Situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999, Gliwice was previously in Katowice Voivodeship. Gliwice is one of the cities of a 2.7 million conurbation known as the Katowice urban area and is within the larger Silesian metropolitan area, which has a population of about 5,294,000 people. The population of the city is 185,196 (March 2014).
Founded in the 13th century, Gliwice is one of the oldest settlements in Upper Silesia. Despite rapid development during the industrial and socialist eras, the central Old Town fully retained its medieval character and part of its defensive walls date back to the 15th century.
Gliwice is primarily known as an industrial city with developed industries such as coal mining, steel making and production of machinery and chemicals. It is also an important educational centre, being home to most of the departments of the renowned Silesian University of Technology. The city's long history had a great impact on the architecture of its buildings and structures; the most characteristic feature of Gliwice is a 110-meter high radio mast, which is thought to be the world’s tallest wooden construction.
In Slavic languages, the root gliw or gliv suggests terrain characterized by loam or wetland. In South Slavic languages, glive or gljive refers to mushrooms, with gljivice meaning little mushrooms.
Gliwice was first mentioned as a town in 1276 and was ruled during the Middle Ages by the Silesian Piast dukes. During the reign of Mieszko I Tanglefoot, the town was part of a duchy centered on Opole-Racibórz, and became a separate duchy in 1289. According to 14th-century writers, the town seemed defensive in character and was ruled by Siemowit of Bytom. The town became a possession of the Bohemia crown in 1335, passing with that crown to the Austrian Habsburgs as Gleiwitz in 1526.
Because of the vast expenses incurred by the Habsburg Monarchy during their 16th century wars against the Ottoman Empire, Gleiwitz was leased to Friedrich Zettritz for the amount of 14,000 thalers. Although the original lease was for a duration of 18 years, it was renewed in 1580 for 10 years and in 1589 for an additional 18 years.
During the mid 18th century Silesian Wars, Gleiwitz was taken from the Habsburg Monarchy by the Kingdom of Prussia along with the majority of Silesia. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Gleiwitz was administered in the Prussian district of Tost-Gleiwitz within the Province of Silesia in 1816. The city was incorporated with Prussia into the German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany. In 1897 Gleiwitz became its own Stadtkreis, or urban district.
The first coke-fired blast furnace on the European continent was constructed in Gleiwitz in 1796 under the direction of John Baildon. Gleiwitz began to develop into a major city through industrialization during the 19th century. The town's ironworks fostered the growth of other industrial fields in the area. The city's population in 1875 was 14,156. However, during the late 19th century Gleiwitz had: 14 distilleries, 2 breweries, 5 mills, 7 brick factories, 3 sawmills, a shingle factory, 8 chalk factories and 2 glassworks.
Other features of the 19th century industrialized Gleiwitz were a gasworks, a furnace factory, a beer bottling company, and a plant for asphalt and paste. Economically, Gleiwitz opened several banks, Savings and loan associations, and bond centers. Its tram system was completed in 1892, while its theater was opened in 1899; until World War II, Gleiwitz' theatre featured actors from throughout Europe and was one of the most famous theatres in the whole of Germany.
According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Gleiwitz's population in 1905 was 61,324. By 1911 it had two Protestant and four Roman Catholic churches, a synagogue, a mining school, a convent, a hospital, two orphanages, and a barracks. Gleiwitz was the center of the mining industry of Upper Silesia. It possessed a royal foundry, with which were connected machine factories and boilerworks. Other industrialized areas of the city had other foundries, meal mills, and factories producing wire, gas pipes, cement, and paper.
After the end of World War I, clashes between Poles and Germans occurred during the Silesian Uprisings. Ethnically Polish inhabitants of Upper Silesia wanted to incorporate the city into the Second Polish Republic. The differences between Germans and Poles led to the First and Second Silesian Uprisings, and German resistance against them. Seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, the League of Nations held a plebiscite on 20 March 1921 to determine which country the city should belong to. In Gleiwitz, 32,029 votes (78.7% of given votes) were for remaining in Germany, Poland received 8,558 (21.0%) votes, and 113 (0.3%) votes were declared invalid. The total voter turnout was listed as 97.0%. This prompted the Third Silesian Uprising, which then forced the League to arbitrate. It determined that three Silesian towns: Gleiwitz, Hindenburg and Beuthen would remain in Germany, and the eastern part of Upper Silesia with its main town of Katowice (Kattowitz) would join restored Poland.
An attack on a radio station in Gleiwitz on 31 August 1939, staged by the German secret police, served as a pretext, devised by Reinhard Heydrich under orders from Hitler, for Nazi Germany to invade Poland, which marked the start of the Second World War. From July 1944 to January 1945, Gliwice was the location for one of the many sub-camps of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
On 24 January 1945, Gliwice was occupied by Red Army The city was placed under Polish administration according to the 1945 Potsdam Conference and thus part of the Silesian-Dabrowa Voivodeship. Most of the German population was expelled according to the agreements made at the Potsdam Conference and replaced with Poles expelled from eastern, previously Polish lands annexed post war by the Soviet Union. It was incorporated into Poland's Silesian Voivodeship on 18 March 1945.
