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Panorama of Wałbrzych
Panorama of Wałbrzych
Flag of Wałbrzych
Coat of arms of Wałbrzych
Coat of arms
Wałbrzych is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°47′0″N 16°17′0″E / 50.78333°N 16.28333°E / 50.78333; 16.28333
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
County city county
Established 9th century
City rights 1400 to 1426
 • Mayor Roman Szełemej
 • Total 84.70 km2 (32.70 sq mi)
Elevation 350 m (1,150 ft)
Population (31.12.2010)
 • Total 120,197
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 58-300 to 58-309, 58-316
Area code(s) +48 74
Car number plates DB,DBA
Website http://www.um.walbrzych.pl/
Książ Castle (Schloss Fürstenstein)

Wałbrzych [ˈvau̯bʐɨx] (German: Waldenburg, Czech: Valbřich or Valdenburk) is a city in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland, with 120,197 inhabitants (31 December 2010). From 1975–1998 it was the capital of Wałbrzych Voivodeship; it is now the seat of Wałbrzych County. Wałbrzych is by far the largest city in Poland that does not itself form a separate county (powiat), having given up that status in 2003. (The next largest such town is Inowrocław, population 77,313.) Starting in 2013, is back on forms a separate county (powiat). Wałbrzych lies approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) south-west of the state capital Wrocław and about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the Czech border.


According to the city's official website, the early Polish name of the settlement was Lasogród ("forest castle").[1] The German name Waldenburg (also meaning "forest castle") refers to the castle Nowy Dwór, whose ruins stand south of the city; the name came to be used for the entire settlement.[2] It first appeared in the 15th century coming from the words Wald ‘forest’ and Berg ‘mountain’ later associated with castle[3] The modern Polish name for the settlement,"Wałbrzych", comes from the German name Walbrich, a late medieval linguistic variation of the older names "Wallenberg" or "Walmberg".[4]


Middle Ages[edit]

According to the Geographical Dictionary of Poland published by Polish Scientific Publishers PWN, the city's predecessor, Lasogród, was an early medieval Slavic settlement[5] whose inhabitants engaged in hunting, honey gathering, and later agriculture. Lasogród eventually developed into a defensive fort, the remains of which were destroyed in the 19th century during expansion of the city.[6] Some German publications argue that no archaeological or written records support claims of a Slavic settlement or the existence of a castle before the late 13th century,[7][need quotation to verify] and that during the Middle Ages the area of Wałbrzych was part of the unpopulated Silesian Przesieka.[8][9][10] According to a writing from 1667 by jurist and historian Ephraim Ignatius Naso, Wałbrzych already existed as a small village in 1191.[11] This claim was rejected by an 1886 publication from the German Empire,[12][need quotation to verify] and by German historian Hugo Weczerka,[13] who says the city was founded between 1290 and 1293, and was mentioned as Waldenberc in 1305.[2][need quotation to verify] He places the city near Nowy Dwór (German: Neuhaus), built by Bolko I the Strict of the Polish royal Piast dynasty (Silesian branch) of Świdnica-Jawor (German: Schweidnitz-Jauer).[2] The city website, however, mentions the building of the castle as a separate event in 1290.[14] A part of Nowy Dwór castle, a manor built in the 17th century, was destroyed in the 19th century.[15]

The city was chartered in 1426, but it did not receive the rights to hold markets or other privileges due to the competition of nearby towns and the insignificance of the local landlords. Subsequently, the city became the property of the Silesian knightly families, initially the Schaffgotsches in 1372, later the Czettritzes, and from 1738, the Hochberg family, owners of Fürstenstein Castle.

Modern Era[edit]

Coal mining in the area was first mentioned in 1536. The settlement was transformed into an industrial centre at the turn of the 19th century, when coal mining and weaving flourished. In 1843 the city obtained its first rail connection, which linked it with Breslau (Wrocław). In the early 20th century a glassworks and a large china tableware manufacturing plant, which are still in operation today, were built. In 1939 the city had about 65,000 inhabitants.

After World War II, Waldenburg was transferred to Poland under border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference, most of the German population was expelled, and the city was renamed Wałbrzych.[16][17] However, Walbrzych was one of the few areas where a number of Germans [18] were held back as they were deemed indispensable for the economy, e.g. coal mining.[19] An ethnic German society has been maintained in Walbrzych since 1957.[19]

The city was relatively unscathed by the Second World War, and as a result of combining the nearby administrative districts with the town and the construction of new housing estates, Wałbrzych expanded geographically. At the beginning of the 1990s, because of new social and economic conditions, a decision was made to close down the town's coal mines. In 1995, a Museum of Industry and Technology was set up on the facilities of the oldest coal mine in the area, KWK THOREZ. The 2005 the film Komornik was filmed in and around Wałbrzych.


