The gmina is the principal unit of the administrative division of Poland, similar to a municipality. As of 2010 there were 2,478 gminy throughout the country; the word gmina derives from the German word Gemeinde, meaning "community". The gmina has been the basic unit of territorial division in Poland since 1974, when it replaced the smaller gromada. There are three types of gminy: urban gmina consisting of just one city or town, mixed urban-rural gmina consisting of a town and surrounding villages and countryside; some rural gminy have their seat in a town, outside the gmina's division. For example, the rural Gmina Augustów is administered from the town of Augustów, but does not include the town, as Augustów is an urban type gmina in its own right; the legislative and controlling body of each gmina is the elected municipal council, or in a town: rada miasta. Executive power is held by the directly elected mayor of the municipality, called wójt in rural gminy, burmistrz in most urban and urban-rural gminy, or prezydent in towns with more than 400,000 inhabitants and some others which traditionally use the title.
A gmina may create auxiliary units. In rural areas these are called sołectwa, in towns they may be dzielnice or osiedla and in an urban-rural gmina, the town itself may be designated as an auxiliary unit. For a complete listing of all the gminy in Poland, see List of Polish gminas; each gmina carries out two types of tasks: commissioned ones. Own tasks are public tasks exercised by self-government, which serve to satisfy the needs of the community; the tasks can be twofold: compulsory – where the municipality cannot decline to carry out the tasks, must set up a budget to carry them out in order to provide the inhabitants with the basic public benefits optional – where the municipality can carry them out in accordance with available budgetary means, set out only to specific local needs. Own high objectives include matters such as spatial harmony, real estate management, environmental protection and nature conservation, water management, country roads, public streets, bridges and traffic systems, water supply systems and source, the sewage system, removal of urban waste, water treatment, maintenance of cleanliness and order, sanitary facilities and council waste, supply of electric and thermal energy and gas, public transport, health care, care homes, subsidised housing, public education, cultural facilities including public libraries and other cultural institutions, historic monuments conservation and protection, the sports facilities and tourism including recreational grounds and devices and covered markets, green spaces and public parks, communal graveyards, public order and safety and flood protection with equipment maintenance and storage, maintaining objects and devices of the public utility and administrative buildings, pro-family policy including social support for pregnant women and legal care and popularising the self-government initiatives and cooperation within the commune including with non-governmental organizations, interaction with regional communities from other countries, etc.
Commissioned tasks cover the remaining public tasks resulting from legitimate needs of the state, commissioned by central government for the units of local government to implement. The tasks are handed over on the basis of statutory by-laws and regulations, or by way of agreements between the self-government units and central-government administration. Abbreviations used for voivodeships:LS: Lower Silesian Voivodeship, KP: Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, LBL: Lublin Voivodeship, LBS: Lubusz Voivodeship, ŁD: Łódź Voivodeship, LP: Lesser Poland Voivodeship, MS: Masovian Voivodeship, OP: Opole Voivodeship, SK: Subcarpathian Voivodeship, PD: Podlaskie Voivodeship, PM: Pomeranian Voivodeship, SL: Silesian Voivodeship, ŚWK: Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, WM: Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, GP: Greater Poland Voivodeship, WP: West Pomeranian Voivodeship. Official report from the Central Statistical Office of Poland dated January 1, 2006
The Lusatian culture existed in the Bronze Age and early Iron Age in most of today's Poland and parts of the Czech Republic, eastern Germany, western Ukraine. It covers the Periods Montelius III to V of the Northern-European chronological scheme. There were close contacts with the Nordic Bronze Age. Hallstatt and La Tène influences can be seen in ornaments and weapons; the Lusatian culture developed as the preceding Trzciniec culture experienced influences from the middle Bronze Age Tumulus Bronze Age incorporating the local communities into the socio-political network of Iron Age Europe. It forms part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia, it is followed by the early Iron Age Billendorf culture in the West. In Poland, the Lusatian culture is taken to span part of the Iron Age as well and is succeeded in Montelius VIIbc in northern ranges around the mouth of Vistula by the Pomeranian culture spreading south.'Lusatian-type' burials were first described by the German pathologist and archaeologist Rudolf Virchow.
