Gliwice is one of many towns in the largest industrial area in Poland, paradoxically being very different from the stereotype of an Upper Silesian town. It is a city of culture, of science and of enterprise, with aspirations to become a separate administrative centre in Silesia. As one of the oldest towns of the Upper Silesian region, it boasts a good Old Town and several interesting sights.
Like other towns of the Upper Silesian conurbation, Gliwice is known mainly as an industrial centre. The best-developed industries are coal mining, steel making and the production of machinery and chemicals. The inland port on the Gliwice Canal gives it access to the Baltic Sea via the Odra River. Gliwice is also an important educational centre, home to most of the departments of the Silesian Polytechnic. The population numbers around 200,000 people.
Gliwice is the westernmost town of the GOP (Upper Silesia Industrial Centre), an agglomeration of several towns that includes Katowice. Gliwice is located in the southern Poland voivodship of Silesia.
The history of Gliwice began in the 13th century when it was officially declared a town, and some time later it became a bishopric too. Originally ruled by Opole Dukes, in 1526 it passed to the rule of Habsburgs and then 200 years later it became a part of Prussia. It is clear that it has been outside Poland for the greater part of its existence.