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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » June 29, 2015
The Lower Silesia Voice
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Wa³brzych: Finding a New Way
June 29, 2015   
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Wa³brzych used to be a major coal mining center and one of Poland’s most polluted cities, but has since turned into one of the cleanest in Poland when it comes to air quality. It is also one of the fastest developing urban areas in Lower Silesia province and the whole country. This western Polish city is home to modern industries and research facilities and is also a popular tourist destination.

In the early 1990s, the local mining industry was shut down, plunging Wa³brzych into a crisis that lasted many years. The city, however, found a way to start developing again. With a population of 120,000, Wa³brzych is the biggest city in a larger conurbation of 22 towns and districts with 400,000 inhabitants and a shared development strategy. The strategy is integral to local and government plans for the area. The districts that are part of the conurbation have also been working together under a pioneering program aimed at effective spending of EU funds until 2020.

Wa³brzych largely owes its recent success to the Invest-Park Wa³brzych Special Economic Zone founded in 1997. Funds invested in the zone have significantly helped curb unemployment, which used to be high in the area.

The key priority for the city authorities is to improve residents’ quality of life. Wa³brzych landmarks include the Old Town and the Stara Kopalnia (Old Mine) Science and Art Center. Stara Kopalnia is located in the historic Julia coal mine, which was recently included in the prestigious European Route of Industrial Heritage. Many tourists who come to Wa³brzych are also drawn by Ksi±¿ Castle, which is one of the largest and most beautiful palaces in Europe.

Aiming to further improve living standards in Wa³brzych, the authorities have been revitalizing different sections of the city, conducting wide-ranging repairs on local transportation routes as part of a project called “A New Way for Wa³brzych” and modernizing schools. The city authorities have also built a bicycle trail network and a state-of-the-art waterpark.

In just four years, spending on projects carried out in the city increased almost eightfold from zl.42 million in 2010 to zl.329 million in 2014.

Located near the Czech and German borders, Wa³brzych is an extremely attractive city for its residents, for investors and for a growing numbers of tourists.

For further information, visit the Wa³brzych city website: www.um.walbrzych.pl/en
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