Last updated

Bytom collage 123.jpg
From top, left to right: Silesian Opera; Historic tram (in background Main Post Office); Dworcowa Street; Market square; Szombierki Heat Power Station; View of Władysław Sikorski Square; Church of St. Margaret
Silesian Voivodeship Relief location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Relief Map of Poland.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 50°20′54″N18°54′56″E / 50.34833°N 18.91556°E / 50.34833; 18.91556 Coordinates: 50°20′54″N18°54′56″E / 50.34833°N 18.91556°E / 50.34833; 18.91556
Country Poland
Voivodeship Silesian
County city county
Established12th century
City rights1254
  City mayorMariusz Wołosz (KO)
  City69.44 km2 (26.81 sq mi)
Highest elevation
330 m (1,080 ft)
Lowest elevation
249 m (817 ft)
 (31 December 2021)
  City161,139 Decrease2.svg (23rd) [1]
  Density2,321/km2 (6,010/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code +48 32
Car plates SY
Primary airport Katowice Airport

Bytom (Polish pronunciation: [ˈbɨtɔm] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Silesian: Bytōm, Bytōń, German : Beuthen O.S.) is a city in Upper Silesia, in southern Poland. Located in the Silesian Voivodeship of Poland, the city is 7 km northwest of Katowice, the regional capital.


It is one of the oldest cities in the Upper Silesia, and the former seat of the Piast dukes of the Duchy of Bytom. Until 1532, it was in the hands of the Piast dynasty, then it belonged to the Hohenzollern dynasty. After 1623 it was a state country in the hands of the Donnersmarck family. From 1742 to 1945 the town was within the borders of Prussia and Germany, and played an important role as an economic and administrative centre of the local industrial region. Until the outbreak of World War II, it was the main centre of national, social, cultural and publishing organisations fighting to preserve Polish identity in Upper Silesia. In the interbellum and during World War II, local Poles and Jews faced persecution by Germany.

Historical population
source [2]

After the war, decades of the Polish People's Republic were characterized by a constant emphasis on the development of heavy industry, which deeply polluted and degraded Bytom. After 1989, the city experienced a socio-economic decline. The population has also been rapidly declining since 1999. However, it is an important place in the cultural, entertainment, and industrial map of the region.


The bedrock of the Upland of Miechowice consists primarily of sandstones and slates. The rocks are punctuated with abundant natural resources of coal and iron ore from the Carboniferous period. In the north part of the upland, in the Bytom basin lays the broad range of the triassic rocks, from sandstones to limestones, with rich ore, zinc and lead reserves. The upper layer is composed of clay, sand and gravel.

Coat of arms

One half of the coat of arms of Bytom depicts a miner mining coal, while the other half presents a yellow eagle on the blue field – the symbol of Upper Silesia.


Kosciuszko Square in the 1890s Plackosciuszki.jpg
Kosciuszko Square in the 1890s

Bytom is one of the oldest cities of Upper Silesia, originally recorded as Bitom in 1136, when it was part of the Medieval Kingdom of Poland. Archaeological discoveries have shown that there was a fortified settlement (a gród ) here, probably founded by the Polish King Bolesław I the Brave in the early 11th century. [3]

After the fragmentation of Poland in 1138, Bytom became part of the Seniorate Province, as it was still considered part of historic Lesser Poland. In 1177 it became part of the Silesian province of Poland, and remained within historic Silesia since. [4] Bytom received city rights from Prince Władysław in 1254 with its first centrally located market square. The city of Bytom benefited economically from its location on a trade route linking Kraków with Silesia from east to west, and Hungary with Moravia and Greater Poland from north to south. The first Roman Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary was built in 1231. In 1259 Bytom was raided by the Mongols. The Duchy of Opole was split and in 1281 Bytom became a separate duchy, since 1289 under overlordship and administration of the Kingdom of Bohemia. It existed until 1498, when it was re-integrated with the Piast-ruled Duchy of Opole. Due to German settlers coming to the area, the city was being Germanized.

