Sosnowiec belongs to the group of most important towns of Upper Silesia, and is in its eastern part. Typically for the urban areas of the region, Sosnowiec is an industrial center with 4 mines and several factories; however, recently it has striven to develop its trade and services. Sosnowiec is mostly visited for business purposes, attracting people with its good location close to Katowice, Dabrowa Gornicza, Myslowice and other towns of the Silesian Industrial Area and its proximity to the international airport in Pyrzowice (20 km).
History of Sosnowiec Poland
Sosnowiec grew from a number of smaller settlements, some of them dating back to the Middle Ages. The first mention of the town comes from the year 1727 when the name appeared in the books of the Myslowice church, which described it as a milling and farming area. In the Middle Ages these lands belonged to Silesian Dukes.
Founding of Sosnowiec
The founding and development of the city is directly connected with the richness of the land, which helped industry to grow rapidly. Prussia annexed it in 1795 with the partitioning of Poland, but after the Napoleonic Wars it became a part of Warsaw Duchy and then the Polish Kingdom, a puppet state under Russian rule. The 19th century was a period that saw rapid industrialization of the area. Development speeded up after construction of the Vienna - Warsaw railway, which passed through the city.
It officially became a city on the 24th of January 1903, appointed by Tsar Nicholas II after many efforts from the rich and powerful inhabitants of the city. Interestingly, it was the first town chartered in the Polish Kingdom after the January Uprising against Russian rule in 1863 (then the “village” of Sosnowiec already had 60,000 inhabitants).
After World War II it belonged to Poland, and the 1920-30 period saw intense development of the mining and steel industries During World War II most of the Jewish population of Sosnowiec (which before the outbreak of war formed 22% of the whole population) found death in the extermination camps.
In recent decades, Sosnowiec’s downtown has been painstakingly rebuilt and renovated. Local designers received the Grand Prix for their project in a competition for the best public space in the Silesian Voivodship.
Sosnowiec Tourist Information
Almost 220,000 people live in Sosnowiec, which is predominantly an economic center that is developing successfully due to its Special Economic Zone, but if you expect only to see grey blocks of flats and factory chimneys then you may become confused. The neatly renovated downtown includes some very interesting historical sites, such as Sielecki Castle occupied by the Sosnowiec Center of Art, the Schoen Palace and Dietl Palace or the Orthodox church of Faith, Hope and Love.
Among the several green areas in the town, the most commendable is the Leon Kruczkowski Park with its Exotarium, designed to show everyone the diversity of flora and fauna from around the world. There are about 80 species of plants while the animal section has fish, reptiles and mammals.
Sosnowiec was home in 1920-30 to Jan Kiepura, a tenor of international fame. The town had formerly a significant population of Jews – and among the most famous citizen of Sosnowiec is Wladyslaw Szpilman, the composer and musician portrayed in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.
Dietel Palace Sosnowiec
The palace of Dietl in Sosnowiec is one of the most beautiful residential buildings not only in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, but also in whole Silesia. Heinrich Dietl erected the palace at the end of the 19th century. Heinrich Dietl was a German entrepreneur, who launched in Sosnowiec the first worsted spinning mill in the Polish Kingdom. The palace has a Neo-Baroque style. It impresses with its magnificent interior design.
The first plans of the building are from the 1880's and signed by Waligórski. The last project completed in 1890. Around the year 1900, after completion of the palace, a parked walled premise, with a conservatory and elements of small architecture emerged. The palace was part of the patronage team, including the park, the former factory, the workers' settlement, and the evangelical church. As a Dietel family residence, the palace functioned until 1945.
In January of that year the Soviet NKVD occupied the building for its needs. At that time, many parts of the palace and equipment were destroyed. Until 1997 the seat of the School of Music. Since 1997 the building has been privately owned. Since the same year renovation work has begun. From 2016 it is possible to explore the facility, rent halls for banquets with accommodation.
Palac Schoena Sosnowiec
The Oskar Schöen's Palace (Palac Schoena Sosnowiec) is one of the two residences of the Schöen family, on the merger of the districts and, at the time of its creation, the settlement: Ostra-Gorka and Sielec, on the left bank of the Black River. The palace is actually in the center of Sosnowiec.
Now the palace houses a museum, focusing on art, glass, archaeology, history and culture.