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definition - Sosnowiec

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Sosnowiec, the city center at night


Coat of arms
Sosnowiec is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°18′N 19°10′E / 50.3°N 19.167°E / 50.3; 19.167
Country  Poland
Voivodeship POL województwo śląskie flag.svg Silesian
County city county
Town rights 1902
 • Mayor Kazimierz Górski
 • City 91.06 km2 (35.16 sq mi)
Elevation 250 m (820 ft)
Population (2009)
 • City 220,450
 • Density 2,400/km2 (6,300/sq mi)
 • Urban 2,746,000
 • Metro 5,294,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 41-200 to 41-225
Area code(s) +48 32
Car plates SO
Website http://www.sosnowiec.pl
  Sielecki Castle

Sosnowiec [sɔˈsnɔvʲɛt​͡s] ( listen) is a city in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, western Lesser Poland in southern Poland, near Katowice. It is one of the central districts of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union - a metropolis with a combined population of over two million people located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Brynica river (tributary of the Vistula).

It is situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999. Previously (since 1945), it was part of Katowice Voivodeship, and before World War Two, Sosnowiec belonged to Kielce Voivodeship. Sosnowiec is one of the cities of the 2.7 million person conurbation - Katowice urban area and within a greater Silesian metropolitan area populated by about 5,294,000 people.[1] The population of the city is 220,450 (June 2009).[2] The city, despite its proximity to Katowice, is not part of Silesia, but belongs to historical Polish province of Lesser Poland.

Its name comes from Polish sosna, referring to the pine forests which were common prior to 1830. It was originally known as Sosnowice. Other variations of the name include Sosnowietz, Sosnowitz, Sosnovitz (Yiddish), Sosnovyts, Sosnowyts, Sosnovytz, Sosnowytz, Sosnovetz, Сосновець Sosnovets (Ukrainian). There are 5 other smaller towns in Poland also called Sosnowiec. They are located in the regions of Kielce, Łódź, and Opole.



Sosnowiec was granted city rights only in 1902, over a century after the military partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The rights were created by joining together a number of settlements often several centuries old. The oldest of them were: Miłowice, Sielec and Pogoń, while Modrzejów, Niwka, Środula and Radocha were not much younger either.

Sosnowiec belonged originally to the Kraków Voivodeship (14th century-1795), one of three voivodeships of Lesser Poland. As a result of the third partition of Poland, however, it was seized by the Kingdom of Prussia and joined with the New Silesia. During the Napoleonic Wars against Prussians, it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw and later, Congress Poland ruled by the namestniks of the Russian Empire. In June 1902, by the order of tsar Nicholas II, Sosnowiec was legally named a city with the area of 19 km² and with 60,000 inhabitants. Obtaining the city rights helped the dynamic economic and cultural development of the town. Apart from steelworks and coal-mines and many enterprises of heavy and light industry, new cultural and social establishments were opened as well.

Natural resources and good geographical location near the borders of German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, had an important influence on the development of Sosnowiec. The opening of a branch line of the Warsaw-Vienna Railway in 1859 was vitally important for the growth of the town. Development of industry with the new factory of rope and wire, rolling mill, steelworks, iron foundry, steam boilers factory, and later spinning mill, dye-house and paper mill sealed the new image of the town as entirely urban. The Summer Theatre and, in 1887, the Winter Theatre were founded, the second of which was called City Theatre from 1924 in independent Poland, and later the Theatre of Zagłębie.

Sosonowiec suffered war damages during both military conflicts in the 20th century: the First World War, which caused mainly destruction to industry, and World War II, which brought about the terror of executions, which however, did not diminish the courage of Sosnowiec people, many of whom were active in the resistance. Thousands of Jews were deported from Sosnowiec ghetto to Auschwitz in June 1943. The Ghetto was liquidated two months later and almost all remaining Jews (around 15,000) were also deported to Auschwitz. Previously there had been considerable underground activity among them. January 1945 brought about the liberation of the city, which gave it a chance for gradual rebuilding and further development.


Sosnowiec is characterised by its urban dynamics, economic activity, and care for both, its cultural heritage and natural environment. In recent years, Sosnowiec was further transformed from an industrial center with mainly mining and heavy industries into a hub of trade and services. Nevertheless, it still operates several important coal mines, steel factories and other heavy industrial plants.

Its Special Economic Zone, established in Sosnowiec thanks to the efforts of local authorities, plays a major role in attracting new businesses into the area. As a result, several companies with Polish and foreign capital opened their businesses in the city. Sosnowiec City Office was awarded the ISO 9001 2001 quality certificate for its management system for providing services for the local community.

From 2006 a new trade center Expo Silesia began hosting numerous trade shows. Activities of Artistic and Literary Society of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie prove also that Sosnowiec as an industrial centre is not only a working class environment.


For Sosnowiec's 100th birthday, the downtown area was thoroughly rebuilt, to harmonise its architectural layout and give the city a more modern image. In 2004 Sosnowiec authorities and designers were awarded the Grand Prix for the rebuilding of the downtown area in a competition for the best public space in the Śląskie Provinces. This investment had been accompanied by a program designed to improve the esthetic qualities of the city, under which a comprehensive program for unifying the colors of the elevations, and advertisements entitled “rainbow city” were introduced. Among the city districts there are:

  Points of interest

  Schöena Palace
  University of Silesia - Faculty of Computer and Materials Science

The city has a 17th century castle known as the Sielecki Castle. Other tourist attractions include:

  Education and Science

Sosnowiec is an academic centre with well-developed research and educational infrastructure on top of industry, services and trade. Its own institutions of higher learning include:

  • The University of Silesia (schools of modern languages, natural science, technology and a language teacher training college)
    • Faculty of Earth Science
    • Faculty of Computer and Materials Science
    • Faculty of Philology
  • The Silesian Medical Academy,
    • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • The private School of Marketing and Management
  • The Silesian University of Technology
    • Faculty of Automatic Control, Electronics and Computer Science
  • The private School of Ecology

Among general secondary level schools in Sosnowiec there are high-schools such as the II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Emilii Plater, III Liceum Ogólnokształcące, and IV Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. St. Staszica.



  International relations

  Twin towns — Sister cities

Sosnowiec is twinned with:

  Notable people



Coordinates: 50°17′N 19°08′E / 50.283°N 19.133°E / 50.283; 19.133


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