Lower Silesian Voivodeship

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Lower Silesian Voivodeship

Województwo dolnośląskie
POL wojewodztwo dolnoslaskie flag.svg
POL wojewodztwo dolnoslaskie COA.svg
Coat of arms
Dolnoslaskie (EE,E NN,N).png
Location within Poland
Woj dolnoslaskie adm.svg
Division into counties
Coordinates(Wrocław): 51°07′N17°02′E / 51.117°N 17.033°E / 51.117; 17.033
CountryFlag of Poland.svg  Poland
Capital Wrocław
   Voivode Jarosław Obremski (PiS)
  Marshal Cezary Przybylski (BS)
  Total19,946.74 km2 (7,701.48 sq mi)
 (2019-06-30 [1] )
  Density150/km2 (380/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code PL-02
Vehicle registration D
HDI (2017)0.875 [2]
very high · 3rd
Website http://www.umwd.dolnyslask.pl/
  • further divided into 169 gminas

Lower Silesian Voivodeship, or Lower Silesia Province [3] (Polish: województwo dolnośląskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ dɔlnɔˈɕlɔ̃skʲɛ] ) in southwestern Poland, is one of the 16 voivodeships (provinces) into which Poland is divided. The voivodeship was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Wrocław, Legnica, Wałbrzych and Jelenia Góra Voivodeships, following the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. It covers an area of 19,946 square kilometres (7,701 sq mi), and as of 2019 has a total population of 2,899,986.


It is one of the richest provinces in Poland as it has valuable natural resources such as copper, brown coal and rock materials, which are exploited by the biggest enterprises. Its well developed and varied industries attract both domestic and foreign investors. [4]

Its capital and largest city is Wrocław, situated on the Oder River. It is one of Poland's largest and most dynamic cities with a rapidly growing international profile, and is regarded as one of the most important commercial, educational and tourist sites in the whole country. Burial sites of Polish monarchs and consorts are located in Wrocław and Trzebnica. Furthermore, the voivodeship is famous for its many castles and palaces and is one of Poland's most visited regions by tourists.

History and geography

The history of the region dates back over a thousand years and Lower Silesia was once part of Great Moravia, Medieval Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, Germany and modern Poland after 1945. Silesian tribes settled the lands at the end of the first millennium after the Migration Period. During the period of Germania Slavica, the region became part of Great Moravia under Svatopluk I of Moravia. Mieszko I brought the various existing Silesian duchies under the rule of the Piast dynasty and they became the Duchy of Silesia. It was again divided into small realms reigned by Piast princes after the testament of Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138. With the Ostsiedlung, the cultural and ethnic Germanic influence grew with an influx of immigrants from the German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire, of which Silesia was part until 1392 when it became part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then the Habsburg Monarchy (1526), then the Kingdom of Prussia (1742), then the German Empire (1871). In 1945, Lower Silesia was made part of Poland as agreed at the post-war Potsdam Conference. As a consequence, Lower Silesia suffered a nearly total loss of its pre-war population between 1945 and 1950. Polish citizens dispossessed by the Soviets were then settled in the now emptied lands.

Lower Silesia was also a leading Polish cultural center. The Book of Henryków , which contains the earliest known sentence written in the Polish language, as well as a document which contains the oldest printed text in Polish, were both created here. Złotoryja, Poland's first town, was granted municipal privileges according to German Magdeburg rights by Henry the Bearded. Over the centuries, Lower Silesia experienced epochal events such as the Protestant Reformation, the Silesian Wars, industrialisation and the two World Wars.

Although much of the region is relatively low-lying it also includes Sudeten Foreland and part of the Sudetes mountain range running along the Polish/Czech border. Popular ski resorts in Lower Silesian Voivodeship include Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba in the Karkonosze mountains. Other important tourist destinations in the voivodeship include the chief city, Wrocław, as well as the towns of Jelenia Góra and Legnica. The town of Boleslawiec is famed for its pottery.

