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  Katowice

Katowice is the largest city in Silesia in terms of population and the capital of the Metropolis GZM. The city of Katowice covers an area of 165 square kilometres and is inhabited by over 280 thousand people. Katowice is ranked 11th in Poland in terms of the number of population and 12th in terms of area.

Katowice has been awarded the prestigious title of the UNESCO Creative City of Music. The city hosts a great number of music festivals, there are almost 30 of them in the season including, inter alia, OFF Festival, Rawa Blues or Tauron Nowa Muzyka. Katowice also has a wide IT infrastructure and a well-developed research and development sector. Increasingly more international corporations decide to locate their headquarters in the capital of the Metropolis GZM.

It was in Katowice, among others, where the first skyscrapers in Poland were built, both before and after the Second World War. In this respect, the city is famous for the housing estate of Walenty Roździeński, commonly known as the “Gwiazdy” (Stars) housing estate, which consists of 7 residential blocks with a height of 81 metres. These are the city’s highest buildings right after the so-called “Corn”, i.e. residential blocks located in the Millennium housing estate, opposite the Silesia Park. The buildings owes their name to their shape that resembles corn cobs. Twin skyscrapers like this can be found in Marina City, Chicago.

Katowice is a city of great architectural diversity and abundance. It is in the capital of the Metropolis GZM that we can admire the Spodek, the Muzeum Śląskie, St. Mary’s Church, the seat of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra or the Basilica in Panewniki. The International Congress Centre, which has undergone a major reconstruction, is also located here. Today, it is the Poland’s biggest congress centre.

The Katowice’s “Jewel in the Crown” is the Nikiszowiec housing estate, built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, originally for the miners of the “Giesche” coal mine. It consists of familoks (tenement houses) built of raw red brick, with architectural elements such as arches above windows and doors. From a bird’s eye view, the estate resembles an amphitheatre auditorium, with the stage situated in the very centre, which is the Plac Wyzwolenia (Liberation Square).

It was in the Katowice Spodek that Polish volleyball players won the gold medal at the World Championships. And when asked about what it takes to compose such beautiful music, Wojciech Kilar answered that you have to live in Katowice. The largest e-sport event in the country, Intel Extreme Masters, also takes place here.

Maria Göppert-Mayer, a Nobel Prize Laureate in physics, was born in Katowice. It is the home town of Jerzy Kukuczka, an alpinist and Himalayan mountaineer, who was the second man in the world to climb the Crown of the Himalayas and Karakorum.

One of the most characteristic landmarks in Katowice is Spodek.

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