Location within Poland
|• Voivode||Adrian Czubak (PiS)|
|• Marshal||Andrzej Buła (PO)|
|• Total||9,412.5 km2 (3,634.2 sq mi)|
|• Density||100/km2 (270/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||PL-16|
|HDI (2017)||0.841 |
very high · 11th
Opole Voivodeship, or Opole Province : województwo opolskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ ɔˈpɔlskʲɛ] ), is the smallest and least populated voivodeship (province) of Poland. The province's name derives from that of the region's capital and largest city, Opole. It is part of Upper Silesia. A relatively large German minority, with representatives in the Sejm, lives in the voivodeship, and the German language is co-official in 28 communes.(Polish
Opole Voivodeship is bordered by Lower Silesian Voivodeship to the west, Greater Poland and Łódź Voivodeships to the north, Silesian Voivodeship to the east, and the Czech Republic (Olomouc Region and Moravian-Silesian Region) to the south.
Opole Province's geographic location, economic potential, and its population's level of education make it an attractive business partner for other Polish regions (especially Lower Silesian and Silesian Voivodeships) and for foreign investors. Formed in 1997, the Praděd/Pradziad Euroregion with its headquarter in Prudnik has facilitated economic, cultural and tourist exchanges between the border areas of Poland and the Czech Republic.
Opole Voivodeship was created on January 1, 1999, out of the former Opole Voivodeship and parts of Częstochowa Voivodeship, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. Originally, the government, advised by prominent historians, had wanted to disestablish Opolskie and partition its territory between the more historically Polish regions of Lower Silesia and Silesian Voivodeship (eastern Upper Silesia and western Malopolska. The plan was that Brzeg and Namysłów, as the Western part of the region, were to be transferred to Lower Silesia, while the rest was to become, along with a part of the Częstochowa Voivodeship, an integral part of the new 'Silesian' region. However, the plans resulted in an outcry from the German minority population of Opole Voivodeship, who feared that should their region be abolished, they would lose all hope of regional representation (in the proposed Silesian Region, they would have formed a very small minority among a great number of ethnic Poles). To the surprise of many of the ethnic Germans in Opole however, the local Polish Silesian population and groups of ethnic Poles also rose up to oppose the planned reforms; this came about as a result of an overwhelming feeling of attachment to the voivodeships that were scheduled to be 'redrawn', as well as a fear of 'alienation' should one find themselves residing in a new, unfamiliar region.
The solution came in late 1999, when Olesno was, after 24 years apart, finally reunited with the Opole Voivodeship to form the new legally defined region. A historic moment came in 2006 when the town of Radłów changed its local laws to make German, alongside Polish, the district's second official language; thus becoming the first town in the region to achieve such a feat.
The voivodeship lies in southwestern Poland, the major part on the Silesian Lowland (Nizina Śląska). To the east, the region touches upon the Silesian Upland (Silesian Uplands, Wyżyna Śląska) with the famous Saint Anne Mountain; the Sudetes range, the Opawskie Mountains, lies to the southwest. The Oder River cuts across the middle of the voivodeship. The northern part of the voivodeship, along the Mała Panew River, is densely forested, while the southern part consists of arable land.
The region has the warmest climate in the country.
Protected areas in Opole Voivodeship include the following three areas designated as Landscape Parks:
|Climate data for Opole|
|Average high °C (°F)||2|
|Average low °C (°F)||−3|
Opole Voivodeship is divided into 12 counties (powiats): 1 city county and 11 land counties. These are further divided into 71 gminas.
The counties are listed in the following table (ordering is by decreasing population).
| Nysa County |
|1,224||136,393||Nysa||Głuchołazy, Paczków, Otmuchów, Korfantów||9|
| Opole County |
|1,587||123,487||Opole*||Ozimek, Niemodlin, Prószków||13|
| Kędzierzyn-Koźle County |
| Brzeg County |
|877||90,054||Brzeg||Grodków, Lewin Brzeski||6|
| Strzelce County |
|744||74,460||Strzelce Opolskie||Zawadzkie, Kolonowskie, Leśnica, Ujazd||7|
| Kluczbork County |
| Olesno County |
|974||64,411||Olesno||Praszka, Dobrodzień, Gorzów Śląski||7|
| Krapkowice County |
| Prudnik County |
|571||55,325||Prudnik||Głogówek, Biała Prudnicka||4|
| Głubczyce County |
| Namysłów County |
|* seat not part of the county|
The voivodeship contains 36 cities and towns. These are listed below in descending order of population (as of 2019):
The Opole Voivodeship is the smallest region in the administrative makeup of the country in terms of both area and population.