The name refers to the Lusatia area in eastern Poland. Virchow identified the pottery artifacts as'pre-Germanic' but refused to speculate on the ethnic identity of their makers; the Polish archeologist Józef Kostrzewski, who starting in 1934 conducted extensive excavations of a Lusatian settlement of Biskupin, hypothesized that the Lusatian culture was a predecessor of cultures which belonged to the early Slavs. Modern archeologists, such as Kazimierz Godłowski and Piotr Kaczanowski, hold the view that at that time, the ethnic geography of Bronze Age central-Europe included peoples whose languages and ethnic identity we do not know. Burial was by cremation; the urn is accompanied by numerous—up to 40—secondary vessels. Metal grave gifts are sparse, but there are numerous hoards that contain rich metalwork, both bronze and gold. Graves containing moulds, like at Bataune, Saxony or tuyeres attest to the production of bronze tools and weapons at the village level. The'royal' tomb of Seddin, Germany, covered by a large earthen barrow, contained Mediterranean imports like bronze-vessels and glass beads.
Cemeteries can contain thousands of graves. Well known settlements include Biskupin in Poland, Buch near Berlin. There fortified settlements on hilltops or in swampy areas; the ramparts were constructed of wooden boxes filled with soil or stones. The economy was based on arable agriculture, as is attested by numerous storage pits. Wheat and six-row barley formed the basic crops, together with millet and oats, broad beans and gold of pleasure. Flax was grown, remains of domesticated apples and plums have been found. Cattle and pigs were the most important domestic animals, followed by sheep, goats and dogs. Pictures on Iron Age urns from Silesia attest horse riding, but horses were used to draw chariots as well. Hunting was practiced, as bones of red and roe deer, bison, hare and wolf attest, but did not provide much of the meat consumed; the numerous frog bones found at Biskupin may indicate. Hoards in swampy areas are considered by some archaeologists as'gifts for the Gods'. Human bones in 5 m deep sacrificial pits in Lossow might point to human sacrifice and possible ritual cannibalism.
Lusatia Urnfield culture Nordic Bronze Age Hallstatt culture J. M. Coles and A. F. Harding, The Bronze Age in Europe. Dabrowski, J. Nordische Kreis und Kulturen Polnischer Gebiete. Die Bronzezeit im Ostseegebiet. Ein Rapport der Kgl. Schwedischen Akademie der Literatur-Geschichte und Altertumsforschung über das Julita-Symposium 1986. Ed Ambrosiani, B. Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien. Konferenser 22. Stockholm. Hypothetical reconstruction of a Lusatian culture settlement, raised using only bronze age tools - Wola Radziszowska - Poland
The Silesian Wars were a series of three wars fought in the mid-18th century between Prussia and Austria for control of the Central European region of Silesia. The First and Second Silesian Wars formed parts of the wider War of the Austrian Succession, in which Prussia acted as one member of a coalition seeking territorial gain at Austria's expense; the Third Silesian War was one theatre of the global Seven Years' War, in which Austria in turn led a coalition of powers aiming to seize Prussian territory. No particular triggering event caused the wars. Prussia cited its centuries-old dynastic claims on parts of Silesia as a casus belli, but realpolitik and geostrategic factors played a role in provoking the conflict: Maria Theresa's contested succession to the Habsburg Monarchy provided an opportunity for Prussia to strengthen itself relative to regional rivals such as Saxony and Bavaria. All three wars are considered to have ended in Prussian victory, their territorial result was Austria's cession of the majority of Silesia to Prussia.
