The Śląskie Voivodeship is the most significant industrial region of Poland, situated in its southern part. The region neighbours with the following voivodeships: Opolskie, Łódzkie, Świętokrzyskie and Małopolskie and in the south with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There are six European capitals located within the radius of 600 km: Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest and Berlin. Silesia is polycentric, without a single metropolitan centre (administration, finances, insurance, universities and culture). Administration, universities, cultural institutions and larger companies are mainly concentrated in large metropolitan cities, such as: Katowice, Sosnowiec, Bytom, Gliwice, Zabrze, Tychy and Chorzów. The capitals of subregions also play an important role here: Rybnik, Bielsko-Biała and Częstochowa. The Upper Silesian Agglomeration determines the specificity of the region. This is the largest urbanised area in East-Central Europe. There is a very dense urban network, which is a complex of cities practically adjacent to one another and extending over a length of around 70 km ? from Dąbrowa Górnicza to Gliwice. The Śląskie Voivodeship belongs to the economically strongest regions of Poland. The region produces 13.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which makes the voivodeship second in the country. The Śląskie Voivodeship has many natural resources, such as: deposits of coal, zinc, lead, methane, natural gas, marl, limestone, aggregates, as well as therapeutic, thermal and mineral waters. In addition to the industrial and investment advantages, the Śląskie Voivodeship encourage sight-seeing and relaxing in the region. Silesian Beskids is a tourist area with numerous winter resorts, as well as tourist facilities and hiking trails ? Bielsko-Biała, Szczyrk, Wisła, Istebna, Korbielów and Ustroń. Contrary to appearances, the Śląskie Voivodeship is a region with a large number of lakes (particularly reservoirs created on former sand pits for mines). Many of them are ideal for water sports. The most popular lakes include: Pogoria, Sosina Reservoir, Łąckie Lake and Rybnickie Lake. Abundant gravel pits on the Oder River are also interesting sites for summer holidays. Wonderful areas ideal for hiking, rock climbing and speleology are located on the area of the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, for example, the Trail of the Eagle?s Nests and the western fragment of the Błędów Desert located in Dąbrowa Górnicza. Culture and history enthusiasts can explore museums, castles, monastery and palace complexes, the reserve of wisents and industrial monuments.

source: www.slaskie.pl