About 15% of the one million inhabitants of this voivodeship are ethnic Germans, which constitutes 90% of all ethnic Germans in Poland. Towns with particularly high concentrations of German speakers include: Strzelce Opolskie; Dobrodzien; Prudnik; Głogówek; and Gogolin.As a result, many areas are officially bilingual and the German language and culture play a significant role in education in the region. Ethnic Germans first came to this region during the Late Middle Ages. The area was once part of the Prussian province of Silesia.
The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 10.1 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 2.0% of Polish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 17,000 euros or 56% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 66% of the EU average.
The Opole Voivodeship is an industrial as well as an agricultural region. With respect to mineral resources, of major importance are deposits of raw materials for building: limestone (Strzelce Opolskie), marl (near Opole), marble, and basalt. The favourable climate, fertile soils, and high farming culture contribute to the development of agriculture, which is among the most productive in the country.
A total of nineteen industries are represented in the voivodeship. The most important are cement and lime, furniture, food, car manufacturing, and chemical industries. In 1997, the biggest production growth in the area was in companies producing wood and wood products, electrical equipment, machinery and appliances, as well as cellulose and paper products. In 1997, the top company in the region was Zakłady Azotowe S.A. in Kędzierzyn-Koźle, whose income was over PLN 860 million. The voivodship's economy consists of more than 53,000 businesses, mostly small and medium-sized, employing over 332,000 people. Manufacturing companies employ over 89,000 people; 95.7% of all the region's business operate in the private sector.
The Opole Voivodeship is a green region with three large lakes: Turawskie, Nyskie, and Otmuchów (the latter two are connected). The Opawskie Mountains between Prudnik and Głuchołazy are extremely popular. The region also includes the castle in Brzeg, built during the reign of the Piast dynasty—pearl of the Silesian Renaissance, the Franciscan monastery on top of Saint Anne Mountain, as well as the medieval defence fortifications in Paczków (referred to as the Upper Silesian Carcassonne).
According to the Central Statistical Office of Poland, Opole Voivodeship is most frequently visited by international tourists from countries located in Europe (94.6%). The rank was followed by tourists from Asia, compromising 2.4% of the total international tourist figure, followed by that of North America at 1.8%. The general composition of international tourists visiting the Opole Voivodeship remains unchanged, with 46.2% of tourists heading from Germany.
International tourists visiting Opole Voivodeship with an overnight stay according to country of permanent residence:
|Country||International tourists (change from 2010)|
|United States of America|
|Country||International tourists (change from 2010)|
In 2015, a total of c. 90,800 overnight stays were hosted for international tourists, a figure making up 12.4% of the total amount of overnight stays for Opole Voivodeship. The majority (44.7%) of international overnight stays were hosted in the city of Opole, followed by Kędzierzyn-Koźle County (9.9%) and Nysa County at (9.4%).
The transport route from Germany to Ukraine, the A4, runs through Opole. The region has four border crossings, and direct rail connections to all important Polish cities, as well as to Frankfurt, Munich, Budapest, Kiev, and the Baltic ports.
There are three state-run universities in the region: the Opole University, the Opole University of Technology, and the Public Higher Medical Professional School in Opole. All of them are based in the voivodeship's capital. Among the region's private schools, the Opole School of Management and Administration has been certified as a degree-granting institution by the Ministry of National Education.
Most popular surnames in Opole Voivodeship:
Opole Voivodeship was also a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland between 1975 and 1998.
Major cities and towns (population in 1995):
This administrative region of the People's Republic of Poland (1950–1975) was created as a result of the partition of Katowice Voivodeship in 1950.
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia, located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic.
Kędzierzyn-Koźle(listen) is a town in southern Poland, the administrative center of Kędzierzyn-Koźle County. With 54,872 inhabitants as of 2020, it is the second most-populous town in the Opole Voivodeship.