Prussia emerged from the Silesian Wars as a new European great power and the leading state of Protestant Germany, while Austria's defeat by a lesser German power damaged the House of Habsburg's prestige. The conflict over Silesia foreshadowed a wider Austro-Prussian struggle for hegemony over the German-speaking peoples that would culminate in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. In the early eighteenth century, Brandenburg–Prussia's ruling House of Hohenzollern held dynastic claims to various of the Silesian duchies within the Habsburg province of Silesia, a populous and prosperous region contiguous with Prussia's core territory of Brandenburg. Besides its value as a source of tax revenue, industrial output and military recruits, Silesia held great geostrategic importance to the belligerents; the valley of the Upper Oder formed a natural military conduit between Brandenburg and Moravia, whichever power held it could threaten its neighbors. Silesia marked the northeastern frontier of the Holy Roman Empire, allowing its controller to limit the influence of Poland and Russia within Germany.
Brandenburg–Prussia's claims in Silesia were based, in part, on a 1537 inheritance treaty between the Silesian Piast Duke Frederick II of Legnica and the Hohenzollern Prince-Elector Joachim II Hector of Brandenburg, whereby the Silesian Duchies of Liegnitz and Brieg were to pass to the Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg if the Piast dynasty in Silesia should become extinct. At the time, the Habsburg King Ferdinand I of Bohemia rejected the agreement and pressed the Hohenzollerns to repudiate it. In 1603, Hohenzollern Elector Joachim III Frederick of Brandenburg inherited the Silesian Duchy of Jägerndorf from his cousin, Margrave George Frederick of Brandenburg-Ansbach, installed his second son, Johann Georg, as duke. However, in the Bohemian Revolt and the ensuing Thirty Years' War, Johann Georg joined the Bohemian estates in revolt against the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. After the Catholic victory in the 1621 Battle of White Mountain, the Emperor confiscated Johann Georg's duchy and refused to return it to his heirs after his death.
In 1675 the "Great Elector" Frederick William of Brandenburg laid claim to Liegnitz and Brieg when the Silesian Piast line ended with the death of Duke George William of Liegnitz, but the Habsburg Emperor disregarded the Hohenzollern claims and took the vacant titles himself. In 1685, when Austria was engaged in the Great Turkish War, Emperor Leopold I gave Great Elector Frederick William immediate control of the Silesian exclave of Schwiebus in return for military support against the Turks and the surrender of the outstanding Hohenzollern claims in Silesia. However, after the accession of the Great Elector's son and successor, Frederick III of Brandenburg, the Emperor took back control of Schwiebus in 1694, claiming that the territory had only been assigned to the late Great Elector for life. In response, Frederick III in turn reasserted the old Hohenzollern claims to Jägerndorf and the Silesian Piast heritage. Two generations the newly crowned Hohenzollern King Frederick II of Prussia formed designs on Silesia soon after taking the Prussian throne in May 1740.
King Frederick judged that his dynasty's claims were credible, he had inherited from his father a large and well trained Prussian army and a healthy royal treasury. The European strategic situation was favorable for an attack on Austria, with Britain and France occupying each other's attentions and Russia in conflict with Sweden. Though the Hohenzollerns' dynastic claims provided a legalistic casus belli, considerations of realpolitik and geostrategy played the leading role in provoking the war. An opportunity arose for Brandenburg–Prussia to press its claims when Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI died in October 1740 without a male heir. With the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, Charles had established his eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, as the successor to his hereditary titles, upon his death she duly became ruler of Austria, as well as of the Bohemian and Hungarian lands within the Habsburg Monarchy. During Emperor Charles's lifetime, the Pragmatic Sanction was acknowledged by the imperial states, but when he died it was promptly contested by several parties.
The newly crowned King Frederick saw in Austria's female succession an opportune moment for the seizure of Silesia, callin
Loess is a clastic, predominantly silt-sized sediment, formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. Ten percent of the Earth's land area is covered by similar deposits. Loess is an aeolian sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown silt in the 20–50 micrometer size range, twenty percent or less clay and the balance equal parts sand and silt that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate, it is homogeneous and porous and is traversed by vertical capillaries that permit the sediment to fracture and form vertical bluffs. The word loess, with connotations of origin by wind-deposited accumulation, came into English from German Löss, which can be traced back to Swiss German and is cognate with the English word loose and the German word los, it was first applied to Rhine River valley loess about 1821. Loess is homogeneous, friable, pale yellow or buff coherent non-stratified and calcareous. Loess grains are angular with little polishing or rounding and composed of crystals of quartz, feldspar and other minerals.
