Katowice is the largest city in Upper Silesia in Poland with a population of about 320,000 in the city itself and over 2.1 million if the surrounding cities of the Upper-Silesian Metropolitan Union are taken into account. Located in the middle of Silesia on the banks of the river Rawa, Katowice's historical importance as Poland's main industrial centre has been indisputable in recent decades. Nowadays Katowice has also a rich cultural life with theatres, the Silesian Philharmonic, the Silesian Museum and famous concert hall known as the Spodek. Visitors will find an interesting city with many relics, stunning modern architecture, hospitable people and easy access to the Beskidy Mountains and other Silesian Cities.
Spodek by night
Architectural map of Katowice
The city is at the intersection of major road and rail routes connecting Poland to the rest of Europe in all directions, with Katowice International Airport in nearby Pyrzowice. Until recently, the dominant economic sectors in the Katowice region were mining, steel, electrical machinery, electronics, and chemicals. Due to economic changes in Poland, this situation is changing, and heavy industry has given way to commerce and services.
The origins of Katowice go back to 1397 when the settlement of Kuźnica was founded. Katowice was first mentioned as a village in the middle of dense forests in 1598. In the 18th century numerous work colonies sprang up here and around 1769-70 the Duke of Pless established an underground coal mine. The next industrial sites were the Hohenlohe steelworks in the village of Wełnowiec, founded in 1805, the Baildon steelworks in 1828 (named after their founder, a Scotsman), and the Wilhelmina zinc works in 1834.
In 1873 Katowice achieved the status of county town. In 1897 Katowice was formed into a separate urban district, which also included the suburban municipalities of Bogucice - Zawodzie, Dąb, Wełnowiec and Załęże.
In 1889 one of the largest companies in Upper Silesia, the Kattowitzer Aktien-Gesellschaft, was set up with its headquarters in Katowice. As a result, major insurance companies and large-cap banks were attracted to the city. During the First World War, the steel industry continued to develop at a frenetic pace. Rail connections were also developed.
After Third Silesian Uprising Polish Government had decided to give Silesia considerable Autonomy with Katowice as a capital and home of the Silesian Parliament. It was the time of city most intense growth (1922-1939).
In 1975 the neighbouring municipalities of Piotrowice , Ochojec, Panewniki, Kostuchna, Wełnowiec, Szopienice, Giszowiec, Dąbrówka Mała and Murcki were merged with Katowice. Construction works were still continuing in the city centre. The main communications artery (al. W. Korfantego) was widened, old industrial buildings to the west of this road were demolished. To the east the historic Tiele-Winckler Palace was also demolished. On the market place, old buildings were replaced by modern shops: "Zenit" and "Skarbek", and also the "Dom Prasy".
The construction of the Roundabout and the "Flying Saucer" (Spodek) Sports Hall (1962 -71) had a significant impact. The Millennium Housing Estate on the border of Katowice and Chorzów, the Paderewski Estate to the east of the city, the Południe Estate covering the suburbs of Kostuchna, Piotrowice, Ligota , and the Roździeński Housing Estate should also be mentioned.
In first decades of 21st century Katowice is going through another development phase. New main train station is being built and several competitions regarding redevelopment of strategic spaces (like Rynek, al. Korfantego and area behind Spodek) finished and are awaiting construction.
The Katowice-Pyrzowice Airport (KTW)  in Pyrzowice (34 km from Katowice) is an airport for both domestic and European flights. Operating airlines include:
There are shuttle buses from outside the terminal building to the city centre dropping off near main railway station.
PKM Katowice, Matuszek.
Cheaper option is to take the local bus (85 or 53) and then change. You can use this website to check connections rozklady.kzkgop.pl. It will cost 8 zł (you need to buy two tickets, 4 zł each).
There is also possibility to fly from and to nearby Kraków-Balice airport.
Katowice Main Railway Station is located in the city center.
Trains from all parts of Poland and other countries arrive at Central Station. There are fourteen trains per day between Warsaw and Katowice and twenty-eight trains per day between Krakow and Katowice during the day; the journey takes 180 minutes (from Warsaw) and 80 minutes (from Krakow). You can arrive by train directly from Vienna, Budapest, Kiev, Berlin, Ostrava, Praha, Bohumin, Bratislava, Zilina, Český Těšín, Hamburg, Moscow, Minsk. The Main Station has left luggage lockers. The station is an easy two minute walk apart main Bus Station.
