Modern Rybnik is a hub for local administration, transportation, economy, education and culture for neighbouring towns, as well as having several historic monuments of its own that are well worth a visit. The fine selection of parks, squares and gardens have earned Rybnik a reputation as ‘the green city of Silesia’, while the surrounding rivers, lakes and forests provide many opportunities for tourism and recreation.
Among the sights you can explore in Rybnik are the admirable Academic Church, a medieval prince’s castle, the Old Church erected between 1798 and 1801, a late-Baroque statue of St. John Nepomucen, a classicist Old Town Hall and the District Starosty building from 1887.
Rybnik is the 25th largest city in Poland, and is 380 km from Warsaw, 111 km from Krakow and 52 km from Katowice. It is situated in the south-western part of Silesia, within the Raciborz Oswiecim Valley on the Rybnik Plateau and at an altitude of 210-290 m above sea level. Rybnik is located on two rivers – the Nacyna and the Ruda, both eventually flowing into the Odra. To the north of the city and to the north-west of Katowice is the Golejowska Highland.
Little is known about the origins of Rybnik. In the Middle Ages it was a fishermen’s settlement located on a frequently used merchant route passing from Krakow, Oswiecim to Raciborz and Wroclaw. The settlement’s name comes from the local fishing ponds (the Polish word ‘ryba’ means ‘fish’).