Loess can be described as a dust-like soil. Loess deposits may become thick, more than a hundred meters in areas of China and tens of meters in parts of the Midwestern United States, it occurs as a blanket deposit that covers areas of hundreds of square kilometers and tens of meters thick. Loess stands in either steep or vertical faces; because the grains are angular, loess will stand in banks for many years without slumping. This soil has a characteristic called vertical cleavage which makes it excavated to form cave dwellings, a popular method of making human habitations in some parts of China. Loess will erode readily. In several areas of the world, loess ridges have formed that are aligned with the prevailing winds during the last glacial maximum; these are called "paha ridges" in "greda ridges" in Europe. The form of these loess dunes has been explained by a combination of tundra conditions. Loess comes from the German Löss or Löß, from Alemannic lösch meaning drop as named by peasants and masons along the Rhine Valley.
The term "Löß" was first described in Central Europe by Karl Cäsar von Leonhard who reported yellowish brown, silty deposits along the Rhine valley near Heidelberg. Charles Lyell brought this term into widespread usage by observing similarities between loess and loess derivatives along the loess bluffs in the Rhine and Mississippi. At that time it was thought that the yellowish brown silt-rich sediment was of fluvial origin being deposited by the large rivers, it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that the aeolian origin of loess was recognized the convincing observations of loess in China by Ferdinand von Richthofen. A tremendous number of papers have been published since focusing on the formation of loess and on loess/palaeosol sequences as archives of climate and environment change; these water conservation works were carried out extensively in China and the research of Loess in China has been continued since 1954. Much effort was put into the setting up of regional and local loess stratigraphies and their correlation.
But the chronostratigraphical position of the last interglacial soil correlating to marine isotope substage 5e has been a matter of debate, owing to the lack of robust and reliable numerical dating, as summarized for example in Zöller et al. and Frechen, Horváth & Gábris for the Austrian and Hungarian loess stratigraphy, respectively. Since the 1980s, thermoluminescence, optically stimulated luminescence and infrared stimulated luminescence dating are available providing the possibility for dating the time of loess deposition, i.e. the time elapsed since the last exposure of the mineral grains to daylight. During the past decade, luminescence dating has improved by new methodological improvements the development of single aliquot regenerative protocols resulting in reliable ages with an accuracy of up to 5 and 10% for the last glacial record. More luminescence dating has become a robust dating technique for penultimate and antepenultimate glacial loess allowing for a reliable correlation of loess/palaeosol sequences for at least the last two interglacial/glacial cycles throughout Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.
Furthermore, the numerical dating provides the basis for quantitative loess research applying more sophisticated methods to determine and understand high-resolution proxy data, such as the palaeodust content of the atmosphere, variations of the atmospheric circulation patterns and wind systems, palaeoprecipitation and palaeotemperature. According to Pye, four fundamental requirements are necessary for the formation of loess: a dust source, adequate wind energy to transport the dust, a suitable accumulation area, a sufficient amount of time. Periglacial loess is derived from the floodplains of glacial braided rivers that carried large volumes of glacial meltwater and sediments from the annual melting of continental icesheets and mountain icecaps during the spring and summer. During the autumn and winter, when melting of the icesheets and icecaps ceased, the flow of meltwater down these rivers either ceased or was reduced; as a consequence, large parts of the submerged and unvegetated floodplains of these braided rivers dried out and were exposed to the wind.
Because these floodplains consist of sediment containing a high content of glacial
Trzebnica is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland. It is the seat of Trzebnica County, of the smaller administrative district called Gmina Trzebnica; the town lies within the eastern Trzebnickie Hills in the historic Lower Silesia region 20 kilometres north of the regional capital Wrocław. As at 2010, it has a population of 12,460. In 2017, the town was the co-host of the World Games. In the 12th century, the area was among the possessions of the Premonstratensian St. Vincent monastery at Wrocław. Trzebnica itself was first mentioned in an 1138 deed held by the Polish voivode Peter Wlast and seized by the Silesian duke Władysław II the Exile. In 1202 Władysław's grandson Duke Henry I the Bearded of Silesia and his wife Hedwig of Andechs founded a Cistercian convent, present-day Sanctuary of St. Jadwiga in Trzebnica, the first in Poland; the couple signed the deed of donation on 23 June 1203 in the presence of Hedwig's brother Ekbert Bishop of Bamberg. In 1218 Hedwig's daughter Gertrude became abbess of Trzebnica, the first of many Piast princesses to hold this office.