The voivodeship has the largest number of spa towns in Poland: Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Długopole-Zdrój, Duszniki-Zdrój, Jedlina-Zdrój, Kudowa-Zdrój, Lądek-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Przerzeczyn-Zdrój, Szczawno-Zdrój, and Świeradów-Zdrój.

Lower Silesian Voivodeship is bordered by Lubusz Voivodeship to the north-west, Greater Poland Voivodeship to the north-east, Opole Voivodeship to the south-east, the Czech Republic (Hradec Králové Region, Liberec Region, Olomouc Region and Pardubice Region) to the south, and Germany (Saxony) to the west.


The Copernicus Airport Wrocław serves as an international and domestic airport.

Wrocław Główny is the largest railway station in Poland (21.2 million passengers annually), offering domestic and international connections of various carriers.

The A4 motorway, A8 motorway, A18 motorway and S3 Expressway, S5 Expressway, S8 Expressway run through the Voivodeship.


Wroclaw Town Hall Ratusz2noc.jpg
Wrocław Town Hall
Sniezka Sniezka z zachodu.jpg

Lower Silesian Voivodeship is one of the most visited voivodeships in Poland. It is famous for a large number of castles (99) and palaces (hundreds), inter alia: Książ Castle, Bolków Castle, Czocha Castle, Chojnik Castle, Cisy Castle, Grodno Castle, Grodziec Castle, Gorzanów Castle, Kamieniec Ząbkowicki Palace, Kliczków Castle, Niesytno Castle, Świny Castle. There is also a lot in the Jelenia Góra valley.

The voivodship's most widely visited city is Wrocław with many sights and attractions, inter alia Ostrów Tumski, Market Square, open all year round Aquapark, Wrocław SPA Center and famous Wrocław's dwarfs.

The annual international Chopin Festival is held in the Fryderyk Chopin Theatre in Duszniki-Zdrój, established at the site of the first concert played by the Polish virtuoso pianist outside of the Russian Partition of Poland. Other major attraction of the town is the Museum of Papermaking, established in a 17th-century paper mill.

The Festival of Good Beer is held every year, on the second weekend of June.

Śnieżka is one of the first European peaks visited by tourists, it is also the highest peak of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and the whole of the Sudetes.

Other highlights include: Kłodzko Fortress, Fort Srebrna Góra, Wambierzyce, Legnickie Pole, Henryków, Lubiąż Abbey, Krzeszów Abbey, Oleśnica Mała, Vang Stave Church, Churches of Peace, Sokołowsko, Cave Bear, Museum of Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Złoty Stok, Coal Mine in Nowa Ruda, Museum of Industry and Railway in Jaworzyna Śląska, Skull Chapel in Czermna, Mount Ślęża, Table Mountains, Owl Mountains, Karkonosze, The Main Trail Sudetes, Barycz Valley Landscape Park and connected with the history of World War II – complex tunnels Project Riese, a German Gross-Rosen concentration camp, German War Cemetery and Park Peace in the Nadolice Wielkie.

Protected areas

Mount Sleza Sleza - fotopolska.eu (227403).jpg
Mount Ślęża
"Hell" on Szczeliniec Wielki (Table Mountains National Park) SzczeliniecWielki.jpg
"Hell" on Szczeliniec Wielki (Table Mountains National Park)
Snowy Pits Sniezne Kotly 01.jpg
Snowy Pits
Bear's Cave 2015 Jaskinia Niedzwiedzia w Kletnie, szata naciekowa 08.jpg
Bear's Cave
Project Riese, Owl Mountains Osowka 0005.jpg
Project Riese, Owl Mountains

Protected areas in Lower Silesian Voivodeship:

and many areas of Natura 2000 network.

Tourist routes


Aleja Bielany - the largest shopping center in Poland Aleja Bielany.jpg
Aleja Bielany - the largest shopping center in Poland

Lower Silesia is one of the richest regions in Poland. The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 41.1 billion € in 2018, accounting for 8.3% of the Polish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 23,400 € or 78% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 85% of the EU average. Lower Silesia Voivodship is the province with the second highest GDP per capita in Poland. [6]

Since 2005, the voivodeship recorded the highest in the country economic growth rate (around 10% per annum).

Many global companies have their headquarters and plants in Lower Silesia, incl. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, LG Electronics, Toyota, Volvo, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia Networks, Siemens, Whirlpool Corporation, Qatar Airways.

GDP per capita in Lower Silesia Voivodeship: GDP in Poland:

GDP per capita in Lower Silesian Voivodeship and Poland
Lower Silesian VoivodeshipGDP per capitaPolandGDP per capita
2000$10 440 (+2.8%)2000$10 140 (+4.0%)
2005$13 060 (+4.9%)2005$12 600 (+3.5%)
2006$13 700 (+7.3%)2006$13 020 (+6.2%)
2007$14 980 (+9.5%)2007$13 760 (+6.5%)
2008$16 030 (+7.2%)2008$14 450 (+5.0%)
2009$16 350 (+2.0%)2009$14 720 (+1.9%)

The southwest part of the Voivodeship is considered part of the so-called Black Triangle, an area of heavily industrialization and environmental damage on the three-way border of Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. [7]

Cities and towns

Wroclaw Wroclaw rynek (2015).JPG
Jelenia Gora Konopnicka Street Jelenia Gora.jpg
Jelenia Góra
Glogow Glogow - Ratusz (zetem).jpg
Klodzko 2014 Most sw. Jana i kosciol MBR.JPG

The voivodeship contains 91 cities and towns. These are listed below in descending order of population (as of 2019): [1]

  1. Wrocław city county (641,607)
  2. Wałbrzych city county (111,896)
  3. Legnica city county (99,486)
  4. Jelenia Góra city county (79,200)
  5. Lubin (72,428)
  6. Głogów (67,317)
  7. Świdnica (57,041)
  8. Bolesławiec (38,852)
  9. Oleśnica (37,169)
  10. Dzierżoniów (33,239)
  11. Oława (33,029)
  12. Zgorzelec (30,374)
  13. Bielawa (29,971)
  14. Kłodzko (26,845)
  15. Jawor (22,890)
  16. Świebodzice (22,793)
  17. Polkowice (22,480)
  18. Nowa Ruda (22,067)
  19. Lubań (21,087)
  20. Kamienna Góra (19,010)
  21. Bogatynia (17,436)
  22. Strzegom (16,106)
  23. Jelcz-Laskowice (15,803)
  24. Złotoryja (15,564)
  25. Boguszów-Gorce (15,368)
  26. Ząbkowice Śląskie (15,004)
  27. Chojnów (13,355)
  28. Trzebnica (13,331)
  29. Brzeg Dolny (12,511)
  30. Strzelin (12,460)
  31. Wołów (12,373)
  32. Góra (11,797)
  33. Milicz (11,304)
  34. Kowary (10,869)
  35. Syców (10,397)
  36. Bystrzyca Kłodzka (10,134)
  37. Kudowa-Zdrój (9,892)
  38. Środa Śląska (9,516)
  39. Oborniki Śląskie (9,099)
  40. Lwówek Śląski (8,869)
  41. Ziębice (8,708)
  42. Siechnice (8,113)
  43. Chocianów (7,892)
  44. Pieszyce (7,123)
  45. Kąty Wrocławskie (6,994)
  46. Sobótka (6,981)
  47. Żarów (6,719)
  48. Twardogóra (6,692)
  49. Gryfów Śląski (6,636)
  50. Szklarska Poręba (6,557)
  51. Żmigród (6,435)
  52. Piława Górna (6,412)
  53. Głuszyca (6,361)
  54. Polanica-Zdrój (6,324)
  55. Piechowice (6,194)
  56. Przemków (6,107)
  57. Lubawka (6,028)
  58. Pieńsk (5,828)
  59. Stronie Śląskie (5,709)
  60. Szczawno-Zdrój (5,608)
  61. Ścinawa (5,582)
  62. Lądek-Zdrój (5,572)
  63. Szczytna (5,141)
  64. Jaworzyna Śląska (5,124)
  65. Bolków (4,990)
  66. Bierutów (4,867)
  67. Jedlina-Zdrój (4,828)
  68. Karpacz (4,593)
  69. Duszniki-Zdrój (4,584)
  70. Leśna (4,439)
  71. Olszyna (4,348)
  72. Nowogrodziec (4,243)
  73. Zawidów (4,180)
  74. Świeradów-Zdrój (4,147)
  75. Mieroszów (4,070)
  76. Mirsk (3,886)
  77. Wojcieszów (3,668)
  78. Prochowice (3,602)
  79. Niemcza (2,965)
  80. Węgliniec (2,846)
  81. Złoty Stok (2,758)
  82. Wąsosz (2,662)
  83. Międzylesie (2,575)
  84. Bardo (2,562)
  85. Radków (2,406)
  86. Międzybórz (2,341)
  87. Świerzawa (2,286)
  88. Prusice (2,243)
  89. Wiązów (2,241)
  90. Lubomierz (1,979)
  91. Wleń (1,759)

