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Coat of arms of Opole
Opole Opole (Poland)
Opole Opole
Basic data
State : Poland
Voivodeship : Opole
Powiat : District-free city
Area : 148.99  km²
Geographic location : 50 ° 40 ′  N , 17 ° 56 ′  E Coordinates: 50 ° 40 ′ 0 ″  N , 17 ° 56 ′ 0 ″  E
Height : 176 m npm
Residents : 128.140
Postal code : 45-001 to 45-960
Telephone code : (+48) 77
License plate : OP
Economy and Transport
Street : A4 Wroclaw - Cracow
DK45 Zabełków - Złoczew
DK46 Kłodzko - Szczekociny
Next international airport : Katowice
Gminatype: Borough
Residents: 128.208
(Jun. 30, 2019)
Community number  ( GUS ): 1661011
Administration (as of 2015)
City President : Arkadiusz Wiśniewski
Address: Rynek
45-015 Opole
Website : www.opole.pl

The city of Opole facing the Piast , the Pfennigsbrücke , the place Ignacego Daszyńskiego , the Opole ring , founder temporal houses at ul. 1 Maja and an overview of Or and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

Opole [ ɔ'pɔlɛ ], German  Oppeln ( Silesian Uppeln , Schlonsakisch Uopole , Czech Opolí ), is the capital of the Polish Voivodeship Opole . The city is the center of an area of the German minority and a Roman Catholic bishopric . It is home to a university , a technical university , an art and music school and scientific institutes. It is the historical capital of Upper Silesia .



The city is located in the middle of the Upper Silesia region on both sides of the Oder at 175 m above sea level. NHN between Breslau and Katowice ( Kattowitz ) on the Oppelner Buckel, a microregion in the Silesian Plain , which in the north through the South Great Poland Plain and the Wielun Plateau, in the east through the Silesian Plateau with the Chelmer Massif around the St. Annaberg and in the south bounded by the Sudeten foreland and the Eastern Sudetes. The distance to Wroclaw in the northwest is about 80 kilometers.


Opole and its neighboring towns on a map from 1905
Opole as seen from Winau


Corresponding to the geographic location, Opole lies in the warm temperate middle latitudes with a continental heat balance and a semi-humid water balance. The annual average temperature is 8.5 ° C with 160 to 180 rainy days.


Human traces from thousands of years before the city was first mentioned can be found in the Opole region. Finds that can be seen in the Museum of Opole Silesia, among others, date from the Neolithic Age . Roman sources speak of the Lugen people who had numerous settlements in what is now Opole. During archaeological excavations in Chorula or Tarnów Opolski , urn cemeteries of such settlements were found. Numerous Roman coins were also discovered, whereby it can be assumed that these peoples traded with other peoples. This is where the Amber Road ran , on which amber came from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean region.

From the first mention to the acquisition of the Neumarkt law

The oldest surviving view of Opole from 1535, seen from the southeast

The area was probably part of Great Moravia at the end of the 9th century and after its disintegration came under the control of the Bohemian ruling family of the Přemyslids around 907 . The first mention of it goes back to the early 10th century. Here, the aforementioned Bavarian geographer in its second part, the existence of a tribal territory of opolans ( Opolini ) and its Wallburg on the Oder . A settlement of this tribe was on the northern tip of the Pascheke , which is known under the name Ostrówek . Around 990 Silesia and the Opole area were annexed to the Polish state by Mieszko I. In 1039 Břetislav I conquered the area back for eleven years, whereby Opole fell back to Bohemia . In 1050, Casimir I recaptured Silesia, which made it fall under the control of the Piasts . The death of Bolesław III. Wrymouth in 1138 ushered in the period of partial principalities in Poland, with Silesia being awarded to the eldest son Władysław II . After his death, Silesia was divided into two principalities in 1163 and then into three feudal small states in 1179 , including the Duchy of Opole, Ottmachau and Neisse . The first duke was Prince Jaroslaw , who at the same time was Bishop of Wroclaw from 1198 .

The Merian plan from 1650 clearly shows the outlines of the Opole city fortifications
The former Piast Castle with Piast Tower (demolished 1928–1930)
A photo of the Oder gate from 1880. The gate was only demolished in 1889 and was located at today's Ul. Catedra. On the right the spire of the Alexius Chapel .

In 1201 Mieszko I of Opole took possession of the South Silesian duchy and founded the Opole-Ratibor Piast dynasty. As Senior Duke of Poland (1210-1211) he is called Mieszko IV. His son Casimir I (1178-1230) moved the capital of the principality from Ratibor to Opole. At that time the city was a castellany . Between 1211 and 1217, Duke Casimir I founded a town as a merchant settlement on the Oder crossing , probably under Flemish law . As a result, he is considered the founder of the city of Opole in the history books. In 1228 he had a document stipulating that the town and the castle were to be fortified with a brick wall. At that time, many people, mainly from Western Europe, came to the newly founded city, including Germans, Flemings and Walloons . The Duke also had a castle built on the Ostrówek, the Piast Castle, which was demolished in the 1920s . Casimir I promoted trade and handicrafts in the city. The Kreuzkirche was mentioned for the first time in 1222 and shortly afterwards expanded to become a collegiate monastery . In 1295 it became the city's parish church , replacing the Aldalbertkirche .

In 1241 Opole was attacked by an army of the Golden Horde . In the further course of the 13th century, Casimir I's grandson became Duke of the Principality in 1246. He strove for a better development of the city, settled new areas in the empire and founded new cities. After his death, the Principality of Opole was divided among his sons. The princely Opole went to Bolko I. Bolko I built the stone defensive wall around the city, had the burned down Franciscan church rebuilt, expanded the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and completed the construction of the castle. The city fortifications consisted of five gates with gate towers. In the south there was the Beuthener Tor (also called Groschowizer Tor), in the east the Goslawitzer Tor , in the north the Nikolaitor (but this was walled up and could not be passed) and in the west towards the Oder the Oder and Schlosstor. There were also three other defense towers . At the cathedral was the Barborkaturm, in the east at the Bergelkirche the Flettnerturm and the Wilkturm at the cloth market.