  • Książ Castle (German: Schloss Fürstenstein), the largest Silesian castle, the third- largest castle in Poland behind Kraków's Wawel and the Teutonic Order fortress at Malbork.
  • Chełmiec Mountain
  • Palmiarnia
  • Market square (1997-1999 renovated)
  • Czettritz Castle (1604–1628)
  • Alberti Castle (1801), housing the Municipal Museum
  • St. Mary's (1305, ren. 1720)
  • Protestant Church (1785–1788)

City districts[edit]

City hall (from 1879)
Guardian Angels' Church
Courthouse (c. 1890)
TD Centrum shopping centre

Including date of incorporation into the city



Wałbrzych constituency[edit]

Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Wałbrzych constituency

  • Zbigniew Chlebowski, PO
  • Henryk Gołębiewski, SLD
  • Roman Ludwiczuk, PO (Senat)
  • Katarzyna Mrzygłocka, PO
  • Giovanni Roman, PiS
  • Mieczysław Szyszka, PiS (Senat)
  • Anna Zalewska, PiS


  • Górnik Wałbrzych (also known as Vicotria Górnik Wałbrzych) is a professional men's basketball club. Currently, the Górnik Wałbrzych plays in Polish 3rd league. Górnik's achievements include:
  • the 1982 Polish League Champions
  • the 1988 Polish League Champions
  • the 1981 Polish League runner-up
  • the 1983 Polish League runner-up
  • the 1986 Polish League runner-up
  • the 1979 Under-18 Champions
  • the 1980 Under-18 Champions
  • the 2000 Under-20 runner-up
  • the 2003 U-18 Bronze Medalists
  • 2011 Under-14 4th place

Last time Górnik played in Polish Basketball League - the Polish top basketball league in 2009.

  • KK Wałbrzych (former Gornik Nowe Miasto Wałbrzych) - is a semi-professional men's basketball club performing in Polish 3rd league.

There are many semi-professional or amateur football clubs (like Zagłębie Wałbrzych, Juventur Wałbrzych, Podgórze Wałbrzych, Gwarek Wałbrzych, Czarni Wamag Wałbrzych and one basketball club (KS Dark Dog is playing in the Polish 3rd league)

  • LKKS Górnik Wałbrzych is a cycling club


Notable people[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Wałbrzych is twinned with:

See also[edit]



  • Badstübner, Ernst; Dietmar Popp; Andrzej Tomaszewski; Dethard von Winterfeld (2005). Dehio - Handbuch der Kunstdenkmäler in Polen: Schlesien. München, Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag 2005. ISBN 3-422-03109-X. 
  • Petry, Ludwig; Josef Joachim Menzel; Winfried Irgang (2000). Geschichte Schlesiens. Band 1: Von der Urzeit bis zum Jahre 1526. Stuttgart: Jan Thorbecke Verlag Stuttgart. ISBN 3-7995-6341-5. 
  • Thum, Gregor (2003). Die fremde Stadt. Breslau 1945. Berlin: Siedler. ISBN 3-88680-795-9. 
  • Weczerka, Hugo (2003). Handbuch der historischen Stätten: Schlesien, Second Edition. Stuttgart: Kröner Stuttgart. ISBN 3-520-31602-1. 


  1. ^ Official Page of Wałbrzych History section
  2. ^ a b c Weczerka, p.555.
  3. ^ Poradniajezykowa.us.edu.pl
  4. ^ Barbara Czopek, Adaptacje niemieckich nazw miejscowych w języku polskim, 1995, pp.55, ISBN 83-85579-33-8
  5. ^ Słownik geograficzno-krajoznawczy Polski Maria Irena Mileska 1994 page 781 Wydawn. Nauk. PWN, 1994
  6. ^ "Historia Wałbrzycha". Wałbrzych City Office. Retrieved 2 April 2009. 
  7. ^ Vorgeschichtliche Funde innerhalb des Stadtgebietes sind spärlich und zweifelhaft in der Deutung, so daß eine frühe Dauersiedlung nicht angenommen werden kann. Für die Existenz einer "Waldenburg" im Bereich der Altstadt gibt es keinerlei Anhaltspunkte. Weczerka, p.555
  8. ^ Auch der Grenzwald spricht dagegen. Weczerka, p.416 and 555
  9. ^ Badstübner, p.2.
  10. ^ Petry, p.11.
  11. ^ Kronika wałbrzyska Wałbrzyskie Towarzystwo Kultury, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe 1985 page 231
  12. ^ Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Band 23, page 261, Markgraf, Duncker & Humblot, 1886
  13. ^ Die Behauptung, die "Waldenburg" sei 1191 erbaut worden (Naso), ist nicht haltbar. Weczerka, p.555
  14. ^ Um.walbrzych.pl
  15. ^ Weczerka, p.341.
  16. ^ Polski Kalendarz Katolicki dla Kochanych Wiarusów Prus Zachodnich Seite 77 http://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra/docmetadata?id=259791&from=&dirids=1&ver_id=&lp=2&QI=
  17. ^ Katalog Prowincyonalnej wystawy przemysłowej w Poznaniu 1895 Seite 71 Werbebeilage http://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra/docmetadata?id=130018&from=&dirids=1&ver_id=&lp=7&QI=
  18. ^ Werner Besch, Dialektologie: Ein Handbuch zur Deutschen und allgemeinen Dialektforschung, Walter de Gruyter, 1982, p.178, ISBN 3-11-005977-0
  19. ^ a b Stefan Wolff, German Minorities in Europe: Ethnic Identity and Cultural Belonging, Berghahn Books, 2000, p.79, ISBN 1-57181-504-X
  20. ^ PWSZ Górnik Wałbrzych Official Site

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°46′N 16°17′E / 50.767°N 16.283°E / 50.767; 16.283