Administrative division

Map of the powiats (counties) Wojewodztwo dolnoslaskie powiaty.png
Map of the powiats (counties)
The Skull Chapel in Kudowa Poland - Czermna - Chapel of Skulls - interior 06.jpg
The Skull Chapel in Kudowa
The Church of Peace in Swidnica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site Kosciol pokoju w swidnicy wisnia6522.jpg
The Church of Peace in Świdnica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lower Silesian Voivodeship is divided into 30 counties (powiats), four of which are city counties. These are further divided into 169 gminas.

Cistercian Lubiaz Abbey 2011 04300381 2 3 Sft3Nr - Lubiaz - klasztor cystersow fronton.jpg
Cistercian Lubiąż Abbey

Lower Silesia is divided into three districts administracyji province government, the capital of Wrocław (administrative region): [8]

800-year old Vang Stave Church in Karpacz Vang stave church back side.jpg
800-year old Vang Stave Church in Karpacz
Abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict in Krzeszow 2016 Bazylika Wniebowziecia Najswietszej Maryi Panny w Krzeszowie.jpg
Abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict in Krzeszów
Sobieski Castle in Olawa SM Olawa PlacZamkowy15 (11).jpg
Sobieski Castle in Oława

Świdnica, Kłodzko, Ząbkowice Śląskie, Dzierżoniów

Glogów, Jawor, Lubin, Polkowice, Złotoryja

Boleslawiec, Kamienna Góra, Luban, Lwówek Śląski, Zgorzelec.

The counties are listed in the following table (ordering within categories is by decreasing population).