In 1327, Duke Bolko II of Opole granted the city Neumarkt law . In the same year Bolko II of Opole and other Silesian dukes paid homage to the Bohemian King John of Luxembourg , the son of the Roman-German Emperor Henry VII . With the Treaty of Trenčín , the Polish King Casimir the Great accepted the loss of Silesia in 1335. The Duchy of Opole thus belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia , which was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation . In 1410 the city was granted Magdeburg law . Bolko III. (Opole) ruled together with his brother Wladislaus II. He was a candidate for the Polish throne and also held high positions in the empire. Johann I , son of Bolkos III, ruled the principality from 1382 to 1421. He erected the first brick buildings in the city as well as the hospital and the Alexius Chapel .

From the end of the Opole Piast dynasty to 1900

18th century plan of Opole
Depiction of Opole in an old engraving from 1734
City map of Opole from 1818
Wilhelminian style residential buildings at ul. 1-maja

The last Piast of Opole was Johann II , also known as Johann the Good . He dedicated the city's current coat of arms and wrote the first mining laws. From 1514 Opole was one of the largest centers of Silesian cloth weaving. At this time Opole was becoming an important trading center. The city was even allowed to introduce customs duties. In 1528, John the Good and Ferdinand I of Habsburg , King of Bohemia and Hungary, signed a treaty according to which the duchy and the city of Opole would fall to the Bohemian crown after his death. With the death of John the Good on March 27, 1532, the Duke's Tower fell to the Habsburgs. Between 1532 and 1666 the city and the duchy were pledged several times to the Habsburg creditors.

In 1615, a major fire destroyed all the houses within the city walls. During the Thirty Years War , the rebuilt city was again largely destroyed, including the Piast Castle. In 1655 the Polish King John II Casimir stayed in the city, he had fled to the Habsburg Silesia from the " Swedish Flood ", Swedish troops who had occupied almost all of Poland in the Second Northern War ; his mother came from the House of Habsburg. In Opole he wrote an appeal to his people in which he urged his Polish subjects to fight against the Swedes. The city was mortgaged to the Polish Wasa kings between 1645 and 1666 because the Habsburgs owed them too. The frequent changes in government hampered the development of the city and the duchy. In 1679 the plague raged in Opole, killing more than 900 people. In 1739 a major fire raged in the city and destroyed almost two thirds of the city. 135 of almost 210 houses fell victim to the flames.

In 1742, after Austria had lost the First Silesian War , most of Silesia, including Opole, fell to Prussia . The Prussian administration introduced compulsory schooling for the first time in the history of the city ; this further reduced the proportion of Polish-speaking residents in the city. In addition to a new post and tax office, a salt and building authority began their work. Furthermore, in 1747 the first garrison was stationed in Opole. So that Opole could develop faster, everyone who wanted to build a house received support of 50 to 80 thalers. Furthermore, factories and manufactories were promoted and the first hut settlements emerged in the Opole area. The German language was also introduced at all offices and schools.

At the beginning of the 19th century Opole developed into an important administrative and industrial center. With the restructuring of the district structures in Prussia in 1816, the seat of the Upper Silesian administrative district was moved from Brieg to Opole. Opole held this function until 1945. As a result, the population grew and the city's construction activity increased. In 1816 4050 people lived in the city. The demolition of the city fortifications began in 1822. In the same year the town hall received a new building. In 1824 the “Wilhelmstal” colony was established on the Paschekeinsel . At the same time, new living quarters were being built for newly arrived officials. At the beginning of the 1830s, the old government was built on today's Plac Wolności (then government square). In 1839 the midwifery school was built at the Bergelkirche. The old synagogue on Mühlgraben , which still stands today, was built in 1840 . A short time later, in 1843, the Upper Silesian Railway opened rail traffic between Opole and Breslau and in 1846 the connection to the industrial area around Katowice and Zabrze .

From the middle of the 19th century Opole developed into an important center of the cement industry. With the opening of the first "Portland cement works", founded by the Silesian industrialist Friedrich Wilhelm Grundmann , the age of the cement industry began in the Opole region. A few years later there were eight more cement factories. In 1863 the municipal gas works was set up and in 1886 the port at Mühlgraben was opened. In 1890 almost 19,000 people lived in the city. In 1891 the island of Pascheke was incorporated. In 1897 Leo Baeck inaugurated the New Synagogue built on the Paschekeinsel . In the same year the new barracks and the girls' school were opened. Furthermore, the construction of the water pipeline network began. At the end of the 19th century, the steeples of the cathedral , the mountain church and the Franciscan church were expanded. At that time, mainly Germans lived in the city, while Poles and Jews formed a minority. Three quarters of the urban population belonged to the Roman Catholic faith, almost 20 percent to the Protestant and five percent to the Jewish faith. In 1899 Opole left the district of Opole and formed its own urban district.


Waiting for the results of the 1921 referendum

At the beginning of the 20th century Opole had a Protestant church, two Catholic churches, a synagogue , a grammar school, a preparatory institute , an agricultural winter school, a large hospital, cement, machine, barrel and cigar production, a lime distillery, a beer brewery, Shipping, freight forwarding companies, three sawmills, a grinding mill, grain and cattle trade, a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Reichsbank and was the seat of a regional court and seat of government.

Between 1902 and 1913 the trading port on the Oder in Sakrau ( Zakrzów ) was built. In 1909 the Ostbahnhof was opened, in 1910 the city bought Bolko Island , and in 1911 the Bismarck Monument, removed in 1945, was unveiled on the station square. After the First World War was lost, a referendum was held in Upper Silesia on the basis of the resolutions of the Versailles Peace Treaty to determine the political affiliation of the area. In the referendum on March 20, 1921 , 20,816 eligible voters (94.7% of the votes cast) voted to remain with the German Reich, 1,098 for Poland (5.0%). 70 votes (0.3%) were invalid. The turnout was 95.9%. In comparison, in the city and district of Opole taken together, 24.0% voted for Poland.

Until the cession of East Upper Silesia to Poland in 1922, the Upper Silesian Industrial District (today's Silesian Voivodeship ) around Katowice also belonged to the Opole administrative district. The city with its predominantly Catholic population became the stronghold of the Center Party . In the last free Reichstag elections on November 6, 1932, the center in Opole received 35.9% of the vote and was thus well ahead of the NSDAP (26.8%). It was followed by the KPD (16.8%) and the SPD (9.1%).

