Lower Silesia
Overview
 
Lower Silesia; is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

; Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

 is to the southeast.

Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 from 1526. In 1742 nearly all of the region was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 and became part of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1871; except for a small part which formed the southern part of the Lower Silesian Duchy of Nysa
Duchy of Nysa
The Duchy of Nysa , or Duchy of Neisse was one of the duchies of Silesia with its capital at Nysa in Lower Silesia. Alongside the Duchy of Siewierz, it was the only ecclesiastical duchy in the Silesian region, as it was ruled by a bishop of the Catholic Church...

 and had been incorporated into Austrian Silesia
Austrian Silesia
Austrian Silesia , officially the Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia was an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Empire, from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

 in 1742.
Encyclopedia
Lower Silesia; is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

; Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

 is to the southeast.

Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 from 1526. In 1742 nearly all of the region was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 and became part of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1871; except for a small part which formed the southern part of the Lower Silesian Duchy of Nysa
Duchy of Nysa
The Duchy of Nysa , or Duchy of Neisse was one of the duchies of Silesia with its capital at Nysa in Lower Silesia. Alongside the Duchy of Siewierz, it was the only ecclesiastical duchy in the Silesian region, as it was ruled by a bishop of the Catholic Church...

 and had been incorporated into Austrian Silesia
Austrian Silesia
Austrian Silesia , officially the Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia was an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Empire, from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

 in 1742. After 1945 the main part of the former Prussian Province of Lower Silesia
Province of Lower Silesia
The Province of Lower Silesia was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1919 to 1945. Between 1938 and 1941 it was reunited with Upper Silesia as the Silesia Province. The capital of Lower Silesia was Breslau...

 fell to the Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, a smaller part west of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 remained with East Germany.

Geography

Lower Silesia is located mostly in the basin of the middle Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

 River with its historic capital in Wrocław.

The southern border of Lower Silesia is mapped by the mountain ridge of the Western
Western Sudetes
Western Sudetes are the Western part of Sudetes range system on the border of the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. They stretch from the Bóbr river in the east to the Elbe and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in the west....

 and Central
Central Sudetes
The Central Sudetes are the central part of the Sudetes mountain range on the border of the Czech Republic and Poland. They stretch from the Nysa Kłodzka River and the Kłodzko Valley in the east to the upper Bóbr in the west....

 Sudetes, which since the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 formed the border between Polish Silesia and the historic Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n region of the present-day Czech Republic. The Bóbr
Bóbr
Bóbr is a river which runs through the north of the Czech Republic and the southwest of Poland, a left tributary of the Oder River, with a length of and a basin area of .The Bóbr originates in the Rýchory mountains in the southeast of the Karkonosze range, where the source is...

 and Kwisa
Kwisa
The Kwisa is a river in south-western Poland, a left tributary of the Bóbr, which itself is a left tributary of the Oder river.It rises in the Izera Mountains, part of the Western Sudetes range, where it runs along the border with the Czech Republic...

 rivers are considered being the original western border, however the Silesian Duchy of Żagań
Duchy of Żagań
The Duchy of Żagań or Duchy of Sagan was one of the duchies of Silesia ruled by the Silesian Piasts. Its capital was Żagań in Lower Silesia, the territory stretched to the town of Nowogród Bobrzański in the north and reached the Lusatian Neisse at Przewóz in the west, including two villages...

 reached up to the Neisse river, including two villages (Pechern
Krauschwitz
Krauschwitz is a municipality in the Görlitz district of Saxony, Germany at the border with Poland. It is situated on the western banks of the Lusatian Neisse river, south of Bad Muskau...

 and Neudorf) on the western shore, which became Silesian in 1413.

The later Silesian Province of Prussia further comprised the adjacent lands of historic Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia is a region a biggest part of which belongs to Saxony, a small eastern part belongs to Poland, the northern part to Brandenburg. In Saxony, Upper Lusatia comprises roughly the districts of Bautzen and Görlitz , in Brandenburg the southern part of district Oberspreewald-Lausitz...

 ceded by the Kingdom of Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

 after the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 in 1815, its westernmost point could be found as far west as the small village of Lindenau
Lindenau
Lindenau is a municipality in the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district, in southern Brandenburg, Germany. Since 1992, it is part of the Amt of Ortrand....

 (now belonging to the German state of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

). To the north, Lower Silesia originally stretched up to Świebodzin
Swiebodzin
Świebodzin is a town in western Poland with 21,757 inhabitants . It is the capital of Świebodzin CountyIt was formerly part of the Zielona Góra Voivodeship , a reconfiguration of the old German state of Prussia, the eastern 40% of which was inherited by Poland in 1945, and led to the expulsion of...

 and Krosno Odrzańskie
Krosno Odrzanskie
Krosno Odrzańskie is a city on the east bank of Oder River, at the confluence with the Bóbr. The town in Western Poland with 12,500 inhabitants is the capital of Krosno County...

, which was acquired by the Margraves of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806. Also known as the March of Brandenburg , it played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe....

 in 1482. The Barycz
Barycz
The Barycz is a river in Greater Poland and Lower Silesian Voivodeships in western Poland. It is a right tributary of the Oder River. The river course roughly marked the northern border of the historic region of Lower Silesia with Greater Poland....

 river forms the border with historic Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

 in the northeast, the Upper Silesian lands lie to the southeast.

Administratively Polish Lower Silesia is shared between Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Lower Silesian Voivodeship, or Lower Silesia Province , is one of the 16 voivodeships into which Poland is currently divided. It lies in southwestern Poland...

 (except for the Upper Lusatian counties of Lubań
Luban County
Lubań County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, south-western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. The county covers an area of . Its administrative seat and...

 and Zgorzelec
Zgorzelec County
Zgorzelec County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. It is situated in the extreme south-west of Poland, bordering both Germany...

, and former Bohemian Kłodzko), the southern part of Lubusz Voivodeship
Lubusz Voivodeship
- Administrative division :Lubusz Voivodeship is divided into 14 counties : 2 city counties and 12 land counties. These are further divided into 83 gminas....

 (i.e. the counties of Krosno Odrzańskie
Krosno Odrzanskie County
Krosno Odrzańskie County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lubusz Voivodeship, western Poland, on the German border. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat is the town of...

, Nowa Sól
Nowa Sól County
Nowa Sól County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lubusz Voivodeship, western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Nowa Sól, which lies ...

, Świebodzin
Swiebodzin County
Świebodzin County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lubusz Voivodeship, western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Świebodzin, which lies north...

, Żagań
Zagan County
Żagań County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lubusz Voivodeship, western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Żagań, which lies south of...

 and Zielona Góra
Zielona Góra County
Zielona Góra County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lubusz Voivodeship, western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat is the city of Zielona Góra, although the city...

 with the city of Zielona Góra
Zielona Góra
Zielona Góra is a city in Lubusz Voivodeship, in western Poland, with 117,557 inhabitants within the city limits and 294,000 inhabitants within the metropolitan area, including three neighbouring counties ....

, as well as western Opole Voivodeship
Opole Voivodeship
- Administrative division :Opole Voivodeship is divided into 12 counties : 1 city county and 11 land counties. These are further divided into 71 gminas.The counties are listed in the following table .- Economy :...

 (the counties of Brzeg
Brzeg County
Brzeg County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Opole Voivodeship, south-western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Brzeg, which lies north-west...

, Oleśnica
Olesnica County
Oleśnica County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, south-western Poland. It was created on January 1, 1999 as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. The county covers an area of...

 and Nysa
Nysa County
Nysa County is a unit of territorial administration and local government in Opole Voivodeship, south-western Poland, on the Czech border. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Nysa,...

).

