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Zgorzelec z dachu.jpg
Przedmieście Nyskie.jpg
Dawna Górnołużycka Hala Chwały 01.JPG
Zgorzelec, zespół parków miejskich 05.jpg
  • From top, left to right: Panorama of the city
  • Townhouses at Daszyńskiego Street
  • Municipal House of Culture
  • Paderewski Park
  • Polish-Saxon post milestone on the Postal Square
Flag of Zgorzelec
Coat of arms of Zgorzelec
Coat of arms
Zgorzelec is located in Poland
Zgorzelec is located in Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Coordinates: 51°09′00″N 15°00′30″E / 51.15000°N 15.00833°E / 51.15000; 15.00833Coordinates: 51°09′00″N 15°00′30″E / 51.15000°N 15.00833°E / 51.15000; 15.00833
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
CountyZgorzelec County
GminaZgorzelec (urban gmina)
 • MayorRafał Gronicz
 • Total15.88 km2 (6.13 sq mi)
 • Total31 716
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
59–900 to 59–903
Car platesDZG

Zgorzelec [zɡɔˈʐɛlɛt͡s] (About this soundlisten) (German: Görlitz, Upper Sorbian: Zhorjelc, Lower Sorbian: Zgórjelc, Czech: Zhořelec) is a town in south-western Poland with 32,322 inhabitants (2012). It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship (from 1975–1998 it was in the former Jelenia Góra Voivodeship). It is the seat of Zgorzelec County, and also of the smaller district of Gmina Zgorzelec (although it is not part of the territory of the latter, as the town is an urban gmina in its own right). Zgorzelec is located on the Lusatian Neisse river, on the post-1945 Polish-German Neisse border adjoining the German town of Görlitz, of which it constituted the eastern part up to 1945.


Middle Ages[edit]

Up until 1945, the modern-day towns of Zgorzelec and Görlitz were a single entity; their history up to that point is shared. The date of the town's foundation is unknown. Zgorzelec/Görlitz was first mentioned in 1071[1] as a small Sorbian village named Gorelic in the region of Upper Lusatia. It was conquered by Polish Duke, and future King, Bolesław I the Brave in 1002, and was part of Poland during the reign of the first Polish kings Bolesław I the Brave and Mieszko II Lambert until 1031, when the region briefly fell again to the Margraviate of Meissen, and soon after became a part of Bohemia. In the 13th century the village gradually turned into a town. It became rich due to its location on the Via Regia, an ancient and medieval trade road. In 1319 it became part of the Piast-ruled Duchy of Jawor, and later on, became part of Bohemia again.

In the following centuries, from 1346, it was a wealthy member of the Six-City League of Upper Lusatia, consisting of the six Lusatian cities Bautzen, Görlitz, Kamenz, Lubań, Löbau and Zittau. The town of Gorlice in southern Poland was founded during the reign of Casimir the Great in 1354 by ethnic German colonists from Görlitz, in the last phases of eastward settlement by Germans (in this case by Walddeutsche).

Modern era[edit]

The Tricycle Mill in the 1920s

In the 15th century, the city came under Hungarian rule, but eventually returned to Bohemia. After suffering for years in the Thirty Years' War, the region of Upper Lusatia (including Görlitz) passed to Saxony (1635), and from 1697 it was under rule of Polish Kings and Saxon electors. One of the two main routes connecting Warsaw and Dresden ran through the city at that time.[2]

In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna awarded Görlitz to Prussia and subsequently the city became part of Germany in 1871. The city was a part of the Prussian province of Silesia from 1815 until 1945.

During World War II a German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag VIII-A was located in present-day territory of Zgorzelec.[3]

After World War II[edit]

The Treaty of Zgorzelec, between Poland and East Germany, was signed in the city's community center in 1950. The establishment of the Oder-Neisse line as the Polish-East German border, Görlitz (lying on the Neisse) was divided between the two countries. The German part retained the name Görlitz, while the Polish part became Zgorzelec. The German and Sorbian population was expelled from Zgorzelec. New Polish and Greek settlers arrived in the town.

Reconstructed Postal Square, seen from the river

Starting in 1948, some 10,000 Greek Refugees of the Greek Civil War, mainly communist partisans, were allowed into Poland and settled mainly in Zgorzelec. There were Greek schools, a Greek retirement home and even a factory reserved for Greek employees. The majority of those refugees later returned to Greece, but a part remains to this day (see Greeks in Poland). The Greek community of Zgorzelec was instrumental in the building of Ss. Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church in 2002. Since 1999, an annual international Greek Song Festival has been held in Zgorzelec.[4]

Miejski Dom Kultury is one of the cultural and community centers of Zgorzelec

Since the fall of communism in 1989, Zgorzelec and Görlitz have developed a close political relationship. Two of the numerous bridges over the Neisse river that had been blown up by retreating German forces in World War II have been rebuilt, reconnecting the two towns with one bus line. There is also common urban management and annual common sessions of both town councils. In 2006 the towns jointly applied to be the European Capital of Culture in 2010. It was hoped that the jury would be convinced by the concept of Polish-German cooperation, but the award fell to Essen, with Görlitz/Zgorzelec in second place.


Military cemetery of the Polish Second Army
  • Miejski Dom Kultury (Municipal House of Culture)
  • Polish-Saxon post milestone of King Augustus II of Poland and the reconstructed Postal Square (Plac Pocztowy)
  • Military cemetery of the Polish Second Army – one of the largest military cemeteries in Poland
  • Historical parks
  • Greek Boulevard (Bulwar Grecki), with a view of Görlitz
  • Wheelwright Croft (Zagroda Kołodzieja)
  • Old townhouses in the city center
  • Former Tricycle Mill (Młyn trójkołowy)
  • Baroque palace in Zgorzelec-Ujazd


Zgorzelec is served by two railway stations, Zgorzelec in the southern part of the town, and Zgorzelec Miasto in the eastern part.


Turów Zgorzelec men's basketball team until 2018 played in the Polish Basketball League (top division). In 2014 Turów won its only national championship and qualified to the Euroleague for the first time.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Zgorzelec is twinned with:


Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "History of Zgorzelec and Görlitz". Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Informacja historyczna, Dresden-Warszawa". Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  3. ^ "About Stalag VIIIA, Meeting Point Music Messiaen". Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Ambasada Grecji w Warszawie – Grecy w Polsce". www.greece.pl. Archived from the original on 2 March 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Twinnings" (PDF). Central Union of Municipalities & Communities of Greece. Retrieved 25 August 2013.

External links[edit]