The trains within Poland are run by Polskie Koleje Państwowe (see PKP).
Getting to Wrocław by train takes about 3-4 hours, the ticket prices vary from 35 to even 100 zł, so be careful while choosing the train.
Long-distance bus services arrive at International Katowice Bus Station (in the city centre, close to Sadowa Street). The main operator is Eurolines.
Buses operated by PKS Katowice run on different times, but there are at least 3 each day, some of them start in the night. It takes about 4 hours and the tickets cost about 25 zł.
The main approaches to Katowice are:
from Krakow on the A-4 motorway; Katowice is about 60 km westward of Krakow
from Wroclaw on the A-4 motorway; Katowice is about 180 km eastward of Wroclaw
from Warsaw on the E-67 European main road; Katowice is about 300 km south of Warsaw
from Cieszyn (on the southern border) on the E-75 European main road; Katowice is about 70 km north of Cieszyn
All routes converge on the main crossroads (the A-4 and E-75) which lies near the city centre. Katowice has no big car parks system but there are many small car parks along the roads in the city center.
All public bus and tram transport is supervised by KZK GOP. 24h free phone information: 0 800 16 30 30. KZK GOP Website.
Buses & Trams
Many bus stations of the Passengers' Municipal Communication are situated in the core center of the city. At each bus-stop there is an information board with bus routes and where they go. The full map with bus routes is usually available in City Information Centre near Rynek (adress: ul. Rynek 13; employees are multilingual).
There are also trams which transport passengers within the city and beyond the limits of the city. The dispatcher's office and information of the Municipal Tramway Enterprise are situated at the tram-stop in Rynek (the market square) in Katowice.
The same ticket type is used in bus and tram. Katowice offers many different tickets. One-zone ticket is suitable for traveling in the city limits. Zone bus stations (overstepping it in a bus or a tram means that one must buy next one-zone ticket or continue traveling with ticket suitable for more zones) usually are placed at the border of cities. Consider, if it is better to use one-ride ticket, week-ticket or monthly ticket. In the bus or the tram only one kind of ticket is available for sell - for three or more zones, for 4,20 PLN (or 2,10 PLN with reduced rate). One-ride tickets could be bought even in grocery stores. Newspaper stands or newsagent's stores sometimes are selling other kinds of tickets. Ticket inspectors and bus/tram drivers often speak only in Polish. When ticket inspector approaches one must show ticket and proper document which allows to use reduced rate tickets.
One ride ticket price:
within one zone (or 15 minutes) 2,80 PLN/ 1,40 PLN (reduced rate)
within two zones (or 30 minutes) 3,40 PLN/ 1,70 PLN (reduced rate)
within three or more zones (or one hour) 4,20 PLN/ 2,10 PLN (reduced rate)
1-day: normal rate 14 PLN, reduced rate 7 PLN
2-day: normal rate 24 PLN, reduced rate 12 PLN
5-day: normal rate 36 PLN, reduced rate 18 PLN
7-day: normal rate 42 PLN, reduced rate 21 PLN
14-day: normal rate 76 PLN, reduced rate 38 PLN
Taxi-stops are situated in several places in Katowice:
at the entrance of the railway station on the ground floor from 3 Maja St.
Plac Oddzialow Mlodziezy Powstanczej
the "Silesia" hotel
the "Katowice" hotel
When you take a taxi always ask for the price beforehand unless you are willing to pay anything. Different types of taxis can charge very different prices which can vary up to 5 times the regular fare depending on location and time.
The finest examples of Modernism (International Style and Bauhaus inspired architecture) could be easily found in the city downtown. Central Katowice also contain a significant number of Art Nouveau (Secesja) buildings along with the Communist Era giants such as Spodek multipurpose arena complex  or Superjednostka housing block.
St. Michel Archangel A complex of the wooden churches in the Kosciuszko Park
Rondo Sztuki (The Roundabout of Art), , rondo im. Gen. Jerzego Ziętka 1. Two galleries and a cafeteria with concerts and parties in a building located in the middle of a roundabout, close to Spodek hall.
Gallery "Szyb Wilson", 1 Oswobodzenia St. motto: Before swallow us the fires - about spirituality of our factories.