The tiny part of the former Duchy of Żagań on the western shore of the Neisse is today part of the Krauschwitz
Krauschwitz
Krauschwitz is a municipality in the Görlitz district of Saxony, Germany at the border with Poland. It is situated on the western banks of the Lusatian Neisse river, south of Bad Muskau...

 municipality in the Görlitz
Görlitz (district)
Görlitz is a district in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is named after its capital city Görlitz. It borders the district of Bautzen, the state Brandenburg, Poland and the Czech Republic.- History :...

 district of Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, the larger Upper Lusatian parts of Prussian Silesia ("Silesian Upper Lusatia") west of the Neisse comprised the town of Görlitz
Görlitz
Görlitz is a town in Germany. It is the easternmost town in the country, located on the Lusatian Neisse River in the Bundesland of Saxony. It is opposite the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz until 1945. Historically, Görlitz was in the region of Upper Lusatia...

 and the former district of Hoyerswerda
Hoyerswerda
Hoyerswerda is the largest city in the district of Bautzen in the German state of Saxony. It is located in Lusatia, a region where many people speak the Sorbian languages in addition to German.-Geography:...

, which today forms the northern part of the Saxon Görlitz and Bautzen
Bautzen (district)
Bautzen is a district in the Free State of Saxony in Germany including the former districts of Bischofswerda and Kamenz. It is bounded by the Czech Republic, the district of Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge, the district-free city Dresden and the districts of Meißen and Görlitz...

 districts as well as the southern part of the Oberspreewald-Lausitz
Oberspreewald-Lausitz
Oberspreewald-Lausitz is a Kreis in the southern part of Brandenburg, Germany. Neighboring districts are Dahme-Spreewald, Spree-Neiße, the districts Kamenz and Riesa-Großenhain in Saxony, and the district Elbe-Elster....

 district in Brandenburg. The southern part of the former Duchy of Nysa, which fell to Austrian Silesia in 1742, namely the Jeseník District
Jeseník District
Jeseník District is a district in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic. Its seat is the town Jeseník.The area called Jeseníky region is in the most northern bulge of Silesia and Moravia. It is closed by frontier with Poland that passes westward through Rychleby Hills and crosses the Nysa...

 and Heřmanovice
Heřmanovice
Heřmanovice is a village and municipality in Bruntál District in the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic.-Notes:...

, Mnichov and Železná, as well as parts of Vrbno pod Pradědem
Vrbno pod Pradedem
Vrbno pod Pradědem is a town in the Moravian-Silesian Region, Czech Republic. It is located on the Opava River and has 6,072 inhabitants.According to the Austrian census of 1910 the town had 3,614 inhabitants, 3,519 of whom had permanent residence there. Census asked people for their native...

 in the Bruntál District
Bruntál District
Bruntál District is a district within Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic. Its capital is Bruntál, but the biggest town is Krnov...

, today belongs to the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....


Sudetes

The Sudetes are a geologically diverse mountain range that stretches for 280 kilometres (174 mi) from the Lusatian Highlands in the wast and to the Moravian Gate
Moravian Gate
The Moravian Gate is a geomorphological feature in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. It is formed by the depression between the Carpathian Mountains in the east and the Sudetes in the west...

 in the east. They are topographically divided into Western
Western Sudetes
Western Sudetes are the Western part of Sudetes range system on the border of the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. They stretch from the Bóbr river in the east to the Elbe and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in the west....

, Central
Central Sudetes
The Central Sudetes are the central part of the Sudetes mountain range on the border of the Czech Republic and Poland. They stretch from the Nysa Kłodzka River and the Kłodzko Valley in the east to the upper Bóbr in the west....

 and Eastern Sudetes
Eastern Sudetes
The Eastern Sudetes are the Eastern part of Sudetes mountains on the border of the Czech Republic and Poland. They stretch from Brama Morawska in the east to Nysa Kłodzka in the west.Eastern Sudetes comprise of the number of mountain ranges, including:...

.

The Lower Silesian section of the Sudetes comprises the Jizera Mountains
Jizera Mountains
Jizera Mountains , or Izera Mountains, are part of the Western Sudetes on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland. The major part is formed from granite, with some areas formed from basalt. The mountains got their name from the Jizera River, which rises at the southern base of Smrk...

 (highest peak: Wysoka Kopa, 1126 metres (3,694.2 ft)), where the tripoint with Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia is a region a biggest part of which belongs to Saxony, a small eastern part belongs to Poland, the northern part to Brandenburg. In Saxony, Upper Lusatia comprises roughly the districts of Bautzen and Görlitz , in Brandenburg the southern part of district Oberspreewald-Lausitz...

 and Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 is located near the Smrk
Smrk (Jizera)
Smrk is the highest mountain in the Jizera Mountains of the Czech Republic at . "The King of the Jizera mountains" lies south of Nové Město pod Smrkem...

 summit, along with the adjacent Karkonosze
Karkonosze
Krkonoše is a mountain range located in the north of the Czech Republic and the south-west of Poland, part of the Sudetes mountain system . The Czech-Polish border, which divides the historic regions of Bohemia and Silesia, runs along the main ridge...

  (highest: Śnieżka, 1602 m (5,255.9 ft)); Rudawy Janowickie
Rudawy Janowickie
The Rudawy Janowickie is a mountain range in Western Sudetes in Poland....

 (Skalnik, 945 m (3,100.4 ft)); and the Kaczawskie Mountains
Kaczawskie Mountains
The Kaczawskie Mountains ) is a mountain range in Western Sudetes in Poland.* Length: 30 km* Average height: 600 m* Highest peak: Skopiec -External links:* * * ----wulkany, jaksinie, rzeźba, minerały, historia...

 (Skopiec, 724 m (2,375.3 ft)) with Ostrzyca, 501 m (1,643.7 ft). They surround the Jelenia Góra valley
Jelenia Góra valley
Jelenia Góra valley in Poland is a big valley at the Silesian northern side of the Western Sudetes and next to Kłodzko Valley the largest intramontane basin of the Sudetes. It is situated at an altitude of 250–400 meters above sea level and covers an area of 273 km2...

, 420 metre.

Silesian Lowland

The adjacent Silesian Lowland includes the Silesian Lowlands
Silesian Lowlands
Silesian Lowlands are lowlands located in Silesia, Poland and Czechia. It's part of the North European Plain...

 and the Silesian-Lusatian Lowlands
Silesian-Lusatian Lowlands
Silesian-Lusatian Lowlands are lowlands located in Silesia, Poland and Germany.-See also:*Silesian Highlands*Silesian Lowlands*Silesian Foothills*Silesian-Moravian Foothills...

. These two lowlands are separated with each other by Dolina Kaczawy, and from the Sudetes by a steep morphological edge located along the Sudeten Marginal Fault, extended from Bolesławiec (the Northwest) to Złoty Stok (the Southeast). The southern part of the Lowland includes The Sudeten Foreland, consisting of quite low Wzgórze Strzegomskie, 232 m (761.2 ft), Grupa Ślęży (Mount Ślęża
Mount Sleza
Ślęża is a mountain in the Sudetes foothills in Lower Silesia, from Wrocław, southern Poland. This natural reserve built mostly of granite is 718 m high and covered with forests....

, 718 m (2,355.6 ft)), and Wzgórza Niemczańsko-Strzelińskie (Gromnik Mountain, 392 m (1,286.1 ft)). Lower hills occur also in areas of Obniżenie Sudeckie, Świdnik, and Kotlina Dzierżoniowska. The eastern part of Silesian Lowland consists of the wide Silesian Lowlands
Silesian Lowlands
Silesian Lowlands are lowlands located in Silesia, Poland and Czechia. It's part of the North European Plain...