The synagogue on Hafenstrasse during the fire on November 9, 1938
The collapsed town hall tower in 1934
War destruction 1945, ring

Between 1928 and 1931 the Piast Castle on Ostrówek was demolished and replaced by the new government building. Only the Piast Tower remained . When the castle was demolished, the foundations of an old Slavic settlement were discovered. In 1934 the town hall tower collapsed during renovations to the town hall. But this was rebuilt two years later. In 1936 the villages of Szczepanowice and Półwieś were incorporated. During the “ Reichskristallnacht ” on November 9, 1938, the synagogue on Hafenstrasse (today ul. Piastwoska) was destroyed and demolished. Jewish shops were also destroyed and Jews harassed and driven out.

In 1944 of the Second World War , Opole was declared a fortress. City commandant was Colonel Friedrich-Albrecht Graf von Pfeil .

1945 and after

Until 1945 Opole was the administrative seat of the administrative district of Opole in the Prussian province of Silesia of the German Empire .

The events of the war reached Opole four months before the end of the war. At the beginning of 1945 part of the German population was taken to the supposedly safe city of Breslau by train. They tried in vain to fortify the city, but there was a lack of material and manpower. As a result, Colonel Graf von Pfeil saw that it was pointless to hold the city and had the last remaining troops removed from the city. During the retreat, all bridges in the city area were blown up. Graf von Pfeil even shot himself on 23 January 1945 after the commander of Army Group Center , Colonel General Ferdinand Schörner , due to lack of tank traps him with demotion had threatened.

On 23/24 January 1945 the Red Army took the districts east of the Oder. However, it was not until March 15, 1945 that the remaining urban area could be conquered by the units of the 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army . On March 24, 1945, the city was placed under the administration of the People's Republic of Poland by the Soviet Union in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement . The city had only 170 inhabitants that day; about 60% of the city was destroyed.

The surrounding cement factories in Opole were also badly damaged during the war. The Odra cement factory, for example, lost all of its machinery. The Groschowitz cement factory was the first to start operations again. The Königlich Neudorf / Bolko cement works followed in 1947. The Odra cement works did not start operating again until 1951.

The immigration of Polish migrants began as early as April 1945, some of whom later came from areas east of the Curzon Line that had fallen to the Soviet Union and where they belonged to the Polish minority. At the same time, after the end of the fighting, thousands of the German residents of the city returned to their homes, as far as they were not destroyed. The provisional government of Poland, the so-called Lublin Committee , is said to have put forward in a secret meeting with Soviet leaders in July 1944 the wish to annex almost all of Silesia, namely the entire area east of the Oder and Lusatian Neisse , and to slam Poland. In 1945/46, the Germans were expelled by the local Polish administrative authorities or deported to labor camps in the area. a. to Lamsdorf . The Polish administration systematically removed traces of the German past: street and company names were replaced by Polish ones, the holdings of many libraries were burned. The public use of German was forbidden; no German was taught in schools until the political changes in 1989.

The north side of the ring in the 1970s
Residential houses from the 1970s in the Zaodrze district of Opole at ul. Niemodlinska

The reconstruction of the city began in 1947. The houses and facades in the old town were partially reconstructed true to the original or replaced by modern housing. The houses on the Ring, for example, were partially restored to their old facade or were rebuilt with a new historicizing facade, mostly in the Baroque style. Furthermore, some burned-out buildings, such as the old government on Plac Wolnósci, were demolished to make room for green spaces. In the first years after the war, new houses were built quickly. Already in 1950 almost 38,000 people lived in the city, most of them from the former eastern regions of Poland. With the establishment of the Opole Voivodeship in 1950, the city also became the capital of the country of the same name. In 1955 the place Nowa Wieś Królewska was incorporated, as well as in 1961 the place Kolonia Gosławicka and in 1965 Groszowice . In 1974 the place Gosławice followed , and in 1975 the places Wójtowa Wieś , Wróblin , Malina , Grotowice and Bierkowice were incorporated. In the 1960s and 1970s Opole was one of the most dust-polluted cities in Poland. The permissible standards were exceeded by the numerous cement factories in the city. It was not until the 1980s that attempts were made to counteract the degree of dust by installing dust extraction systems.

Between 1957 and 1963 the festival "The Days of Opole" was held, with concerts, dance evenings, theater performances, exhibitions and performance shows of the Opole industry being held throughout the city. With the elevation of the city to the "metropolis of Polish hits", this festival lost its importance and was replaced in 1963 by the National Festival of Polish Songs . The first festival took place from June 19 to 23, 1963 in the newly built amphitheater. Over the years this hit festival became more and more popular and is now one of the most important musical events in Poland. In 1972 the diocese of Opole was founded by Pope Paul VI. called out. In 1975 the Jan Kochanowski Theater was opened. On February 16, 1990, the German minority was recognized in Poland , which is mainly based in the Opole Silesia region. In 1994 the University of Opole was founded.

In 1997 Opole was hit by the flood of the century on the Oder . A state of alarm was declared on July 8th and the flood reached its highest level of 777 cm on July 10th. Especially the suburbs like Zaodrze , Wójtowa Wieś or Szczepanowice were flooded, but also the Pascheke islands and the Bolko island with the zoo . Many listed buildings such as the ice house at the castle pond, the Pfennig Bridge or the amphitheater were flooded. Many of the animals drowned in the zoo because they could not be saved in time. In 2004 the University of Opole awarded an honorary doctorate to Pope John Paul II.

2017 and after

On January 1, 2017, the city was enlarged by several places from the Powiat Opolski (Opole district). This happened against the will of the incorporated places, unilaterally at the request of the city of Opole. 90% of the residents of the affected places voted against incorporation into the city. The community of Groß Döbern was particularly hard hit, losing half of its towns, and thus a large part of its inhabitants, as well as important business operations and thus jobs and business income. The announcement of the expansion plans led to regular protests and strikes, and even to blockades. Since the end of December 2016, residents of the incorporated towns have even been on a hunger strike hoping to meet with government officials. Originally it was planned to incorporate areas of other communities. Another point of contention was the loss of the community representatives, who were only elected in 2014 and will therefore be dropped long before the end of the legislative period. The consequence was also the loss of bilingualism and minority rights, since in Poland these are made dependent on the local percentage.

