Chorzów (/ˈxɒʒf/ KHOZH-oof; Polish: [ˈxɔʐuf] ; German: Königshütte [ˈkøːnɪçsˌhʏtə] ; Silesian: Chorzōw) is a city in the Silesia region of southern Poland, near Katowice. Chorzów is one of the central cities of the Metropolis GZM – a metropolis with a population of 2 million. It is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Rawa River (a tributary of the Vistula).

Chorzōw (Silesian)
Teatr Rozrywki
Teatr Rozrywki
Flag of Chorzów
Coat of arms of Chorzów
Chorzów is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°18′N 18°57′E / 50.300°N 18.950°E / 50.300; 18.950
Country Poland
Voivodeship Silesian
Countycity county
City rights1868
 • City mayorAndrzej Kotala (KO)
 • City33.24 km2 (12.83 sq mi)
 (31 December 2021[1])
 • City105,628 Decrease
 • Density3,166.9/km2 (8,202/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
41–500 to 41–506
Area code+48 32
Car platesSH
Primary airportKatowice Airport

Administratively, Chorzów is in the Silesian Voivodeship since 1999, previously Katowice Voivodeship, and before then, the Silesian Voivodeship. Chorzów is one of the cities of the 2.7 million conurbation – the Katowice urban area and within a greater Upper Silesian-Moravian metropolitan area with the population of about 5,294,000 people.[2] The population within the city limits is 105,628 as of December 2021.[1]

History edit

City name edit

The city of Chorzów was formed in 1934–1939 by a merger of 4 adjacent cities: Chorzów, Królewska Huta, Nowe Hajduki and Hajduki Wielkie. These cities were a part of Germany. The name of the oldest settlement Chorzów was applied to the amalgamated city.[citation needed]

Chorzów as Charzow on an 18th-century Polish map

The etymology of the name is not known. Chorzów is believed to be first mentioned as Zversov or Zuersov in a document of 1136 by Pope Innocent II as a village with peasants, silver miners, and two inns. Another place-name likely indicating Chorzów is Coccham or Coccha, which is mentioned in a document of 1198 by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who awarded this place to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Chorzów is then mentioned as Chareu or Charev in 1257 and then Charzow in 1292. The last name may originate from the personal name Charz, short for Zachary and may mean Zachary's place. The a in the early names may have been later modified to the current pronunciation with o perhaps due to similarity to the common adjective chory=ill and a presence of a hospital (which was moved in 1299 to Rozbark at the gates of Bytom). Today, the place of the old village is a subdivision called Chorzów III or Chorzów Stary = the Old Chorzów.[citation needed]

The industrial and residential settlement south-west of Chorzów constructed since 1797 around the Royal Coal Mine and Royal Iron Works was named Królewska Huta by the Poles or Königshütte by the Germans, both names meaning Royal Iron Works. As it was growing quickly this settlement was granted city status in 1868. Today this neighbourhood is called Chorzów I or Chorzów-Miasto meaning Chorzów Centre.[citation needed]

Chorzow Stary

The etymology of Hajduki is ambiguous and is interpreted as either related to the German word for moorland (German: die Heide), or adopted from the German/Polish/Silesian term for hajduk(s) (Polish (plural): Hajduki; German (singular): Heiduck), which locally meant bandits. The place was first mentioned in 1627 as Hejduk and shown on 18th century maps as "Ober Heiduk" and "Nieder Heiduk" (i.e., Upper and Lower Heiduk). The later names Hajduki Wielkie and Nowe Hajduki mean Great Hajduks and New Hajduks, respectively. The two settlements were merged in 1903 and named after the Bismarck Iron Works Bismarckhütte. When the international borders shifted, the name of Bismarck was replaced with the name of the Polish king Batory (so-chosen to preserve that initial "B", which appeared on an economically important local trademark). Today this city subdivision is called Chorzów IV or Chorzów-Batory.[3]

Village of Chorzów edit

In the 12th century, the castellany of Bytom, including the Chorzów area, belonged to the Seniorate Province (Kraków Duchy) of Poland. In 1179 it was awarded by Duke Casimir the Just to the Duke of Opole, and since that time the history of Chorzów has been connected to the history of Upper Silesia (Duchy of Opole).[citation needed]

The oldest part of the city, the village of Chorzów, today called Chorzów Stary, belonged since 1257 to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Already at that time silver and lead ores were mined nearby, later also the ores of iron. There is more documentation for 16th century developments.[citation needed]