, located along banks of the Oder River. The eastern part includes also Równina Wrocławska with its surroundig lands: Równina Oleśnicka, Wysoczyzna Średzka, Równina Grodkowska and Niemodlińska. Dolina Dolnej Kaczawy (Kotlina Legnicka) separates the Silesian Lowlands from the Silesian-Lusatian Lowlands, which includes Wysoczyzna Lubińsko-Chocianowska, Dolina Szprotawy, and wide areas of Bory Dolnośląskie, located to the north from the Bolesławiec-Zgorzelec road. From the North, the lowlands are delimited by Wał Trzebnicki, consisting of hills that are 200 km (124.3 mi) long and over 150 m (492.1 ft) high, in comparison to neighboring lowlands, Kobyla Mountain, 284 m (931.8 ft). The range of hills includes: Wzgórza Dalkowskie, Wzgórza Trzebnickie, Wzgórza Twardogórskie, and Wzgórza Ostrzeszowskie. Obniżenie Milicko-Głogowskie, with Kotlina Żmigrodzka and Milicka, is located in the northern part, within the hills.

The region of the lowlands is coated with a thick layer of glacial elements (sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

, gravel, clay) that covers more diverse relief of the older ground. Generally flat and wide bottoms of the valleys are padded with river settlements. Slopes of the hills over 180 metre are coated with fertile clays and therefore, to begin with the Paleozoic
Paleozoic
The Paleozoic era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon, spanning from roughly...

 era, they became the lands for people to settle and cultivate intensively. Later form of economy caused almost complete deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 of the slopes. Not only fertile grounds, but also mild climate is conductive to development of agriculture and market gardening. The annual average temperature of the Wrocław area is 9.5 °C (49.1 °F). Average temperature of the hottest month (July) is 19 °C (66.2 °F), and −0.5 °C of the coldest month (January). The average amount of rainfall is 500 millimetre, with its maximum in July and minimum in February. The snow layer disappears after 45 days. The winds, similar to those appearing in the West side of Poland, are West and Southwest.

Sudeten rivers are characterized by changeable water rates, and high pollution resulting from large industrialization of the area. The greatest rivers are Nysa Kłodzka, which is the source of drinking water for Wrocław (the water is drawn by special channel); Stobrawa, Oława, Ślęza
Ślęza
Ślęza is a 78.6 km long river in Lower Silesia, southern Poland, a left tributary of the Oder. It starts in the Niemcza Hills , part of the Sudete Highlands , and flows near Mount Ślęża through the Silesian Lowland and enters the Oder in Wrocław.The most important tributary is: Mała...

, Bystrzyca with its tributaries—Strzegomka
Strzegomka
Strzegomka is a river of Poland....

 and Piława; Widawa
Widawa
The Widawa is a river in Poland, a right-bank tributary of the Oder River. Towns along the Widawa include Namysłów, Bierutów, and Psie Pole....

, Średzka Woda, Kaczawa
Kaczawa
The Kaczawa is a river in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in Poland. It springs from the Kaczawskie Mountains near Kaczorów and flows north and northeast through the towns of Świerzawa, Złotoryja and Legnica...

 with Nysa Szalona
Nysa Szalona
The Nysa Szalona is a river in Poland. It has a length of ca. 51 km and flows into the Kaczawa, which in turn flows into the Oder....

 and Czarna Woda
Czarna Woda
Czarna Woda is a town in Starogard County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland, with 3,223 inhabitants ....

. There is also the largest right-bank tributary of the area, Barycz
Barycz
The Barycz is a river in Greater Poland and Lower Silesian Voivodeships in western Poland. It is a right tributary of the Oder River. The river course roughly marked the northern border of the historic region of Lower Silesia with Greater Poland....

. The other guite large rivers—Bóbr, Kwisa, and Lusatian Neisse—flow into Oder River beyond Lower Silesian borders. The majority of the rivers is regulated and their basins are improved, which is conductive to the proper water economy. The characteristic feature of the lowlands landscape is the lack of lakes. The region of Legnica
Legnica
Legnica is a town in south-western Poland, in Silesia, in the central part of Lower Silesia, on the plain of Legnica, riverside: Kaczawa and Czarna Woda. Between 1 June 1975 and 31 December 1998 Legnica was the capital of the Legnica Voivodeship. It is currently the seat of the county...

 is the only place where a dozen or so of small lakes survived, but the majority of them is already disappearing. The largest one is Jezioro Kunickie (95 hectares (234.7 acre)), Jezioro Koskowickie (50 ha (123.6 acre)), Jezioro Jaśkowickie (24 ha (59.3 acre)) and Tatarak (19.5 ha (48.2 acre)). In contrast to the number of lakes, there are large groups of artificial ponds founded in Barycz basin, in the Middle Ages. Their total area amounts around 80 square kilometres (30.9 sq mi), and the largest ponds (Stary Staw, Łosiowy Staw, Staw Niezgoda, Staw Mewi Duży, and Grabownica) come to 200 hectare.

The primeval flora has been transformed significantly as a result of deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 and cultivation. The largest forest complexes are Bory Dolnośląskie (3150 km² (1,216.2 sq mi)), Bory Stobrawskie in Stobrawa
Stobrawa Landscape Park
Stobrawa Landscape Park is a protected area in south-western Poland, established in 1999, covering an area of in the region of the Stobrawa river....

 and Widawa
Widawa
The Widawa is a river in Poland, a right-bank tributary of the Oder River. Towns along the Widawa include Namysłów, Bierutów, and Psie Pole....

 areas, and smaller fragments of forests in Barycz
Barycz
The Barycz is a river in Greater Poland and Lower Silesian Voivodeships in western Poland. It is a right tributary of the Oder River. The river course roughly marked the northern border of the historic region of Lower Silesia with Greater Poland....

 and Oder River valleys. These forests are kind of multi-species deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 forests, occurring in fertile grounds. The Oder River valley is reach in groups of mixed forests (beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

, oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, hornbeam
Hornbeam
Hornbeams are relatively small hardwood trees in the genus Carpinus . Though some botanists grouped them with the hazels and hop-hornbeams in a segregate family, Corylaceae, modern botanists place the hornbeams in the birch subfamily Coryloideae...

, sycamore maple
Sycamore Maple
Acer pseudoplatanus, the sycamore maple, is a species of maple native to central Europe and southwestern Asia, from France east to Ukraine, and south in mountains to northern Spain, northern Turkey, and the Caucasus. It is not related to other trees called sycamore or plane tree in the Platanus...

, and pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

). These forests, with protected status, are: Zwierzyniec
Zwierzyniec
Zwierzyniec is a town on the Wieprz river in the Zamość County, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland. It has 3,324 inhabitants .Zwierzyniec is the northernmost town of the Roztocze National Park. The park comprises some of the last remaining sections of the primordial forest of Central Europe, especially...

, Kanigóra near Oława, Dublany, Kępa Opatowicka near Wrocław, Zabór
Zabór
Zabór is a village in Zielona Góra County, Lubusz Voivodeship, in western Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Zabór. It lies approximately east of Zielona Góra.The village has a population of 950.-References:...

 near Przedmoście
Przedmoscie
Przedmoście may refer to the following places in Poland:* Przedmoście in Gmina Głogów, Głogów County in Lower Silesian Voivodeship * Przedmoście in Gmina Środa Śląska, Środa Śląska County in Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

, and Lubiąż
Lubiaz
Lubiąż is a village on the east bank of the Odra River, in the administrative district of Gmina Wołów, within Wołów County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It lies approximately south-west of Wołów, and west of the regional capital Wrocław. The village has a population of...

. The other forest areas are: The Natural Park in Orsk, the areas of Jodłowice, Wzgórze Joanny near Milicz, and Gola near Twardogóra. Such types of forest like those which are the mainstay for wild game or nurseries, are inaccessible because of permanent fire hazard. Territories partly accessible (marked specially) are located in areas of Góra Śląska, Oborniki Śląskie, Wołowa, in the Oder River valley, and in Wzgórza Niemczańsko-Strzelińskie.