Etymology of the city name

The name Opole or Opole comes from a territorial association of the Western Slavs , who called opole an area in which there was an amalgamation of several settlements with a central location. The city name developed from the Slavic form Opule or Opole in the 12th century to Opole , Oppol and Opul in the 13th century. From the Latin versions Oppelia , Oppolia and Opulia in the Middle Ages , the Germanized names Opel , Oppel and Oppeln emerged .

There are also the following legends and sagas:

  • According to the chronicle of the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross, the city name goes back to a settlement called Apollonia , which was founded by the knight Apollonius. The name developed first to Opolonia , then to Opolia and finally to Opole .
  • According to the Dominican chronicles, the city name is derived from the poplars that grow in large numbers in the area . The names Popolia and Opolia emerged from the Latin word populus , from which the names Opol , Opul and Opole emerged .
  • According to popular tradition, the town's name goes back to a saying of Prince Leszek , son of Krakus , who got lost while hunting in the area around 768. After wandering around in the forest for days, the prince saw a spacious clearing and called out Oh, pole! ( Oh, a field! ). He founded a settlement called Opole near this point .


In the last census in 2002, 89.9% of the then 129,946 inhabitants declared themselves to be Polish, 3,279 people (2.5%) described themselves as Germans , 921 (0.7%) as " Silesians ". In addition, a small group of Roma (178 people) was registered.

Population development until 1945
year Residents Remarks
1533 1420 first population census of the city
1691 1191
1700 1150
1746 1161
1750 2450
1756 2476
1783 2779 thereof 351 Evangelicals, 2393 Catholics, 35 Jews
1787 2802
1800 3073
1816 4050
1819 4896
1825 5978 thereof 1,329 Protestants, 4,449 Catholics, 200 Jews
1834 6496
1840 6969 1697 Protestants, 5369 Catholics, 496 Jews
1850 8280
1858 8877 of which 8,320 Germans (93.7%) and 557 Poles (6.3%)
1861 9608 plus 615 military personnel
1867 11,330 on December 3rd
1871 11,879 on December 1st, including 2581 Evangelicals, 8610 Catholics, 688 Jews (700 Poles )
1875 12,694
1890 19.206 3964 Protestants, 14,520 Catholics and 712 Jews
1900 30,112 of which 6,865 Protestants and 22,546 Catholics
1905 30,769 with the garrison (a fusilier regiment No. 63), of which 6785 Protestants and 582 Jews (5805 Poles )
1910 33,907 thereof 7406 Evangelicals and 25,935 Catholics (80% German-speaking, 16% Polish- speaking and 4% German and Polish-speaking)
1919 35,483
1925 41,507 of which 8,426 Protestants, 32,437 Catholics, 33 other Christians and 528 Jews
1933 44,680 of which 9122 Protestants, 34.744 Catholics, three other Christians and 525 Jews
1936 50,561
1939 50,540 on May 17, including 10,283 Evangelicals, 38,438 Catholics, 260 other Christians and 291 Jews
1945 170 on March 24th
1945 13,000 in July
1946 40,000
Number of inhabitants since the end of the Second World War
Year / date Population numbers
1950 50,300
1956 56,400
1960 63,500
1965 70,000
1971 87,800
1973 92,600
December 31, 1989 127,653
1992 census 129,552
2002 census 129,946
December 31, 2004 128,864
June 30, 2012 122.120

German minority

Since the flight and expulsion of the German population, only a few Germans have lived in the center of Opole. The low percentage of this population group of 2.5% of the total population, however, conceals the fact that the German minority is almost exclusively based in the rural districts and is also organized in local groups there. There are seven local groups (DFK) in the city of Opole: Goslawitz, Groschowitz, Grudschütz, Malino, Königlich Neudorf, Frauendorf and Vogtsdorf.

Due to the many German educational and cultural institutions that have been operating from Opole since the political change, Opole can still be spoken of as the capital of the German minority. The Association of German Social-Cultural Societies in Poland (VdG), the umbrella organization of the German minority in Poland , and the Social-Cultural Society of Germans in Opole Silesia (SKGD) have their headquarters in Opole. The House of German-Polish Cooperation has a branch in Opole. The consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany is located on the Oderinsel. The German-Polish Eichendorff Central Library has also been promoting international understanding since 2000 .

With the Association of German Students in Poland in Opole , the university town of Opole also received a non-denominational German student union in 2003 .

From 2014 to 2018 the German minority had a member of the city council in Marcin Gambiec.


Flag of Opole city with coat of arms

badges and flags

The coat of arms of the city of Opole : in blue on the right half a golden eagle and on the left in blue half a golden clover-leaf cross leaning against it. The shield is crowned with a wall crown with five battlements. These heraldic colors are also the city colors and can be found in the flag of the city of Opole. This consists of two horizontal stripes with the color gold on top and the color blue on the bottom.

A seal from the 13th century contains the oldest known representation of the Opole city arms. It was created as a combination of the coat of arms of the Opole Piasts and the relic of the Holy Cross , after which the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross is named. The position of the half eagle and cross changed several times over the centuries; there are also images of the coat of arms on which the half eagle is on the left and the half clover leaf cross is on the right. Today the traditional coat of arms of the Opole Piasts is used in a modern design as the coat of arms of the Opole Voivodeship .

Town twinning

Directional signs of the Opole twin cities

Opole has partnerships with the following cities:

The cities of Carrara, Grasse, Ingolstadt and Opole signed a four-sided partnership agreement in 2000. So all of these cities are related to each other. In addition, the Opole Voivodeship has been in partnership with the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate since February 23, 1996 . Since May 2nd 1997 there is a friendship between cities with Bonn (North Rhine-Westphalia).

