silesia. In the 14th century Siewierz and Oświęcim again became a part of Poland, Częstochowa was also Polish, while Cieszyn and Racibórz came under Czech rule. Bohemia was ruled at this time by the German Luxembourg, later the Polish Jagiellonians and finally by the Austrian Habsburg. In 1741 Prussia annexed most of Silesia, besides Cieszyn and Częstochowa. After the Third Partition of Poland in 1793 Częstochowa was also annexed by Prussia, but became independent as part of the Duchy of Warsaw between 1807-1815. After the Congress of Vienna, Częstochowa became part of the Kingdom of Poland, ruled by the Russian Tsar. In the 19th century coal mining developed in this region, while the Beskids in the south remained rural and unpolluted. After World War I and the Silesian Uprisings, Silesia became largely part of the Second Polish Republic but was occupied by Nazi-Germany between 1939 and 1944. After World War II it again became part of Poland. Nowadays it is situated in the south of the country, bordering Germany and the Czech Republic.



Polish is spoken by all. Depending on who you believe, the dialect or language of Silesian is spoken here too. There is also a notable German minority presence in the region with some bi-lingual signage in both languages. As in a large part of western and northern Poland, place names exist in both Polish and German due to the area's history. Many young people study English and German.

Get in


By plane


The region's international airport is the Katowice Pyrzowice Airport([1], KTW IATA). The airport is a base of Wizzair and offers wide variety of flights across Europe and Mediterranean.

Alternatively, Kraków Airport is only one hour away from Katowice and Wrocław Airport ([2], WRO IATA) offers a number of connections and is within a 2-hour drive or a train ride (including a bus connection) from the Silesian Voivodeship.

Get around



Church of John the Baptist (completed in 1836) in Racibórz


  • Silesian Culture and Recreation Park (Wojewódzki Park Kultury i Wypoczynku). The largest city park in Europe (the area of the park is 620 hectares) between Katowice and Chorzów. Among other things Silesian Stadium, Silesian Zoological Garden, Silesian Planetarium, Silesian Amusement Park, Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park and Katowice International Fair Grounds are located in the park.



Silesian cuisine is distinctive from other parts of Poland. specific meals include:

Silesian dumplings boiling
  • Wodzionka or brołtzupa (ger. brot - bread, pol. zupa - soup) - soup with garlic and squares of dried rye bread.
  • Żur - soup made of soured rye flour and meat.
  • Kluski śląskie (Silesian dumplings) - round shaped dumplings served with gravy, made of mashed boiled potatoes, finely grated raw potatoes, an egg, grated onion, wheat flour and potato flour.
  • Szałot (Silesian potato salad) - a salad made of squares of boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, ham, various sausages, pickled fish, boiled eggs, bonded with olive oil or mayonnaise.
  • Krupniok - kind of blood sausage made of groats and animal blood.
  • Żymlok - like krupniok but instead of groats there is bread roll (żymła).
  • Knysza - pita bread with meat and lots of cabbage.
  • Bejgli - many elaborate recipes possible; based on finely ground poppy seeds, with raisins, almonds, candied citrus peels, honey, sugar, pudding, and flavoured with rum. Decorated with fingers of crumbling.
  • Makówki or moczka - traditional Christmas Eve dessert, its main ingredients are: poppy seeds, gingerbread extract, nuts and dried fruit, strawberry compote and almonds.
  • Kopalnioki - hard candies made of sugar, anise oil, and the essences of St John's wort, honey and peppermint. Its black colour comes from charcoal food dye.


  • Beer

Stay safe


Go next

  • East is Małopolskie Province, with glorious Kraków, weird Wieliczka and sombre Auschwitz.
  • Northeast is Świętokrzyskie or Holy Cross Province, with medieval Sandomierz.
  • North is Łódźkie Province, its main city of Łódź being a re-invented textile town like Manchester.
  • Northwest is Opolskie Province, with several medieval and Renaissance small towns.
  • West is North Moravia and Silesia in the Czech Republic, with Ostrava and Olomouc its main towns.
  • South is Central Slovakia, with the Tatras mountains along the frontier.

This region travel guide to Silesian Voivodeship is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!