From 1327, the Upper Silesian duchies were ruled by the dukes of the Piast dynasty and were subject to Bohemian overlordship. The Crown of Bohemia elected Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellons kings from 1471 and Austrian Habsburgs kings after 1526. In 1742, the area was conquered by the Prussian Hohenzollerns in Silesian Wars, setting the stage for the Prussian industrial might. The Prussian and then German period lasted for about 180 years and overlapped with the time of rapid industrialization.[citation needed]

Industrial revolution edit

Steelworks at Königshütte, 1872–1875 ("Das Eisenwalzwerk" by Adolf von Menzel)
Ulica Wolności (Freedom Street), one of the main areas of commerce in the city

With the discovery of bituminous coal deposits at the end of the 18th century by the Polish local priest Ludwik Bojarski, new industrial sectors developed in the Chorzów area. In the years 1791–1797 the Prussian state-owned Royal Coal Mine was constructed (Kopalnia Król, Königsgrube, later renamed several times with the changing political winds). In 1799, first pig iron was made in the Royal Iron Works (Królewska Huta, Königshütte). At the time, it was a pioneering industrial establishment of its kind in continental Europe. In 1819 the ironworks consisted of 4 blast furnaces, producing 1,400 tons of pig-iron. In the 1800s the modern Lidognia Zinc Works was added in the area.

Settlements grew near the new coal and ironworks. Since 1797, one group of settlements was called Königshütte (Królewska Huta in Polish) after the ironworks. In 1846 Królewska Huta received a railway track to Świętochłowice and Mysłowice, in 1857 to Bytom and until 1872 to all major cities in the Silesian region. Królewska Huta received city status in 1868 as part of Bytom County, and in 1898 it was made a separate city-county.[citation needed]The population was increasing rapidly: from 19,500 inhabitants in 1870 to 72,600 in 1910. Among them 17,300 workers were employed in the industry (similar number for 1939). In 1871 there was a workers' rebellion in the city.[4]

The Royal Iron Works were taken over in 1871 by the holding called Vereingte Königs- und Laurahütte AG für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb, which added a steel mill, rail mill and workshops. In the vicinity of the Royal Coal Mine, Countess Laura Coal Mine was opened in 1870, and by 1913–1914 coal production increased to 1 million tons a year. In 1898, a thermal power plant was commissioned which was, until the 1930s, the biggest electricity producer in Poland with a power of 100 MW (electrical). Today, it operates as "ELCHO". In 1915, nitrogen chemical works (Oberschlesische Stickstoffwerke) were built nearby to produce fertilizers and explosives by newly invented processes: from the air, water and coal (see Haber-Bosch process). Today, it operates as "Zakłady Azotowe SA".[citation needed]

Another ironworks, Bismarck Iron Works (Bismarckhütte), later called Bathory Iron Works (Huta Batory), was opened in 1872 in the village of Hajduki Wielkie, just south of Chorzów and Królewska Huta. A large carbochemical plant was started nearby in 1889, the first such chemical plant in what was to later become the Polish state. Today the company operates as "Zakłady Koksochemiczne Hajduki SA".

Towards the end of 19th century, Chorzów experienced a revival of Polish national feelings. Ethnic tensions 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 (Economic Advisor) since 1879. He was also the founder of several organizations: Upper Silesian Union, Upper Silesian Peasants Union. Juliusz Ligoń was a Polish activist and poet. In 1920 the football club Ruch Chorzów was founded in the city. Later on, it would become one of the most successful Polish football teams.

Interwar Poland (1922–1939) edit

Chorzów in the 1930s

In the Upper Silesia plebiscite a majority of 31,864 voters voted to remain in Germany while 10,764 votes were given for Poland[5] Following three Silesian Uprisings, the eastern part of Silesia, including Chorzów and Królewska Huta, was separated from Germany and awarded to Poland in 1922. Migrations of people followed. Because of its strategic value, the case of the nitrogen factory Oberschlesische Stickstoffwerke was argued for years before the Permanent Court of International Justice, finally setting some new legal precedents on what is "just" in international relations.[6] In 1934, the 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 was added to Chorzów.

In part due to the German-Polish trade war in the 1920s, the industry of Chorzów, a border city at that time, stagnated until 1933. In 1927, a division of Huta Piłsudski was separated into a company making rail cars, trams and bridges; today it operates as Alstom-Konstal. The State Factory of Nitrogen Compounds (Państwowa Fabryka Związków Azotowych) was in 1933 merged with a similar company (largely its copy) in Tarnów-Mościce.