It came under the control of the Habsburg monarchy of Austria in 1526, which increased the influence of the German language. In 1683, Polish King John III Sobieski and his wife Queen Marie Casimire, visited the city, greeted by the townspeople and clergy, on the king's way to the Battle of Vienna. [5] The city became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1742 during the Silesian Wars and part of the German Empire in 1871. In the 19th and the first part of the 20th centuries, the city rapidly grew and industrialized.

Polish Gymnasium in Bytom in the 1930s GimnazjumPolskiewBytomiu.JPG
Polish Gymnasium in Bytom in the 1930s
The Sleeping Lion at Bytom's Market Square Kalide002.jpg
The Sleeping Lion at Bytom's Market Square

Bytom was one of the main centers of Polish resistance against Germanization in Upper Silesia in the 19th century, up until the mid-20th century. Polish social, political and cultural organizations were formed and operated here. From 1848, the newspaper Dziennik Górnośląski was published here. Poles smuggled large amounts of gunpowder through the city to the Russian Partition of Poland during the January Uprising in 1863. [6] According to the Prussian census of 1905, the city of Beuthen had a population of 60,273, of which 59% spoke German, 38% spoke Polish and 3% were bilingual. [7] In 1895, the "Sokół" Polish Gymnastic Society was established, and, during the Silesian uprisings, in 1919–1920, Polish football clubs Poniatowski Szombierki and Polonia Bytom were founded, which later on, in post-World War II Poland both won the national championship. After World War I, in the Upper Silesian plebiscite of 1921, 74.7% of the votes in Beuthen city were for Germany, and 25.3% were for Poland, due to which it remained in Germany, as part of the Province of Upper Silesia. [8] In the interwar period, Bytom was one of two cities (alongside Kwidzyn) in Germany, in which a Polish gymnasium was allowed to operate. In 1923 a branch of the Union of Poles in Germany was established in Bytom. There was also a Polish preschool, [9] two scout troops and a Polish bank. [10] In a secret Sicherheitsdienst report from 1934, Bytom was named one of the main centers of the Polish movement in western Upper Silesia. [11] Polish activists were persecuted since 1937. [12] The Bytom Synagogue was burned down by Nazi German SS and SA troopers during the Kristallnacht on 9–10 November 1938. Before 1939, the town, along with Gleiwitz (now Gliwice), was at the southeastern tip of German Silesia.

World War II and post-war period

Building of IV Secondary School in Bytom Fasadaivlo.img.jpg
Building of IV Secondary School in Bytom

During the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II, the Germans carried out mass arrests of local Poles. On September 1, 1939, the day of the outbreak of the war, Adam Bożek, the chairman of the Upper Silesian district of the Union of Poles in Germany, was arrested in Bytom and then deported to the Dachau concentration camp. [13] The Germans carried out revisions in the Polish gymnasium and the local Polish community centre, 20 Polish activists were arrested on September 4, 1939, then released and arrested again a few days later to be deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. [14] Also three Polish teachers, who had not yet fled, were arrested, while the assets of the Polish bank were confiscated. [15] The Einsatzgruppe I entered the city on September 6, 1939, to commit atrocities against Poles. [16] Many Poles were conscripted to the Wehrmacht and died on various war fronts, including 92 former students of the Polish gymnasium. [17] The Beuthen Jewish community was liquidated via the first ever Holocaust transport to be exterminated at Auschwitz-Birkenau. [18] [19] [20]

The Germans operated a Nazi prison in the city with a forced labour subcamp in the present-day Karb district. [21] There were also multiple forced labour camps within the present-day city limits, including six subcamps of the Stalag VIII-B/344 prisoner of war camp. [22]

In 1945 the city was transferred to Poland as a result of the Potsdam Conference. Its German population was largely expelled by the Soviet Army and the remaining indigenous Polish inhabitants were joined mostly by Poles repatriated from the eastern provinces annexed by the Soviets.

