Lower Silesian Voivodeship, or Lower Silesia Province (Polish: województwo dolnośląskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ dɔlnɔˈɕlɔ̃skʲɛ]), in southwestern Poland, is one of the 16 voivodeships (provinces) into which Poland is divided.
Lower Silesia was part of Medieval Poland during the Piast dynasty. After the testament of Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138, Poland entered a period of fragmentation. Silesia became a province of Poland as a duchy, which later on became divided into many small duchies reigned by dukes and princes of the Piast dynasty. During this time, cultural and ethnic Germanic influence prospered due to immigrants from the German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire. This also impacted on the local architecture as well as traditions and cuisine. At the same time, Lower Silesia was a leading Polish cultural center. The Book of Henryków, which contains the earliest known sentence written in the Polish language, as well as Statuta synodalia Episcoporum Wratislaviensis, which contains the oldest printed text in Polish, were both created here. Both texts can be seen in Wrocław. Złotoryja, Poland's first town, was granted municipal privileges by Henry the Bearded. Over the centuries, Lower Silesia has experienced epochal events such as the Protestant Reformation, the Silesian Wars, industrialisation, and the two World Wars.
Lower Silesia is one of the richest provinces in Poland as it has valuable natural resources such as copper, brown coal and rock materials, which are exploited by the biggest enterprises. Its well developed and varied industries attract both domestic and foreign investors.
Its capital and largest city is Wrocław, situated on the Odra River. It is one of Poland's largest and most dynamic cities with a rapidly growing international profile, and is regarded as one of the most important commercial, educational and tourist sites in the whole country. Burial sites of Polish monarchs and consorts are located in Wrocław and Trzebnica. Furthermore, the voivodeship is famous for its many castles and palaces and is one of Poland's most visited regions by tourists.
The voivodeship was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Wrocław, Legnica, Wałbrzych and Jelenia Góra Voivodeships, following the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. It covers an area of 19,946 square kilometres (7,701 sq mi), and as of 2013[update] has a total population of 2 914 362.
Although much of the region is relatively low-lying it also includes Sudeten Foreland and part of the Sudetes mountain range running along the Polish/Czech border. Popular ski resorts in Lower Silesian Voivodeship include Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba in the Karkonosze mountains. Other important tourist destinations in the voivodeship include the chief city, Wrocław, as well as the towns of Jelenia Góra and Legnica. The town of Boleslawiec is famed for its pottery.
The voivodeship has the largest number of spa towns in Poland: Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Długopole-Zdrój, Duszniki-Zdrój, Jedlina-Zdrój, Kudowa-Zdrój, Lądek-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Przerzeczyn-Zdrój, Szczawno-Zdrój, Świeradów-Zdrój.
Lower Silesian Voivodeship is bordered by Lubusz Voivodeship to the north-west, Greater Poland Voivodeship to the north-east, Opole Voivodeship to the south-east, the Czech Republic to the south, and Germany (the State of Saxony) to the west.
An international airport is located in Wrocław–Copernicus Airport.
The main railway station is Wrocław Główny.
Lower Silesian Voivodeship is one of the most visited voivodeships in Poland. It is famous for a large number of castles (99) and palaces (hundreds), inter alia: Książ Castle, Czocha Castle, Chojnik Castle, Grodziec castle, Gorzanów Castle, Kliczków Castle. There is also a lot in the Jelenia Góra valley.
The annual international Chopin Festival is held in the Fryderyk Chopin Theatre in Duszniki-Zdrój, established at the site of the first concert played by the Polish virtuoso pianist outside of the Russian Partition of Poland. Other major attraction of the town is the Museum of Papermaking, established in a 17th-century paper mill.
The Festival of Good Beer is held every year, on the second weekend of June.
Other highlights include: Kłodzko Fortress, Fort Srebrna Góra, Wambierzyce, Legnickie Pole, Henryków, Lubiąż Abbey, Krzeszów Abbey, Oleśnica Mała, Vang stave church, Churches of Peace, Sokołowsko, Cave Bear, Museum of Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Złoty Stok, Coal Mine in Nowa Ruda, Museum of Industry and Railway in Jaworzyna Śląska, Skull Chapel in Czermna, Mount Ślęża, Table Mountains, Owl Mountains, Karkonosze, The Main Trail Sudetes, Barycz Valley Landscape Park and connected with the history of World War II - complex tunnels Project Riese, a German Gross-Rosen concentration camp, German War Cemetery and Park Peace in the Nadolice Wielkie.