German occupation during World War II (1939–1945) edit

Memorial to local Poles murdered by the Germans in the Ravensbrück concentration camp

On the day of the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Chorzów was taken by Nazi Germany. Polish irregulars, mainly Silesian uprising veterans and scouts, put up resistance to the regular German forces for three days, afterwards the city was occupied by Germany, and on September 6, 1939, the Einsatzgruppe I entered the city to commit various atrocities against Poles.[7] Most of the Polish defenders were murdered in mass executions. An execution of three Poles was carried out by the German Freikorps already on September 3, 1939.[8] A unit of the Einsatzgruppe I was stationed in Chorzów, and it was responsible for many crimes against Poles committed in Chorzów and the nearby cities of Czeladź and Siemianowice Śląskie.[9] Polish property was confiscated, and Chorzów was promptly re-incorporated into German Silesia; the Upper Silesian industry being one of the pillars of the Nazi Germany war effort. In 1939 and 1940, the Germans carried out mass arrests of Polish intelligentsia, especially teachers, for which a prison was operated in the city (see Intelligenzaktion).[10] Local Polish teachers were among Poles murdered in 1939 in Chorzów and Strzybnica (present-day district of Tarnowskie Góry), and later in the Dachau concentration camp.[11]

There were several forced labour camps in Chorzów, including one Polenlager solely for Poles,[12] two camps solely for Jews,[13][14] the E246, E594 and E725 subcamps of the Stalag VIII-B/344 prisoner-of-war camp,[15] and, in years 1944–1945, a subcamp of the Auschwitz concentration camp, in which approximately 200 Jews from German-occupied France, Belgium and Czechoslovakia were imprisoned.[16] In January 1945, the prisoners of the subcamp of Auschwitz were evacuated on foot to Gliwice, and then deported to the Nordhausen-Dora concentration camp.[16] Chorzów was occupied by the Soviet Red Army in January 1945 with the subsequent persecution of many ethnic Polish Silesians and Germans.[17]

After 1945 edit

A Chorzów street in 1993, following the dissolution of communism.

At the end of World War II, Chorzów was given to Poland. Generally, the Chorzów industry suffered little damage during World War II due to its inaccessibility to Allied bombing, a Soviet Army enveloping manoeuvre in January 1945,[18] and perhaps Albert Speer's slowness or refusal to implement the scorched earth policy. This intact industry now played a critical role in the post-war reconstruction and industrialization of Poland. After the war, businesses were nationalized and operated, with minor changes, until 1989. Some were used as Soviet labour and concentration camps. Some industrial hardware and at least 100,000 Polish Silesians were deported to the Ukrainian Donbass region. At the "fall of communism" in 1989, the area was in decline. Since 1989, the region has been transitioning from heavy industry to a more diverse economy.

On 28 January 2006, a roof collapsed at an exhibition hall, killing 65 people. See Trade hall roof collapse in Katowice, Poland.

In 2007, Chorzów became a part of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union (precedessor to the Metropolis GZM), a voluntary union of a continuous chain of cities aimed at increasing the poor visibility of the area, improving its competitiveness, and modernizing the infrastructure.

The region experienced several waves of migrations, including those commencing in 1945 (to Germany and from Poland and Ukraine), in 1971–1976 (to Germany), in 1982 (to Western countries), and from 2003 (to other countries of the EU).

Geography edit

Location edit

Chorzów within the Metropolis GZM.

Chorzów is in the middle of the largest urban center in Poland. The Metropolis GZM is the largest legally recognized urban entity in Poland with a population of 2 million.

Nine million people live within 100 kilometres (62 miles) of Stadion Śląski in Chorzów. Six European capitals are located within 600 km (373 mi): Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw.

Climate edit

The average annual temperature in Chorzów is 7.9 °C (46.2 °F). The annual precipitation is 723 mm (28 in). Weak West winds (less than 2 m/s) prevail.

Demographics edit

Detailed data as of 31 December 2021:[1]

Description All Women Men
Unit person percentage person percentage person percentage
Population 105268 100 55516 52.7% 49752 47.3%
Population density 3166.9 1670.1 1496.8

Economy edit

Chorzów Town Hall

Chorzów used to be one of the most important cities in the largest Polish economic area (the Upper Silesian Industry Area) with extensive industry in coal mining, steel, chemistry, manufacturing, and energy sectors. Many heavy-industry establishments were closed or scaled down in the last two decades because of environmental issues in the center of a highly urbanized area, and also because of decades-long lack of investment. Others were restructured and modernized. Wedged between a dozen of other cities, the population has been decreasing. The city character has been evolving towards the service economy as new industrial development takes mostly place at the border of the industrial area. The Unemployment rate is high (12.6% on 2007-12-31) but decreasing;[19] the workforce is generally highly technically skilled.