City leaders

Ryszard Zembaczynski (2009)


  • 1809: Josef Storch
  • 1812: Jäkel
  • 1818–1841: Wilhelm Leopold Augustini
  • 1841–1853: Franz Goretzki
  • 1853–1855: Ernst Mouillard
  • 1855–1871: Franz Goretzki
  • 1872–1880: Wilhelm Goetz
  • 1881-1892: Paul Trentin

First Mayor / Lord Mayor

City Presidents (1945–1950)

  • 1945–1946 Maksymilian Tkocz
  • 1946: Wilhelm Szafarczyk
  • 1947-1948: Franciszek Gwiazda
  • 1948–1950: Lucjan Skalski

Chairman of the Presidium of the Municipal National Council (1950–1975)

  • 1952: Lucjan Skalski
  • 1952-1953: Leonty Ogryzko
  • 1953-1965: Karol Musioł
  • 1965–1968: Henryk Tabor
  • 1968–1969: Jan Radomański
  • 1973: Franciszek Florkiewicz
  • 1973-1974: Szymon Lachowicz
  • 1952–1953: Feliks Hajduczek

Mayor (since 1975)

  • 1975-1978: Feliks Hajduczek
  • 1978–1982: Bronisław Błotnicki
  • 1982–1986: Edward Bochyński
  • 1986-1990: Tadeusz Berka
  • 1990-1994: Jacek Kucharzewski
  • 1994-2001: Leszek Pogan
  • 2001-2002: Piotr Synowiec
  • 2002–2014: Ryszard Zembaczyński
  • since 2014: Arkadiusz Wiśniewski

The 2018 city president election led to the following result:

Arkadiusz Wiśniewski, who was supported not only by his own electoral initiative but also by Koalicja Obywatelska , was re-elected in the first ballot.

City council

The city council consists of 25 members. The 2018 city council election led to the following result:


Alexius Chapel

Alexius Chapel

The Alexius Chapel is a Catholic chapel in downtown Opole. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Hospitalstrasse (Polish ul. Szpitalna). The chapel was built in 1421 by Prince Johann I of Opole and served as a hospital chapel for centuries.

Mountain church

The mountain church is located on the highest mountain in Opole and is the oldest church in the city. According to legend, St. Adalbert preached on this mountain between the years 984 and 995 and baptized people all over the area. That is why people built a wooden church and consecrated it to Mary, the Mother of God, and later to St. Adalbert. At the beginning of the 13th century a brick church with a monastery was built, which is now used by the University of Opole . The facade dates from the middle of the 19th century and the spacious staircase from the beginning of the 20th century.

Franciscan Church

The Franciscan church from the 14th century was the parish church of the Protestant parish in Opole until the end of the Second World War. Under Felix von Dobschütz , first pastor and superintendent from 1914–1933 , the church was restored in the 1920s.

Cathedral of the Holy Cross

Cathedral of the Holy Cross

The Gothic Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest church in Opole. It was elevated to a minor basilica in 1934 and has served as its cathedral since the diocese of Opole was established in 1972 . The history of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross goes back to the construction of the first wooden church in 1002. A three-aisled, brick basilica with a low south tower was built from 1254 onwards. With the completion of construction work in 1295, the collegiate church , which had existed since 1232, received parish rights. Far-reaching changes in the interior of the church changed the appearance several times. At the end of the 19th century, the baroque furnishings were replaced by a Gothic one, which has been preserved to this day. The exterior of the church was not given its present appearance until 1899–1900, after the two 73-meter-high neo-Gothic towers had been completed.

Church of Saint Sebastian

The Church of St. Sebastian is a baroque style church built between 1680 and 1696 in the heart of the city. She is the St. Sebastian, who is the patron saint of plague sufferers.

Mill moat

Mühlgraben and Opole Venice

The Mühlgraben (Polish Młynówka) is a tributary of the Oder in Opole. The island of Pascheke is located between the Oder and the Mühlgraben. The Mühlgraben originally represented the main stream of the Oder near Opole.

Penny Bridge

The Pfennig Bridge (also Groschenbrücke or Green Bridge) is a pedestrian bridge over the Mühlgraben, which leads from the island of Pasieka to the old town. It was built in 1903. Since a pfennig or groschen toll was previously levied on the bridge, it was baptized in this name.

Piast Tower

Piast tower and government building 2011

The 51 meter high Piast Tower is today the last relic of the former Opole Castle , which was probably built from 1217. After the Piasts from Opole died out in 1532, the castle became increasingly dilapidated. It was only moved into again in the 19th century and from 1860 it served as a government and administrative building. However, in 1928 the demolition was decided, which was carried out in 1931. In place of the castle, a modern government building was built from 1932 to 1936, which is now the seat of the voivodeship administration. Only the Piast Tower remained. This took as keep a well vigilance in addition to the military function. There was also a dungeon inside. Today it's a museum.

town hall

City Hall seen from the Piast Tower

The Opole town hall , located in the middle of the ring, is in the style of the Florentine Palazzo Vecchio and is dominated by the 62.4 m high town hall tower. The town hall tower was originally built in 1864 after the previous town hall tower had to be demolished for structural reasons in the previous year. But the town hall tower collapsed on July 15, 1934 as a result of construction work that weakened the statics. During this last major renovation, general stores that had been attached to the town hall for centuries were removed from 1933 onwards . The reconstruction was completed in 1936. The current shape of the building goes back to a renovation between 1818 and 1821. Various stylistic elements by Karl Friedrich Schinkel were incorporated into the renovation . Originally there was a wooden department store on the site of the town hall, which was first mentioned in 1308. Several renovations and the conversion to the town hall followed. A brick building was erected in the 15th century, and a tower clock and bell were added in the 16th century. The bell bore the foundation year 1566, the city coat of arms and was provided with the inscription Concordia mater rei publice . The city prison was located in the basement of the town hall, while the building itself contained the ballroom , known as the prince's hall, with a ribbed vault . Since the 16th century there was also a council cellar in the Opole town hall , which was called the Schweidnitzer Keller because of the beer served from Schweidnitz .


Baroque town houses on the Ring

As in many Silesian cities, a ring forms the central square of the city in Opole. The development consists of 32 baroque town houses, most of which were destroyed in the last days of the Second World War. It was rebuilt until 1955, during which the original appearance, which was partially lost due to modernization and renovations in the 19th and 20th centuries, was restored.