BWA Contemporary Art Gallery Katowice, 6 w. Korfantego Avenue
Parnas Contemporary Art Gallery, 10 Kochanowskiego Street.
Światowid, 7 3-rd Maja Street. The primary place for art-house film in the city centre
Rialto, 24 St Jana Street. An artist run venue which specialises in more experimental film and music and has a lovely cafe too.
Cinema City - Punkt 44, 44 Gliwicka Street modern multiplex type cinema with approx 13 screens and IMAX 3-D system.
Cinema City - Silesia City Center, 107 Chorzowska Street modern multiplex type cinema with 13 screens. It is located inside the biggest shopping mall in Katowice, Silesia City Center.
Helios, 13 Uniwersytecka Street modern multiplex type cinema with approx 9 screens. This one is in Altus - the highest building in Katowice.
Silesian Theatre, 2 Main Market. Katowice's main repertory theatre, located in the city center.
Theatre Korez, 2 Plac Sejmu Slaskiego. Well known for being involved in some of the most cutting-edge theatre in the city.
Theatre Cogitatur, 9a Gliwicka Street. Experimetal theatre known also as former organizers of A'Part Festival
Theatre A PART is contemporary visual and physical theatre group, formed by Marcin Herich, actor, director and organizer of theatre events. They are also organizers of A Part Theatre Festival
Silesian Theatre of Doll and Actor Ateneum, 10 Sw. Jana Street. One of the oldest doll's bands in Poland. They are organizers of International Festival of Doll Theatres Katowice - For Children.
Teatr 'Gry i ludzie' ('Games and People' Theatre), 2 Niepodległości Av., experimental and mainly outdoor theatrical group having their scene in the old railway station.
Concert Hall The Spodek, 35 W. Korfantego Avenue. Wide variety of concerts, performances and sports events.
National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice, 2 Plac Sejmu Slaskiego.
There is a lot of cultural events in Katowice. Exhibitions, concerts, festivals, spectacles and so on - thay all happen in galleries, clubs and theatres. It is impossible to mention here all of them as they appear without any regular schedule. To get information 'whats on' it is suggested to have a look at up-to-date internet releases of conventional press like Ultramaryna  or Gazeta Wyborcza: Co jest grane  bringing cultural news for whole agglomeration. Below there is a list of events that happen at regular schedule.
Polish Directors' Art Festival "Interpretacje", Festival of theatres and TV drama - its a competition of directors for "Konrad Prize".
"A Part" Theatre Festival is international review of alternative and experimental "OFF" theatres rather than classic ones.
Summer Theatre Garden "LOT" are summertime outdoor every weekend theatre meetings with comedy and cabaret spectacles. It is organized by Korez theatre.
"Cult" Film Festival, Festival of esteemed films. There are numerous in- and out-door movie shows and concerts.
"Rawa Blues" Festival is the biggest in-door blues festival in the world. It happens every year since 1981, from the beginning Rawa Blues is led by the bluesman Irek Dudek.
"Metalmania" Metal Music Festival, The most prestigious metal festival in Poland and in this part of Europe.
Mayday, Polish edition of international technoparty located in "Spodek".
Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition For Conductors Prestige open competition for conductors of all nationalities.
International Students' Festival of Folklore Annual festival of folkloristic music and dance takes place at the end of summer not only in Katowice but also in many other places in the region. It is organized by Silesian University.
ARTerie young art festival Annual festival of students' of art universities and faculties that take place in the autumn. Recent edition (2006) had international cast.
Tauron Festival - Techno and dance rave that takes place in the Industrial Museum Complex, during August, not far from Spodek
Karol Adamiecki University of Economics (Akademia Ekonomiczna im. Karola Adamieckiego w Katowicach)
Silesian Academy of Music (Akademia Muzyczna w Katowicach)
Silesian Academy of Sports (Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego w Katowicach)
Medical University of Silesia (Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny)
Silesian Academy of Fine Arts (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Katowicach)
Silesian University of Technology - Faculty of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Faculty of Transport and Faculty of Management (all the rest of University is located in neighbouring towns)
Silesia and especially Katowice is one of major business centres of Poland. Silesia is the main industrial centre in Poland, its economy used to be based on coal, metallurgy, energetics, and chemical industry. Nowadays it is converting to more modern profile - services and information technology. The most of industrial works are located outside the city in the surrounding locations meanwhile offices remain in Katowice.
