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Welcome to the website of the Bytom city
25 marca 2019, Maria, Wienczyslaw, Ireneusz

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History and architecture

Bytom is among the oldest towns in the region of Upper Silesia. The beginnings of Bytom can be traced back to the 11th century, when settlement began around the local marketplace, and a fortified castle was thrown up at Wzgórza Św. Małgorzaty

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.


 1198858336.jpg   CITY PARK
Founded in 1870, intended as a scenic park and recreation area. Used to be the most popular place of rest for Bytom citizens.
Founded in 1876 upon closing the old cemetery situated at the junction of Jainty, Kwietniewskiego and Piekarska streets, Mater Dolorosa Cemetery is Bytom's most important necropolis.
 1198858226.jpg   THE JEWISH GRAVEYARD
"The "new" graveyard founded by the Jewish community in 1866. The old graveyard, founded in 1732, was situated in the area now between Piastow Bytomskich and Jozefczaka street, which has not lasted to the present day.
The District Court in Bytom was founded in 1849, replacing the former municipal court and the Donnersmarck patrimonial court.
The essentially neoclassicist building was designed by A.Boehm, an architect from Berlin, and erected in the years 1899-1903, as a project of the Society for the Construction of a Concert Hall established in 1899.
The building dates from 1867-1870. Its Neo-Gothic design was drawn by the hand of Pawel Jackisch, Bytom's town architect, for the catholic Classical Gymnasium founded in 1866.
 1198857741.jpg   LYCEUM No.4 (highschool) BUILDING
The building was erected in 1901. Its Secession-styled structure was designed by Bruegger and founded on the shape of a horse-shoe.
 1198857701.jpg   ST. MARGARET'S HILL
One of the oldest parts of the Town. Nowadays the place is found south of Bytom train station.
 1198857667.jpg   ST. WOJCIECH CHURCH and Klasztorny square
The church was probably built between 1258 and 1268. Originally a Franciscan monastery, it was then dedicated to St. Nicholas (Sw. Mikolaja).
 1198857652.jpg   CHAPEL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Baroque chapel built in 1721.
 1198857454.jpg   ST. TRINITY CHURCH
The church constitutes an outstanding element of the urban architecture of Bytom and the Town's skyline.
The oldest existing church in Bytom, built even before 1254, that is before Bytom received its town charter -- most probably around 1230.
    "Towarzystwo opieki nad zabytkami"
    "Towarzystwo miłośników Bytomia"