Chorzow is the capital of the county in the Silesian Voivodeship, often called the Holy Sepulchres’ village, from the name of the Order of Holy Sepulchre, who used to rule the settlement. The history of Chorzow is connected with the development of mining, steel and chemical industries. Today the city remains an important economic centre of the Upper Silesia, although almost solely small and medium commercial enterprises operate here. The city is also famous for holding numerous cultural and sport events.
Chorzow is populated by approximately 117 thousand people. Like in Bytom and Sosnowiec, in Chorzow the leading industries were mining and steel. Nowadays, these sectors are not the main branches of industry but are still of interest to tourists. The relics of the industrial landscape are the President mine shaft tower and the Elzbieta mine shaft, which looks like a castle.
Although Chorzow was granted city rights only in 1868, it has a rich history and numerous monuments. The most interesting of them are St. Barbara church and wooden St. Lawrence church from the 16th century.
While sightseeing the city, you should not miss the St. John square, which is located in the oldest part of Chorzow and the City Square with the Wolnosci Street. The characteristic elements of the city square are city hall and the post office building from the end of the 19th century. An interesting object is the listed old building of Graf Reden hotel, which is now a seat of a theatre. Worthy of interest is also the Boy with the Swan sculpture. It is the oldest outdoor sculpture in Chorzow and the symbol of the artistic development of the city.
The city’s cultural offer is also rich. Chorzow cyclical events like Beer Festival, Chorzow Days or Silesia feast attract both tourists and the city’s inhabitants every year. Also, numerous music festivals are held here, for instance: Reggae Rap Festival, Bluestracje and Rock bez igły (English: Rock without a needle).
Talking about Chorzow one must not forget about entertainment. The city is famous for Poland’s biggest funfair and a narrow gauge railway. A great attraction is the Fala swimming pool complex. Worth visiting are also a large sports stadium and a well-equipped planetarium.
Despite the post-industrial landscape, in Chorzow there are beautiful nature complexes. The most interesting are Zabie Doly and Buczyna reserve. Worth seeing is also the Amelung water complex.
Chorzow is located by the Rawa river, in the centre of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union, in the Silesian Highlands. The city lies close to such industrial centres as: Bytom, Ruda Slaska, Katowice and Sosnowiec. Chorzow is situated at the crossroads of significant transport and trade trails: Krakow-Wroclaw and Katowice-Poznan. The city has four main districts: Centre, Chorzow II, Old Chorzow and Chorzow Batory. To commemorate the history of Chorzow, the city’s authorities decided to keep the old names of other districts, e.g. Klimzowiec, Nowe Hajduki and Pnioki. Many of them still have their specific, village-like character.
The history of Chorzow dates back to the Middle Ages are is strictly connected with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, who ruled the settlement from the half of the 13th century. Thanks to the Order, the church and the hospital were built in Chorzow. The place was granted German town rights and from then on it is called the Holy Sepulchres’ village.
In the 16th century the city began to develop. Silver, lead and iron ores were mined here. The discovery of bituminous coal deposits by a local church priest Ludwik Bojarski led to the construction of Princess Jadwiga coal mine.
In the 19th century Chorzow was a property of Prussia, which used its industrial potential. In 1802, in the west of the village Krolewska Huta (later Huta Kosciuszko) came into existence. Also the King mine started to operate. Chorzow was granted the city rights in 1868 and thanks to that it gained new roads as well as railway and later tramway connections. In the beginning of the 20th century the city’s architectonical development began; Silesia’s most beautiful market hall was opened and the city hall was rebuilt.
The First World War and Silesian Uprisings stopped the development of Chorzow. It was, however, victorious in these battles and was later joined to Poland. In the interwar period the State Works of Nitrogen Compounds (Polish: Państwowa Fabryka Związków Azotowych) was operating in Chorzow. Also the House of Culture, the Municipal Savings bank (Polish: Komunalna Kasa Oszczędnosci) and Ruch Chorzow stadium were built in the city.
In 1934 the industrial communities of Chorzow, Krolewska Huta and Nowe Hajduki were merged into one municipality. The name of the oldest settlement Chorzow was given to the whole city. During the Second World War the city was again joined to Germany. After 1945, on the other hand, the city was intensively exploited by the authorities of the Soviet Union. Hence, the history of Chorzow has always been connected with heavy industry. Nowadays, most of the works are closed. However, the post-industrial landscape of Chorzow still reminds us of the city’s mining traditions and attracts tourists.