Bytom (Polish pronunciation: [ˈbɨtɔm] (listen); Silesian: Bytōń, German: Beuthen O.S.) is a city with powiat rights in southern Poland, in Silesia, in centre of Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin.

From top, left to right: Silesian Opera, Historic tram (in background Main Post Office), Dworcowa Street, Market square, Szombierki Heat Power Station, High school on Władysław Sikorski Square, The church of St. Margaret
Coordinates: 50°20′54″N 18°54′56″E
Countycity county
Established12th century
Town rights1254
  MayorMariusz Wołosz (KO)
  City69,44 km2 (2,681 sq mi)
Highest elevation
330 m (1,080 ft)
Lowest elevation
249 m (817 ft)
 (31 December 2018)
  City166,795 (23rd)[1]
  Density2,442/km2 (6,320/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 32
Car platesSY

It is one of the oldest cities in the Upper Silesia, and the former seat of the Piast dukes of the Duchy of Bytom. Until 1532, it was in the hands of the Silesian Piasts, then it belonged to the Hohenzollern dynasty. After 1623 it was a state country in the hands of the Donnersmarck family. From 1742–1945 the town was within the borders of Prussia and Germany, and played an important role as an economic and administrative centre of the local industrial region. Until the outbreak of World War II, it was the main centre of national, social, cultural and publishing organisations fighting to preserve Polish identity in Upper Silesia.

During Kristallnacht in 1938, Nazi Germans burned down the Bytom Synagogue. In 1942, the Beuthen Jewish community was liquidated and its members were the first transport to be sent to Auschwitz concentration camp.

After the war, decades of the Polish People's Republic were characterized by a constant emphasis on the development of heavy industry, which deeply polluted and degraded Bytom. After 1989, the city experienced a socio-economic decline, however, it remains an important place in the cultural, entertainment, and industrial map of the region.


The bedrock of the Upland of Miechowice consists primarily of sandstones and slates. The rocks are punctuated with abundant natural resources of coal and iron ore from the Carboniferous period. In the north part of the upland, in the Bytom basin lays the broad range of the triassic rocks, from sandstones to limestones, with rich ore, zinc and lead reserves. The upper layer is composed of clay, sand and gravel.

Coat of arms

One half of the coat of arms of Bytom depicts a miner mining coal, while the other half presents a yellow eagle on the blue field – the symbol of Upper Silesia.


Bytom is one of the oldest cities of Upper Silesia, originally recorded as Bitom in 1136, when it was part of the Medieval Kingdom of Poland. Archaeological discoveries have shown that there was a fortified settlement (a gród) here, probably founded by the Polish King Bolesław I the Brave in the early 11th century.[2]

After the fragmentation of Poland in 1138, Bytom became part of the Seniorate Province, as it was still considered part of historic Lesser Poland. In 1177 it became part of the Silesian province of Poland, and remained within historic Silesia since.[3] Bytom received city rights from prince Władysław in 1254 with its first centrally located market square. The city of Bytom benefited economically from its location on a trade route linking Kraków with Silesia from east to west, and Hungary with Moravia and Greater Poland from north to south. The first Roman Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary was built in 1231. In 1259 Bytom was raided by the Mongols. The Duchy of Opole was split and in 1281 Bytom became a separate duchy, since 1289 under overlordship and administration of the Kingdom of Bohemia. It existed until 1498, when it was re-integrated with the Piast-ruled Duchy of Opole. Due to German settlers coming to the area, the city was being Germanized.

It came under control of the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526, which increased the influence of the German language. The city became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1742 during the Silesian Wars and part of the German Empire in 1871. In the 19th and the first part of the 20th centuries, the city rapidly grew and industrialized.

Bytom was one of the main centers of Polish resistance against Germanization in Upper Silesia in the 19th century, up until the mid-20th century. Polish social, political and cultural organizations were formed and operated here. From 1848, the newspaper Dziennik Górnośląski was published here. In 1895, the "Sokół" Polish Gymnastic Society was established, and, during the Silesian uprisings, in 1919-1920, Polish football clubs Poniatowski Szombierki and Polonia Bytom were founded, which later on, in post-World War II Poland both won the national championship. In the interwar period, Bytom was one of two cities (alongside Kwidzyn) in Germany, in which a Polish gymnasium was allowed to operate. In 1923 a branch of the Union of Poles in Germany was established in Bytom. Before 1939, the town, along with Gleiwitz (now Gliwice), was at the southeastern tip of German Silesia.