Castle pond and ice house

Ice house at the castle pond

The pond comes from the former moat that surrounded the Piast castle. In 1909, at the suggestion of the ice skating club, the ice house was built in the mountain style. The club hall and a café were located in the house. Today the “Piramida” restaurant is located here. In winter, the people of Opole were allowed to skate on the lake, and in summer to go out on boats. The figure skating championship took place here in 1934, with Maxie Herber emerging as the winner.

Streets and squares



Jan Kochanowski Theater
Museum of Opole Silesia

A dramatic theater named after the Polish poet and poet Jan Kochanowski has existed since 1975. The theater building has a total of three halls with 560, 193 and 80 seats. It is the successor to a theater founded in 1945 that operated as the stage of the Opole region from 1949 . Before the end of the Second World War , Opole already had a city theater in the town hall.


With the “ Museum of the Opole Village ” (Polish: Muzeum Wsi Opolskiej ), Opole has had an open-air museum since 1961 , which shows various wooden buildings from the rural surroundings of the Opole region in a park. The buildings have all been restored and furnished with original items.

The Museum of Opole Silesia ( Muzeum Śląska Opolskiego ) is set up in a former Jesuit college , which in turn was built from two former town houses that were owned by the Jesuits in 1670 and 1667 respectively. After the Jesuit ban of 1773, the building was secularized. The building then served as a residential building, government building and hospital. After restoration, a museum moved into the building for the first time in 1932. Today the museum shows the history of the city of Opole and the Opole region in a large archaeological section as well as a historical section and a folklore section. There is also a gallery of Polish paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Other important museums are the Central Museum of Prisoners of War in Lamsdorf-Opole ( Centralne Muzeum Jenców Wojennych w Lambinowicach-Opolu ), the Contemporary Art Gallery ( Galeria Sztuki Wspolczesnej ) and the Opole Diocesan Museum ( Muzeum Die Alfonsjalne w Opolu ), which was opened on the initiative of Arch Nossol was built and opened in 1987.


Joseph Elsner Philharmonic

In the field of classical music, the Opole Joseph Elsner Philharmonic (Polish Filharmonia Opolska im. Józefa Elsnera ) is the flagship of the city. Its origins lie in the Opole Symphony Orchestra founded in 1952 . In 1958 the name was changed to the State Symphony Orchestra of Opole . In honor of the Upper Silesian composer, conductor and music teacher Joseph Xaver Elsner , the orchestra was renamed the Joseph Elsner Orchestra in 1972. After the Joseph Elsner Orchestra was elevated to the status of a philharmonic orchestra in 1972 , the move to an old theater building took place in 1976, which was previously used as a hotel banquet and concert hall. A thorough renovation took place in 1990. By the 50th anniversary in 2002, a total of 9250 concerts were held. An orchestra and a choir act as the orchestra; both enjoy a very good reputation and appear regularly in concert halls at home and abroad. Foreign orchestras or choirs also often give guest performances in the Opole Philharmonic. The annual concert series includes u. a. the Silesian Composers Festival , which took place for the 11th time in 2007. The focus is on works by local composers. Every year we try to make rediscovered or forgotten composers accessible to a broad masses. In addition, rooms are also made available for non-musical events. For example, the foyer is used for art exhibitions or smaller halls for conferences.

Regular events


The city is known nationwide in Poland mainly because of the National Festival of the Polish Song in Opole (Polish: Krajowy Festiwal Piosenki Polskiej w Opolu ). The three-day music festival has been held annually in June since 1963. An amphitheater , known as the Millennium Theater , serves as the event space and was expanded in 1979 to include a striking vaulted stage. The amphitheater is located on the Oder island Pascheke directly in front of the Piast tower, which forms such a handsome backdrop. Many Poles associate the city name with this music festival in the first place, as it has become synonymous with the music festival.

An international drum festival has also been held since 1988 .


Economy and Infrastructure

"Odra" cement factory
Solaris Center


Due to the large limestone deposits in the surrounding area, Opole developed into the center of German cement production before the Second World War . Cementownia Odra is still active in this area today . The French Lafarge is also active in the building materials industry in Opole with its roof division Lafarge Roofing and the German chimney manufacturer Schiedel, which belongs to the group .

Other companies in Opole are the German fittings manufacturer Kludi , the German men's fashion manufacturer Ahlers and the French FSD Group (formerly Tower Automotive). As in the entire Opole region, there is also a strong food industry in the city of Opole. The largest companies in this sector with production facilities in Opole are the German dairy Zott and the Dutch baby food manufacturer NUTRICIA, which is part of the Numico group.

In Opole there are branches of all major Polish banks as well as the Santander Bank and the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank .

In retail, the Metro Group is represented in Opole with stores of the Makro Cash & Carry , Media Markt and real, - brands . There are also supermarkets from various chains such as Lidl , Aldi , Netto and Biedronka . The shoe retailer Deichmann and the drugstore chain Rossmann also have branches in Opole.

The city of Opole also has three shopping centers. The Solaris Center , which opened in May 2009, is located in the city center at Plac Mikołaja Kopernika . There are 86 shops here. These include branches of the fashion companies Zara , Bershka and C&A . Outside the city on Ulica Wrocławska is the Karolinka shopping center ( Centrum Handlowe Karolinka in Polish ). 99 shops, including fashion chains, electronics stores and a hardware store, extend over 38,000 m² of retail space. The mall opened in September 2008. In the east of the city, on the Droga Krajowa bypass 46, is the smallest of the three shopping centers, Turawa Park . Among the 50 stores there are several drugstores, such as Rossmann.


Rail and bus transport

Opole is an important railway junction with connections in all directions. After the Bytom – Breslau line went into operation on May 29, 1843, Opole Central Station was the third building of what was later to become the Reichsbahn . Opole was the seat of the Opole Railway Directorate . The current building of the main station was erected around 1899; the facade combines several different architectural styles .

The city also has the following stations and stops , which are served by regional trains: Opole Gosławice (German Goslawitz / Ehrenfeld; railway line Opole – Namysłów ); Opole Groszowice (Groschowitz; Bytom – Wrocław railway and Kędzierzyn-Koźle – Opole railway ); Opole Grotowice (Kędzierzyn-Koźle – Opole railway); Opole Wschodnie (Opole East; Opole – Wrocław railway ); Opole Zachodnie (German Opole West; Bytom – Wrocław railway)

In road passenger transport over 100 buses transport 25 million passengers annually. The total length of all inner-city lines is around 120 km.