After Duke Henry died in 1238 and was buried in the church, his widow moved to the Cistercian convent which by now was led by her daughter. Hedwig died in October 1243 and was buried there while some of her relics are preserved at Andechs Abbey in Bavaria, she was canonized in 1267. In 1250 Trzebnica received town privileges, it passed under the jurisdiction of the Lower Silesian Duchy of Oels in 1323, a Bohemian fief from 1328. In 1480 Duke Konrad X the White granted the town to the Cistercian abbey. Town and monastery were devastated several times, by fires as well as by the plague, but by Hussite troops in 1430. During the Thirty Years' War, Trebnitz was plundered by Swedish forces and the nuns had to flee across the border to nearby Poland. After the war the premises were rebuilt in its present Baroque style. In 1742 Trebnitz with most of Silesia was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia and the monastery was securalized in 1810. Meanwhile, the town had become a centre of cloth manufacturing. In 1870 the Order of Saint John acquired the former abbey's estates to establish a hospital, cared for by the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo up to today.
The town was damaged during the Vistula–Oder Offensive of the Red Army in the last days of World War II. Trzebnica is twinned with: Kitzingen, since 2009 Vynnyky, Ukraine Saint Agnes of Bohemia, daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia, educated at Trzebnica Abbey Euphrosyne of Greater Poland, daughter of Duke Przemysł I of Greater Poland, abbess of Trzebnica from 1278 Marie Leszczyńska, daughter of King Stanisław I Leszczyński of Poland, queen consort of France Ernst Niekisch, German politician and exponent of National Bolshevism Gila von Weitershausen, German actress Jewish Community in Trzebnica on Virtual Shtetl
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wrocław
The Archdiocese of Wrocław is a Latin Rite archdiocese of the Catholic Church named after its capital Wrocław in Poland. From its founding as a bishopric in 1000 until 1821, it was under the Archbishopric of Gniezno in Greater Poland. From 1821 to 1930 it was subjected directly to the Apostolic See. Between 1821 and 1972 it was known as Diocese of Breslau. Christianity was first introduced into Silesia by missionaries from Bohemia. After the conversion of Duke Mieszko I of Poland and the conquest of Silesia, the work of bringing the people to the new faith went on more rapidly. Up to about the year 1000 Silesia had no bishop of its own, but was united with neighbouring dioceses. In this way, the connection of Silesia with the Holy Roman Empire continued; the upper part of the Oder River formed the boundary of the Kingdom of Poland. All the territory, now Silesia – lying on the right-hand bank of the Oder – belonged, therefore, to the Diocese of Poznań, suffragan to the Archbishopric of Magdeburg.
This part of Silesia was thus under the jurisdiction of a priest named Jordan, appointed first Bishop of Poznań in 968. The part of Silesia lying on the left bank of the Oder belonged to the territory included in Bohemia, was within the diocesan jurisdiction of Prague; the Bishopric of Prague, founded in 973, was suffragan to the Archbishopric of Mainz. Duke Bolesław I the Brave, the son of Mieszko, obtained the Bohemian part of Silesia during his wars of conquest, a change in the ecclesiastical dependence of the province followed. By a patent of Emperor Otto III in 995, Silesia was attached to the Bishopric of Meissen, like Poznań, was suffragan to the Archbishopric of Magdeburg. Soon after this emperor Otto and Bolesław, who had pledged allegiance to the emperor ruled the entirety of Silesia, founded the Diocese of Wrocław, together with the Bishoprics of Kraków and Kołobrzeg, was placed under the Archbishopric of Gniezno in Greater Poland, founded by Otto in 1000 during the Congress of Gniezno.