Flora

The flora of Lower Silesia is specific and different for each zone. From the bottoms to the tops, plants form groups that are arranged in wide or narrow belts, called floral zones. Subsequently, these zones are divided into narrower belts, called vegetation belts.
The zone of mountain forest is divided into two belts: subalpine
Subalpine
The subalpine zone is the biotic zone immediately below tree line around the world. Species that occur in this zone depend on the location of the zone on the Earth, for example, Snow Gum in Australia, or Subalpine Larch, Mountain Hemlock and Subalpine Fir in western North America.Trees in the...

 and lower subalpine forest. Above, there is forestless zone divided into subalpine belt with dwarf pine, and alpine belt without shrubs. This vegetation is Glacial, the former one—from Tertiary
Tertiary
The Tertiary is a deprecated term for a geologic period 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The Tertiary covered the time span between the superseded Secondary period and the Quaternary...

—was destroyed by the climate of Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

. Along with glaciation from the North, some tundra plants appeared, for example: Lapland Willow (Salix Lapponum) and cloudberry
Cloudberry
Rubus chamaemorus is a rhizomatous herb native to alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forest, producing amber-colored edible fruit similar to the raspberry or blackberry...

 (Rubus chamaemorus).
The flora of Lower Silesia is strongly influenced by geological and climatic history. The vegetation is formed by species deriving from various geographic regions. Particular regions are represented by:
  • Central European species: fir
    Fir
    Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

     (Abies alba), beech
    Beech
    Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

     (Fagus silvatica), oak
    Oak
    An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

     (Quercus petraea), maple
    Maple
    Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

     (Acer pseudoplatanus)
  • European Syberian species: European spindle-tree (Evonymus europaea), alder
    Alder
    Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants belonging to the birch family . The genus comprises about 30 species of monoecious trees and shrubs, few reaching large size, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and in the Americas along the Andes southwards to...

     (Alnus glutinosa), wicker
    Wicker
    Wicker is hard woven fiber formed into a rigid material, usually used for baskets or furniture. Wicker is often made of material of plant origin, but plastic fibers are also used....

     (Salix purpurea)
  • Boreal-Sub arctic species: cress
    Cardamine pratensis
    Cardamine pratensis , is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae, native throughout most of Europe and Western Asia.-Description:...

     (Cardamine pratensis), yellow marsh marigold
    Caltha palustris
    Caltha palustris is a herbaceous perennial plant of the buttercup family, native to marshes, fens, ditches and wet woodland in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere....

     (Caltha palustris), liverleaf (Hepatica nobilis)
  • Boreal-Arctic species: bearberry
    Bearberry
    Bearberries are three species of dwarf shrubs in the genus Arctostaphylos. Unlike the other species of Arctostaphylos , they are adapted to Arctic and sub-Arctic climates, and have a circumpolar distribution in northern North America, Asia and Europe, one with a small highly disjunctive population...

     (Arctostaphylos uvaxursi), dwarf willow
    Dwarf Willow
    Salix herbacea is a species of tiny creeping willow adapted to survive in harsh Arctic and sub-Arctic environments...

     (Sal herbacea), black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), Sudetic Lousewort (Pedicularis sudetica), alpine saxifrage
    Saxifraga nivalis
    Saxifraga nivalis is a species of saxifrage. It is commonly called Snow Saxifrage or "alpine saxifrage".Found on irrigated rocks or open vegetation in shaded sites, often on mountain ledges and crags with base rich substratum. This species is not very tolerant of competition and so is found in...

     (Saxifraga nivalis), cloudberry
    Cloudberry
    Rubus chamaemorus is a rhizomatous herb native to alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forest, producing amber-colored edible fruit similar to the raspberry or blackberry...

     (Rubus chamaemorus), Lake Quillwort (Isoëtes lacustris)
  • Alpine species: Alpine Bastard Toadflax
    Toadflax
    Toadflax is the English name of several related genera of plants in the family Plantaginaceae and Scrophulariaceae:*Anarrhinum*Antirrhinum *Chaenorhinum*Cymbalaria*Linaria*Misopates*Nuttallanthus...

    (Thesium alpinium), Alpine coltsfoot
    Coltsfoot
    Tussilago farfara, commonly known as Coltsfoot, is a plant in the family Asteraceae.It has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant. The name "tussilago" itself means "cough suppressant." The plant has been used historically to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way...

     (Homogyne alpina), mountain avens (Geum montanum), Mountain Pine
    Mountain Pine
    Pinus mugo, the Mountain Pine or Mugo Pine, is a high-altitude European pine, found in the Pyrenees, Alps, Erzgebirge, Carpathians, northern Apennines and Balkan Peninsula mountains from 1,000 m to 2,200 m, occasionally as low as 200 m in the north of the range in Germany and Poland, and as high...

     (Pinus mughus)
  • Sudetic and Sudetic-Carpathian species: mossy saxifrage (Saxifraga moschata ssp. Basaltica), Sudetic lousewort
    Lousewort
    Pedicularis is a genus of perennial green root parasite plants belonging to the broomrape family Orobanchaceae. Between 350 and 600 species are accepted by different authorities, mostly from the wetter northern temperate zones, as well as from South America...

     (Pedicularis sudetica)

Lower subalpine forest

Lower subalpine forest , 450 metre, is characterized by deciduous or mixed forest. The fragments of forests similar to natural complexes of pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

-fir
Fir
Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

-beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

 with admixture of larch
Larch
Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. Growing from 15 to 50m tall, they are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the north and high on mountains further south...

, sycamore maple
Sycamore Maple
Acer pseudoplatanus, the sycamore maple, is a species of maple native to central Europe and southwestern Asia, from France east to Ukraine, and south in mountains to northern Spain, northern Turkey, and the Caucasus. It is not related to other trees called sycamore or plane tree in the Platanus...

 and lime
Lime (fruit)
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. Limes are a good source of vitamin C. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and...

 occur near the Szklarski waterfall, in the Jagniątkowski complex, and Chojnik
Chojnik
Chojnik Castle is a castle located above the town of Sobieszów, today part of Jelenia Góra in southwestern Poland. Its remains stand on top of the Chojnik hill within the Karkonosze National Park, overlooking the Jelenia Góra valley....

 Mountain. Particular species of trees have different climatic requirements. The lowest parts are covered with oak and ash, up to 500 m (1,640.4 ft). On the level of 500–600 m (1,968.5 ft) occurs pine; in the higher parts, up to 800 m (2,624.7 ft), there occurs European larch
European Larch
Larix decidua, common name European larch, is a species of larch native to the mountains of central Europe, in the Alps and Carpathians, with disjunct lowland populations in northern Poland and southern Lithuania.-Description:...

; and above 800 m, fir and beech.

Despite of transformation of the basic tree vegetation, the same form of undergrowth survived. There occurs: daphne mezereum
Daphne mezereum
Daphne mezereum is a species of Daphne in the flowering plant family Thymelaeaceae, native to most of Europe and Western Asia, north to northern Scandinavia and Russia. In southern Europe it is confined to medium to higher elevations and in the subalpine vegetation zone, but descends to near sea...

, red elderberry, hazel
Hazel
The hazels are a genus of deciduous trees and large shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere. The genus is usually placed in the birch family Betulaceae, though some botanists split the hazels into a separate family Corylaceae.They have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins...

, platanthera bifolian, sweet woodruff, herb paris, cranberry
Cranberry
Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In some methods of classification, Oxycoccus is regarded as a genus in its own right...

, wood sorrel, chickweed wintergreen, Common Cow-wheat and lily of the valley
Lily of the Valley
Convallaria majalis , commonly known as the lily-of-the-valley, is a poisonous woodland flowering plant native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe....

. The parts over 800 m are mainly covered with grasses, purple small-reeds, cranberries, and willow gentian.

In highlighted places, on meadows, and along roads, there occurs: spotted orchid, bugle
Bugle (plant)
Ajuga , also known as Bugleweed, Ground pine or Carpet bugle, is a genus of about 40–50 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the mint family Lamiaceae, with most species native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, but also two species in southeastern Australia...

weed, yellow archangel
Yellow Archangel
Lamium galeobdolon, commonly known as yellow archangel, is a widespread wildflower in Europe, and has been introduced elsewhere as a garden plant. It displays the zygomorphic flower morphology, opposite leaves, and square stem typical of the mint family, Lamiaceae...