To Opole by passing highway 4 ( E 40 ) (border crossing Ludwigsdorf , Germany- Wroclaw - Krakow -Grenzübergang Korczowa / Krakiwez , Ukraine). The highways 45 , 46 and 94 and other important connecting roads run through Opole .


Opole Airport, about 24 kilometers away, is located in the village of Kamień Śląski ( Big Stone ) in the municipality of Gogolin . In the nearby Polish Neudorf there is an airfield operated by the Aeroklub Opolski. The closest international airports are Wroclaw Nicolaus Copernicus Airport and Katowice Airport .


The Oder was used for inland navigation early on , but has seen a significant decline in annual transport figures. After the Second World War , around 23 million tons of goods could be transported annually. By 2006, the total volume of Polish inland shipping had dropped to around 6.6 million tons; by 2012, this continued to decrease to below 3 million tons. The Odra 2006 project was intended to increase the annual transport volume on the Oder to 20 million tons, but the project was discontinued with a government decision on November 28, 2014.


Collegium Maius of the University of Opole

Education and Research

Opole is an important educational location with around 32,000 students at the city's five universities. Of these, the University of Opole , the Opole University of Technology and the State College of Medicine Opole (Polish Państwowa Medyczna Wyższa Szkoła Zawodowa w Opolu ) public universities, while at the College of Management and Administration (Polish Wyższa Szkoła Zarządzania i Administracji w Opolu ) and the Opole branch of the Bogdan Jański University (Polish: Szkoła Wyższa im. Bogdana Jańskiego ) are private universities.

The research facilities in Opole are the Institute for Mineral Building Materials ( Instytutu Mineralnych Materia ów. Budowlanych ) and the Silesian Institute (Instytut Śląski w Opolu).

Public facilities

The Opole fire brigade provides fire protection and general help in its urban area and beyond. The Opole voluntary fire brigade was founded in 1862 and a year later it belonged to the Silesian Fire Brigade Association. Today there is a large fire brigade complex in Opole, which consists of a professional fire brigade including water rescue , the voivodship command with the fire brigade school, and the district command.


sons and daughters of the town

Politic and economy:

Art, literature and music:

Science, technology and research:



Leo Baeck

Other personalities associated with the city

  • Count Mrotsek († after 1263), nobleman, palatine in Opole
  • Carl Julius Adolph Hugo Hoffmann (1801–1843), German-Silesian church musician and composer, worked in Opole
  • Ernst Wahner (1821–1908), high school professor at the Royal Catholic High School
  • Paul Wachler (1834–1912), entrepreneur, founding member of the Chamber of Commerce in Opole
  • Wilhelm Muttray (1850–1922), hydraulic engineering director, 1884 head of weir and lock construction in Opole
  • Elisabeth Grabowski (1864–1929), Upper Silesian writer, died in Opole
  • Max Glauer (1867–1935), photographer, owned his photo at Krakauer Strasse 34a, died in Opole
  • Eduard Jüngerich (1872–1935), architect and urban planner, city planner in Opole (1908–1913)
  • Leo Baeck (1873–1956), 1897–1907 rabbi in the New Synagogue; His main work, The Essence of Judaism, was written in Opole
  • David Braunschweiger worked as a rabbi in Opole from 1917 to 1928 .
  • Waldemar Ossowski (1880–1959), Chief of Police in the Opole administrative district (1929–1933)
  • Georg Horstmann (1894–1940), Police President of Opole (1932–1933)
  • Friedrich Hueter (1897–1967), Councilor in Opole
  • Joachim Deumling (1910–2007), German lawyer and SS leader in Opole
  • Lieselotte Peter (1917–2000), track and field athlete, with Post SV Oppeln until 1941
  • Alfons Nossol (* 1932), bishop emeritus of Opole
  • Jerzy Buzek (* 1940), Polish politician, former professor at the Opole University of Technology
  • Peter Jaskola (* 1952), Polish Catholic priest and professor of theology at the University of Opole


  • Felix Triest : Topographical Handbook of Upper Silesia , Wilh. Gottl. Korn, Breslau 1865, pp. 51–57 .
  • Johann Georg Knie : Alphabetical-statistical-topographical overview of the villages, towns, cities and other places of the royal family. Preusz. Province of Silesia. 2nd Edition. Graß, Barth and Comp., Breslau 1845, pp. 890-892 .
  • Karl August Müller: Patriotic images, or history and description of all castles and knight palaces in Silesia and the county of Glatz. Second edition. Glogau 1844, pp. 146-148.
  • Heinrich Bartsch: The cities of Silesia. Research Center East Central Europe, Dortmund 1977.
  • Ryszard Emmerling, Urszula Zajączkowska: Opole. The capital of the Opole Voivodeship. Schlesischer Verlag ADAN, Opole 2003, ISBN 83-915371-3-7 .
  • Krystian Heffner, Wolfgang Kreft: Opole / Oppeln . Ed .: Peter Haslinger u. a. (=  Historyczno-topograficzny atlas miast śląskich / Historical-topographical atlas of Silesian cities . Volume 2 ). Herder Institute, Marburg / Wrocław 2011, ISBN 978-3-87969-362-7 ( online ).
  • Franz Idzikowski: History of the city of Opole. Clar, Opole 1863.
  • Johannes Schmidt: New buildings in the city of Opole. Hübsch, Berlin a. a. 1930. (digitized version)
  • Anna Bedkowska-Karmelita: Travel guide through the Opole region. Alkazar, Opole 2009, ISBN 978-83-925591-3-9 .