The first Bishop of Wrocław is said to have been named Johannes, but nothing more than this is known of him, nor is there extant any official document giving the boundaries of the diocese at the time of its erection. However, they are defined in the Bulls of approval and protection issued by Pope Adrian IV, 23 April 1155, by Pope Innocent IV, 9 August 1245; the powerful Polish ruler Bolesław I was succeeded by his son Mieszko II Lambert, who had but a short reign. After his death a revolt against Christianity and the reigning family broke out, the new Church organization of Poland disappeared from view, the names of the Bishops of Wrocław for the next half century are unknown. Casimir I, the son of Mieszko, his mother were driven out of the country, but through German aid they returned, the affairs of the Church were brought into better order. A Bishop of Wrocław from 1051 to 1062 was Hieronymus, said by tradition to have been a Roman nobleman, he was followed by Johannes I, succeeded by Petrus I.
During the episcopate of Petrus, Count Peter Wlast entered upon that work of founding churches and monasteries which has preserved his name. Petrus was followed by: Żyrosław I. With the episcopate of Bishop Walter the history of the diocese of Wrocław begins to grow clearer. Pope Adrian IV, at Walter's request in 1155, took the bishopric under his protection and confirmed to it the territorial possessions of which a list had been submitted to him. Among the rights which the Pope confirmed was that of jurisdiction over the lands belonging to the castle of Otmuchów, regarded as the patrimony of the diocese from its foundation. In 1163 the sons of the exiled Polish duke Władysław returned from the Empire and, through the intervention of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, received as an independent duchy the part of Silesia, included at that date in the see of Wrocław. Bishop Walter built a new, massively constructed cathedral. Żyrosław II encouraged the founding of the Cistercian monastery of Lebus by Duke Bolesław I the Tall.
In 1180 Żyrosław took part in the national assembly at Łęczyca at which laws for the protection of the Church and its property were promulgated. Jarosław, the oldest son of Duke Bolesław, Duke of Oppeln, was the first prince to become Bishop of Wrocław. Cyprian was Abbot of the Premonstratensian monastery of St. Vincent near Wrocław Bishop of Lebus, afterwards Bishop of Wrocław. During Cyprian's episcopate Duke Heinrich I and his wife, St. Hedwig, founded the Cistercian convent at Trebnitz; the episcopate of Bishop Lorenz was marked by his efforts to bring colonies of Germans into the church territories, to effect the cultivation of waste lands. This introduction of German settlers by the bishop was in accordance with the example set by Heinrich I and St. Hedwig; the monasteries of the Augustinian Canons, Premonstratensians and Cistercians took an active part in carrying out the schemes of the rulers by placing great numbers of Germans Thuringians and Franconians, on the large estates, granted them.
One of the most noted bishops of the diocese, Thomas I, continued the work of German colonization with so much energy that the marauding incursions o
Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Lower Silesian Voivodeship, or Lower Silesia Province, in southwestern Poland, is one of the 16 voivodeships into which Poland is divided. Lower Silesia was part of Medieval Poland during the Piast dynasty. After the testament of Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138, Poland entered a period of fragmentation. Silesia became a province of Poland as a duchy, which on became divided into many small duchies reigned by dukes and princes of the Piast dynasty. During this time and ethnic Germanic influence prospered due to immigrants from the German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire; this impacted on the local architecture as well as traditions and cuisine. At the same time, Lower Silesia was a leading Polish cultural center; the Book of Henryków, which contains the earliest known sentence written in the Polish language, as well as Statuta synodalia Episcoporum Wratislaviensis, which contains the oldest printed text in Polish, were both created here. Both texts can be seen in Wrocław. Złotoryja, Poland's first town, was granted municipal privileges by Henry the Bearded.
