|Gmina||Wodzis?aw ?l?ski (urban gmina)|
|o Mayor||Mieczys?aw Kieca|
|o City||49.62 km2 (19.16 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||290 m (950 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||210 m (690 ft)|
|o Density||970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)|
44-286 to 44-373
Wodzis?aw ?l?ski (Polish: [v?'diswaf '?lsk?i]; Silesian: W?adzisw; German: Loslau, Czech: Vladislav, Latin: Vladislavia, Yiddish: , romanized: Voydislav) is a town in Silesian Voivodeship, southern Poland with 47,992 inhabitants (2019). It is the seat of Wodzis?aw County.
It was previously in Katowice Voivodeship (1975-1998); close to the border with the Czech Republic, about 290 kilometres (180 miles) south of Warsaw and about 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Kraków, on the southern outskirts of the metropolitan area known as the Upper Silesian Coal Basin.
Wodzis?aw ?l?ski is an urban in the south-eastern part of Upper Silesia, now in Silesian Voivodeship in south Poland, within the south portion of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. It borders the towns of Pszów, Radlin and villages Marklowice, Mszana, Godów, Gorzyce and Lubomia. It lies between the Vistula and Oder rivers, near Czech border in the foreground Moravian Gate. Several rivers flow through the city, the major two being the Le?nica and "Zawadka" rivers. Within 600 km (373 mi) of Wodzis?aw ?l?ski are the capital cities of six countries: Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw.
The climate of the area is continental humid. The average temperature is 8 °C (46 °F) (average -1.7 °C (28.9 °F) in January and up to average 17.7 °C (63.9 °F) in July). Yearly rainfall averages at 786 mm (30.94 in), the most rainy month being July. The area's characteristic weak and medium winds blow at about 4 m/s from the south-west (Moravian Gate).
The town is divided into 9 districts that have its own administrative body:
Being a borderland town, Wodzis?aw ?l?ski is a centre of the Wodzis?aw County, formed during a historical process lasting many centuries. Rich excavations the oldest finds dated back to the Stone Age give evidence about its ancient inhabitants.
The city's origins can be traced back into the 10th and 11th century, when three Slavic settlements existed on Wodzis?aw's present-day territory which eventually merged to form one town. In the course of the medieval eastward migration of Flemish and German settlers (Ostsiedlung), Wodzis?aw, as many other Polish settlements, was incorporated (granted city status and right) according to the so-called Magdeburg Law at some point before 1257 (the exact date remains unknown). This, however, is not to be confused with a change in national affiliation; Wodzis?aw continued to be part of the Kingdom of Poland, until Silesia as a whole became a fiefdom of the Bohemian crown in 1327. At that times of Duchess Constance, the town developed fast. Wodzis?aw was one of the most populated and richest towns of Upper Silesia. In 14 and 15th century the city continued to grow and developed into a regional trade centre. In the 15th century, the Hussites devastated the city. From 1526, Bohemia, including the fiefdom of Silesia, which Wodzis?aw was a part of, came under the authority of the Habsburg crown.
In 16th and 17th century and during the time of the Thirty Years' War, Wodzis?aw been part of the Habsburg Empire. After the end of the Thirty Years' War Wodzis?aw was destroyed. Never back to Middle Ages' "golden time". At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession between King Frederick II of Prussia (the Great) and the Habsburg empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the greatest part of Silesia, including Wodzis?aw, was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1740, which Austria eventually recognized in 1763. In 1815 the city became part of the Prussian Province of Silesia and was located in the Rybnik district. Coal mining gained importance for Wodzis?aw's economy as early as the 19th century.
After the end of World War I in 1918, Polish statehood was restored. Amidst an atmosphere of ethnic unrest, a referendum was organized to determine the future national affiliation of Upper Silesia. Although an overall majority had opted for Germany, the area was divided in an attempt to satisfy both parties. Although both parties considered the territory they were assigned insufficient, the division was justified insofar as in the German and Polish parts a majority had voted in favour of the respective nation.
The lowest numbers of pro-German votes were registered in the districts of Rybnik and Pszczyna (Pless). In the town Wodzis?aw (Loslau), out of 2,333 votes, 1,669 (72%) were in favour of Germany and 662 (28%) were in favour of Poland. However, the Rybnik district as a whole voted in favour of Poland with a 65% majority. The town and the largest part of the district were attached to the territory of the Second Polish Republic; Wodzis?aw thus became part of a Polish state for the first time since 1335 when Poland had ceded Silesia to Bohemia in the Treaty of Trentschin. The Upper Silesia plebiscite and eventual division of Upper Silesia were accompanied by three Silesian Uprisings of Polish milicians.Within the Second Polish Republic of the interwar period, Wodzis?aw was part of the Silesian Voivodeship, which enjoyed far-reaching political and financial autonomy.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the border city Wodzis?aw returned under the rule of Germany, being in the part of Poland that was directly incorporated into the German state. The population was ethnically categorized and either "re-Germanized" or disfranchised and partially deported into the General Government as Poles.
On 22 January 1945 a death march from Nazi German's death camp Auschwitz, 35 mi (56 km) away, ended in Wodzis?aw ?l?ski, where the prisoners were put on freight trains to other camps. When the Soviet army advanced on Poland, nine days before the Soviets arrived, the Schutzstaffel had marched 60,000 prisoners out of the camp. Approximately 15,000 prisoners died on the way. There is a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust from Wodzis?aw in the Baron Hirsch Cemetery Staten Island, New York where the Wodzis?aw landsmanshaft has a section.
In March 1945 the Soviet army arrived near Wodzis?aw. Approximately 80% of the town was destroyed in World War II. From 26 March 1945 Wodzis?aw was once more integrated into Poland. The Old Town, including the Market Square, was fully restored after the war.
Wodzis?aw ?l?ski is situated at the junction of several major lines of road, railway and air communication. Only 5 km (3 mi) from center the town crossing motorway A1. The town is crossed by one national road ( "DK78" ) and tree regional roads running from Gliwice to Ostrava and regional roads from ?ory and Jastrz?bie Zdrój to Racibórz ( "DW932", "DW933", "DW936" ). The railway junction at "Wodzis?aw ?l?ski" is a major transshipment point.
The town is very well connected to three international airports: Katowice - Pyrzowice (about 80 km (50 mi) away), Kraków - Balice (about 100 km (62 mi) away) and Ostrava - Mosnov (about 45 km (28 mi) away).
Wodzis?aw ?l?ski is center and capital of the Wodzis?aw County. City is situated on the main highway from nord Poland to south Poland and border with Czech Republic.
Wodzis?aw ?l?ski is a medium coal and industrial centre. Although there is no coal mines in the town (1 Maja Coal Mine closed in 2001), there are a few in its neighborhood (Radlin - Marcel Coal Mine, Pszów, Rydu?towy - Rydu?towy-Anna Coal Mine, Jastrz?bie - Jas-Mos Coal Mine) and a coke manufacture in Radlin.
The town has one library, one museum and one cinema.
In contrast to the central part of the Upper Silesian industry area, located a short distance to the north, Wodzis?aw enjoys the reputation of a "green" city having a relatively clean environment. While the city is no centre of tourism, it does have various interesting sights and opportunities for recreation. The Beskidy Mountains, a popular recreational area for skiing, are within one-hour drive also 10 km (6 mi) from town along the Odra river are interesting natural reserve and at summer places for swimming.
In Wodzis?aw ?l?ski there are: