The Opole Voivodeship lies in southwestern Poland, bordering on the Czech Republic and four Polish provinces of Lower Silesia, Wielkopolska, Łódź and Silesia. Convenient location on major transit routes by rail, road and Odra River inland waterway is an important asset to the region.
It boasts the South Poland’s most important mass transit route – the A4 motorway, witch is the part of the Trans European Berlin - Kiev transport corridor. To the south, the Opole Voivodeship shares six border crossings with the Czech Republic. An international east-west railway route goes through the Region. The route is planned to be included in the Trans-European Railway Network, thereby providing solid foundations for sustained and dynamic development of the Opole Voivodeship.
The Opole Region is a crossroad of Polish, German, Silesian and Czech cultures and traditions. This melting pot of cultures has contributed to create tolerance and understanding in the Society. And in fact, when the administrative reform of Poland in 1998 was hanging in the balance, the citizens of the Opole Land expressed their determination and strong ties with the Region and got their own way – to have their own Voivodeship.
The Marshal Office of the Opole Voivodeship was first in the country to receive ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification.
The Region has excellent climate and natural assets and offers a selection of outdoor activities. Summer and winter outdoor recreation and adventure opportunities are some of the finest you will find anywhere in the Region that is characterised by diversified topography (Silesian Uplands, Silesian Lowland and a portion of Sudeten Foothills, Oder Valley).
Large part of the territory is covered by forests with four natural parks, many protected natural areas and biosphere reserves. Niemodlin Woods, Stobrawa Woods, Lubliniec and Racibórz Forests are among the largest forests in the Region.
Hikers and cyclists can appreciate adventures along the paths of St. Ann’s Hill, or Opava Mountains (close to the Czech border surrounds). Many modern recreational resorts with the latest spa treatment facilities (swimming pools, classic massages, Jacuzzi etc.) have been built in recent years in Moszczanka, Pokrzywna, Jarnołtówek. In the village of Kamień Śląski you can find the first sanatorium in the country to offer Kneipp therapy.
Lovers of swimming, sunbathing and water sports can enjoy their leisure time at Region’s dam lakes in Turawa near Opole or the Nysa Lake and Otmuchów Lake at the feet of Opava Mountains.
Opole Silesia is rich in sites of historical and archaeological interest, with its ancient monuments of the different historical ages - from Gothic-style fortified castles, Baroque mansions to small 19th century manor houses. Among much visited buildings of considerable artistic and architectural interest are the castle in Moszna, the ruins of the 19th century mansion in Kopice, the Silesian Piast Dynasty Castle in Brzeg and the Late Baroque mansion in Kamień Śląski.
When visiting the Opole Region, one cannot help but visit Krasiejów, a locality in the Gmina of Ozimek, where one of the world´s greatest palaeontological discoveries has been made recently. The well-preserved set of fossils of Triassic reptiles found here date back to about 225 million years ago. It is planned to set up a museum and tourist site to bring a spark of hope for tourist revival in the region. In January 2005, a permanent exhibition entitled "Walking with Dinosaur" was opened in the former primary school.
The Opole Land stands out nationally due its large economic and investment potential and quick rate of ownership transformations. Industry is characterised by a uniform distribution across the Voivodeship and by a diversified structure. At the end of 2004, there were more than ninety thousand businesses operating here, among them some eighty thousand private ones. Building and construction industry, electric machine and metal industry, chemical industry, fuel and energy industry, fertilizer industry, furniture industry, light and food industry are predominant industries. Coke, cement, lime, nitrogen fertilizers, alimentary fats and oils, trucks, tractors and machine tools for metal plastic working account for a dominant share of the country´s production and employment.
The Voivodeship has given priority to some areas of potential future investment projects, namely to the development of the areas of the European Transportation Corridor (within and around the A4 motorway, the former airport in Skarbimierz), those of the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone "Invest Park" in Nysa, the Strzelce Opolskie Economic Area, the high – tech area that is comparable to Silicon Valley, called "Jackowa Dolina" in Kędzierzyn-Koźle or the Kluczbork Economic Zone to mention those most outstanding.
Education, science and culture
Opole Voivodeship offers a variety of education opportunities and specialties. The Region’s six higher education institutions (including vocational ones) provide the necessary research infrastructure. The City of Opole is the Region’s largest academic centre, home to the Opole University, the Technical University of Opole, the State Medical Vocational School and the School of Management and Administration, with over thirty one thousand university students. Two other higher education institutions in the Region are the State Technical Vocational School in Nysa and the School of Humanities and Pedagogy in Brzeg. In addition, many satellite branches of the country’s universities have been established in other cities of the Region.
The research potential of the Opole Voivodeship is completed by four research facilities (Institute of Mineral Building Materials, "Blachownia" Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis in Kędzierzyn, Polish Academy of Sciences - Institute for Environmental Technologies) with the Silesian Institute as a leading centre, and Opolski Park Technologiczny (Opole High - Tech Park).
Among the prominent cultural institutions in the city is the Józef Elsner Opole Philharmonic (that gave a concert on the Brussels Grand Place to mark the accession of Poland into EU, and made a large concert tour in China in 2004-2005), Jan Kochanowski Theatre (that every year hosts the "Polish Classic Theatre Confrontations"), or Alojzy Smolka Theatre of the Puppet and Actor in Opole (National Festival of Puppet Theatres). And last but not least, the Opole Millennium Amphitheatre, hosting the yearly National Festival of Polish Song.
Many out-of Region’s capital city periodical cultural events are organised: the Music Feast of Blossoming Azaleas (The Castle in Moszna), Festival of English Song and International Poet Invasion of the Silesian Piast Dynasty Castle in Brzeg, "Gaude Mater Polonia in memoriam of Vincent de Kielcza" or the International Percussion Festival.
Further information can be obtained on the website of the Opole Voivodeship: www.umwo.opole.pl