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Chorzow travel guide — Chorzow tourism and travel information

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about Chorzow

Chorzów is a city in southern Poland with 117,430 inhabitants (2002) and town area of 33,5 km², situated on the Rawa river (confluence of Brynica river) on the Silesian Highland (Wyżyna Śląska) in the centre of the Upper Silesian Industrial Basin (Górnośląski Okręg Przemysłowy) and Upper Silesian Metropolitan Area, north-west of Katowice. Modern city of Chorzów was formed in 1934-1939 by the merger of separate industrial communities of Chorzów, Królewska Huta, Nowe Hajduki and Hajduki Wielkie into one municipality. The name of the oldest settlement Chorzów was given to the whole city.

Chorzów is a separate city county since 1898, with the exception of 1975-1998 when the counties were abolished in Poland. Since 1999 Chorzów is part of Silesian Voivodship, previously of Katowice Voivodship.

Chorzow history

Village of Chorzów

The castellany of Bytom, with Chorzów area, initially belonged to the province of Cracow or Little Poland and was in 1179 awarded by the duke Casimir the Just to the duke of Opole and since that time history of Chorzów is connected to the history of Upper Silesia (Duchy of Opole).

The oldest part of the city: the village of Chorzów, today called Chorzów Stary=Old Chorzów, belonged since 1257 to the Order of the Christ's Grave Guards (Zakon Stróżów Grobu Chrystysowego, Bożogrobowcy or Miechowici) in Miechów, a small town north of Cracow. Already at this time ores of silver and lead were mined near the settlement, later also the ores of iron. The minig was started probably in the 12th century, there are more documents for the 16th century developments.

Since 1327 the Upper Silesian duchies ruled by the dukes of the Piast dynasty were subject to Bohemian overlodship, Bohemia itself belonging to the Polish Jagiellons since 1490 and to the Austrian Habsburgs since 1526. In 1742 the area was conquered by the Prussian Hohenzollerns.

Royal Iron Works and Coal Mines

With the discovery of rich coal deposits in the end of the 18th century new industrial sectors devoloped in Chorzów area. In years 1791-1797 the state-owned Royal Coal Mine was constructed (Kopalnia Król, Königsgrube, later called Huta Prezydent, Huta Piłsudski and Huta Kościuszko) and in 1802 the Royal Iron Works were opened (Królewska Huta, Königshütte) with the staff of 150 workes. In 1819 the iron works consisted of 4 big furnaces, producing 1,400 tons of pig-iron. In the 1800s a new and modern Lidognia Zinc Works were constructed in the area. In 1871 the iron works were taken over by the holding called Vereingte Königs- und Laurahütte Aktien-Geselschaft für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb, which futher extended the corporation with a steel mill, rail mill and workshops. In the vicinity of the Royal Coal Mine, Countess Laura Coal Mine was opened in 1870, and till 1913-1914 the coal production was increased to 1 million tons a year.

Królewska Huta: from village to city

Next to the coal and iron works new laborer's settlements developed, called since 1797 after the iron works: Królewska Huta. In 1846 Królewska Huta received a railway track to Świetochłowice and Mysłowice, in 1857 to Bytom and till 1872 to all importat town in the Silesian region. Królewska Huta received city status in 1868 as part of the Bytom County, and in 1898 it was made a separate city-county.

Population of Królewska huta was increasing quickly: from 19,500 inhabitants in 1870 to 72,600 in 1910. Among them 17,300 workers were emplyed in the industry sector (similar number for 1939). The miners and workers were chiefly of Polish origin, the upper classes were German speakers.

Hajduki Wielkie suburb

In the village of Hajduki Wielkie, south of Chorzów and Królewska Huta, Bismarck Iron Works (Bismarckütte), were opened in 1872, later called Bathory Iron Works (Huta Batory), which products were exported to Brasil, Argentina, Africa and China. A coal tar and benzol destillery was erected in 1889, the first such chemical plant in Polish lands. Today the company is called: Zakłady Koskochemiczne Hajduki SA. Electric plant was started in 1898 and till the 1930s it was the biggest electricity producer in Poland with power of 100MW.

Rebirth of Polish nation

Chorzów was the center of the Polish national revival, ethnic conflicts were mixed with the religious and class conflicts. Karol Miarka was the editor of Polish books and newspapers including Katolik (The Catholic) published in Królewska Huta since 1868, Poradnik Gospodarski since 1879. He was also the founder of several organizations: Upper Silesian Union, Upper Silesian Peasants Union. Juliusz Ligoń was the Polish activist and poet.

Chorzów City: back in Poland

After the World War I (1914-1918), Poland regained her independence in 1918. As a result of significant participation in the Silesian uprisings in 1919-1921, Chorzów and Królewska Huta area were returned to Poland in 1922. In 1934 separate industrial communities of Chorzów, Królewska Huta and Nowe Hajduki were merged into one municipality with 81,000 inhabitants. The name of the oldest settlement Chorzów was given to the whole city. In April 1939 the settlement of Hajduki Wielkie with 30,000 inhabitants were included in the Chorzów City.

As a result of the German-Polish trade war in the 1920s, heavy industries of Chorzów, a border town suffered a stagnation period till 1933, because of the lost markets and post-war reconstruction period. In 1927 a divison of Huta Piłsudski was separated into a factory od rail cars and steel bridges, what gave birth to the Chorzów Factory of Stell Constructions Konstal (Chorzówska Fabryka Konstrukcji Stalowych Konstal). State Factory of Nitrogen Compounds (Państwowa Fabryka Związków Azotowych) was in 1933 merged with a similar company in Tarnów-Mościce.

German occupation during WWII (1939-1945)

With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Chorzów was occupied by the Nazi Germany. Polish irregulars, mainly Silesian uprising veterans and scouts, put resistance to the regular German forces for 3 days, most of them were murdered in the mass executions. Polish property was confiscated, and the Chorzów industry was put to the Nazi Gemany war effort. There were several enforced labor camps in Chorzów and in years 1944-[1945]] two branches of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Chorzów was liberated in 1945

After 1945

Chorzów was a separate city county Katowice Voivodship, with the exception of 1975-1998 when the counties were abolished in Poland. Since 1999 Chorzów is part of Silesian Voivodship.

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