In 2017, the Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System, located mostly in the neighboring city of Tarnowskie Góry, but also partly in Bytom, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. [23]


Districts of Bytom. Bytom Subdivisions.svg
Districts of Bytom.

The city of Bytom is divided into 12 districts (Polish: Dzielnice), year of inclusion within the city limits in brackets:

Radzionków with Rojca (currently a district of Radzionków) were located within the city limits of Bytom from 1975 until 1997.


Agora Bytom shopping centre Agorabytom.jpg
Agora Bytom shopping centre

Trade is one of the main pillars of the economy of Bytom. Being a city with long traditions of commercial trade, Bytom is fulfilling its new postindustrial role. In the centre of Bytom, and mainly around Station Street and the Market Square, is the largest concentration of registered merchants in the county.

In 2007, Bytom and its neighbours created the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union, the largest urban centre in Poland.

Public transport

A Pesa Twist tram in Bytom Pesa Twist Bytom Plac Sikorskiego.jpg
A Pesa Twist tram in Bytom
Tenement house on Weber's Street Webera 4.jpg
Tenement house on Weber's Street

The tram routes are operated by Silesian Interurbans Tramwaje Śląskie S.A


Bytom is home to Polonia Bytom which has both a football and an ice hockey team (TMH Polonia Bytom). Its football team played in the Ekstraklasa from 2007 to 2011, winning it twice in 1954 and in 1962. The Szombierki district is home to another former Polish champion Szombierki Bytom which won the title in 1980, and is one of the oldest clubs in the region.


Silesian Opera Bytom Opera Slaska facade.jpg
Silesian Opera

Bytom's cultural venues include:

Among Bytom's art galleries are: Galeria Sztuki Użytkowej Stalowe Anioły, Galeria "Rotunda" MBP, Galeria "Suplement", Galeria "Pod Czaplą", Galeria "Platforma", Galeria "Pod Szrtychem", Galeria Sztuki "Od Nowa 2", Galeria SPAP "Plastyka" – Galeria "Kolor", Galeria "Stowarzyszenia.Rewolucja.Art.Pl", and Galeria-herbaciarnia "Fanaberia".



Kraszewski Street in Bytom Bytom - Ul. Powstancow Warszawskich 01.jpg
Kraszewski Street in Bytom
Townhouses on Jainty Street Bytom - Ul. Jozefa Jainty 01.jpg
Townhouses on Jainty Street


Bytom/Gliwice/Zabrze constituency

Members of 2001–2005 Parliament (Sejm) elected from Bytom/Gliwice/Zabrze constituency

  • Jan Chojnacki, SLD-UP
  • Stanisław Dulias, Samoobrona
  • Andrzej Gałażewski, PO
  • Ewa Janik, SLD-UP
  • Józef Kubica, SLD-UP
  • Wacław Martyniuk, SLD-UP
  • Wiesław Okoński, SLD-UP
  • Wojciech Szarama, PiS
  • Krystyna Szumilas, PO
  • Marek Widuch, SLD-UP

Notable people

Twin towns – sister cities

Bytom is twinned with: [27]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Legnica</span> Place in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Legnica is a city in southwestern Poland, in the central part of Lower Silesia, on the Kaczawa River and the Czarna Woda. Between 1 June 1975 and 31 December 1998 Legnica was the capital of the Legnica Voivodeship. It is currently the seat of the county and since 1992 the city has been the seat of a Diocese. As of 2021, Legnica had a population of 97,300 inhabitants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silesia</span> Historical region of Central Europe

Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe that lies mostly within Poland, with small parts in Czechia and Germany. Its area is approximately 40,000 km2 (15,400 sq mi), and the population is estimated at around 8,000,000. Silesia is split into two main subregions, Lower Silesia in the west and Upper Silesia in the east. Silesia has a diverse culture, including architecture, costumes, cuisine, traditions, and the Silesian language.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zabrze</span> City in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Zabrze is an industrial city in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. The west district of the Silesian Metropolis, a metropolis with a population of around 2 million. It is in the Silesian Highlands, on the Bytomka River, a tributary of the Oder.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sosnowiec</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Sosnowiec is an industrial city county in the Dąbrowa Basin of southern Poland, in the Silesian Voivodeship, which is also part of the Silesian Metropolis municipal association. Located in the eastern part of the Upper Silesian Industrial Region, Sosnowiec is one of the cities of the Katowice urban area, which is a conurbation with the overall population of 2.7 million people; as well as the greater Upper Silesian metropolitan area populated by about 5.3 million people. The population of the city is 194,818 as of December 2021.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gliwice</span> City in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Gliwice is a city in Upper Silesia, in southern Poland. The city is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Kłodnica river. It lies approximately 25 km west from Katowice, the regional capital of the Silesian Voivodeship.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Opole</span> Place in Opole Voivodeship, Poland

Opole is a city located in southern Poland on the Oder River and the historical capital of Upper Silesia. With a population of approximately 127,077, it is the capital of Opole Voivodeship (province) and the seat of Opole County. It is the smallest city in Poland that is also the largest city in its province.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chorzów</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Chorzów is a city in the Silesia region of southern Poland, near Katowice. Chorzów is one of the central cities of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union – a metropolis with a population of 2 million. It is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Rawa River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prudnik</span> Place in Opole Voivodeship, Poland

Prudnik(listen) is a town in southern Poland, located in the southern part of Opole Voivodeship near the border with the Czech Republic. It is the administrative seat of Prudnik County and Gmina Prudnik. Its population numbers 21,368 inhabitants (2016). Since 2015, Prudnik is a member of the Cittaslow International.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Świętochłowice</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Świętochłowice is a city with powiat rights in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. It is also the central district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union metropolis, with a population of 2 million, and is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Rawa River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Racibórz</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Racibórz is a city in Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland. It is the administrative seat of Racibórz County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Żory</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Żory is a town and city county in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland with 62,848 inhabitants (2021). Previously it was in Katowice Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is located in the historic Upper Silesia region about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Katowice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piekary Śląskie</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Piekary Śląskie is a city in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. The north district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union – metropolis with the population of 2 million. Located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Brynica river.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leszno</span> Place in Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland

Leszno(listen) is a historic city in western Poland, within the Greater Poland Voivodeship. It is the seventh-largest city in the province with an estimated population of 62,200, as of 2021. Previously, it was the capital of the Leszno Voivodeship (1975–1998) and is now the seat of Leszno County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silesian Uprisings</span> Separatist uprisings in 1919–1921

The Silesian Uprisings were a series of three uprisings from August 1919 to July 1921 in Upper Silesia, which was part of the Weimar Republic at the time. Ethnic Polish and Polish-Silesian insurrectionists, seeking to have the area transferred to the newly founded Polish Republic, fought German police and paramilitary forces which sought to keep the area part of the new German state founded after World War I. Following the conflict, the area was divided between the two countries. The rebellions have subsequently been commemorated in modern Poland as an example of Polish nationalism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Upper Silesia plebiscite</span> 1921 referendum on the German-Polish border through Upper Silesia

The Upper Silesia plebiscite was a plebiscite mandated by the Versailles Treaty and carried out on 20 March 1921 to determine ownership of the province of Upper Silesia between Weimar Germany and Poland. The region was ethnically mixed with both Germans and Poles; according to prewar statistics, ethnic Poles formed 60 percent of the population. Under the previous rule by the German Empire, Poles claimed they had faced discrimination, making them effectively second class citizens. The period of the plebiscite campaign and inter-Allied occupation was marked by violence. There were three Polish uprisings, and German volunteer paramilitary units came to the region as well.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silesian Autonomy Movement</span> Political party in Poland

