The City Today

The centre of Opole has preserved its historical urban layout which originated from the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries and is referred to as the Silesian chessboard.

The position of the City's Town Hall, initially in a merchant's wooden house, dates back to the 13th century but other current architecture originates from only 1936.

The only remaining part of the Gothic Prince's Hall is the keystone with the Prince's emblem, which today can be found in Opole Silesia Museum.

In 1751 Opole only had 1,186 inhabitants but today it has more than 131,000. The rapid development of the town was caused by the establishment of a seat of regency in Opole in 1816. The first railway connection between Opole, Brzeg and Wroclaw was opened in 1843, the first cement plant was built in 1859, a gas plant in 1862 and a water tower, which is still operating today, in 1896. The power station that was built in 1908 operated till 1931

The Polish administration took over Opole on 24th March 1945 with its 200 permanent inhabitants at that time. The town has been district capital since 1950 and has been developing steadily. The current city covers an area of 96 km². The numerous factories and institutions employ workers from several of the neighbouring communities. There are four higher education establishments in Opole, the Opole University, the Opole University of Technology, the Higher Vocational State School (Medical College) and the private Higher College of Management and Administration. The National Festival of Polish Song has been held here annually since 1963 and each year new regular events, fairs, shows and competitions are added to the city's events calendar.

National Festival

In 1958, thanks to the initiative of Karol Musiol, a long serving chairman of the National Council, it was decided to build an amphitheatre in Opole. At about the same time, journalists from the Polish Third Radio Programme, Mateusz Swiecicki and Jerzy Grogulas, had the idea of organising a National Festival of Polish Songs at this new venue. These ideas came to fruition while Karol Musiol was still alive and on 19th June 1963 the fanfare of the inaugural notes of the festival was heard for the first time. The festival was originally organised by the Association of Friends of Opole and the Opole Bandstand but in 1995 passed under the aegis of Polish Television.

In its history, thousands of artists have appeared at the festival concerts. For many of them the Opole Amphitheatre was the start of their meteoric singing careers. Hundreds of songs that were first heard here have since become very popular and are sung throughout the whole of Poland.

The Amphitheatre accommodates an audience of 5640 with each of the 42 rows of benches being 280 metres in length. The Amphitheatre was designed by a local architect, Florian Jesionowski

The official website

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