, arnica montana
Arnica montana
Arnica montana, known commonly as leopard's bane, wolf's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica, is a European flowering plant with large yellow capitula....

, sword-leaved helleborine
Sword-leaved Helleborine
Cephalanthera longifolia, common name the Sword-leaved Helleborine or Narrow-leaved Helleborine, is an herbaceous perennial plant with rhizome belonging to the family Orchidaceae.-Etymology:...

, rosebay willowherb, groundsel, and foxglove. Along riversides, there occurs white butterbur
Butterbur
The plants commonly referred to as Butterbur are found in the daisy family Asteraceae in the genus Petasites. They are mostly quite robust plants with thick, creeping underground rhizomes and large Rhubarb-like leaves during the growing season...

.

Pine forests are rich in spruces, which are permanently weakened by atmospheric factors. Frayed roots are easily infected by harmful fungus
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 and insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s. The most damaging is honey mushroom, with edible specimen
Specimen
A specimen is a portion/quantity of material for use in testing, examination, or study.BiologyA laboratory specimen is an individual animal, part of an animal, a plant, part of a plant, or a microorganism, used as a representative to study the properties of the whole population of that species or...

, which grows in pulp, between the bark
Bark
Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

 and timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, causing the death of tree. The other damaging fungus is bracket fungus
Bracket fungus
Bracket fungi, or shelf fungi, among many groups of the fungi in the phylum Basidiomycota. Characteristically, they produce shelf- or bracket-shaped fruiting bodies called conks that lie in a close planar grouping of separate or interconnected horizontal rows...

, which destroys roots and trunks from the inside. The honey mushroom devastates the tree within a few months, and the bracket fungus, within a few years, as a result of mechanic changes in wood structure.

History


Ancient history

At the close of the Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, the first man appeared at the Silesian Lowland. In the Lower Paleolithic
Lower Paleolithic
The Lower Paleolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the...

 (7,000 years ago), the first nomadic people settled in Lower Silesia, living in caves and primitive chalets. They were collectors, hunters, and fishers, and used weapons and other tools made of stone and wood. In the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 (7000–4000 BC), the oldest human remains of the nomadic people, which were 40,000 years old, were found in a tomb in Tyniec
Tyniec
Tyniec is a historic village in Poland on the Vistula river, since 1973 a part of the city of Kraków . Tyniec is notable for its famous Benedictine abbey founded by king Casimir the Restorer in 1044.-See also:...

 on the river Ślęża
Sleza
Ślęza is a 78.6 km long river in Lower Silesia, southern Poland, a left tributary of the Oder. It starts in the Niemcza Hills , part of the Sudete Highlands , and flows near Mount Ślęża through the Silesian Lowland and enters the Oder in Wrocław.The most important tributary is: Mała...

.

In the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 (4000–1700 BC), began the process of transformation into a settled way of life. The first rural settlements were made, as people began to farm and breed animals. Mining, pottery, and weaving are dated to this period. Serpentinite
Serpentinite
Serpentinite is a rock composed of one or more serpentine group minerals. Minerals in this group are formed by serpentinization, a hydration and metamorphic transformation of ultramafic rock from the Earth's mantle...

 quarries came into existence, of which Silesian hatchets were made, and near Jordanów Śląski
Jordanów Slaski
Jordanów Śląski is a village in Wrocław County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Jordanów Śląski. Prior to 1945 it was in Germany....

, people extracted nephrite that was transformed into diverse tools. In the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 (1700–1500 BC), the evolution of different cultures developed to the existence of Unetice culture
Unetice culture
Unetice; or more properly Únětice culture ; is the name given to an early Bronze Age culture, preceded by the Beaker culture and followed by the Tumulus culture. It was named after finds at site in Únětice, northwest of Prague. It is focused around the Czech Republic, southern and central Germany,...

 that had an impact on the existence of Trzciniec culture
Trzciniec culture
The Trzciniec culture was an ancient tradition that subsisted in central Europe. Archeologists speculate its existence to have been between the years 1700 and 1200 BC....

. In the next periods since , it encompasses all of Europe.

Early history

In the La Tène culture
La Tène culture
The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where a rich cache of artifacts was discovered by Hansli Kopp in 1857....

 period, Lower Silesia was inhabited by the Celts, who had their main place of cult on the Mount Ślęża
Mount Sleza
Ślęża is a mountain in the Sudetes foothills in Lower Silesia, from Wrocław, southern Poland. This natural reserve built mostly of granite is 718 m high and covered with forests....

. Their stony statues situated on and around this hill were later worshipped by the Slavic tribes that came here around the sixth century BC. Magna Germania (second century) records that between the Celtic and the Slavic period, Lower Silesia was inhabited by a number of Germanic tribes. Among them, are the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, the Lugii
Lugii
The Lugii, Lugi, Lygii, Ligii, Lugiones, Lygians, Ligians, Lugians, or Lougoi were an ancient Germanic tribe attested in the book Germania by the Roman historian Tacitus. They lived in ca...

, and the Silingi
Silingi
The Silings or Silingi supposedly were an East Germanic tribe, probably part of the larger Vandal group. According to most scholars, examples Jerzy Strzelczyk, Norman Davies, Jerzy Krasuski, Andrzej Kokowski, Henryk Łowmiański, the Silingi may have lived in Silesia...

, who might have given the Silesia region its name, though it is unclear and thus disputed. With the Germanic tribes leaving westward during the Migration Period
Migration Period
The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

, a number of new peoples arrived in Silesia from Sarmatia
Sarmatia
Sarmatia or Sarmatian can refer to:* the land of Sarmatians, western Scythia as described by many classical authors, such as Herodotus in the 5th century BC* Sarmatian languages, part of Scythian languages...

, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, and the Asian steppes from the beginning of the sixth century.

The Bavarian Geographer
Bavarian Geographer
The Bavarian Geographer is a conventional name given by Jan Potocki in 1796 to the author of an anonymous medieval document Descriptio civitatum et regionum ad septentrionalem plagam Danubii ....

  referred to the West Slavic Ślężanie
Slezanie
Ślężanie were a tribe of West Slavs, specifically of the Lechitic , inhabiting territories of Lower Silesia, near Ślęża mountain and Ślęza river, on the both banks of the Oder, up to the area of modern city of Wrocław...

 (the other possible source of the region's Śląsk and later Silesia name), centered around Niemcza
Niemcza
Niemcza is a town in Dzierżoniów County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Niemcza....

, and Dziadoszanie tribes, while a 1086 document issued by Bishop Jaromir of Prague listed the Zlasane, Trebovane, Poborane, and Dedositze. At the same time, Upper Silesia was inhabited by the Opolanie
Opolanie
Opolanie – West Slavic tribe that lived in the region of upper Odra. Their main settlement was Opole. They were mentioned in the Bavarian Geographer, under the name Opolini, as one of the seven tribes living in Silesia...

, Lupiglaa, and Golenshitse tribes. In the late 9th century, the territory was subject to the Great Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

n realm of Prince Svatopluk I
Svatopluk I
Svatopluk I or Zwentibald I was the greatest ruler of Moravia that attained its maximum territorial expansion in his reign . His career had already started in the 860s, when he governed a principality, the location of which is still a matter of debate among historians, within Moravia under the...

 and from about 906 came under the rule of the Přemyslid
Premyslid dynasty
The Přemyslids , were a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in Bohemia and Moravia , and partly also in Hungary, Silesia, Austria and Poland.-Legendary rulers:...

 duke Spytihnev I of Bohemia and his successors Vratislaus I, the alleged founder of Wrocław , and Boleslaus the Cruel.