Gliwice is a major applied science hub for the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union. Gliwice is a seat of:Silesian University of Technology with about 32,000 students (Politechnika Śląska)
Akademia Polonijna of Częstochowa, branch in Gliwice
Gliwice College of Entrepreneurship (Gliwicka Wyższa Szkoła Przedsiębiorczości)
Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk)
Institute of Theoretical And Applied Informatics
Institute of Chemical Engineering
Other (commercial or government funded) applied research centers:
Oncological Research Center (Centrum Onkologii)
Inorganic Chemistry Research Institute (Instytut Chemii Nieorganicznej)
Research Institute of Refractory Materials (Instytut Materiałów Ogniotrwałych)
Research Institute for Non-Ferrous Metals (Instytut Metali Nieżelaznych)
Research Institute for Ferrous Metallurgy (Polish: Instytut Metalurgii Żelaza)
Welding Research Institute (Instytut Spawalnictwa)
The Gliwice Canal (Kanał Gliwicki) links the harbour to the Oder River and thus to the waterway network across much of Germany and to the Baltic Sea. There is also an older Kłodnica Canal (Kanał Kłodnicki) which is no longer operational.Piast Gliwice – men's football team playing in Orange Ektraklasa (since season 2008/2009),
Carbo Gliwice – men's football team,
Sośnica Gliwice – women's handball team playing in Polish Ekstraklasa Women's Handball League: 10th place in 2003/2004 season.
Gliwickie Towarzystwo Koszykówki – men's basketball team.
P.A. Nova Gliwice – men's futsal team playing in 1st league (4 times Champion of Poland).
Gliwice Cricket Club
K.S. Kodokan Gliwice - martial arts team and club.
Gliwice LIONS - American Football team.
President of the city (i.e. Mayor) is Zygmunt Frankiewicz. Gliwice has 21 city districts, each of them with its own Rada Osiedlowa. They include in alphabetical order: Bojków, Brzezinka, Czechowice, Kopernik, Ligota Zabrska, Łabędy, Obrońców Pokoju, Ostropa, Politechnika, Sikornik, Sośnica, Stare Gliwice, Szobiszowice, Śródmieście, Żwirki I Wigury, Trynek, Wilcze Gardło, Wojska Polskiego, Wójtowa Wieś, Zatorze, Żerniki.
Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Bytom/Gliwice/Zabrze constituency include: Brzeziński Jacek (PO), Chłopek Aleksander (PiS), Gałażewski Andrzej (PO), Głogowski Tomasz (PO), Kaźmierczak Jan (PO), Martyniuk Wacław (LiD), Religa Zbigniew (PiS), Sekuła Mirosław (PO), Szarama Wojciech (PiS), Szumilas Krystyna, (PO).The Gliwice Radio Tower of Radiostacja Gliwicka ("Radio Station Gliwice") in Szobiszowice is the only remaining radio tower of wood construction in the world, and with a height of 118 meters, is perhaps the tallest remaining construction made out of wood in the world.
Gliwice Trynek narrow-gauge station is a protected monument. The narrow-gauge line to Racibórz via Rudy closed in 1991 although a short section still remains as a museum line.
Castle in Gliwice dates back to the Middle Ages and hosts a museum.
Gliwice is twinned with the following cities:John Baildon, Scottish engineer
Richard Fritz Behrendt, German sociologist
Horst Bienek, German author of novels about Upper Silesia
William Blandowski, zoologist, photographer
Sebastian Boenisch, Polish-German footballer who plays for the Poland national football team
Lothar Bolz, foreign affairs minister of the communist German Democratic Republic
Adeltraut Thienel (Hayes), Actress, Socialite, Artiste, Dressmaker
Agata Buzek, actress, daughter of Jerzy Buzek
Jerzy Buzek, professor of chemistry, prime minister of Poland 1997–2001, MEP since 2004 and president of European Parliament since 2009
Ernst Degner, German Grand Prix motorcycle racer and designer
Robert Dziekański, Polish immigrant to Canada who was tasered 5 times and killed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Vancouver International Airport
Gottfried Bermann Fischer, German publisher
Christian Ganczarski, convert to Islam and convicted terrorist
Eugen Goldstein, German scientist
Sophia Grojsman (Khodosh), internationally famous USA perfumer
Hans Hanke, German military officer (World War Two).
Rudolf Herrnstadt, German communist
Wojciech Kocyan, pianist
Richard Kubus, German football player
Włodzimierz Lubański,Polish football player
Zbigniew Messner, professor and former rector of Economic Academy in Katowice, deputy prime minister of People's Republic of Poland 1983–1985, prime minister 1985–1988
Gustav Neumann, German chess player
Lukas Podolski, Polish-German football player, Galatasaray FC
Adam Matuszczyk, Polish football player
Tadeusz Różewicz, Polish poet and writer
Zofia Rydet, photographer
Stanisław Sojka, musician
Oskar Troplowitz, pharmacist and owner of Beiersdorf AG, inventor of Nivea and other products
Richard Wetz, composer
Erich Peter Wohlfarth, German physicist
Leo Yankevich, poet and translator
Adam Zagajewski, poet
Krystian Zimerman, internationally renowned Polish pianist