Brzeg is a town in southwestern Poland with 35,890 inhabitants (2017) and the capital of Brzeg County. It is situated in Silesia in the Opole Voivodeship on the left bank of the Oder river.
Strzelce Opolskie(listen) is a town in southern Poland with 17,900 inhabitants (2019), situated in the Opole Voivodeship. It is the capital of Strzelce County.
Głuchołazy is a historic town in southwestern Poland with approximately 13,534 inhabitants as of 2019. It is located within the Nysa County of Opole Voivodeship (province), near the border with the Czech Republic, and is the administrative seat of Gmina Głuchołazy.
Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf was a German Army prisoner of war camp, later renumbered Stalag-344, located near the village of Lamsdorf in Silesia. The camp initially occupied barracks built to house British and French prisoners in World War I. At this same location there had been a prisoner camp during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
Krapkowice County is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Opole Voivodeship, south-western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Krapkowice, which lies 23 kilometres (14 mi) south of the regional capital Opole. The county also contains the towns of Zdzieszowice, lying 13 km (8 mi) south-east of Krapkowice, and Gogolin, 5 km (3 mi) north-east of Krapkowice.
Nysa County is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Opole Voivodeship, south-western Poland, on the Czech border. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Nysa, which lies 48 kilometres (30 mi) south-west of the regional capital Opole. The county contains four other towns: Głuchołazy, 18 km (11 mi) south of Nysa, Paczków, 24 km (15 mi) west of Nysa, Otmuchów, 12 km (7 mi) west of Nysa, and Korfantów, 20 km (12 mi) east of Nysa.
Strzelce County is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Opole Voivodeship, south-western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Strzelce Opolskie, which lies 31 kilometres (19 mi) south-east of the regional capital Opole. The county contains four other towns: Zawadzkie, 19 km (12 mi) north-east of Strzelce Opolskie, Kolonowskie, 19 km (12 mi) north-east of Strzelce Opolskie, Leśnica, 11 km (7 mi) south-west of Strzelce Opolskie, and Ujazd, 14 km (9 mi) south-east of Strzelce Opolskie.
This is a list of German language place names (toponyms) for the region of Upper Silesia. Upper Silesia today is in the Opole Voivodeship and the Silesian Voivodeship in Poland.
Silesian Lowlands are lowlands located in Silesia, Poland in Central Europe. A small part is located in the Czech Republic. It is part of the Central European Plain. Silesian Lowlands is a physical-geographical macroregion. It is the warmest region in Poland.
This is a list of coats of arms of Poland.
Gmina Leśnica, German Gemeinde Leschnitz is an urban-rural gmina in Strzelce County, Opole Voivodeship, in Upper Silesia in Poland. Its seat is the town of Leśnica (Leschnitz), which lies approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) south-west of Strzelce Opolskie and 32 km (20 mi) south-east of the regional capital Opole.
The Wawelberg Group, also known as the Konrad Wawelberg Destruction Group, was a Polish special-forces unit. The group began the Third Silesian Uprising on May 2/3, 1921 by blowing up seven rail bridges linking Upper Silesia with the rest of Germany.
Lichynia is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Leśnica, within Strzelce County, Opole Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) south-east of Leśnica, 11 km (7 mi) south-west of Strzelce Opolskie, and 35 km (22 mi) south-east of the regional capital Opole.
Bolko V the Hussite was a Duke of Opole between 1422–1424, ruler over Głogówek and Prudnik since 1424, Duke of Strzelce and Niemodlin from 1450 and ruler over Olesno since 1455.
Jan II of Opole was a Duke of Opole-Brzeg -Strzelce-Niemodlin in 1476, ruler over Gliwice, Toszek, Niemodlin, Bytom, Koźle, and Racibórz. He belonged to the Silesian branch of the Polish Piast dynasty which was the oldest branch of the first Polish royal dynasty.
Opole is a Polish parliamentary constituency that is coterminous with the Opole Voivodeship. It elects thirteen members of the Sejm and three members of the Senate.
The Euroregion Pradziad (Polish) or Euroregion Praděd (Czech) is a Euroregion joining parts of the Poland and Czech Republic. It was created on 2 July 1997 in Jeseník.
The Duchy of Głogówek and Prudnik was one of the numerous Duchies of Silesia ruled by the Silesian branch of the royal Polish Piast dynasty.