Over the centuries, Lower Silesia has experienced epochal events such as the Protestant Reformation, the Silesian Wars, industrialisation, the two World Wars. Lower Silesia is one of the richest provinces in Poland as it has valuable natural resources such as copper, brown coal and rock materials, which are exploited by the biggest enterprises, its well developed and varied industries attract both foreign investors. Its capital and largest city is Wrocław, situated on the Odra River, it is one of Poland's largest and most dynamic cities with a growing international profile, is regarded as one of the most important commercial and tourist sites in the whole country. Burial sites of Polish monarchs and consorts are located in Trzebnica. Furthermore, the voivodeship is famous for its many castles and palaces and is one of Poland's most visited regions by tourists; the voivodeship was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Wrocław, Legnica, Wałbrzych and Jelenia Góra Voivodeships, following the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998.
It covers an area of 19,946 square kilometres, as of 2013 has a total population of 2 914 362. Although much of the region is low-lying it includes Sudeten Foreland and part of the Sudetes mountain range running along the Polish/Czech border. Popular ski resorts in Lower Silesian Voivodeship include Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba in the Karkonosze mountains. Other important tourist destinations in the voivodeship include the chief city, Wrocław, as well as the towns of Jelenia Góra and Legnica; the town of Boleslawiec is famed for its pottery. The voivodeship has the largest number of spa towns in Poland: Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Długopole-Zdrój, Duszniki-Zdrój, Jedlina-Zdrój, Kudowa-Zdrój, Lądek-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Przerzeczyn-Zdrój, Szczawno-Zdrój, Świeradów-Zdrój. Lower Silesian Voivodeship is bordered by Lubusz Voivodeship to the north-west, Greater Poland Voivodeship to the north-east, Opole Voivodeship to the south-east, the Czech Republic to the south, Germany to the west; the Wrocław–Copernicus Airport serves as an international and domestic airport.
The main railway station is Wrocław Główny. The A4 motorway, A8 motorway and A18 motorway run through the Voivodeship. Lower Silesian Voivodeship is one of the most visited voivodeships in Poland, it is famous for a large number of castles and palaces, inter alia: Książ Castle, Czocha Castle, Chojnik Castle, Grodziec castle, Gorzanów Castle, Kliczków Castle. There is a lot in the Jelenia Góra valley; the voivodship's most visited city is Wrocław with many sights and attractions, inter alia open all year round Aquapark, Wrocław SPA Center and famous Wrocław's dwarfs. The annual international Chopin Festival is held in the Fryderyk Chopin Theatre in Duszniki-Zdrój, established at the site of the first concert played by the Polish virtuoso pianist outside of the Russian Partition of Poland. Other major attraction of the town is the Museum of Papermaking, established in a 17th-century paper mill; the Festival of Good Beer is held every year, on the second weekend of June. Śnieżka is one of the first European peaks visited by tourists, it is the highest peak of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and the whole of the Sudetes.
Other highlights include: Kłodzko Fortress, Fort Srebrna Góra, Legnickie Pole, Henryków, Lubiąż Abbey, Krzeszów Abbey, Oleśnica Mała, Vang stave church, Churches of Peace, Sokołowsko, Cave Bear, Museum of Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Złoty Stok, Coal Mine in Nowa Ruda, Museum of Industry and Railway in Jaworzyna Śląska, Skull Chapel in Czermna, Mount Ślęża, Table Mountains, Owl Mountains, The Main Trail Sudetes, Barycz Valley Landscape Park and connected with the history of World War II - complex tunnels Project Riese, a German Gross-Rosen concentration camp, German War Cemetery and Park Peace in the Nadolice Wielkie. Castles and palaces Burial sites of Polish monarchs and consorts Protected areas in Lower Silesian Voivodeship: 2 National Parks Karkonosze National Park Table Mountains National Park 12 Landscape Parks Barycz Valley Landscape Park Bóbr Valley Landscape Park Bystrzyca Valley Landscape Park Chełmy Landscape Park Jezierzyca Valley Landscape Park Książ Landscape Park Owl Mountains Landscape Park Przemków Landscape Park Rudawy Landscape Park Ślęża Landscape Park Śnieżnik Landscape Park Sudety Wałbrzyskie Landscape Park 67 Nature reserves 20 protected landscape areas 3100 Natural monuments 1