Piast Kingdom of Poland

Meanwhile the West Slavic Polans
Polans (western)
The Polans were a West Slavic tribe, part of the Lechitic group, inhabiting the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century.During the reign of King Svatopluk I of Great Moravia , who subdued the tribes of the Vistulans and Ślężanie...

 had established a first duchy under the Piast dynasty
Piast dynasty
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

 in the adjacent Greater Polish
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

 lands in the north. About 990 Silesia was conquered and incorporated into the first Polish state by the Piast duke Mieszko I
Mieszko I of Poland
Mieszko I , was a Duke of the Polans from about 960 until his death. A member of the Piast dynasty, he was son of Siemomysł; grandchild of Lestek; father of Bolesław I the Brave, the first crowned King of Poland; likely father of Świętosława , a Nordic Queen; and grandfather of her son, Cnut the...

, who had gained the support of Emperor Otto II
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto II , called the Red, was the third ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, the son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy.-Early years and co-ruler with Otto I:...

 against the Bohemian duke Boleslaus II.

In 1000 his son and successor Bolesław I Chrobry founded the Diocese of Wrocław, which, together with the Bishopric
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

s of Kraków and Kołobrzeg, was placed under the Archbishopric of Gniezno in Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

, founded by Emperor Otto III
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

 at the Congress of Gniezno
Congress of Gniezno
The Congress of Gniezno was an amical meeting between the Polish duke Bolesław I Chrobry and Emperor Otto III, which took place at Gniezno on March 11, 1000...

 in the same year. The ecclesial suzerainty of Gniezno
Gniezno
Gniezno is a city in central-western Poland, some 50 km east of Poznań, inhabited by about 70,000 people. One of the Piasts' chief cities, it was mentioned by 10th century A.D. sources as the capital of Piast Poland however the first capital of Piast realm was most likely Giecz built around...

 over Wrocław lasted until 1821. After a temporary shift to Bohemia in the first half of the 11th century, Lower Silesia continued to be an integral part of the Polish state until the end of its fragmentation period when all Polish claims on this land were finally renounced in favour of the Bohemian kingdom
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 in 1348.

The Duchy of Silesia
Duchy of Silesia
The Duchy of Silesia with its capital at Wrocław was a medieval duchy located in the historic Silesian region of Poland. Soon after it was formed under the Piast dynasty in 1138, it fragmented into various Duchies of Silesia. In 1327 the remaining Duchy of Wrocław as well as most other duchies...

 was first split into lower and upper parts in 1172 during the period of Poland's feudal fragmentation, when the land was divided between two sons of former High Duke Władysław II. The elder Bolesław the Tall ruled over Lower Silesia with his capital in Wrocław (then known as Vratislav, Wrotizla, or Prezla), and younger Mieszko Tanglefoot
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot was a Duke of Silesia from 1163 to 1173 , Duke of Racibórz from 1173, Duke of Opole from 1202 and from 9 June 1210 until his death, Duke of Kraków and High Duke of Poland....

 ruled over Upper Silesia with his capital at first in Racibórz
Racibórz
Racibórz is a town in southern Poland with 60,218 inhabitants situated in the Silesian Voivodeship , previously in Katowice Voivodeship...

, from 1202 in Opole
Opole
Opole is a city in southern Poland on the Oder River . It has a population of 125,992 and is the capital of the Upper Silesia, Opole Voivodeship and, also the seat of Opole County...

. Later Silesia was divided into as many as 17 duchies. The duchies of Lower Silesia in the 14th century (German names in italics):
  • Silesia–Wrocław
    Duchy of Silesia
    The Duchy of Silesia with its capital at Wrocław was a medieval duchy located in the historic Silesian region of Poland. Soon after it was formed under the Piast dynasty in 1138, it fragmented into various Duchies of Silesia. In 1327 the remaining Duchy of Wrocław as well as most other duchies...

     (Breslau)
    • Legnica
      Duchy of Legnica
      The Duchy of Legnica or Duchy of Liegnitz was one of the Duchies of Silesia. Its capital was Legnica in Lower Silesia....

       (Liegnitz), split off in 1248
      • Brzeg
        Duchy of Brzeg
        The Duchy of Brzeg or Duchy of Brieg , was one of the Duchies of Silesia. Its capital was Brzeg.It was created in 1311 during the fragmentation of the Duchy of Legnica among the sons of Duke Henry V and ruled by Bolesław III the Generous of the Silesian Piasts, who declared himself a vassal of...

         (Brieg)
      • Świdnica
        Swidnica
        Świdnica is a city in south-western Poland in the region of Silesia. It has a population of 60,317 according to 2006 figures. It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, being the seventh largest town in that voivodeship. From 1975–98 it was in the former Wałbrzych Voivodeship...

        -Jawor
        Duchy of Jawor
        Duchy of Jawor was one of the Duchies of Silesia, with a capital in Jawor. It was created in 1274 as a subdivision of the Duchy of Legnica in Lower Silesia under the rule of Henry V the Fat, the eldest son of Duke Bolesław II the Bald...

         (Schweidnitz-Jauer)
        • Ziębice (Münsterberg)
    • Głogów (Glogau), split off from Legnica in 1251
      • Oleśnica (Oels)
        • Bierutów
          Duchy of Bernstadt
          The Duchy of Bernstadt was a Silesian duchy centred on the city of Bernstadt in Lower Silesia and formed by separation from the Duchy of Oels . It was first ruled by the Silesian Piasts dynasty, until its extinction in 1492. In 1495 it and the Duchy of Oels passed to the Dukes of Münsterberg,...

           (Bernstadt)
      • Żagań
        Duchy of Żagań
        The Duchy of Żagań or Duchy of Sagan was one of the duchies of Silesia ruled by the Silesian Piasts. Its capital was Żagań in Lower Silesia, the territory stretched to the town of Nowogród Bobrzański in the north and reached the Lusatian Neisse at Przewóz in the west, including two villages...

        -Szprotawa
        Szprotawa
        Szprotawa is a town in Poland, in Lubusz Voivodeship, in Żagań County. It has 12,648 inhabitants .- History :The first information about the terrains of today's Szprotawa comes at 1000 from the chronicle of bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, who accompanied the emperor Otto III on pilgrimage to the...

         (Sagan-Sprottau)
      • Krosno
        Krosno Odrzanskie
        Krosno Odrzańskie is a city on the east bank of Oder River, at the confluence with the Bóbr. The town in Western Poland with 12,500 inhabitants is the capital of Krosno County...

        -Ścinawa
        Scinawa
        Ścinawa is a town and municipality on the Oder river in the Lower Silesian region of Poland. The town features a number of historic monuments including city hall and the town church . The Ścinawa train station is a key gateway for travel throughout the region, connecting major destinations such...

         (Krossen-Steinau)
    • Nysa
      Duchy of Nysa
      The Duchy of Nysa , or Duchy of Neisse was one of the duchies of Silesia with its capital at Nysa in Lower Silesia. Alongside the Duchy of Siewierz, it was the only ecclesiastical duchy in the Silesian region, as it was ruled by a bishop of the Catholic Church...

       (Neisse), established in 1290

The Bohemian Crown, Austria and Prussia

Upon the 1335 Treaty of Trentschin and the 1348 Treaty of Namslau
Treaty of Namslau
The Treaty of Namslau or Namysłów, also known as the Peace of Namslau, was a peace treaty between King Charles IV of Bohemia and King Casimir III of Poland...

, most of the Silesian duchies were ruled by the Silesian Piast dukes under the feudal overlordship of the Bohemian kings, and thus became part of the Crown of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. In 1476 the Crossen district became part of the Margraviate of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806. Also known as the March of Brandenburg , it played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe....