Web links

Commons : Opole  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Opole  travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. population. Size and Structure by Territorial Division. As of June 30, 2019. Główny Urząd Statystyczny (GUS) (PDF files; 0.99 MiB), accessed December 24, 2019 .
  2. ^ Website of the City of Opole, Prezydent Miasta Opola , accessed on January 20, 2015.
  3. a b c Jerzy Ballaban: Opole - 1945 and today. P. 27.
  4. ^ Ryszard Emmerling, Urszula Zajączkowska: Opole travel guide. Schlesischer Verlag ADAN, ISBN 83-915371-6-1 .
  5. a b Anna Bedkowska-Karmelita: travel guide through the Opole region. Alkazar, Oppeln 2009, ISBN 978-83-925591-3-9 , p. 30.
  6. A. March: Oppeln Falkenberg Gross Strehlitz, historical views from four centuries. 2007, ISBN 3-87057-206-X , p. 26.
  7. a b c d e f Urszula Zajaczkowska: Opole / Opole - an art-historical tour through the city on the Oder.
  8. Urszula Zajaczkowska: Ratusz w Opolu. MS Verlag, 2001, ISBN 83-88945-05-X .
  9. a b c Gerhard Schiller: Oppeln. Laumann-Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-89960-311-8 .
  10. a b Meyer's Large Conversation Lexicon . 6th edition, Volume 15, Leipzig / Vienna 1908, pp. 82–83.
  11. Urszula Zajaczkowska: 100 postcards from Opole. Adan Verlag, ISBN 83-908136-0-2 .
  12. ^ A b c d e f g h Michael Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. City and district of Oppeln (Polish: Opole). (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006).
  13. Ryszard Kaczmarek, Catholics and Nazi Movement in Upper Silesia, in: Limits of the Catholic Milieu. Stability and endangerment of Catholic milieus in the final phase of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era. Edited by Joachim Kuropka, Münster 2013, p. 150.
  14. a b Opole Fortress Exhibition catalog: “Wake up my heart and think!” - On the history of relations between Silesia and Berlin-Brandenburg / “Przebudz się, serce moje, i pomyśl” - Przyczynek do historii stosunków między Śląskiem a Berlinem-Brandenburgią . Berlin-Opole 1995.
  15. ^ RM Douglas: Proper transfer. The expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War. Munich 2013, pp. 109–110.
  16. ^ Edmund Nowak: Shadow of Łambinowice. Attempt to reconstruct the history of the labor camp in Łambinowice from 1945–1946. Opole 1994, pp. 7-12.
  17. Bernard Linek: Polityka antyniemiecka na Górnym Śląsku w latach 1945/1950. Opole 2000, pp. 223/244.
  18. ^ Matthias Kneip: The German language in Upper Silesia . Dortmund 1999, pp. 212-247.
  19. Jerzy Ballaban: Opole - 1945 and today. P. 60.
  20. opole.pl
  21. VDG: Enlargement of Opole now fact ( memento from January 7th 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  22. NTO: Większe Opole. W poniedziałek kolejne blokady dróg
  23. NTO: ws protest. Dużego Opola
  24. Lausitzer Rundschau: Hunger strike against violation of minority rights ( memento from January 7, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  25. Cf. Main Office of Statistics (GUS) ( Memento from December 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  26. a b c Felix Triest : Topographisches Handbuch von Oberschlesien , Wilh. Gottl. Korn, Breslau 1865, p. 53 .
  27. Johann Georg Knie : Alphabetical-statistical-topographical overview of the villages, spots, cities and other places of the royal family. Prussia. Province of Silesia, including the Margraviate of Upper Lusatia, which now belongs entirely to the province, and the County of Glatz; together with the attached evidence of the division of the country into the various branches of civil administration. Melcher, Breslau 1830, p. 987 .
  28. ^ Johann Georg Knie : Alphabetical-statistical-topographical overview of the villages, spots, cities and other places of the royal family. Preusz. Province of Silesia. 2nd Edition. Graß, Barth and Comp., Breslau 1845, pp. 890-892 .
  29. ^ A b Royal Statistical Bureau: The municipalities and manor districts of the province of Silesia and their population. Based on the original materials of the general census of December 1, 1871. Berlin 1874, pp. 304–305, item 2 .
  30. ^ Gustav Neumann : Geography of the Prussian State. 2nd edition, Volume 2, Berlin 1874, pp. 170-171, item 3.
  31. stat.gov.pl
  32. ^ Miasta Partnerskie ǀ Miasto Opole. Retrieved February 9, 2020 .
  33. a b c d e Opole district (territorial.de)
  34. ↑ In 1913, Neugebauer was probably the first to be awarded the title of Lord Mayor.
  35. ^ Result on the website of the electoral commission, accessed on July 17, 2020.
  36. ^ Result on the website of the electoral commission, accessed on July 17, 2020.
  37. Urszula Zajaczkowska: Oppeln / Opole - an art-historical tour through the city on the Oder. 2013, p. 9.
  38. opole.gazeta.pl
  39. Solaris Center (Polish)
  40. Centrum Handlowe Karolinka ( Memento of the original from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Polish) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / ch-karolinka.pl
  41. Turawa Park (Polish)
  42. ^ Situation of supply and demand in 2007 and analysis of the economy at the end of 2008 . In: Central Commission for Rhine Shipping (Ed.): European inland navigation. Market observation . tape 1 , no. 7 , 2008 ( ccr-zkr.org [PDF; 18.9 MB ; accessed on January 30, 2016]).
  43. The inland shipping market in 2013 and outlook for 2014/2015 . In: Central Commission for Rhine Shipping (Ed.): European inland navigation. Market observation . No. 18 , 2014 ( ccr-zkr.org [PDF; 3.5 MB ; accessed on January 30, 2016]).
  44. Ustawa o uchyleniu programu wieloletniego "Program dla Odry - 2006". (No longer available online.) In: programodra.pl. Regionalny Zarząd Gospodarki Wodnej we Wrocławiu, January 26, 2015, archived from the original on January 30, 2016 ; Retrieved January 30, 2016 (Polish).
  45. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : BF Oppeln: The fire brigade on the Oder . In: Florian Hessen 1/1989 . Munkelt-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1989, p. 32-34 . ISSN 0936-5370 .  
  46. Michael Brocke , Julius Carlebach (editor) et al. : 2051 Braunschweiger, David, Dr. , in this: The Rabbis in the German Empire 1871–1945 , Berlin / Boston: De Gruyter, 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44107-3 and ISBN 978-3-598-24874-0 , p. 101; Preview over google books
  47. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : Professor from Poland in Beselich annually for decades . In: Yearbook for the Limburg-Weilburg district 2020 . The district committee of the district of Limburg-Weilburg, Limburg-Weilburg 2019, ISBN 3-927006-57-2 , p. 223-228 .