At first glance Katowice seems to be rather less than attractive, unless you want to learn more about post-communist transformations. However, deeper exploration of its industrial areas and unusual monuments reveals that Katowice is actually very interesting. It is the heart of the biggest agglomeration in central Eastern Europe, resembling the Ruhr in terms of the development of industry and urbanisation. Presently it is undergoing transformation into an energetic business and trade centre, with a great economic potential.
Katowice is the capital of a historical region known as Upper Silesia and the main city of the current Silesian Province. Katowice itself has around 308,000 inhabitants, one part of a 3-million agglomeration of several towns and cities. The region is the most densely populated and urbanised area in Poland.
Katowice is situated on the Silesian Upland, in the south-western part of the country. The area that the city covers is diverse – with a difference of 100 m between the highest and lowest points. Several rivers flow through Katowice – the biggest of which are the Rawa and the Klodnica.
The first traces of settlements on that site are mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd century. In the 13th century there were already some lead and silver mines in Bytom and other locations near Katowice.