Olkusz [ˈɔlkuʂ] (Yiddish: עלקישElkish, German: 1941-45 Ilkenau) is a town in southern Poland with 36,607 inhabitants (2014). Situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Katowice Voivodeship (1975–1998), it is the capital of Olkusz County. Olkusz is known for its abundance of silver, which is mined and extracted in the vicinity.

Olkusz market square
Olkusz market square
Flag of Olkusz
Coat of arms of Olkusz
Coat of arms
Olkusz is located in Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Olkusz is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°17′N 19°34′E / 50.283°N 19.567°E / 50.283; 19.567
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lesser Poland
CountyOlkusz County
GminaGmina Olkusz
 • MayorRoman Piaśnik
 • Total25.63 km2 (9.90 sq mi)
 • Total36,607
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
32-300 - 32-305
Car platesKOL


The city is on the Baba (river) [pl], with a major road reaching it from Warsaw and Kraków, making it the central city of the vicinity. Tourists who wish to visit the nature and historical sites, start from here. Also, Olkusz is located on the main railroad line, which connects Upper Silesia and Zaglebie with Kielce.

On the city's website a myth is cited that the city was founded by ancient Phoenicians (Canaanites) who traveled here and found lead ore. The origin of the name Olkusz is cited as the ancient Phoenician (Canaanite Hebrew) "Elkhuds" meaning "to chisel." However, the Hebrew word for "to chisel" was "lakhrot" and the likelihood of the ancient Phoenicians having reached Poland is very low.

A first written historical document from the year 1299 refers to the city of Olkusz, located in the Lesser Poland province of the Kingdom of Poland. The city was initially ruled by ethnic Germans, and the inhabitants were mostly wealthy, due to the lead mines. Silver was discovered too. Various wars crossed the path of this city, which was at its lowest at the end of the 17th century (see: The Deluge).


International relationsEdit

Twin towns – Sister citiesEdit

Olkusz has a partnership with:

Notable peopleEdit

Bloody Wednesday of Olkusz [pl], photograph taken on July 31, 1940


  1. ^ https://sztetl.org.pl/en/towns/o/321-olkusz/99-history/137785-history-of-community
  2. ^ "Gemellaggi e relazioni internazionali" (official website) (in Italian). Comune di Bergamo. 7 April 2006. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2015-03-28.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Olkusz at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 50°17′N 19°34′E / 50.283°N 19.567°E / 50.283; 19.567