The Opolskie Voivodeship lies in south western Poland, it has an international border with the Czech Republic and four Polish provincial borders; Lower Silesia, Wielkopolska, Łódź and Silesia. It is the smallest of the 16 provinces within Poland and occupies 9,400 sq Km. The population has a diverse ethnic make up of; Poles, Czechs, Ukrainians and Germans and is about the one million mark.
Opole is the capital of the region, with 34 towns and about 1,500 villages. The province is divided into 11 rural districts, Powiats, and one town district, Municipal County. The neighbouring provinces are; Lower Silesian (Wielkopolska) on the west, Great Poland and Łódzkie (Łódź) to the north and the Silesian Province to the east. The international border with the Czech Republic is at three places; Pietrowice, GŁuchoŁazy and Konradów.
The northern and central parts of the province lies in the Silesian Lowland and what is known as the Raciborz Basin is to the south. The Opawskie Mountains are to the south of GŁuchoŁazy and form part of the Opawskie Mountains Landscape Park. Tourist areas are to be found in the areas of; Nysa, Opole, Olesno and Brzeg.
The Opolskie Voivodeship has major transit routes by rail, road and the Odra River inland waterway which is an important asset to the region. It boasts south Poland’s most important mass transit route, the A4 motorway, which is part of the Trans European route, Berlin to Kiev transport corridor. To the south, the Opolskie Voivodeship shares no fewer than six border crossings with the Czech Republic. An international east-west railway line traverses through the province. In the future this railway line is planned to be part of the Trans-European Railway Network, which should provide a solid foundation for ongoing and dynamic development of the province. It is hoped that the Opolskie region’s traffic infrastructure will be considered as one of the best in the country, as the density of public roads is as high as 90.9 km per 100 square km.
The Opolskie Voivodeship is greatly industrialised and the area has rich mineral resources. Industries include; cement, metallurgical, chemical, power and agriculture at Opole. At Brzeg there is an industrial centre with food processing plants, electric motor and farm factories. GŁubczyee has food and textile industries and at GŁuchoŁazy there is paper and furniture manufacturing. Kedzierzyn-Kozle is a centre for the chemical industry and at Kluczbork they make hoisting and overhead crains. Nysa is home to a large industrial park including a truck factory and Chio Lily Snack Foods amongst others. Otmuchów has sugar refining and at Prudnik in the Opawskie Mountains, there is a cotton factory. Strezel Opolskie hoists cement, machine and the wood industry.
The Opolskie Voivodeship is a crossroads for Polish, German, Silesian and Czech cultures together with their traditions. This coming together of different cultures has helped to create a tolerance and understanding within the society. It was the strong determination of the people of the region that helped to bring about the Opolskie Voivodeship, when the administrative reforms of Poland in 1998 were being put in place.
Opolskie – Poland Travel Guide