There are institutions supporting development and economic growth of the region:
There is also company-organizer of numerous trade shows and fairs in Katowice:
International Katowice Fair
For those interested in renting office spaces there are variuos offers. From XIX/XX century adapted houses and old factories (like B-class old printing house) to A class skyscarpers - two mostly noticable are ALTUS and Chorzowska 50.
Złoty Osioł, 1 Mariacka Street, vegetarian bar having unusual atmosphere and events like poet meetings or concerts
Naleśnikarnia, 24 Wojewódzka Street, small hidden bar serving pancakes and crepes at affordable prices
Dobra Karma, ul. św. Jacka 1, Healthy food (breakfasts, pizzas, soups, pastas), nice interiors, children welcome.
Bar Mleczny "Europa", 8 Mickiewicza Street, one of so called "milk bars" where you can have a meal without spending a lot of money, milk bars are preferred by students and travellers without fat wallet
Karcma pod Strzechom, 13 Grzyśki St., . Polish mountain style cottage in the area of blocks of flats. They serve folk dishes mainly, prices from modest to high
Marysin Dwór, 17a Pukowca St., . It is styled as countryside noble residence from old days and located in industrial area
Hipnoza Jazz Club, pl. Sejmu Śląskiego 2. One of most active places in Katowice. A lot of concerts, drinks and interesting dishes.
There is a medium number of hotels and guest houses in the Katowice area.
School Youth Hostel Ślązaczek, ul. Sokolska 26, ☎ +48 32 35 11 956, . checkin: 6PM; checkout: 10AM. Located just about centre of the city in building of technical high school. Special rules apply as this is a youth hostel.25 - 35 PLN + 8 for linen.
Jopi Hostel, ul. Plebiscytowa 23, ☎ +48 32 204-34-32, . 28 beds in 2, 4, 6 person rooms. Six bathrooms. Free WiFi.41 - 54 PLN.
Hotel Zaleze, ul. Gliwicka 106. in a secure, but a little miners' area two kilometres west of the railway station and downtown
Hotel Jantor, ul. Nałkowskiej 10 (In old mining estate Nikiszowiec), ☎ (032)255, . Not modern but clean and cheap 2-Bed Rooms. The hotel has a free guarded car park and a restaurant.
Hotel Monopol, ul. Dworcowa 5 (near Rynek and train station), ☎ +48 (0/32) 782 82 82 (email@example.com, fax: +48 (0/32) 782 82 83), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 1PM. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this grand old hotel was opened in 1903.
Qubus Hotel, ul. Uniwersytecka 13, ☎ +48 (0/32) 601 0 100 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +48 (0/32) 601 0 200), . Modern, four-star hotel located in the centre, has a Sky Bar with nice views on the 27th floor.(50.261477,19.024764)
angelo Hotel Katowice, ul. Stawowa 24 (500m from Spodek and train station), ☎ +48 (0/32) 783 81 00 (email@example.com, fax: +48 (0/32) 783 81 03), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12 noon. Modern, four-star hotel located in the centre. It features 203 comfortable rooms and apartments and the biggest conference center in the area with 12 conference rooms with total area of 1 350m2.From €59. (50.263846,19.016451)
Katowice's area code (for landline numbers) is 032 when dialed from within Poland or +4832 from outside Poland.
There are not many places that offer web and other Internet access. But there are some:
Costa Coffee - on Stawowa Street near the station. Free good wireless.
CafeKontakt Internet Café Bar: 3 Stawowa Street. No wireless.
Katowice-Pyrzowice Airport - Hot Spot
Dekadencja Private Club - 20 Mariacka St. Hot Spot (free of charge). Wireless does not always work.
Katowice is a generally safe city to stay in. Beware of the usual nuisance of petty theft (especially at Railway Station).
Important phone numbers: police: 997, fire department: 998, ambulance: 999, all three at common, universal number 112
Municipal guard: +48 32 986
Watch out for pickpockets in public transport and busy places.
Park your car in safe place, on a guarded parking if possible.
Most long-distance trains have compartments, choose the occupied ones so you don't ride alone. Also, during night - make sure that at least one person is not asleep.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!