Katowice (kah-to-vee-tseh), the centre of the so-called Upper Silesian Industrial District (Górnośląski Okręg Przemysłowy), is a difficult child to love. The GOP contains 14 cities and a number of neighbouring towns, forming one vast conurbation with a population of well over three million. It’s one of the biggest industrial centres in Europe, and one of the most outdated, though EU money is now helping to modernise the area and the work done here.
Historically, Katowice is a product of the 19th-century industrial boom, but it only became a city in the interwar period. After WWII, at the height of the Stalinist cult craze, the city was renamed Stalinogród, but reverted to its old name soon after Comrade Joe died in 1953. Katowice has few significant historical monuments, but it’s a major commercial and cultural centre.