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Opole Voivodship

The Opole Voivodship (in Polish województwo opolskie) is an administrative region or voivodship in the south of Poland, around the city of Opole in the region of Silesia (Slask). In this Voivodship there is a large German Minority.

The Opole voivodship lies in south-western Poland. The major part of the voivodship's area is situated on the Silesian Lowland (Nizina Slaska). In the east, the region touches upon the Silesian Uplands (Wyzyna Slaska) with the famous St. Anne Mountain; there is the Sudeten range to the south-west Opawskie Mountains. The Odra River cuts across the middle of the voivodship. The Opole voivodship is the smallest region in the administrative make-up of the country, both in terms of area and population. However, its geographical location, economic potential and qualifications of its inhabitants make it an attractive partner for cooperation with other Polish regions (especially the Lower Silesian and Silesian Voivodships), as well as with the foreign ones. Formed in 1997, the Pradziad Euroregion eases the economic, cultural and tourist exchange between the border areas of Poland and the Czech Republic. The Opole voivodship has the highest percentage of the German minority of all voivodships of the country. The transport connection from Germany to Ukraine goes through Opolskie. The region has four border crossings and direct rail connections to all important Polish cities, as well as to Frankfurt, Munich, Budapest, Kiev and the Baltic harbours. All of these add to the advantages for investors in the Opole region, who want to establish themselves not only on the Polish market but also in Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia and Slovakia.

Economy

The Opole voivodship is an industrial as well as an agricultural region. With respect to mineral resources, of major importance are deposits of building raw materials, i.e. limestone (Strzelce[?]), marl (near Opole), marble and basalt. The favourable climate, fertile soils and high farming culture contribute to the development of agriculture, which is among the most productive in the country. A total of 19 industries are represented in the voivodship. The most important are cement and lime, furniture, food, car manufacturing and chemical industries. In 1997, the biggest production growth in the area was in companies producing wood and wood products, electrical equipment, machinery and appliances, as well as cellulose and paper products. In 1997, the top company in the region was Zaklady Azotowe S.A. in Kedzierzyn-Kozle whose income was over PLN 860 million. The voivodship's economy consists of more than 53,000 businesses, mostly small and medium-sized, employing over 332,000 people. Manufacturing companies employ over 89,000 people. 95,7% of all the region's business operate in the private sector.

Universities

There are following state-run universities in the region: the newly created University of Opole, the Opole Technical University and the Theological Faculty of the University of Opole. All of them are based in the voivodship's capital. Among the region's private schools, the Opole School of Management and Administration has been certified as a degree granting institution by the Ministry of National Education.

Tourism

The Opole voivodship is a green region with three large lakes: Turawskie, Nyskie and Otmuchowskie (the latter two are connected). The Opawskie Mountains are extremely popular. The region also includes the castle in Brzeg, built during the reign of Piast dynasty - pearl of the Silesian Renaissance, the Franciscan monastery on top of St. Anne Mountain, as well as the medieval defense fortifications in Paczkow (referred to as the Polish Carcassonne). The region is characterised by having the warmest climate in the country.



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