Piast Castle in Legnica
Jedlinka Palace in Jedlina-Zdrój
Church of St. Clare and Hedwig church, Wrocław
Protected areas in Lower Silesian Voivodeship:
and many areas of Natura 2000 network.
Lower Silesia is one of the richest regions in Poland. GDP per capita in 2007 accounted for 108.7% of the average for the country. Since 2005, the voivodeship recorded the highest in the country economic growth rate (around 10% per annum).
GDP per capita in Lower Silesia Voivodeship: GDP in Poland:
|Lower Silesian Voivodeship||GDP per capita||Poland||GDP per capita|
|2000||$10 440 (+2.8%)||2000||$10 140 (+4.0%)|
|2005||$13 060 (+4.9%)||2005||$12 600 (+3.5%)|
|2006||$13 700 (+7.3%)||2006||$13 020 (+6.2%)|
|2007||$14 980 (+9.5%)||2007||$13 760 (+6.5%)|
|2008||$16 030 (+7.2%)||2008||$14 450 (+5.0%)|
|2009||$16 350 (+2.0%)||2009||$14 720 (+1.9%)|
The southwest part of the Voivodeship is considered part of the so-called Black Triangle, an area of heavily industrialization and environmental damage on the three-way border of Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
The voivodeship contains 91 cities and towns. These are listed below in descending order of population (according to official figures for 2006):
The counties are listed in the following table (ordering within categories is by decreasing population).
|Jelenia Góra||109.22||81 640||1|
|430.22||57 620||Wałbrzych *||Boguszów-Gorce, Głuszyca, Szczawno-Zdrój, Jedlina-Zdrój, Mieroszów||9|
|1643.37||164 155||Kłodzko||Nowa Ruda, Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Kudowa-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Stronie Śląskie, Lądek-Zdrój, Szczytna, Duszniki-Zdrój, Międzylesie, Radków||14|
|742.89||160 658||Świdnica||Świebodzice, Strzegom, Żarów, Jaworzyna Śląska||8|
|478.34||104 285||Dzierżoniów||Bielawa, Gola Dzierżoniowska, Niemcza, Pieszyce, Piława Górna||7|
|1049.74||106 167||Oleśnica||Syców, Twardogóra, Bierutów, Międzybórz||8|
|1116.15||129 576||Wrocław *||Sobótka, Kąty Wrocławskie, Siechnice||9|
|838.11||92 799||Zgorzelec||Bogatynia, Pieńsk, Zawidów, Węgliniec||7|
|1025.55||83 176||Trzebnica||Oborniki Śląskie, Żmigród, Prusice||6|
|Ząbkowice Śląskie County
|801.75||67 614||Ząbkowice Śląskie||Ziębice, Złoty Stok, Bardo||7|
|Jelenia Góra County
|628.21||65 069||Jelenia Góra *||Kowary, Szklarska Poręba, Piechowice, Karpacz||9|
|779.93||63 185||Polkowice||Chocianów, Przemków||6|
|428.30||55 919||Lubań||Olszyna, Leśna, Świeradów-Zdrój||7|
|744.60||54 929||Legnica *||Chojnów, Prochowice||8|
|Środa Śląska County
|703.68||52 543||Środa Śląska||5|
|Lwówek Śląski County
|709.94||47 120||Lwówek Śląski||Gryfów Śląski, Mirsk, Wleń, Lubomierz||5|
|675.00||47 475||Wołów||Brzeg Dolny||3|
|Kamienna Góra County
|396.13||44 824||Kamienna Góra||Lubawka||4|
|575.45||44 893||Złotoryja||Wojcieszów, Świerzawa||6|
|* seat not part of the county|
|Witold Krochmal||4 January 1999 - 22 October 2001|
|Ryszard Nawrat||22 October 2001 - 21 March 2003|
|Stanisław Łopatowski||31 March 2003 - 21 December 2005|
|Krzysztof Grzelczyk||21 December 2005 - 29 November 2007|
|Rafał Jurkowlaniec||29 November 2007 - 1 December 2010|
|Aleksander Skorupa||28 December 2010 -|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Dolnośląskie.|