Major industrial establishments are:

Transport edit

Subdivisions of Chorzów


Three railway stations on two major routes:


Public transport:

Higher education edit

Within the city limits of Chorzów:

The nearby cities of Katowice and Gliwice are far larger academic centers than Chorzów.

Sights edit

Architecture edit

  • St Hedwig's Church
  • St Barbara's Church
  • Saint Mary Magdalene's Church
  • Saint Mary's Church
  • Saint Joseph's Church
  • Main post office
  • Municipal Savings Bank Building

Industrial heritage edit

  • Museum of metallurgy in the former power station of the Royal Iron Works
  • Headframe of the closed President coal mine

Silesian Central Park edit

The nationally known Silesian Central Park covers about 30% of the city area and features:

Chorzów also features other notable nature areas, including:

  • nature-landscape protected area "Żabie Doły" (at the border with Bytom and Piekary Śląskie),
  • nature-landscape protected area of "Uroczysko Buczyna" (at the border with Katowice and Ruda Śląska),
  • aquatic complex "Amelung".

Sports edit

Stadion Śląski, the second biggest stadium in Poland


Historically notable is the former club AKS Chorzów.

Stadion Śląski is a former home stadium for the Poland national football team, and used for international football games and other events (for example, it has held the Speedway World Championships four times, with the 1973 World Final attracting over 120,000 spectators, the world record attendance for Motorcycle speedway). The stadium also hosts large music concerts. Throughout its history it has featured such artists and groups as The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, U2, Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis and The Police.[21]

Notable people edit

Statue of footballer Gerard Cieślik in Chorzów

Born in Chorzów edit

Associated with Chorzów edit

Twin towns – sister cities edit

Chorzów is twinned with:[22]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved 7 August 2022. Data for territorial unit 2463011.
  2. ^ European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Jacek Kurek "Historia Wielkich Hajduk", Związek Górnośląski Koło, Wielkie Hajduki, Chorzów, 2001
  4. ^ Zalega, Dariusz (2024). Chachary. Ludowa historia Górnego Śląska (in Polish). Warszawa. pp. 113–114.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Herder Institut[permanent dead link] (in German)
  6. ^ "The Seventh Year of the Permanent Court of International Justice", Manley O. Hudson, The American Journal of International law, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan. 1929), pp. 1–29, doi:10.2307/2190232, JSTOR 2190232
  7. ^ Wardzyńska, Maria (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. p. 58.
  8. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 277
  9. ^ Warzecha, Bartłomiej (2003). "Niemieckie zbrodnie na powstańcach śląskich w 1939 roku". Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej (in Polish). No. 12–1 (35–36). IPN. p. 56. ISSN 1641-9561.
  10. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 139
  11. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 135-136, 139
  12. ^ "Polenlager Königshütte". (in German). Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Zwangsarbeitslager für Juden Königshütte". (in German). Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Zwangsarbeitslager für Juden Königshütte-Bismarckhütte". (in German). Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Working Parties". Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Bismarckhütte". Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  17. ^ "The Dynamics of the Policies of Ethnic cleansing in Silesia in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" by Tomasz Kamusella, Chapter 8, Open Society Institute, Center for Publishing Development, Budapest, Hungary, 1999, Archived 24 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Max Hastings, "Armageddon. The Battle for Germany 1944–1945", Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2004, page 248
  19. ^ Official regional statistics, Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 18 March 2008.
  20. ^ WSB University in Chorzów Archived 1 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine – WSB Universities
  21. ^ "Stadion Ślaski wraca na muzyczną mapę Polski. Wspominamy najważniejsze koncerty". Archived from the original on 19 August 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Miasta partnerskie". (in Polish). Chorzów. Retrieved 10 March 2020.

Further reading edit

  • J. Janas, Historia Kopalni Król w Chorzowie 1871–1945, Katowice 1962
  • A. Stasiak, Miasto Królewska Huta. Zarys rozwoju społeczno-gospodarczego i przestrzennego w latach 1869–1914, Warszawa 1962
  • J. Surowiński, 75 lat Zakładów Koksochemicznych Hajduki 1888–1963, Warszawa 1963
  • L. Pakuła, Chorzów, [in:] Encyklopedia Historii Gospodarczej Polski do 1945, Warszawa 1981
  • Chorzów, [in:] J.Bochiński, J.Zawadzki, Polska. Nowy podział terytorialny, przewodnik encyklopedyczny, Warszawa 1999

External links edit