Bytom

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Bytom [ˈbɨtɔm] ( listen) (German: Beuthen) is a city in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. The central-western district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union - metropolis with the population of 2 millions. Bytom is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Bytomka river (tributary of the Kłodnica).

The city belongs to the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999. Previously it was in Katowice Voivodeship. Bytom is one of the cities of the 2,7 million conurbation - Katowice urban area and within a greater Silesian metropolitan area populated by about 5,294,000 people[1]. The population of the city is 183,251 (June 2009)[2]. Bytom is home of Polonia Bytom, plays in Ekstraklasa since 2007-2008 season and won it twice in 1954 and in 1962.

Contents

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.

History

Bytom is one of the oldest cities of Upper Silesia, having been known as Bitom in 1136 and Beuthen since 1440. It 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 Bitom became a separate duchy, since 1289 under overlordship and administration by the Kingdom of Bohemia. Due to German settlers coming to the area, the city was 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. During World War II, the Beuthen Jewish community was liquidated via the first ever Holocaust transport to be exterminated at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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