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Sosnowiec city's central square
Sosnowiec city's central square
Flag of Sosnowiec
Coat of arms of Sosnowiec
Coat of arms
Sosnowiec is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°18′N 19°10′E / 50.300°N 19.167°E / 50.300; 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 (2013)
 • City 214,488
 • Density 2,400/km2 (6,100/sq mi)
 • Urban 2,746,000
 • Metro 4,620,624
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
Sielecki Castle

Sosnowiec ([sɔˈsnɔvʲɛt͡s] ( ); German: Sosnowitz) is a city in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, western Lesser Poland in southern Poland, bordering Katowice. It is located in central part of Silesian Voivodeship, on the Przemsza 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 II, 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] Its name comes from Polish word 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. 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 in 1902 by joining together a number of settlements often several centuries old. The history of the village of Sosnowiec dates back to the year 1727, when it was mentioned for the first time. Sosnowiec was a small settlement, located in close vicinity of much larger and better developed villages of Sielce and Zagórze (both are now districts of the city). Other districts are even older. Milowice was first mentioned in 1123 as Miley. Documents from 1228 mention Milowice, Klimontów, and Zagórze. Furthermore, Milowice was placed on a 1561 map.

Sosnowiec belonged to the Kraków Voivodeship, 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, it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw and later, Congress Poland ruled by the namestniks of the Russian Empire. In the 19th century, Sosnowiec became famous for the Three Emperors' Corner, which was located within current limits of the city.

In June 1902, by the order of tsar Nicholas II, Sosnowiec was legally named a city with the area of 19 square kilometres (7 sq mi) 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. The newly established town consisted of the districts of Sosnowiec, Pogoń, Ostra Górka, Sielec, Kuźnica and Radocha, all of which had been separate villages before 1902. The very fact that Russian authorities waited for so long to grant Sosnowiec town rights is seen as a consequence of the January Uprising, after which numerous towns had seen their status reduced to a village. Sosnowiec was first post-1860s location in Congress Poland to have received town charter, second was Puławy (1906).

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. In 1914, the village of Środula was annexed by Sosnowiec. In the Second Polish Republic, it was part of Kielce Voivodeship, and in 1934 the City County of Sosnowiec was established.

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. 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.

After World War II, Sosnowiec further developed. On June 1, 1975, the city was expanded, when such locations, as Zagórze, Kazimierz Górniczy, Porąbka, Klimontów and Maczki became its districts. Due to this fact, by 1977 the population of the city reached 200,000. Further growth was accelerated by the construction of Katowice Steelworks, and in 1981, the population of Sosnowiec was 250,000, reaching its peak in 1987, when it was 259,000. Since then, the population has been declining. In 1992, the city became seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sosnowiec.


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[edit]

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[edit]

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 im. B. Prusa, and IV Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. St. Staszica.



International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Sosnowiec is twinned with:

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) [1]
  2. ^ Central Statistical Office, Warsaw 2009, "Population. Size and Structure by Territorial Division, as of June 30, 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  3. ^ Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (7 April 2009). "Radomsker Rebbe's Yahrzeit". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Gashury, Me'ir Shymon (1974). The Book of Sosnowiec and the Surrounding Region in Zaglebie 1. Tel Aviv: Sosnowiec Societies in Israel and the United States, France and other countries. p. 142. 

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