, when the widow of the Piast ruler, Barbara von Brandenburg, daughter of Elector Albert Achilles, inherited Crossen. In 1526 Silesia was acquired by Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

's Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 after the death of King Louis II
Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia
Louis II was King of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia from 1516 to 1526.- Early life :Louis was the son of Ladislaus II Jagiellon and his third wife, Anne de Foix....

 of Bohemia. Brandenburg contested the inheritance, citing a treaty made with Frederick II of Legnica
Frederick II of Legnica
Frederick II of Legnica , also known as the Great of Legnica , was a Duke of Legnica from 1488 , of Brzeg from 1521...

, but Silesia largely remained under Habsburg control until 1742.

Most of Lower Silesia, except for southern part of the Duchy of Nysa, became part of the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 in 1742 after the First Silesian War
Silesian Wars
The Silesian Wars were a series of wars between Prussia and Austria for control of Silesia. They formed parts of the larger War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years' War. They eventually ended with Silesia being incorporated into Prussia, and Austrian recognition of this...

 by the 1742 Treaty of Breslau
Treaty of Breslau
The Treaty of Breslau was a preliminary peace agreement signed on 11 June 1742 following long negotiations at the Silesian capital Wrocław by emissaries of Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria and King Frederick II of Prussia ending the First Silesian War....

. In 1815 it became part of the Prussian Silesia Province, which was divided into the divided into the two Lower Silesian administrative regions (Regierungsbezirk
Regierungsbezirk
In Germany, a Government District, in German: Regierungsbezirk – is a subdivision of certain federal states .They are above the Kreise, Landkreise, and kreisfreie Städte...

e
) of Liegnitz
Legnica
Legnica is a town in south-western Poland, in Silesia, in the central part of Lower Silesia, on the plain of Legnica, riverside: Kaczawa and Czarna Woda. Between 1 June 1975 and 31 December 1998 Legnica was the capital of the Legnica Voivodeship. It is currently the seat of the county...

and Breslau (sometimes also referred to as Middle Silesia
Middle Silesia
Middle Silesia was a colloquial designation for the Regierungsbezirk Breslau subdivision in the Prussian province of Silesia from 1813 to 1945...

), and Upper Silesian Oppeln
Opole
Opole is a city in southern Poland on the Oder River . It has a population of 125,992 and is the capital of the Upper Silesia, Opole Voivodeship and, also the seat of Opole County...

(including the Lower Silesian districts of Nysa
Nysa
- People :*Nysa , daughter of Laodice IV and Antiochus, wife of Pharnaces I of Pontus* Nysa of Cappadocia, daughter of Pharnaces I of Pontus and Nysa, wife of Ariarathes V of Cappadocia and mother Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia...

 and Grodków
Grodków
Grodków is a town in Opole Voivodeship in Poland. It has 8,709 inhabitants and lies 20 km south of Brzeg.Grodków was granted city rights in 1268 by Duke Henryk IV Probus. The medieval city plan was characterized by a rectangular marketplace and four streets leading to the towers of the city...

). The western Liegnitz region had been enlarged by the incorporated Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia is a region a biggest part of which belongs to Saxony, a small eastern part belongs to Poland, the northern part to Brandenburg. In Saxony, Upper Lusatia comprises roughly the districts of Bautzen and Görlitz , in Brandenburg the southern part of district Oberspreewald-Lausitz...

n districts of Lauban
Luban
Lubań is a town in southwest Poland north of the Jizera Mountains on the Kwisa river, with 22,137 inhabitants . Situated within the historic Upper Lusatia region, it today belongs to the Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

, Görlitz
Görlitz
Görlitz is a town in Germany. It is the easternmost town in the country, located on the Lusatian Neisse River in the Bundesland of Saxony. It is opposite the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz until 1945. Historically, Görlitz was in the region of Upper Lusatia...

, Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda
Hoyerswerda
Hoyerswerda is the largest city in the district of Bautzen in the German state of Saxony. It is located in Lusatia, a region where many people speak the Sorbian languages in addition to German.-Geography:...

, all seized from Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

 after the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

.

By the beginning of the 20th century Lower Silesia had an almost entirely German-speaking and ethnic German population, with the exception of a small Polish-speaking
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 area in the northeastern part of the district of Namslau, Syców
Syców
Syców is a town in Oleśnica County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Syców....

 and Milicz
Milicz
Milicz is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of Milicz County, and of the smaller administrative district called Gmina Milicz...

 and a 9% Czech-speaking minority in the rural area around Strehlen
Strzelin
Strzelin is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland. It is located on the Oława river, a tributary of the Oder, about south of the region's capital Wrocław. The town is the seat of Strzelin County and also of the smaller municipality of Strzelin...

. After the First World War, Upper Silesia was divided between the German Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

, and the state of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, while the Prussian Lower Silesia remained in Germany and was re-organized into the Lower Silesia Province of the Free State of Prussian consisting of the Breslau and Liegnitz regions.

After 1945

Following the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, all territories east of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 were placed under Polish administration according to the Potsdam Agreement
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

 and consequently incorporated by the Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

. Under those terms almost all of historic Lower Silesia was reassigned to Poland as "recovered territories
Recovered Territories
Recovered or Regained Territories was an official term used by the People's Republic of Poland to describe those parts of pre-war Germany that became part of Poland after World War II...

". In Germany remained a small portion of the former Prussian Province of Lower Silesia
Province of Lower Silesia
The Province of Lower Silesia was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1919 to 1945. Between 1938 and 1941 it was reunited with Upper Silesia as the Silesia Province. The capital of Lower Silesia was Breslau...

 that is part of the Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia is a region a biggest part of which belongs to Saxony, a small eastern part belongs to Poland, the northern part to Brandenburg. In Saxony, Upper Lusatia comprises roughly the districts of Bautzen and Görlitz , in Brandenburg the southern part of district Oberspreewald-Lausitz...

 historical region. The territory's German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 and Czech population was expelled
Expulsion of Germans after World War II
The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria...

 and replaced with Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, many of whom had themselves been expelled from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union
Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union
Immediately after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the beginning of World War II, the Soviet Union invaded the eastern regions of the Second Polish Republic, which Poles referred to as the "Kresy," and annexed territories totaling 201,015 km² with a population of 13,299,000...

.

The Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

's Northern Group of Forces
Northern Group of Forces
The Northern Group of Forces was the military formation of the Soviet Army stationed in Poland from the end of Second World War in 1945 until 1993 when they were withdrawn in the aftermath of the fall of Soviet Union...

 occupied part of the region till 1991, such as much of the city of Legnica
Legnica
Legnica is a town in south-western Poland, in Silesia, in the central part of Lower Silesia, on the plain of Legnica, riverside: Kaczawa and Czarna Woda. Between 1 June 1975 and 31 December 1998 Legnica was the capital of the Legnica Voivodeship. It is currently the seat of the county...

, part of Świdnica
Swidnica
Świdnica is a city in south-western Poland in the region of Silesia. It has a population of 60,317 according to 2006 figures. It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, being the seventh largest town in that voivodeship. From 1975–98 it was in the former Wałbrzych Voivodeship...

, many air-fields, barracks, and one large proving ground.

From 1945–1975 Lower Silesia was administered within the Wrocław Voivodeship. As a result of the
Local Government Reorganisation Act (1975), Poland's administration was reorganized into 49 voivodeship
Voivodeship
Voivodship is a term denoting the position of, or more commonly the area administered by, a voivod. Voivodeships have existed since medieval times in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Serbia....

s, four of them in Lower Silesia: Jelenia Góra
Jelenia Góra Voivodeship
Jelenia Gora Voivodeship was a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland in the years 1975–1998, superseded by the Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

, Legnica
Legnica Voivodeship
Legnica Voivodeship was a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland in the years 1975–1998, superseded by Lower Silesian Voivodeship. Its capital city was Legnica.-Major cities and towns :* Legnica...

, Wałbrzych, and Wrocław Voivodeships (1975–1998). As a result of the Local Government Reorganisation Act of 1998, these four provinces were joined into the Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Lower Silesian Voivodeship, or Lower Silesia Province , is one of the 16 voivodeships into which Poland is currently divided. It lies in southwestern Poland...