The Silesian Autonomy Movement, abbreviated as RAŚ, is a movement officially declaring its support for the autonomy of Silesia as part of a unified Europe. The association was founded in January 1990 by Rudolf Kołodziejczyk and is based in the Polish part of Upper Silesia. RAŚ sees the Silesians as a "separate nation" rather than primarily as Poles, Germans or Czechs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tarnowskie Góry</span> Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Tarnowskie Góry is a town in Silesia, southern Poland, located in the Silesian Highlands near Katowice. On the south it borders the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union, a megalopolis, the greater Silesian metropolitan area populated by about 5,294,000 people. The population of the town is 61,842 (2021). As of 1999, it is part of Silesian Voivodeship, previously Katowice Voivodeship.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fortified Area of Silesia</span>

The Fortified Area of Silesia was a set of Polish fortifications, constructed along the interbellum border of Poland and Germany in the area of then-divided Upper Silesia. It spreads from the village of Przeczyce in the north to the town of Wyry in the south, along the line of sixty kilometers. Headquarters of the area was placed in Chorzów and its commandant was General Jan Jagmin-Sadowski.

Gemeinde Schomberg, was a municipality in the District of Beuthen, part of the Silesian Province of Germany. Its seat was the town of Schomberg.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beuthen District</span> Landkreis in Silesia, * Prussia * German Empire * German Reich

Beuthen District, or Beuthen Rural District was an Upper Silesian rural district with its seat in Beuthen, which itself was a separate district - an urban district.


  1. "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved June 2, 2022. Data for territorial unit 2462011.
  2. "Bytom (śląskie) » mapy, nieruchomości, GUS, noclegi, szkoły, regon, atrakcje, kody pocztowe, wypadki drogowe, bezrobocie, wynagrodzenie, zarobki, tabele, edukacja, demografia".
  3. J. Kramer, Chronik der Stadt Beuthen in Ober-Schlesien, Bytom, 1863, p. 1
  4. Roman Majorczyk, Historia górnictwa kruszcowego w rejonie Bytomia, Bytom, 1985, p. 9
  5. Paweł Freus. "Jan III Sobieski na Śląsku w drodze na odsiecz Wiedniowi roku 1683". Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie (in Polish). Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  6. Pater, Mieczysław (1963). "Wrocławskie echa powstania styczniowego". Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka (in Polish) (4): 418.
  7. Belzyt, Leszek (1998). Sprachliche Minderheiten im preussischen Staat: 1815 - 1914 ; die preußische Sprachenstatistik in Bearbeitung und Kommentar. Marburg: Herder-Inst. ISBN   978-3-87969-267-5.
  8. "Aktuelle News, Schlagzeilen und Berichte aus aller Welt -". Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  9. Rosenbaum, Sebastian; Węcki, Mirosław (2010). Nadzorować, interweniować, karać. Nazistowski obóz władzy wobec Kościoła katolickiego w Zabrzu (1934–1944). Wybór dokumentów (in Polish). Katowice: IPN. p. 306. ISBN   978-83-8098-299-4.
  10. Cygański, Mirosław (1984). "Hitlerowskie prześladowania przywódców i aktywu Związków Polaków w Niemczech w latach 1939 - 1945". Przegląd Zachodni (in Polish) (4): 31, 33.
  11. Rosenbaum, Węcki, p. 60
  12. Cygański, p. 24
  13. Wardzyńska, Maria (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. p. 78.
  14. Cygański, p. 32
  15. Cygański, p. 33
  16. Wardzyńska, Maria (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. p. 58.
  17. Cygański, p. 63
  18. Jews deported from Beuthen (Bytom), list prepared in 1942 Archived 15 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  19. Elsa Drezner, Yizkor Book Project Manager Avraham Groll, Names of Jews deported from Beuthen Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  20. Translations: deportation Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  21. "Zuchthaus Beuthen". (in German). Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  22. "Working Parties". Stalag VIIIB 344 Lamsdorf. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  23. "Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System". UNESCO. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  24. "Home".
  25. DESIGN, ARF. "Bytomskie Centrum Kultury".
  26. "Szkody górnicze :: Biuro Literackie".
  27. "Miasta partnerskie". (in Polish). Bytom. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.