There is some evidence indicating that the budding town may have boasted a parochial church, dedicated to Holy Virgin Mary.
In 1254 Bytom received the town charter from Wladyslaw the Duke of Opole. It was probably around that time, too, that the town's spatial plan was substantially modified, which represented a critical step in Bytom's development: within the oval settlement, a rectangular Rynek (Town Square) was plotted, along with a checkerboard-pattern street system. In 1281, following the disruption of Opole duchy, the capital of a duchy was established in Bytom. Kazmierz II, the new ruler, started the construction of a new castle (regretfully, it did not last to the present times) and encompassed the town with a new system of defensive walls with three gates (the new walls ran along the line which is today signposted by: Korfantego street, Grunwaldzki square, Murarska street, Browarniana street, Kosciuszki square, Jozefczaka street, Walowa street, Klasztorny square). In late 12th century the Franciscan order erected, in today's Klasztorny square, the St. Nicholas church (at present identified with (St. Wojciech church, and in 1299 the Duke founded the Holy Spirit Hospital, located outside the city walls, next to the Krakowska gate. Its only remaining part is nowadays known as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
The town's prosperity, founded on trade and mining (silver, lead), ebbed around the middle of 14th century. At the time, the growth of mining was arrested as the so-called water level was reached, making further mining activity impossible. The crisis was aggravated by the partition of the town forced by the dukes of Cieszyn and Olesnica.
In 1432 Bytom was captured by the Husits. Throughout the 16th century it was plagued by fires (1515, 1526, 1529) and religious unrest, and adversely affected by the ongoing 30-year war. The period of ill fortune was concluded by Bytom falling in the hands of a private proprietor and becoming part of the Henckel von Donnenrsmarck family estate. This effectively sealed the town's decline. Prosperity returned to town only at the beginning of the 19th century. As of 1908 no longer a private property, and now re-integrated with its suburbs, Bytom restored its municipal status. The robust expansion of mining and steel industry gave a new momentum to the town's growth. Soon Bytom emerged as an important administrative center and the largest industrial town in Upper Silesia. Around the middle of 19th century, Bytom became the seat of district administration, and hosted a court and the public prosecutor's department with a jail. All these changes were reflected in the urban development of the town. In 1827 the city walls were finally dismantled; soon afterwards, the reconstruction of the town center was initiated, designed to merge it with the suburbs. By far the most consequential project of the time resulted in the creation of, in place of the dismantled walls, an administrative and commercial center with a spectacular town square with a number of streets branching out radially -- a solution inspired by French modern urban architecture (today's Kosciuszki square, of which part was, regretfully, pulled down in the 1970s and the 1980s).
The second half of 19th century was marked with accelerated urban development that continued through the 1920s and was accompanied by explosive economic growth. The abundance of mineral resources brought about the rapid development of mining industry, hand in hand with the processing of coal, zinc, lead and iron ores, and the increasing production of steel, coke, ceramics and lime. At the end of the 19th century, coal mining and steel working established themselves as the leading industries.
Intensive redevelopment that began at the close of the 19th century made its greatest impression on Bytom's apartment houses: most of them were remodeled after the then popular eclectic fashion, the number of stories was increased, and a more compact backyard design was applied; the infrastructure was modernized, too. In 1860 Bytom introduced gas illumination, in 1899 -- electric light, in 1868 a sewer system was installed, and in 1894 the first regular tram service was started.