 (effective 1 January 1999), whose capital is Wrocław.

Towns of the historical Lower Silesia

Towns with over 20,000 inhabitants (German names in brackets):
  • Wrocław (Breslau)
  • Wałbrzych (Waldenburg)
  • Nysa
    Nysa, Poland
    Nysa is a town in southwestern Poland on the Nysa Kłodzka river with 47,545 inhabitants , situated in the Opole Voivodeship. It is the capital of Nysa County. It comprises the urban portion of the surrounding Gmina Nysa, a mixed urban-rural commune with a total population of 60,123 inhabitants...

     (Neisse)
  • Ladek Zdroj (Bad Landeck)
  • Legnica
    Legnica
    Legnica is a town in south-western Poland, in Silesia, in the central part of Lower Silesia, on the plain of Legnica, riverside: Kaczawa and Czarna Woda. Between 1 June 1975 and 31 December 1998 Legnica was the capital of the Legnica Voivodeship. It is currently the seat of the county...

     (Liegnitz)
  • Jelenia Góra
    Jelenia Góra
    ----Jelenia Góra is a city in Lower Silesia, south-western Poland. The name of the city means "deer mountain" in Polish, Czech and German. It is close to the Krkonoše mountain range running along the Polish-Czech border – ski resorts such as Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba can be found...

     (Hirschberg)
  • Lubin
    Lubin
    Lubin is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland. From 1975–1998 it belonged to the former Legnica Voivodeship. Lubin is the administrative seat of Lubin County, and also of the rural district called Gmina Lubin, although it is not part of the territory of the latter,...

     (Lüben)
  • Głogów (Glogau)
  • Świdnica
    Swidnica
    Świdnica is a city in south-western Poland in the region of Silesia. It has a population of 60,317 according to 2006 figures. It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, being the seventh largest town in that voivodeship. From 1975–98 it was in the former Wałbrzych Voivodeship...

     (Schweidnitz)
  • Bolesławiec (Bunzlau)
  • Oleśnica
    Olesnica
    Oleśnica is a town in the Trzebnickie Hills in southwestern Poland with 36,951 inhabitants . It is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

     (Oels)
  • Jawor
    Jawor
    Jawor is a town in south-western Poland with 24,347 inhabitants . It is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship . It is the seat of Jawor County, and lies approximately west of the regional capital Wrocław.In the town can be found a Protestant Church of Peace...

     (Jauer)
  • Kamienna Góra
    Kamienna Góra
    Kamienna Góra is a town in south-western Poland with 21,440 inhabitants . It is the seat of Kamienna Góra County, and also of the rural district called Gmina Kamienna Góra, although it is not part of the territory of the latter .Kamienna Góra on the Bóbr river is situated in Lower Silesian...

     (Landeshut in Schlesien)
  • Oława (Ohlau)
  • Kłodzko (Glatz)
  • Nowa Ruda
    Nowa Ruda
    Nowa Ruda is a town in south-western Poland near the Czech border, lying on the Włodzica river in the central Sudetes mountains. As of 2007 it has 25,240 inhabitants. The town is located in Kłodzko County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

     (Neurode)
  • Dzierżoniów
    Dzierzoniów
    Dzierżoniów is a town in southwestern Poland. It is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

     (Reichenbach im Eulengebirge)
  • Bielawa
    Bielawa
    Bielawa is a town in south-western Poland with 31,988 inhabitants . It is situated in Dzierżoniów County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship ; previously it has been a part of the Wałbrzych Voivodeship ....

     (Langenbielau)
  • Polkowice
    Polkowice
    Polkowice is a town in south-western Poland with 22,279 inhabitants . It is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

     (Polkwitz)

Silesian traditions in Upper Lusatia

For 130 years (from 1815 to 1945) parts of formerly Saxon
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

 territories of Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia is a region a biggest part of which belongs to Saxony, a small eastern part belongs to Poland, the northern part to Brandenburg. In Saxony, Upper Lusatia comprises roughly the districts of Bautzen and Görlitz , in Brandenburg the southern part of district Oberspreewald-Lausitz...

 formed the most westward part of the Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n Province of Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

 and later of Lower Silesia
Province of Lower Silesia
The Province of Lower Silesia was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1919 to 1945. Between 1938 and 1941 it was reunited with Upper Silesia as the Silesia Province. The capital of Lower Silesia was Breslau...

. During this time Silesian culture and the Silesian German
Silesian German
Silesian German language , is a German dialect/language spoken in Silesia. Today, the area is mainly in southwestern Poland, but as well as in northeastern Czech Republic and in eastern Germany...

 dialect spread into this region with its centre Görlitz
Görlitz
Görlitz is a town in Germany. It is the easternmost town in the country, located on the Lusatian Neisse River in the Bundesland of Saxony. It is opposite the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz until 1945. Historically, Görlitz was in the region of Upper Lusatia...

. The expulsion of the Germans from the east of Oder Neisse line led to an additional settlement of German Silesians in this region. Due to this facts some of the inhabitants of this region still consider themselves Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

n and cultivate some Silesian customs. One of their special privileges is the right to use the Lower Silesian flag and coat of arms which is guaranteed to them by the Saxon Constitution of 1992. The Evangelical Church of Silesian Upper Lusatia meanwhile merged with the one of Berlin and Brandenburg to form the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia
Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia
The Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia is a Protestant church body in the German states of Brandenburg, Berlin and a part of Saxony. The seat of the church is in Berlin. It is the most important Protestant denomination in the area....

.

Towns

The main cities within the former province of Lower Silesia west of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 are (Upper Sorbian names in italics)::
  • Görlitz
    Görlitz
    Görlitz is a town in Germany. It is the easternmost town in the country, located on the Lusatian Neisse River in the Bundesland of Saxony. It is opposite the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz until 1945. Historically, Görlitz was in the region of Upper Lusatia...

     (Zhorjelc)
  • Hoyerswerda
    Hoyerswerda
    Hoyerswerda is the largest city in the district of Bautzen in the German state of Saxony. It is located in Lusatia, a region where many people speak the Sorbian languages in addition to German.-Geography:...

     (Wojerecy)
  • Weißwasser/O.L. (Běła Woda)
  • Niesky
    Niesky
    Niesky is a small town in Upper Lusatia in eastern the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It has a population of about 11,000 and is part of the district of Görlitz....

     (Niska)


The main lusatian cities within the former province of Lower Silesia east of Lusatian Neisse, now within Lower Silesian Voivodship are:
  • Zgorzelec
    Zgorzelec
    Zgorzelec is a town in south-western Poland with 33,278 inhabitants . It lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship . It is the seat of Zgorzelec County, and also of the smaller district of Gmina Zgorzelec...

     (formerly part of Görlitz)
  • Lubań
    Luban
    Lubań is a town in southwest Poland north of the Jizera Mountains on the Kwisa river, with 22,137 inhabitants . Situated within the historic Upper Lusatia region, it today belongs to the Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

     (Lauban)

Sources

  • Urbanek M., (2003), Dolny Śląsk. Siedem stron świata., MAK publishing, Wrocław, p. 240 + CD-ROM
  • Śląsk na weekend – touristic guide, Pascal publishing

See also

  • Silesia
    Silesia
    Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

  • Silesia Walls
    Silesia Walls
    Silesia Walls are a line of three parallel earthen ramparts and ditches that run through Lower Silesia in Poland, by the towns Szprotawa and Kożuchów. The walls are about 2.5 metres tall and, at their widest, 47 metres. They run for about 30 kilometres...

  • Castle Chrobry in Szprotawa
  • Upper Silesia
    Upper Silesia
    Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

  • Middle Silesia
    Middle Silesia
    Middle Silesia was a colloquial designation for the Regierungsbezirk Breslau subdivision in the Prussian province of Silesia from 1813 to 1945...


External links

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