The Bytom Synagogue was burned down by Nazi German SS and SA troopers during the Kristallnacht on 9–10 November 1938. During World War II, the Beuthen Jewish community was liquidated via the first ever Holocaust transport to be exterminated at Auschwitz-Birkenau.[4][5][6]

In 1945 the city was transferred to Poland as a result of the Potsdam Conference. Its German population was largely expelled by the Soviet Army, and replaced by a Polish population, some of them repatriated Poles from the eastern provinces annexed by the Soviets. Some of the indigenous Silesian population remained.

In 2017, the Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System, located mostly in the neighboring city of Tarnowskie Góry, but also partly in Bytom, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.[7]


Trade is one of main pillars of the economy of Bytom. Being a city with long traditions of commercial trade, Bytom is fulfilling its new postindustrial role. In the centre of Bytom, and mainly around Station Street and the Market Square, is the largest concentration of registered merchants in the county.

In 2007, Bytom and its neighbours created the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union, the largest urban centre in Poland.

Public transport

The tram routes are operated by Silesian Interurbans Tramwaje Śląskie S.A


Bytom is home to Polonia Bytom which has both a football and an ice hockey team (TMH Polonia Bytom). Its football team played in the Ekstraklasa most recently from 2007 to 2011, winning it twice in 1954 and in 1962. The Szombierki district is home to another former Polish champion Szombierki Bytom which won the title in 1980, and is one of the oldest clubs in the region.


Bytom's cultural venues include:

  • Silesian Opera – ul. Moniuszki 21/23
  • Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna w Bytomiu[8] (Town's Public Library)
  • Dance Theatre Rozbark in Bytom
  • Bytomskie Centrum Kultury[9] (Bytom Cultural Centre)
  • Kronika – Center of modern art
  • City Choir of St. Grzegorz Wielki

Among Bytom's art galleries are: Galeria Sztuki Użytkowej Stalowe Anioły, Galeria "Rotunda" MBP, Galeria "Suplement", Galeria "Pod Czaplą", Galeria "Platforma", Galeria "Pod Szrtychem", Galeria Sztuki "Od Nowa 2", Galeria SPAP "Plastyka" – Galeria "Kolor", Galeria "Stowarzyszenia.Rewolucja.Art.Pl", and Galeria-herbaciarnia "Fanaberia".


  • Annual International Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival
  • Theatromania – Theatre Festival
  • Bytom Literary Autumn
  • Festival of New Music


  • The list of Bytom universities includes:
  • Secondary schools:
    • I Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Jana Smolenia
    • II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Stefana Żeromskiego
    • IV Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Bolesława Chrobrego
    • 21 other secondary schools

Confederation of Silesia

Bytom is a place from where Confederation of Silesia – Polish Bonapartists originates.


Bytom/Gliwice/Zabrze constituency

Members of 2001–2005 Parliament (Sejm) elected from Bytom/Gliwice/Zabrze constituency

  • Jan Chojnacki, SLD-UP
  • Stanisław Dulias, Samoobrona
  • Andrzej Gałażewski, PO
  • Ewa Janik, SLD-UP
  • Józef Kubica, SLD-UP
  • Wacław Martyniuk, SLD-UP
  • Wiesław Okoński, SLD-UP
  • Wojciech Szarama, PiS
  • Krystyna Szumilas, PO
  • Marek Widuch, SLD-UP

Notable people


  1. "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved June 2, 2019. Data for territorial unit 2462000.
  2. J. Kramer, Chronik der Stadt Beuthen in Ober-Schlesien, Bytom, 1863, p. 1
  3. Roman Majorczyk, Historia górnictwa kruszcowego w rejonie Bytomia, Bytom, 1985, p. 9
  4. Jews deported from Beuthen (Bytom), list prepared in 1942 Archived 15 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Elsa Drezner, Yizkor Book Project Manager Avraham Groll, Names of Jews deported from Beuthen Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Translations: deportation Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System". UNESCO. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  9. DESIGN, ARF. "Bytomskie Centrum Kultury".

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