English and
Polish names
SeatOther townsTotal
City counties
Wrocław 293641,6071
Wałbrzych 84.70111,8961
Legnica 56.2999,4861
Jelenia Góra 109.2279,2001
Land counties
Kłodzko County
powiat kłodzki
1643.37158,600 Kłodzko Nowa Ruda, Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Kudowa-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Stronie Śląskie, Lądek-Zdrój, Szczytna, Duszniki-Zdrój, Międzylesie, Radków 14
Świdnica County
powiat świdnicki
742.89157,178 Świdnica Świebodzice, Strzegom, Żarów, Jaworzyna Śląska 8
Wrocław County
powiat wrocławski
1116.15148,663 Wrocław* Sobótka, Kąty Wrocławskie, Siechnice 9
Oleśnica County
powiat oleśnicki
1049.74107,090 Oleśnica Syców, Twardogóra, Bierutów, Międzybórz 8
Lubin County
powiat lubiński
711.99106,211 Lubin Ścinawa 4
Dzierżoniów County
powiat dzierżoniowski
478.34101,118 Dzierżoniów Bielawa, Gola Dzierżoniowska, Niemcza, Pieszyce, Piława Górna 7
Bolesławiec County
powiat bolesławiecki
1303.2690,108 Bolesławiec Nowogrodziec 6
Zgorzelec County
powiat zgorzelecki
838.1189,612 Zgorzelec Bogatynia, Pieńsk, Zawidów, Węgliniec 7
Głogów County
powiat głogowski
443.0689,319 Głogów 6
Trzebnica County
powiat trzebnicki
1025.5585,092 Trzebnica Oborniki Śląskie, Żmigród, Prusice 6
Oława County
powiat oławski
523.7376,723 Oława Jelcz-Laskowice 4
Ząbkowice Śląskie County
powiat ząbkowicki
801.7565,104 Ząbkowice Śląskie Ziębice, Złoty Stok, Bardo 7
Jelenia Góra County
powiat jeleniogórski
628.2163,639 Jelenia Góra* Kowary, Szklarska Poręba, Piechowice, Karpacz 9
Polkowice County
powiat polkowicki
779.9362,948 Polkowice Chocianów, Przemków 6
Wałbrzych County
powiat wałbrzyski
430.2255,820 Wałbrzych* Boguszów-Gorce, Głuszyca, Szczawno-Zdrój, Jedlina-Zdrój, Mieroszów 9
Legnica County
powiat legnicki
744.6055,318 Legnica* Chojnów, Prochowice 8
Środa Śląska County
powiat średzki
703.6854,646 Środa Śląska 5
Lubań County
powiat lubański
428.3054,493 Lubań Olszyna, Leśna, Świeradów-Zdrój 7
Jawor County
powiat jaworski
581.2550,315 Jawor Bolków 6
Wołów County
powiat wołowski
675.0046,914 Wołów Brzeg Dolny 3
Lwówek Śląski County
powiat lwówecki
709.9445,975 Lwówek Śląski Gryfów Śląski, Mirsk, Wleń, Lubomierz 5
Złotoryja County
powiat złotoryjski
575.4543,719 Złotoryja Wojcieszów, Świerzawa 6
Strzelin County
powiat strzeliński
622.2743,713 Strzelin Wiązów 5
Kamienna Góra County
powiat kamiennogórski
396.1343,429 Kamienna Góra Lubawka 4
Milicz County
powiat milicki
715.0137,003 Milicz 3
Góra County
powiat górowski
738.1135,047 Góra Wąsosz 4
* seat not part of the county


Witold Krochmal 4 January 1999 – 22 October 2001
Ryszard Nawrat22 October 2001 – 21 March 2003
Stanisław Łopatowski 31 March 2003 – 21 December 2005
Krzysztof Grzelczyk 21 December 2005 – 29 November 2007
Rafał Jurkowlaniec 29 November 2007 – 1 December 2010
Aleksander Skorupa 28 December 2010 – 11 March 2014
Tomasz Smolarz 12 March 2014 – 8 December 2015
Paweł Hreniak 8 December 2015 – 2019
Jarosław Obremski Since 2019

See also

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Koleje Dolnośląskie

Koleje Dolnośląskie is a regional rail operator in the Lower Silesian Voivodship of Poland.


  1. 1 2 "Population. Size and structure and vital statistics in Poland by territorial divison in 2019. As of 30th June". stat.gov.pl. Statistics Poland. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  2. "Sub-national HDI – Area Database – Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. Arkadiusz Belczyk,Tłumaczenie polskich nazw geograficznych na język angielski Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine [Translation of Polish Geographical Names into English], 2002–2006.
  4. "Past and Present Regions of Poland – Lower Silesia". Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  5. Lower Silesian Beer and Wine Trail
  6. "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.
  7. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) page 9
  8. Internet, JSK. "Delegatury Urzędu – Dolnośląski Urząd Wojewódzki". Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2017.

Coordinates: 51°05′N16°24′E / 51.083°N 16.400°E / 51.083; 16.400